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FDP Forum / All Other Fender Guitars and Instruments / Why have vintage Fender pedal steel guitars not appreciated in value?

Contributing Member

Fenders Hometown

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity
Jul 5th, 2004 02:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

My Dad has a Fender 400 pedal steel guitar that he bought new in 58 or so ( as far as he can recall) It's in great shape, original tweed case etc..

I decided to look up values for it out of boredom,
What a shock.. They only seem to fetch $400-$800.
I'm sure there are rare models and such, that command a higher amount but I found it odd that they only bring in a tad more now then when they were new.

I guess it's just a lack of market?

Contributing Member


You stay here, you're already dead
Jul 5th, 2004 02:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Well, I suppose if Jimi or SRV or Clapton had played a pedal steel guitar they would command a much higher amount.

Fender values are very much affected by the star power behind the actual model.

Contributing Member

Fenders Hometown

Beware the lollipop of mediocrity
Jul 5th, 2004 02:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

How would you explain Fender basses going for thousands then? While there were plently of great bass players on Fender through the years, I can't recall any of them having SRV or Clapton's star power.

Contributing Member


You stay here, you're already dead
Jul 5th, 2004 03:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

Fender basses go for thousands while Stratocasters of the same year may go for tens of thousands.

Contributing Member

Las Vegas, NV

Champion of all things Fender!
Jul 5th, 2004 10:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'd say it depends how much "practical usability" the instrument has. Not nearly as many people play pedal steel as do people play regular 6 string guitar. The ratio is probably 1000 to 1.

tim gueguen


Jul 7th, 2004 12:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yep, its totally a case of demand. Lots and lots of people want vintage Strats and Teles. Not very many want old Fender steels. I suspect you'd find even amongst those who would want a vintage pedal steel they would be more likely to want an old Shobud before an old Fender.

Contributing Member

Out past the dynamo

Mojo sez "Hi!"
Jul 7th, 2004 08:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

It all depends on the market. If demand goes up on the vintage stuff, folks start paying hi prices for it because it's a limited quantity. Maybe there's lots of older Fender steels out there. I'll bet there is. I've never heard of anyone from a country band described as "The Pete Townshend of the Steel Guitar," if ya know what I mean =^)


Chicago, IL USA

Jul 13th, 2004 09:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

Tim Gueguen has it right.

I've been playing steel for quite a few years, now.

Fender PS's are less desireable that a Shobud, Emmons or other high end PS on the market. I'd much rather have a Fender Stringmaster (non-pedal steel) than a 400. Cabinet drop, mechanical design and changer are much less desirable on the Fenders. The Fenders were more like the Shobud "Maverick" ie lower end guitars, not like the "Pro" or "LDG" type models.

Here are a couple of PS dealers so you can compare prices and desirablity.



and finally the motherload:


(check out the "for sale" section)

Bill ~~~

PS Scotty and Bobby Seymour are really great guys who will be glad to "talk Steel Guitars". Bobby in particular could get the best $$$ for your dad's guitar.

(This message was last edited by wnstardis at 09:17 AM, Jul 13th, 2004)



Jul 14th, 2004 08:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I take issue that there is no "Claptons", or "Hendrix" of the pedal steel guitar. If one becomes interested in this incredible, versitile, and unique instrument, they would be surprised by the number of PSG legends out there. Just to name a few: Buddy Emmons, Paul Franklin, Buddy Cage, and Lloyd Green. These are not fly by night undergound performers. They simply play in a different genre of music.
If we're talking "supply and demand" I would have to say that there are probably 1000 6 string Fenders to every PSG. This would indicate a larger supply comparatively speaking. But the truth is these older PSGs are cool to look at and listen to. However, they are not technologically advanced as newer PSGs. Thus low demand. There is a huge difference in the technology of a 1950's, or 60's PSG and a new one.
Where fundamentally, and old strat can be played the exact same way as a new one. PSG players today want a light weight, easy to tune, setup that has soft, easy to push foot pedals. The Fender, in it's heyday was NOT a cheap beginners instrument! It was, and still is very versatile due to the ability to change copedents (key tunings) quickly. Back then some of the biggest PSG stars in Nashville played them at one time or another. As for new talent with this instrument, check out Robert Randolph and the Family Band. This guy smokes on the PSG!


United States

Jul 15th, 2004 01:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

There is a market for pedal steels, but here is why the Fenders don't grab the big bucks:

Standard guitars have been pretty much the same for the last fifty years. For instance, the Telecaster in '52, the Stratocaster started in '54, and the Les Paul in '50.

Pedal steel guitars though, where not in their modern form until Emmons guitars started being made in '66. So while collectors are out there paying $20,000.00 for '59 Stratocasters, which is still a "relevant" instrument, a Fender pedal steel is considered outdated.

The pedal steel is a very modern instrument, and they become more and more mechanically advanced every year. Pedal steel players in general want new and reliable. Think, if you replace the tuners on a 1962 Strat, you hurt it's value, even if the new tuners are better. With a steel, such things as replaced pickups and added knee levers add value to the instrument(when professionally done).

Here are why Fender pedal steels are considered out dated. They are very heavy, break strings, and have tuning issues that a modern pedal steel doesn't have. They also lack the tone and sustain of a modern instrument, and only have eight strings per neck, while the standard has been for ten strings since the early sixties. Modern single neck pedal steels have a standard setup of three pedals and four knee levers, while a Fender single neck only has four pedals.

And as apposed to the rare, custom made Bigsby pedal steels(which are VERY collectible as the very first "real" pedal steels, first made in the late '40's), Fender's where massed produced, and quite common to come by. Even then, a good condition triple neck 8 string Bigsby will fetch $4000 to $8000, which some modern pedal steels cost new.

Fender didn't bother competing with Sho-Bud and Emmons to make a more practical instrument in the sixties, because their focus had shifted to standard guitars and bass guitars. By the late sixties, Fender would only make steels if they got an order for at least 100.

As far as associating a guitar with an artist value(ala Strat with Hendrix, Tele with Kieth, LP with Page), all the famous players that played Fender pedal steels at the time went on to play Sho-Buds and Emmons later on. They wanted the best, and it was just a more practical product.

I personally like the Fender pedal steels. I own one(also a 1958). They have the great sound of those early Buck Owens records and all the other Bakersfield, CA country of the late fifties and early sixties, and nothing else in the world sounds like it. But it is not capable of doing what a modern pedal steel player needs their instrument to do. I am not down talking the guitar, I am just saying it is what it is. I play 40's and 50's style country, and I'll take a Fender steel over an Emmonjs or a Bud any day(I own seven Fender steels).

Your dad's steel is a good guitar. It has it's place in music history, and has that nice bright Fender steel sound, where the string pulls real fast(because of the cables that pull the string, new guitars have aluminum rods). Listen to Buck Owens "Together Again", to hear the definitive Fender Pedal Steel sound.

But sadly, a 1958 Fender 400 will never sell like a 1958 Fender Stratocaster.


FDP Forum / All Other Fender Guitars and Instruments / Why have vintage Fender pedal steel guitars not appreciated in value?

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