Beat up '70 ES-335...how much is it worth?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by indravayu, May 20, 2008.

  1. indravayu

    indravayu Senior Member

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    So, I have what I think to be a 1970 ES-335 (hard to date precisely from just the serial number...it has an orange label in the soundhole, which I believe is pre-Norlin? It's cherry and has trapeze tailpiece and block inlays)...I traded in some guitars for it 12 years ago at a store in Portland, OR, but have no real idea what it might be worth.

    The guitar is defintiely beat up....someone cracked and repaired the headstock at some point (seems to have been repaired well since I can't tell any affect on performance, though the crack is still quite visible), and there are lots of little dings and scratches on the surface, which is also checking (I believe that's the term for it?)...someone also swapped out the stock tuners for Grovers....the frets are getting worn down and there are some dings here and there. The pickups still sound great, but the electronics are maybe in need or replacement - the pots are kind of scratchy. Despite all the cosmetic flaws, the guitar still plays great and has an awesome tone - sustains and feeds back beautifully with a good tube amp.

    I feel guilty about the shape it's in right now - I have never gotten it serviced in the 12 years that I have owned it, though for the past 6 or 7 years I have barely used the poor thing - it mostly resides in it's case.

    So, I know you guys can't give a proper opinion with out at least seeing pics (I will try to take some tonight), but ballpark estimate, what sort of price would be reasonable to ask for it should I decide to sell in the near future? I see that pristine ES-335's from that time period are selling in the $3K+ area...would $1800 be reasonable for a guitar like mine?

    I know that I should ultimately have it appraised someplace reputable...but I am just wondering I might expect an expert to tell me on its current value.

    - Chris

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  2. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Sure 1800 is an OK starting point-

    The guitar has issues and if you're selling online, people wont have the benefit of playing it before they buy. So they'll haggle a bit. I always keep in mind the minimum I'm prepared to sell it for and compare that with completed listings on ebay for similar items.

    Good luck.
     
  3. indravayu

    indravayu Senior Member

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    Thanks, Jack. If I recall correctly, my initial trade was worth something like $1200-1300 (I really didn't know much abuot guitars back then - was just looking for something cool and vintage and didn't have a care about potential resale)...figured even wth its flaws, it must be worth a little more now. :)

    I am going to take it to my luthier soon and get it serviced - even if I don't end up selling it, I think the old ES deserves it.

    - Chris
     
  4. oldrock

    oldrock Member

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    I spent alot of time shopping vintage ES-335s about 2 years ago. I was pretty well up on going prices back then but the problem is values seem to change monthly and also regionally. I will say the 2 strikes against your guitar are 1st the headstock repair. It really limits the number of folks who will buy. 2nd is the trapeze tailpiece. I am not sure why it has happened but the trapeze equipped guitars just don't seem to attract the premium of others.

    For folks who see it in person, the proof is in the playing. I know I personally tried probably 50-60 vintage ES-335s and found you could not predict how they were going to sound and play by looking. You just had to strum them and see. Some older ES samples were totally dead and lifeless while others rung out beautifully even unplugged.

    IF you sell it, good luck and I'd suggest a vintage guitar show since that gets the axe in the hands of lots of folks who really appreciate vintage gear.
     
  5. indravayu

    indravayu Senior Member

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    Thanks for the advice, OldRock...I have never been to a vintage guitar show - how does one get involved as a seller?

    - Chris
     

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