Fix, part out, sell?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Tone Loco, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm thinking about what to do with a guitar of mine. I like it quite a bit but it would play better if I had at least some of the frets replaced. And if I really wanted it to be it's best I might even get a neck reset. The thing is that it's a fairly old guitar and although it's not collector grade I think people getting old guitars pay more for them if everything is original.

    Which brings up another possibility, since it has early 50s tulip tuners and a P90 maybe it would make sense to sell that stuff and use the proceeds to help pay for a refret, etc. I'm thinking maybe if it's not all original (specifically a fret job) then maybe for the buyers who would want it if I ever sold it they really wouldn't care if the tuning machines and so on were original or not if they looked pretty much identical.

    So much of the feel of the guitar comes from the neck and frets and this guitar feels really nice but the frets are just so low and there's probably a little hump where the body and neck join that prevents it from playing better with the frets that are on it now though I don't know for sure.

    Anyhow I'm looking for some opinions on whether or not I should just sell it as is, and get something equivalent that doesn't require any work, or fix it up so it plays great since I already know that I basically like it and it's "old wood". And if I'm going to change it anyhow (to rectify any issues), what are the pluses and minuses of selling the old hardware that might be worth something to someone.
     
  2. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    What is the guitar?
     
  3. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    It's a Gibson L4C but since it has the P90 which was added in 1955 it's basically a carved spruce top ES-175. 50s style dark sunburst.

    Edit: it's like this but with a P90: https://www.archtop.com/ac_53L4C.html
     
  4. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    Is it worth fixing? To you? How attached to it are you?
     
  5. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    I guess I'm not so attached to it that I wouldn't consider selling it ;), but it's a really nice guitar. At least as it is now. I'm not sure how it would feel after a fret job, though maybe I could just get the lower frets replaced. The main problem is that with really low frets it frets out if you dig in much. And P90s do hum some. I guess those are my two main complaints. Not sure how much it would cost to refret it. Probably 300-500 for the first maybe 5 frets, which is where the really worn ones are. Just a guess though, I haven't got a quote from anyone.
     
  6. Jimmy MAck

    Jimmy MAck Member

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    You will probably have to replace all frets, to get the maximum benefit, from a good luthier. They will also plane the fretboard, level all frets and set it up, for the better.

    It will be a different playing guitar, but a more correct playing guitar. And the change will most likely be huge...for you.
    It was for me on 2 different old guitars. To be honest, I liked their "mojo" before the re-fretting. But, they were getting increasingly difficult to play , as they were.

    You will have to really love that guitar, after the work, to justify keeping it but it won't be the same. If you are on the fence, I might recommend selling it as is. Of course, it's a very personal call. Good Luck.
     
  7. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    What about new stainless steel frets? It would last a long time like that. Anyway you could try selling it as is or after a re-fret.
     
  8. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    Don't worry about the refret altering the value. Those are great guitars but not really collector's pieces. Especially with the added pickup. Sounds like a player grade vintage instrument (my favorite kind) and I'd just do whatever needed to make it play it's best. My 51 Epiphone (made in New York by the original company) was all original when I got it, but needed a refret to really play well. I didn't hesitate a moment. It's a great guitar, plays wonderfully and sounds excellent. I'll never sell it but if I did, I doubt the fret job would do anything to the value. Might even increase it since this is also not really high on the list of collector guitars.
     
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  9. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    I think this is kind of the heart of the problem for me. It feels so good the way it is though you kind of have to "work it", and it does have that mojo for the lack of a better word. But it's not as "good" in an abstract kind of way, as it could be. I just wonder if it would be a whole different guitar after a refret, planing, etc. Then again, so would a whole new guitar be. :rotflmao
    I guess I'd be getting used to something different either way, but with a refret it's more of a coin toss. With a new one you can try as many as you want till you find one that feels right.
    Maybe it would be better off with somebody who doesn't mind going the tough love route :-/ Not sure what I'd find as good or better for what I'd get for it in the shape it is though. Tough call.
     
  10. Tone Loco

    Tone Loco Silver Supporting Member

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    You're probably right, makes sense anyhow. It's definitely not a high profile guitar and it's been around the block so even if it was an L5 it probably wouldn't matter much whether it was refretted or not. I could probably change the P90 to a HB w/no effect on the value, for that matter. Not sure the hole would be the right size... anyhow thanks for your perspective.

    (they need a guitar specific dictionary in this forum. It keeps changing refretted to referred and performing similar kinds of help I could do without! hahaha)
     
  11. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    I hear that. My Macs underline luthier as a misspelling.

    Just one thing to add. Consider this. When I'm looking at a player grade vintage guitar, a good refret is a huge bonus and I'd likely choose it over a similar model with original frets. Most really well played guitars that are 60+ years old are going to need one. I'd feel I've scored to not have to spend that money after the purchase. A little food for thought.
     
  12. old goat

    old goat Member

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    I agree. I would say that in general a refret with vintage correct frets would be best in terms of value although ultimately it would depend on the buyer.
     

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