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Vintage and Used Guitars


Vintage and used guitars are big business and have never been more popular with up-and-coming musicians. Here, Digger talks to Sid Wagstaff who runs Daydream Guitars about his background and the history of the business and finds out where Sid is heading with it in the future...






Digger: Can you tell us about the background to Daydream Guitars? 

Sid: It was started by a guy called Reg Banks who used to own R and B music in Crewe and Reg has been an old friend of mine for years. 

Digger: That was handy with the initials, wasn’t it? 

Sid: Yes! So Reg had a really big music shop in Hanley called  R and B music – he sold it just after the millennium to some lad who’d been working for him in Hanley and did quite well. Then he opened a shop in Nantwich Road in Crewe which he had until four years ago. He then told me he’d had enough and he wanted to do something different. He’s always been a popular lad at the Crewe Alexandra Football Club putting in PA systems and he’d got himself a nice little job at the Alex on a full-time basis. So when I saw him at a guitar fair last November in Liverpool he said “I’m thinking of shutting down my website unless you want it?” I said  “How much do you want for it?” And he said “You can have it.. You’ll have to get some guitars put on it – I’ll leave a few on there for you. Then I’ll sign it all over to you and your wife. I wouldn’t want it to go to anybody else, I’d rather close it down.” I said “Yeah, okay - I’ll take it on then.” That’s how it came into my possession. 

Digger: Does he still keep an eye on it? 

Sid: He does, we often talk about it – he’s a great collector of memorabilia and has a massive collection of pop memorabilia which is worth a small fortune. And it’s surprising what people come out of the woodwork to offer you. 

Digger: There was a John Lennon toilet which went for nine or ten thousand the other day. 

Sid: I’ve always had a musical background, playing in a band since I was fourteen and I still do. And during the early sixties I was in a house band at the Majestic Ballroom in Crewe working for Top Rank from ’61 to ’68. During that time our manager became very friendly with Brian Epstein who was, of course, the biggest mover of Merseybeat. What we used to do was have people like Gerry and The Pacemakers and The Beatles doing Merseybeat shows at the Crewe Majestic Ballroom for £50 to £70 a night in those days and we’d reciprocate by going to do their shows at The Cavern and The Iron Door Club and The Grafton and places like that in Liverpool. So, The Hotrods became quite a name in Liverpool and obviously when the hit records came along we were used as support by Brian Epstein to his stable of acts. People like Billy J Kramer, The Fourmost and The Beatles and Gerry. We did a lot of work with all of those bands from ’62 to ’66. 

Digger: Have you got much memorabilia from those days? 

Sid: Well, that’s a sad point. When I got married for the first time and left home I left a suitcase under my bed at home with acetates and posters and autographed pictures of me with all of these people. When I got divorced in ‘85/’86 and went back to live with my mother for a couple of years I’d been there about a year and just asked me Mam “Whatever happened to that old suitcase under the bed? And she said “Well, you never asked for it so I just gave it to the rag and bone man." I didn’t have the heart to tell her what she’d thrown away. There was stuff there that would have brought a mint on the market. There were at least the first five Beatles albums signed by all of them on the covers and special photos of us all taken at The Iron Door and The Cavern. 

Digger: I hope they found a good home. 

Sid: So do I. I bet whoever got it wondered what they’d got their hands on. 

Digger: I suppose it would be difficult to prove they were genuine because there were so many people who signed on behalf of The Beatles. Of course, you know yours were the real thing. 

Sid: The ones I had were definitely genuine because I was there when they signed them. There were three really unusual shots of myself, George Harrison and Ringo Starr at The Blue Angel club in Liverpool in 1963 and they were really nice photographs. I always wished that I’d pulled them out more than anything else, you know? Me sitting  talking to them as if I would if I were sitting with you now. It was a great time. 

Digger: You've got some great memories there. What gives you the most pleasure about running this business? 

Sid: The biggest pleasure is that you talk to a lot of people in the music business, with a similar background to yourself and there are some quite interesting characters to talk to. The one thing about being involved in music, whether it be selling guitars or playing them as I do – you never stop learning and there’s always a lot of people you can meet. The evolution is nice for me as it’s something that’s always turning over... 

Digger: Do you think you’re still improving? 

Sid: Definitely, you never stop improving. I think the enthusiasm has to stay with you and a lot of people seem to lose that enthusiastic bite – I never have, thank goodness, and I’m 66 now. 

Digger: You can see that in some acts, can’t you, that they’re going through the motions? 

Sid: Yes, my band four or five years ago backed Ricky Valance on a country festival in Belgium as a favour for an agent and he put us together. Ricky was so bad he cost me my keyboard player and my drummer and we were on a six festival tour with him so I had to get two replacement ex-pros because of the arguments he caused. He was so unprofessional and unpleasant it was untrue – I’m talking about an egomaniac beyond belief. It wouldn’t be so bad if he’d had a dozen hit records but he was only a one-hit-wonder. He did Tell Laura I Love Her and took it to the top of the charts and has lived on it ever since. He’s still got a great voice but he doesn’t get on with people and thinks he’s bigger than he is. 

Digger: A lot of people would say Ricky who? 

Sid: Exactly. My band were making quite a name for themselves at the time on the country music circuit, especially on the line dance circuit. That was a terrible five weeks and I came back and rang this agent in Buxton and said “I want to pull out of the remaining dates because of what Ricky has done.” And he said “You can’t, I’ll sue you.” And I said “Hang on, he’s been upsetting people. You’ve heard the stories – I’ve lost two of my band and they won’t even play while we’re working with him.” And he said “You pull out of those dates and I’ll cancel the other forty jobs you’ve got with me in my diary.” And I said “Okay.” And he took them out and we’ve never done any dates with him since. I had to make a stand. 

Digger: Did your musicians come back? 

Sid: No, strangely enough they didn’t come back either, so it cost me two really good players and a lot of unnecessary work trying to get bookings back for the band. It was a really bad time and a bad decision on my part to do it. 

Digger: Don’t beat yourself up about it – you weren’t to know he’d cause all that trouble… Why do you think there’s such an interest in authentic vintage instruments?   

Sid: I think this is something that’s grown over the last few years and certainly it’s been given a lot of credence because a lot of older music is shown on TV all the time. 

Digger: Is it the kids that are coming up with an interest? 

Sid: Well yeah, it’s like when you see a vintage Fender Stratocaster being played by Hank Marvin or whoever it happens to be and think it would be cool to own one of those guitars. But then you find out how much they cost and people lower their sights a little now and get something that looks like it and plays like it but isn’t it. But they always aspire to one of those guitars.

Digger: Are they getting more difficult to source? 

Sid: As time goes on, obviously, there are less an less of them becoming available on the market. And the other thing is - I have a case at the moment where people that have them try to make them look brand new and that's definitely not what you need to do. 

Digger: Oh dear! 

Sid: I've got a guy with a 1962 Fender Stratocaster and he's owned it since new. He's got the receipts from Barretts in Manchester where he bought it. What he did was have it re-fretted and resprayed and also he took the pickups off because one wasn't working and put entirely new pickups on it. So, straight away, he's taken a £25,000+ potential value guitar down to about £8,000. 

Digger: What did he say when you told him that? 

Sid: He couldn't believe it. "But..." he said "It's a '62." "No, it's not because it's not in its original state. You've had it reprayed, you've had it re-fretted and you've had new pickups put on." He said "I've still got the old pickups, I'll put them back on." I said "But you can't do anything about the respraying. And the job they did isn't the best in the world, where did you have it done?" He said "I worked at Rolls Royce and one of the paint lads did it." There you go, you see, you can't win with these people. When I told him and showed him the difference between what he would have got for it if he'd left it alone..." He said "What do you reckon I'll get for it, do you think I'll get about £10,000?" And I said "No, you'll be lucky to get £8,000 tops." On the website I've had one offer at £8,000 but he still doesn't want to sell it for that." I said "I think you're being greedy and it's your guitar so I'll keep it on there as long as you want me to." 

Digger: Do the youngsters know what they're looking at and the musical history of these instruments? 

Sid: Oh yes, they're very, very switched on. They read all the magazines and they look on The Internet - they've very clued up about it all. 

Digger: I was at the V&A museum last Friday and there was a retro event going on there. I couldn't believe how many youngsters there were there - it was mainly youngsters actually.

Sid: And the thing is, because everything is so available now to see how techniques are learned - on DVDs and so on, virtually every major player puts them out year after year. So you've got a complete archive now to work out how to do things if you want to sit down and really work at it. Certainly, a lot of the youngsters are gifted these days because they've been taught the right way and they can pick it up and they make great players really quickly. Again, it all depends on the person. 

Digger: Are they willing to put in the hours like the old days? They reckon that it takes 10,000 hours to become a real expert on something. 

Sid: A lot of them might want to get a record deal with somebody and get there very quickly but those days are few and far between. It really depends on what they're looking for and what sort of music you're playing. There are so many variations on the market nowadays. Who'd have thought that Take That would get back together again? That was one of the biggest taboos of all time and nobody thought they were ever going to do it. Robbie's back with them again and it's amazing that it's happened but you wouldn't really believe it three or four years ago - they would never have stood together on the same stage. But they're doing it. You can never say no - you just don't know what's going to happen.

Digger: You've had people like Pink Floyd and The Jam and The Police and Cream and Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet who had arguments in the past but who got back together recently.

Sid: Yes. It's like Cliff and The Shadows, who've just done a massive world tour right the way through the back end of last year and into the early part of this year. They've made millions out of it and said they'd never do another one. I read in the papers this week they've had so many offers that they might do it. 

Digger: That's amazing the longevity of that band.

Sid: It's a quality act and it doesn't matter what musical genre you come from you can appreciate the professionalism that goes into putting the show on. They rehearsed six weeks in Ireland until the opening night of the tour down in Killarney where they'd been rehearsing. Then they do 120 dates all over the world in a few months and something like £10 million each has come out of it.

Digger: What does The Internet mean to your business?

Sid: I'm getting loads and loads of hits from all over the world but I really need to sit down and look at them in detail. I need to meet up with Reg to discuss how to get more stuff onto my site and I will be pushing it forward with my web designer with some new ideas and lots more stock in the next few months. What I'm also offering for the first time is that if people have got something to sell then I can sell it for them for a commission - we'll actually put it on the website. And that's something Reg never did before. He thought it was a great idea when i told him.

Digger: Do you do valuations?

Sid: Yes. They cost £15 if it's going to take me a little while to trace the provenance for you.

Digger: Yes, they can be a bit of a challenge, like that guy who repsrayed his guitar.

Sid: We have to spend time looking and researching and you have to know what you're looking for and there are a lot of good fakers about, believe me. They come form everywhere. I was talking to a bloke from Southport who bought a guitar and it was supposed to be a genuine 1964 Stratocaster and he paid £9,000 for this guitar. It was complete and utter rubbish. It was a mish-mash. It was worth maybe £1,500 tops. 

Digger: It's amazing that people will part with their money without doing research.

Sid: Yes, you wouldn't think people would be prepared to pay so much without checking into the supplier and dating the guitar to make sure it's right. I'd never dream of doing that.

Digger: What are your bestsellers?

Sid: Fender Telecasters. But the Japanese vintage ones are really going well and these are guitars that were made in Japan from 1980-1985 called the JV series (Japanese Vintage) and then after 1985 they were the MIJ's (Made In Japan) and that took you through to the early 90s'. Then, in the mid-90's, it was the CIJ (Crafted In Japan.)  These guitars are better than the American ones by a mile.

Digger: Because we can remember when Made In Japan was synonymous with third-rate and cheap.

Sid: They were, but not any more and I don't think they realised what great craftsmen they had there and these guitars that were made in the early 80's - the Strats and Telecasters, are fetching great money and going up in value rapidly. 

Digger: Are these relatively easy to source?

Sid: You can pick them up quite easily still. I made a new contact through a business contact and his son now lives in Tokyo - I asked him to have a look for some things for me. He rang me up, and he play the guitar himself so knows what I'm on about. He agreed to start looking so he is at the moment looking for me for some JV Strats in Japan. So I hope to progress that and to get The Internet working better for me. I have people in America and Australia and Italy who have been asking about my guitars via the website so I do need to devote more time to it. It's hard to balance everything.

Digger: Running a website does take up a lot of time.

Sid: I am very fortunate with Simon who set it all up for Reg and who I pay to put things on for me but I do need to start maintaining the site in my own words so people understand that it's me doing it and nobody else. I want to put my own mark on it which is why I started to introduce things like selling client's guitars for them on the site, subject to a decent proof of provenance and a photograph. I take a 10% whether it sells for £1,000 or £25,000. 

Digger: That's not bad and nice to have.

Sid: It's all wheels within wheels and although I'm still quite new to this I'm learning rapidly.

Digger: Well, Sid, than you very much for that insight into your career, your business and your website and the world of vintage and rare guitars.




Vintage and Used Guitars


Daydream Guitars was set up by Reg Banks to supply Vintage and Used Guitars to the Music Industry. After 30 years in Musical Instrument Retail he decided he needed a new challenge - this was it! After 4 years, Reg has decided to move on to pastures new and the new owners will be Mr and Mrs S Wagstaff (Sid and Sue). Sid has been involved in the website from its conception having visited many guitar fairs with Reg, both as an advisor and friend. The new owners can assure clients old and new that business will be as professional as always and we thank clients for their continued support.

Daydream Guitars
Telephone - 07710 269188 








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