Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of something called an NFT, or non-fungible token. These digital certificates have taken the arts world by storm, and the music industry has started to wade into this technology.
We are seeing more and more guitar NFTs appearing for sale, and it piqued our interest, so in this KillerGuitarRigs special, we’re taking a look at guitar NFTs. We’ll explain what they are, why they’re valuable, who’s selling them, and where you can buy them from if you’re looking to invest.
Keep on reading as we dig into the world of the blockchain and NFTs.
What does NFT Stand For?
The acronym NFT stands for “Non-Fungible Token”. In short, because it’s non-fungible, it means it is an original, as in one of a kind. Think of it like Hendrix’s 67 SG, or Jimmy Page’s Mirror Telecaster. Both are iconic guitars with immense value, because they are the originals, owned and played by the artist, they are for lack of a better term – non-fungible.
The makers of Jimi’s SG and the Mirror Telecaster (Gibson and Fender) sell signature models based on those guitars. To the untrained eye, the differences between the originals and the signature models may well be imperceptible. But, because there are many of them, i.e., can be replaced, they are fungible.
Of course, fungible, and non-fungible aren’t terms that are in the everyday vocabulary of most, which has definitely led to a lot of the confusion surrounding NFTs.
Now that we’ve covered the concept of fungible and non-fungible, we can move on to non-fungible tokens.
What Exactly is an NFT?
An NFT is essentially a certificate that accompanies an original piece of digital art, whether it’s an audio clip, a photograph, a digitized drawing, a tweet, a GIF, or any number of other digital products. While the finished product may not be art in the more traditional sense, it is a digital capture of something, that can be proven to be an original because it has an NFT stored on the blockchain.
If the word blockchain sounds familiar, that’s because it is the beating heart of cryptocurrency, as in Bitcoin, Etherium, Shiba Inu, Dogecoin, etc. The majority of NFTs are kept on the Etherium blockchain, but there are others that support them, too.
Being on the blockchain is what separates an NFT from any other file, even an original. You can take a photograph, but until you associate it with an NFT and upload it to Etherium or some other compatible blockchain, it’s still just a picture.
Do NFTs Have any Real Value?
Like any other kind of art, the value of an NFT lies fully in what somebody is willing to pay for it. Some may sell for pennies, others may not sell at all, and the rare outliers may sell for many millions of dollars. The most expensive NFT ever sold was Pak’s “The Merge”, which fetched over $91 million.
What are Guitar NFTs?
While guitar NFTs can belong to any of the types mentioned above, the overwhelming majority available today are attached to photographs of guitars. In many cases, the creator of the NFT will also provide additional exclusive content to purchasers to further increase the appeal of ownership
Which Guitar Brands Have Released NFTs?
One of the first brands to launch guitar NFTs was ESP. In 2021, they teamed up with an NFT developer by the name of Fanaply to create a run of NFTs to celebrate the launch of their Pyrograph range. ESP initially listed these limited edition tokens for $100 each, and at the time of writing, the asking price on the secondary market was up to $126.50.
Not to be outdone, Gibson has also announced their intent to release a series of NFTs. In their case, pictures of their most famous models, including the Les Paul, SG, Flying V, Explorer, ES-335, and the Thunderbird, amongst others, will be the pieces for sale.
Have any Guitarists Released NFTs?
Several famous guitarists have jumped on the bandwagon to release their own NFTs. Steve Vai, for example, will auction off a video of the launch of his new “Hydra” guitar as an NFT.
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones has also gotten in on the action. In January of 2022 he sold an NFT that included an image of a black Gibson ES-335, but not only that, it also included a short video of Richards signing the guitar.
To make things even more interesting, the purchaser also received the actual signed guitar as part of the deal. Bidding on this NFT started at $4500, and it was expected to make between $6000-8000. Despite the conservative estimate, this NFT/guitar package ended up selling for a whopping $57,600.
Where Can I Buy Guitar NFTs?
There are several specialist websites where investors can bid on NFTs, or in some cases, purchase them directly.
Some of the best sources for guitar NFTs include Fanaply, OpenSea, and Julien’s Auctions. As NFTs are one off, unique pieces, the tokens they have in stock frequently vary, so it’s always a good idea to check back regularly if you’re seriously considering investing.
Are Guitar NFTs Lifelong Investments?
Whether or not NFTs are good long term investments is completely unknown. Not all that long ago, many thought that Bitcoin was a scam, or at the very least, a complete waste of money, and now look at the price of a single “coin”.
Being a digital asset, there is no way to know whether or not a guitar NFT will hold any intrinsic value in years to come, but as with any investment, purchasers need to weigh risk vs reward before parting with their hard earned money.
Final Thoughts on Guitar NFTs
Guitar NFTs might not be for everyone, but that isn’t stopping some giants of the industry from getting involved with the technology. Whatever your thoughts on NFTs, there’s no denying the fact that they offer collectors and enthusiasts a new way to own and trade in exclusive items, and in many cases a chance to own genuine pieces of music history.