I thought this might be an interesting topic bearing in mind a lot of the comments in the 'refretting a vintage Strat' thread, and I'm really curious to know how people view this topic. It's easy to talk about the vintage market as if it's a simple demographic where it's easy to apply rules but I'm really interested in how many people there are collecting vintage guitars who don't fit the obvious pattern - players who look for the vintage guitars that most fit their needs as devices for making music, even people who like the weird little mods that make a player grade instrument unique. Looking at the collection I have, very few of my more valuable guitars are of a standard that would excite someone who prizes condition and originality: they range from all original but with lots of playwear through refrets and minor changed parts through to a couple of refins and a couple of vintage partscasters. In part this is due to budget: I earn a fairly modest salary and don't have a massive amount of disposable income so often the only way I can afford a particular design I love is to accept a few changes that get the price down. I'm also a player who owns almost exclusively old guitars and expects them to perform well - I don't want to own guitars that aren't good guitars from a functional point of view. But I also think there's more to it than just budget and playability: a big part of the appeal of vintage guitars for me is that they're artifacts from an era that represented great change and innovation both in the music being made and the way the instrument makers responded to and in turn inspired the players: if they show the scars of having actually lived in that era rather than being museum pieces, that's part of the appeal. These guitars carry with them a personal history: if a guitar I own has a refret because its previous owner played a thousand gigs on it, is that a minus because it's no longer 'all original' or an amazing thing about this particular guitar that it has made so much music in its life? I love a guitar that looks like it could tell stories, and a guitar that is mint because it lived its life under a bed doesn't have those stories to tell - I'm glad those mint guitars exist to document how they would have left the factory but the player guitars are the ones that make most impression. I'm really curious to know how other people view this stuff.