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buying vintage guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by joolzriff, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. joolzriff

    joolzriff Member

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    i was just reading a thread on how this guy bought a 64 strat and how he found out later it has a jaguar neck on it(conversion) and how its worthless in comparisum to a real deal...
    is anyone else sceptical to buying vintage instruments,i would love to invest in one but i am afraid of beeing bit...
    i have a story,in the early 90's i had a tokai strat that i wanted to sell,it was iddentical to a 57 fender in appearance,i gave it to this local qualified tutor that sold used gear in his house as well as tought guitar...
    well months later i wanted it back as it did not sell and i went to pick it up and his wife answered and said he was out so she gave me the guitar back.
    when i got home i found that the decal was now a fender one,there was dating in the neck cavity as 1957,he replaced the saddles and all sorts to 57 specs....i called a friend of mine thats in business with him and said WTF?......he told me he had 2 guys seriously looking into buying that tokai for a few grand(obviously not now cos i took it back)..so i would of got my few hundred and he would of banked a few grand..
    i thought the guitar looked good so i kept it like he changed it..
    i came to find out that these 2 guys have been DOING THIS FOR YEARS with strats and tokai explorers and lespauls on and on and on and the guy doing the work :Devil on these conversions is a friggin genius cos they look just like the real deal.....
    basically there are thousands of forged guitars out there and i trust no FU**er...
    anyone else been burnt on a so called vintage instrument?
    j
     
  2. BigBone

    BigBone Member

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    Just go's to show you when money is involved theres no shortage of low lifes!!
     
  3. arriba

    arriba Member

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    That's the reason I never invested in Fender guitars!
     
  4. AJ Love

    AJ Love Senior Member

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    There are a LOT of extremely talented folks out there that can make a guitar look very very authentic... it has gotta be very tough to buy a Vintage Fender
     
  5. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    I'm agin it 'cuz it's FRAUD. The problem is if some does a masterful job of assembling old Fender or Gibson parts to the point that nobody can tell, does it become 'real' to the next guy, and the next, and the next? I would think a real expert should be able to tell it's wrong but I've heard of them being fooled too. A guy I know built a relic '58 Les Paul form a Tom Holmes aged guitar. He put old frets on it and all '50s Les Paul electoronics, hardware and case. He had it in his booth at The Arlington show. he asked me to watch his booth while he took a break. While he was gone a guy came up and asked to see it. I took it out of the case and let him drool on it for about 10 minutes. When my friend came i asked him about it. He said guys had been coming around all day going nuts about it being the best '58 they'd ever seen. He didn't tell them it was a fake. He just laughed about it because it had a new serial number on it and the 'experts' never noticed that part. He sold it the next day to a guy he knew. This guy was told the whole story and paid a lot of money because it was SO good. That was a few years ago. Now parts have gone up so much you'd be lucky to be able to do that guitar and case again for $20K. That guitar will always be known as a relic because of the serial number but if someone changes that then all of the sudden it's real. Scarey!
     
  6. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

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    I'm not qualified to spot fake or fraud vintage guitars. And they seem to be all over the place. So I steer clear of anything vintage.

    It's not like there aren't plenty of great new guitars being built.

    So collectors can have the vintage guitars. I just want a good one, not a something to put in a glass case.
     
  7. Formvar

    Formvar Supporting Member

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    Well...I have never been burned on a vintage guitar/amp purchase. I`ve learned to practice due diligence with any large purchase, and then, to make sure that I am 110% satisfied with the originality of an instrument. I feel that if you are going to make a significant investment into the world of vintage guitars/amps, you MUST do your homework! And..even after you have gathered enough information and feel confident that you know what to look for, you need to examine some authentic examples first hand. Only then do you know what a real vintage instrument looks and feels like. I know that not everyone has the access to authentic examples. So...in those cases you might want to search around for referrals to the few vintage dealers that will steer you in the right direction.

    Even with vintage dealers, sometimes you have to go with a gut feeling. Example: I purchased a `62 ES-335 from a vintage dealer who`s been in the industry for years. Had many conversations with him. Asked a ton of questions. Bought the guitar. Received the guitar and it looked, played and sounded awesome! BUT, I didn`t feel that it was a `62. Just a gut feeling. Certain signs (label in the body, serial # could have been `62 or a `64, and cutaway shape) I brought it to another reputable dealer in my area and had another vintage dealer come and meet us. They both thought it was a `62. Now I had three vintage experts telling me it was a `62. I go down to the local hardware store and buy one of those dental probes with the small mirror. Look inside the guitar through the F-holes and see that ALL solder joints are original. Finally see the pot dates. Guess what...1964! Now, I have three vintage guys apologizing for the mistake. If I didn`t practice due diligence on a gut feeling I would have never known the correct dating of this instrument. Luckily for me, the vintage dealer that I bought it from took my word and refunded me the difference in value between a 64 and 62. Bottom line: the guitar sounds great and I feel good about the purchase.

    I truly feel bad for the said person in the `64 strat/jazzmaster neck conversion, but the ink stamp with the #4 at the beginning of the date code sould have been noticed before the original purchase.

    SORRY for the long post!
     
  8. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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    nicely said! im w/ ya on this pete...

    we can stick to our new "old looking" teles right!?
     
  9. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    there are fakes everywhere and it's rampant with Fenders, I will not touch one I don't have impeccable provenance on... which means I have only one that I've had for 30 yrs.

    lots of thieves out there...
     
  10. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    The same guy I know that had the relic Les Paul prefers to leave his vintage buys with all of the old dirt and grime on them he calls them 'in situ'. I'm not sure of the spelling but it's an archeology term for as it's found. hard to fake 40 year old fingerprints and grime.
     
  11. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

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    Think of the advantages. We can make changes to our guitars based on our personal preferences, and not get accused of crimes against humanity for our modding our own guitars.
     
  12. BKRMON

    BKRMON Member

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    I have often wondered about this. How can you tell original solder joints from just old solder joints that aren't sloppy? Or new solder joints that have been aged?
     
  13. dzeitlin

    dzeitlin Member

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    I was in GC looking at their R9s and R8s as I was in the market for one. I picked up this really nice R9 quilt top. I played the guitar a little to get a feel for the neck size, and ended up really liking it. So much so, that I asked if they would deal on it. I was then told that it was a fake and they couldn't sell it. Turns out they bought it, and later found out it was a fake. The quilt top surprised me as I wasn't aware of any R9s with quilt tops, but the rest of the guitar was spot on in all other aspects. Scary.
     
  14. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    If they couldn't sell it, I wonder why it was on the floor at all? Or did they bring it to you from the back? And even then, why would they bother showing it?
     
  15. Formvar

    Formvar Supporting Member

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    Yeah, It is a tough call, but on those vintage ES-335`s they soldered the assembly before it was installed. When I looked inside the guitar, you could see decades of dust and lint on top of the solder joints. It was pretty obvious that the assembly had not been disturbed in it`s lifetime. I guess that there is no sure fire way to tell if a solder joint is 100% original anymore. People can do a very convincing job of aging. When you see a lot of vintage strats, for example, you can recognize the way the old solder joints were done. There is a certain look to them IMO. I feel that with vintage instruments, you have to look at the guitar as a whole to see if it makes sense. Sorry if I couldn`t be more specific.:crazy
     
  16. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    I've bought and sold some vintage gear, the way the current market is, I don't feel like touching that anymore due to the greatly inflated prices. But due dilligence is really the word.
     
  17. KennyM

    KennyM Supporting Member

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    Solder Joints?????? This is why I, as well as many vintage dealers I've talked to, don't find the vintage market as fun as it used to be.

    It used to be that it was favorible to find an old guitar that was properly maintained. Now I go into Hollywood GC and see 50's and early 60's Strats that for the most part are unplayable and need fret jobs badly, but because the frets and solder joints are original and untouched, they want 45k for it!!! This may work for investor types that don't play, but it sure doesn't work for me. It's these types of collectors that have totaly screwed it up from a players perspective. Add in all the forgeries and it just gets worse.

    Unless you're an expert, the only way to buy is through a very reputable dealer and pay the top dollar. Unless you've got massive amounts of cash, you might as well forget about the great Fenders and Gibsons. The only Fenders that are somewhat a good deal with room to appreciate are the 70's era ones, but as someone who was buying guitars in the 70's, they we're all mostly crap with those 3 bolt necks. We didn't want to pay a few hundred bucks for them back then so I can't see paying 3 or 4k now.

    The only real pleasing vintage buys I've had in the last few years are a couple of old 50's Martins. They were both really expensive, but in both I felt I was truely getting something I just couldn't find new. As much as I'd like to replace the 64 strat I foolishly sold back in the late 80's, it just makes more sense to buy new or have one made from one of the excellent builders out there. I wish it were different.
     
  18. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    As someone who has bought rare, collectible things that can be faked - rare first edition books as well as guitars - there is something to be said for working with top dealers. Even with Formvar's story, the fact that he dealt with a reputable dealer made all the difference to feeling good about how it played out - both economically and with the guitar itself.

    Nothing sucks worse that thinking a thing you value is one thing, and then it turns out to be another. It may still be good or great in many ways, but it can somehow feel "tainted." Not everyone feels that way, but plenty do.

    Let's face it: the era of knowing your stuff and finding a cool deal is, well, if not over, then much, much rarer. Developing a relationship with a great dealer can go a long way towards having some assurance that you are getting the real deal. It doesn't hurt to have their signed assessment along with the guitar, too! You can point to it to support your belief in the guitar and show it to them if you come across proof that something is inaccurate in it...
     
  19. Hamer Player

    Hamer Player Senior Member

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    Buying vintage guitars ... the buyer REALLY has to be an EXPERT in what they are doing.

    It's a dangerous game.

    And really... vintage guitars sound bad and are difficult to play. Stick with a "modern" guitar.
     
  20. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    +1!

    I remember how crappy the '70 Fenders were; green wood, necks that warped within a month of leaving the store, crappy pickups...and more! I'm sure that there were some that were well made, but the overall poor quality (and Gibson's during the same time) was the reason why so many other companies like Dean and Hamer were created.

    The prices of vintage Fenders and Gibsons are beyond the reach of the average player now, and the authenticity issue makes it worse.

    I take comfort in knowing that all guitars get older and improve over time, and that a modern one that is great today will be spactacular in twenty years if properly cared for. I have had two of my guitars for 15 years; in another five they'll be vintage. That's good enough for me.

    Sadly, I'll leave the vintage market to the investment bankers...as far as I'm concerned the train has left the station, but if I could ever afford it, I'd love to have an early sixties ES 335.:crazy

    stratzrus
     

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