Arlen Roth

In the old days, there was nary a thought as to how “collectable” something was going to become. Even the all-time greats were always busy “trading up” their instruments for better and better ones. I can remember talking to Scotty Moore (Elvis’ original guitarist) about his old ES-295……I was in possession of Danny Gatton’s old 295 that was possibly believed to be Scotty’s original one, and I was trying to sell it for Danny’s daughter, Holly so she could raise some money, but Scotty told me it wasn’t his. He did tell me however, that when he traded up for an L-5, all he wanted was “something bigger!”
Even when I was first starting out, I kept on trading guitars in for others, basically as I started to learn more and more about them. Everything was really changed however, on the day when I played what was to become my first truly good guitar….my 1952 Les Paul gold top! From that moment on, I was not only a person in search of a better guitar, but I was fast becoming, unbeknownst to me, a collector too!
We all end up “missing” the guitars of our youth, and our early players we are nostalgic for, so even when we are “trading up” and getting more and more pleased with our new guitars, there is a pretty good chance we’ll end up missing our earlier guitars for various reasons. The one reason we do not want to be missing our past guitars for is that they were actually better than what we ended up with! Too many times we forget how good we had it, only to “give in” to the temptation to get better and better and more “expensive” instruments. This is where “collecting” comes in, and you should be very cautious about just how much you are really giving up to get something else!
The best thing is to hang onto that other guitar and be wise to decide whether or not it’s worth trading in for another instrument. There have been countless guitars I have sold or traded in that I truly regretted, and wish I had back now, but even crazier is how I may find a guitar that I even forgot I had, and then get nostalgic about before I trade it in or sell it!
So, yes, please by all means, be sure to “trade up” and always improve upon what you are using, just be careful to not get rid of something that you’ll be missing and wanting to get back for the rest of your life!