Vintage Guitars Aren’t Better Than New Guitars, Says Richie Faulkner: ’If the Headstock Is Broken, That Means It’s Flawed’

Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner expressed his opinion on vintage guitars, saying that the new stuff is always better. Despite also being an owner of some old guitars, like his 1957 Gibson Les Paul with a Bigsby tremolo tailpiece, Faulkner isn’t convinced of the supposed superiority of older electric guitars.

Speaking to Ultimate Guitar in an interview, the Judas Priest and Elegant Weapons axeman was asked about his 1957 Gibson Les Paul,  which could also be a modern-day replica with a Murphy Lab touch as he never really disclosed that. Saying that this is a “1957 relic,” which, once again, doesn’t say much if it’s the actual old vintage guitar or not, he added:

I’m a huge advocate for new guitars over the old ones. I know a lot of people say that the ‘vintage guitars’ – and the term ‘vintage’ changes as the years go by… Apparently, vintage now is mid-’70s. You know, 10 or 20 years ago, you didn’t want the mid-’70s Les Pauls. But now, all of a sudden, because everything else has dried up ‘vintage’ means mid-’70s Les Paul – I don’t quite understand it.”

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“So vintage is a nebulous term. So my point is, you get good ones and you get bad ones. The word ‘vintage’ doesn’t reflect how good something is, in my opinion. So the new ones, the new relic guitars, or the new guitars, in my opinion, are far superior, in general, to the old ones.”

In fact, Faulkner also added that he tried the so-called “Holy Grail” of guitars, the 1959 Les Paul Standard, but that he doesn’t get all the hype:

“In my experience, I’ve played a ’59 or two and if you didn’t tell me it was a ’59, I wouldn’t think anything of it, like the frets are worn down and the neck isn’t always straight or whatever, but the new ones are perfect.”

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He continued:

“So I’m a huge advocate for new guitars, and I have lots of, shall we say, heated discussions with friends of mine about that, but yeah, that Goldtop is phenomenal. I’ve got a ’54 Goldtop Reissue with the P-90s and a wrap tail ridge.”

“Some people say the intonation on the wrap tail bridges are awful, but I think it’s phenomenal. You know, maybe the intonation was awful on the original ’54s because they hadn’t worked out that system yet, which is what my point is, but it’s a phenomenal guitar the P-90s are on fire, and it’s got a ’60s profile neck, which you don’t normally get on a ’54 Goldtop either.”

“So it’s a brilliant guitar. I could talk all day about new versus old guitars, but then maybe that’s for another time.”

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When the interviewer said that “it’s refreshing to hear someone who prefers the modern ones,” he then reflected on some of the common arguments by vintage guitar lovers who claim that a broken and repaired headstock will supposedly be better:

“Well, yeah, and you know, people say there’s quirks on the old ones, like the headstock is broken on a lot of them. Well, if the headstock is broken, that means it’s flawed, surely. I don’t care if you think it’s stronger than it was, it’s a flawed guitar.”

“So the new one that isn’t broken isn’t flawed. Whether or not it feels better to you, objectively, a new guitar is a better guitar. But I suppose that’s a conversation for the internet.”

Richie Faulkner on His Gibson & Epiphone Flying Vs

Richie Faulkner is one of the metal guitar players sticking to Gibson guitars. He not only has his Gibson Flying V guitars but has also done a limited-edition series of Epiphones. In fact, he even uses some of these Epiphones for his live shows and claims that his are exactly the same as the ones that you can find used online.

Faulkner has recently also made a huge announcement with Gibson — a release of his Pelham Blue Flying V Custom Shop model. The new release is based on a Flying V he already owns and he said of it:

“This guitar has become a good friend of mine over the past couple of years and is the latest evolution of my main guitar with Priest for the past 12 years.”

Gibson Custom Shop Richie Faulkner Flying V Custom in Pelham Blue

“It’s something that has evolved as I have both on stage and in the studio, in looks and in sound.”

“Whenever I see that double pickguard and Pelham blue, I know that that is my guitar.”

“With the Floyd Rose, signature EMG pickups, and striking appearance I know that armed with my faithful Flying V, I will be able to deliver every night. Beautiful yet deadly, elegant yet sonically powerful it is the number one guitar in my arsenal.”

Richie Faulkner Flying V Custom

The guitar comes with a few interesting features, both functional and aesthetic. But in its essence, it’s your usual Flying V that’s made by Gibson Custom shop. The price of this fine instrument is set at $6,999.

Photo: Aaron Rubin (Richie Faulkner of Judas Priest)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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