Does replacing pickups in a guitar decrease its value?

markom89

Senior Member
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9,189
If someone has a nice, fairly expensive guitar, bordering a "collectible" status, and they wanted to replace pickups in it, would that decrease the value of the guitar when they go and sell it, even if they'd include the original pickups w/ the sale, and if they replaced them back to the original state? I know it may seem a stupid question, but I'm curious.
:munch
 

Jim Soloway

Member
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14,370
It depends on what the guitar is. If it's a vintage Fender or Gibson, then probably yes because collectors are looking for wiring and pots that are clean and unmodified. If it's a contemporary guitar, then the answer is no as long as no routing is done to accomplish the change.
 

markom89

Senior Member
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9,189
Say it's a guitar like a Johan Gustavsson bluesmaster, and you want to replace the buckers in it, for another set of buckers. Or say it's a GVCG strat or something, and you're swapping the stock "GVCG" pups for a set of lollar's or something... or even just a stock Gibson LP.
 

Janglin_Jack

Member
Messages
782
In general, yes it does de-value it.

Dickie Betts stripped his Gibson Goldtop and painted it Red. For most of us, refinisihing s 50's Les Paul would be foolish. For someone like Dickie, it will probably make the guitar even more valuable.

In the end it always depends on the buyer.

Jack
 

IRG

Member
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5,074
Does it even de-value it even if you put them back in when you go and sell them?
A vintage guitar yes, because the solder has been altered. Seems silly but some buyers are looking for totally authentic and original. If it is not a vintage/collectible guitar than it shouldn't be that big a deal. But if you don't plan on selling the guitar, then do what makes you happy.
 

markom89

Senior Member
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9,189
what if it's a new guitar? will the fact that the solder has been altered affect the resale value even then? It really is quite silly that people look at that, IMO...
 

justonwo

Platinum Supporting Member
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3,311
what if it's a new guitar? will the fact that the solder has been altered affect the resale value even then? It really is quite silly that people look at that, IMO...
I can only answer for myself. No, that wouldn't matter. I don't think it matters to most people unless some knucklehead got in there and melted insulation or put burn marks on the wood.
 

daddyo

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11,805
Ultimately, if we project into the future 50 years, yes, a pup swap will decrease a guitar's value. But for now, play the guitar as a guitar, not as an investment.
 

twinrider1

Member
Messages
14,069
Yes. Definitely. I would have no problem buying it, but I wouldn't pay absolute top dollar for it.
It will narrow your pool of prospective buyers a little. There is a segment that wants their guitar to be 100% original. So yea, you won't get absolute top dollar, and it may take a little longer to sell.
I say do it.
 

michael30

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,869
A vintage guitar yes, because the solder has been altered. Seems silly but some buyers are looking for totally authentic and original.
You could replace the whole wiring harness,keep the old one and put it back when it's time to sell if it's the kind of guitar that is worth more in original condition.
 

Dana Olsen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
7,909
Say it's a guitar like a Johan Gustavsson bluesmaster, and you want to replace the buckers in it, for another set of buckers. Or say it's a GVCG strat or something, and you're swapping the stock "GVCG" pups for a set of lollar's or something... or even just a stock Gibson LP.
Hey Marko -

I don't think it would affect the value much in the example of a Gustavsson. They are all essentially "one-offs", that is , they're custom instruments - 100% custom, made for a particular buyer. People change the pickups in their Thorn guitars, their Chapins, their Lentzes and their Suhrs all the time. In those guitars, there IS no one 'correct' pickup - what came "stock" is whatever the customer ordered with it. Obviously in the case of, say, a '68 Les Paul, there is ONE pickup that is right for that guitar, and all others aren't the right one. In that case, it'd matter, IMHO.

In the case of custom, one off guitars, I don't think the solder or pickups matter much, especially if you save the originals and include them with the guitar if you sell it.

My two cents, Dana O.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
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28,685
I have a CS Ltd Fender Rosewood Telecaster. Popped those stock CS pickups out for some Dimarzio Area T's and lovin' life. No choice really, since single coils drive me mad in my dirty power apt.

If I ever sell it (which is never, mark my words) I still have the original PUs, but yeah I expect a bit of a drop on the selling price. But not as if it was from '67 and not '07.
 

markom89

Senior Member
Messages
9,189
Hey Marko -

I don't think it would affect the value much in the example of a Gustavsson. They are all essentially "one-offs", that is , they're custom instruments - 100% custom, made for a particular buyer. People change the pickups in their Thorn guitars, their Chapins, their Lentzes and their Suhrs all the time. In those guitars, there IS no one 'correct' pickup - what came "stock" is whatever the customer ordered with it. Obviously in the case of, say, a '68 Les Paul, there is ONE pickup that is right for that guitar, and all others aren't the right one. In that case, it'd matter, IMHO.

In the case of custom, one off guitars, I don't think the solder or pickups matter much, especially if you save the originals and include them with the guitar if you sell it.

My two cents, Dana O.
Hi Dana,

Thanks for your input. I guess (know) that you're right about the guitars like Thorn, Suhr, Gustavsson, etc... them being custom instruments, there really is no "right" pup. Well put! Now, how about something like a masterbuilt fender 10 pieces of which were made, or something like a '96 Cunetto? Not vintage, by any standards (atleast not the MB), but still makes me wonder...

Cheers,

Marko M.
 

ghoti

Member
Messages
528
Are you going to play the thing, or just put it on your wall and sell it in a few years?

When you look at a Stradivarius or Guarnarius or any other REALLY valuable instrument, it's always been through alterations in its history. If you don't believe me, just look for "period appropriate" Baroque/Renaissance music performances and tell me what you see...
 

mlongano

Member
Messages
2,078
When you look at a Stradivarius or Guarnarius or any other REALLY valuable instrument, it's always been through alterations in its history. If you don't believe me, just look for "period appropriate" Baroque/Renaissance music performances and tell me what you see...
While this statement is true, it's not quite the same. As I'm sure you are aware, nearly all old violins had their necks modified (extended and angled) to be able to perform modern music. Any contemporary violinist would require that modification to be able to play modern music. Additionally, Strads are about three hundred years old...not many 300 year old Strads would be in playable condition today without at least a little bit of care and maintenance, including the replacement of some of the original wood which has simply worn out.

Most guitar modifications would be considered elective or discretionary as opposed to required. Mods that are required (such as a refret) do not usually alter the value by as much as a discretionary or elective modification (such as a refin).
 

Number8

Member
Messages
79
I never understood the guitars as an investment mentality. If you buy a guitar to play it, what do you care about what it's worth to another player? It's a defeatest attitude. I know that I will give up and I know what I can get for it. Totally ghey attitude. Do you want to play guitar or do you want an investment commodity? If you want an investment commodity, guitars are a poor choice. Think Exxon Mobil!:D
 




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