and Used Guitars
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...
Can you tell us about the background to Daydream Guitars?
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
That was handy with the initials, wasn’t it?
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.
Does he still keep an eye on it?
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.
There was a John Lennon toilet which went for nine or ten
thousand the other day.
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.
Have you got much memorabilia from those days?
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.
I hope they found a good home.
So do I. I bet whoever got
it wondered what they’d got their hands on.
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.
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.
You've got some great memories there. What gives you the most
pleasure about running this business?
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
Do you think you’re still improving?
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.
You can see that in some acts, can’t you, that they’re
going through the motions?
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.
A lot of people would say Ricky who?
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.
Did your musicians come back?
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.
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?
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.
Is it the kids that are coming up with an interest?
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
Are they getting more difficult to source?
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.
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.
What did he say when you told him that?
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."
Do the youngsters know what they're looking at and the
musical history of these instruments?
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
That's amazing the longevity of that band.
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.
What does The Internet mean to your business?
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.
Do you do valuations?
Yes. They cost £15 if it's going to take me a little while
to trace the provenance for you.
Yes, they can be a bit of a challenge, like that guy who
repsrayed his guitar.
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
It's amazing that people will part with their money without
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.
What are your bestsellers?
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.
Because we can remember when Made In Japan was synonymous
with third-rate and cheap.
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
Are these relatively easy to source?
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
Running a website does take up a lot of time.
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.
That's not bad and nice to have.
It's all wheels within wheels and although I'm still quite
new to this I'm learning rapidly.
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.
and Used Guitars
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.
Telephone - 07710 269188