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Pondering investment in an ES-330

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
What is a current market value price for a good condition 68 ES-330 with no mods except an aftermarket Bigsby? (with the option to install the original tailpiece) This one has 19 frets before it reaches the neck joint.
And also, will it's value increase with time? Will there be an increasing demand for ES-330's you think? I myself love the sound of P90s and find them somewhat underappreciated among the general guitar crowd.
 
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benjammin420

Member
Messages
1,564
I couldnt say a 'good price', but ive seen them cheaper than most other gibsons from the same period. Ive played one and it was real nice, i bet once people catch on theyll go up in value.
 

sinner

Member
Messages
3,904
For top investment go with 1958-60 with the nice nut width and neck, 2 P-90 models only. I know they returned to a better neck/nut width somewhere around late 60s but then changed where the neck joins the body, and the finish colors.

Still could be great sounding/playing guitars (if you can stand the narrow nut) and probably will raise in value like most vintage guitars, but the best bet imo is the early years I stated.
 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
Thanks! The one I'm looking at now is claimed by the owner to be a 1968 vintage. It's cherry red and the neck joins the body at the 19th fret. Looks legit to me. I've asked the seller if he can measure the nut width.
 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
So how much would an aftermarket Bigsby (vintage looking) degrade an otherwise 90% guitar?
EDIT:
WTF 18 frets, sounds fake to me, should be 22 frets.
According to "Vintage guitar info" the ES 335 style scale became an option in 1968.
Let me clarify: it has more than 19 frets, but the neck joint is right underneath the 19th fret. It does look legit to me, but I haven't seen the serial yet.
 
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sinner

Member
Messages
3,904
It's the same scale, just where it joins the body is different.

Definitely lower points with the aftermarket Bigsby, how much I don't know. Some will actually like it better or not care--are you buying for yourself to play or re-sell/invest?

Check ebay closed auctions and gbase for ballpark prices.
 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
It's the same scale, just where it joins the body is different.

Definitely lower points with the aftermarket Bigsby, how much I don't know. Some will actually like it better or not care--are you buying for yourself to play or re-sell/invest?

Check ebay closed auctions and gbase for ballpark prices.
Well, what I reckon is that if I can sell it at at least the amount of money I paid for it, it can't really hurt me in any way.
If I buy it I see it as an investment, because I allready have quite a few guitars to fill my playing and gigging needs.
I love the concept of the ES-330 though, so I will probably play it occasionally and admire it all the time.

Oh, btw. Ebay has apparently removed the option to search closed auctions. How convenient...
Anyway I added a bunch of vintage Es-330s to my watched auctions, so I can see what they go for if they sell.
 

sinner

Member
Messages
3,904
M55--it's there, you have to log on before you can search completed auctions. I just tried it, first one that came up was a 67 cherry 330 with Bigsby, sold for 2276.
 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
M55--it's there, you have to log on before you can search completed auctions. I just tried it, first one that came up was a 67 cherry 330 with Bigsby, sold for 2276.
Thanks! I didn't notice that.
Any more speculation as to the viability of the investment would be appreciated!

Cheers
 

opdev

Member
Messages
1,200
2.5K max.

There is a '63 locally for $3400 in really nice shape (cherry red)

I agree, '59 is the year. Here is mine (I love showing it because it's so beautiful).



 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
Wow, that's a beauty!
But a '59 is a much larger investment. And inherently brings more risk, even though the potential for profit is bigger.
Also it will be hard to find one in my country. Having to import one will cost me a fortune.
 
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M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
Ok, I have yet to see the serial number. But knowing that the Gibson serial numbers from the 60's are unreliable, makes me wonder if there are any other details that can date this to 67-69, as opposed to 70-72?
Any enlightened people out there? Thanks again for your help! It's much appreciated.
 

dunara

Member
Messages
1,900
Gibson have recently produced a small run of 330s with '68 neck joints and '59-style black p/u covers. I don't know what the neck profile's like on these - to be honest, the narrow nut wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me and the retrofitted Bigsby would be a necessity, but each to their own.....:)
 
Messages
8,093
Ok, I have yet to see the serial number. But knowing that the Gibson serial numbers from the 60's are unreliable, makes me wonder if there are any other details that can date this to 67-69, as opposed to 70-72?
Any enlightened people out there? Thanks again for your help! It's much appreciated.
Not to be ungenerous, but I would reply "Enlighten Yourdamnself". There is a ton of info on the innernet and (best of all) books! Learn for yourself what year they used what knobs, when they went to a skinny neck, etc, etc. Rather than wade through the varying responses here (where, from my experience, more opinion, heresay, and "popular legend" than actual, verifiable fact is spewed forth), I would think anyone who is "pondering investment" (an expression that makes me cringe when I see it linked to anything to do with gtrs) would want to arm hisself with info from "reliable sources", rather than gather opinions from a buncha on-line dudes. sorry, on-line dudes.

The first book any old gtr enthusiast should purchase is "Gtr Identification" by A.R. Duchossoir. Next, "Gruhn's Guide to Vinnidge Gtrs" by (guess!). Then, go for the books with the big, pretty pictures like "American Gtrs" by Tom Wheeler, or this book (anyone else have this?):



As can be seen, my copy is a little worn. Best of luck with you investment pondering.
 
Messages
8,093
To be fair, I must add to my previous comments that there are plenty of highly qualified old gtr experts on this board. It seems, in general (not particular to this thread) they are sometimes not as quick to respond to threads like this as are the guys who are offering information gathered from "a dude at gtr center".
 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
Not to be ungenerous, but I would reply "Enlighten Yourdamnself". There is a ton of info on the innernet and (best of all) books! Learn for yourself what year they used what knobs, when they went to a skinny neck, etc, etc. Rather than wade through the varying responses here (where, from my experience, more opinion, heresay, and "popular legend" than actual, verifiable fact is spewed forth),
I am trying as best I can to enlighten myself. I know when they changed out various components. But the closer you get to the 70's the less collectible they become, thus making it harder to find reliable info.
And as far as I know they didn't really change anything starting 1968 until it was discontinued in 1972 (except for dropping the sparkling burgundy finish in 1969).

All I can find that's relevant to the dating of this particular guitar is that it's 1967 or later. Due to the fact that the 335-style neck was introduced in 67/68. Another clue can be the label inside, but as with everything else, it's inconsistent. That being said, provided that I get some more pictures and details from the seller I can probably manage. The label inside the F-hole, the serial number and seeing if "Made in USA" is stamped on the back of the headstock will most likely provide me with the info I need. I was just aksing the good folks here if there was something I have missed.

I have to admit that I'm pretty clueless about which books to search for. But for some reason I don't think that a book listing hundreds of vintage guitars will help me identify the exact age of a rather insignificant and obscure guitar. And an example of one the least collectible vintages at that.
 
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cmatthes

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,087
To be fair, I must add to my previous comments that there are plenty of highly qualified old gtr experts on this board. It seems, in general (not particular to this thread) they are sometimes not as quick to respond to threads like this as are the guys who are offering information gathered from "a dude at gtr center".
Agreed w/Musicofanatic5, but that's because us "highly qualified old gtr experts" (who have been researching and examining these guitars for 20-30+ years) often get exhausted by trying to answer questions here and being told by somebody who gets their info from Harmony Central or other BS websites that THEY know what they're talking about. It really seems like 99.9% of the armchair internet experts have never even seen/played a vintage guitar in person, much less enough to know what they're talking about.

Most of us don't waste our breath/typing time to respond.

That being said, 330s are fine guitars, but have never been given the respect similar vintage Gibsons have by the collector's market. Nothing wrong with them, and they'll probably continue to appreciate slightly over the years (as all vintage stuff seems to do eventually), but I wouldn't count on buying one now for $2k and thinking it'll be worth $25k in 10 or 15 years...
 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
Agreed w/Musicofanatic5, but that's because
That being said, 330s are fine guitars, but have never been given the respect similar vintage Gibsons have by the collector's market. Nothing wrong with them, and they'll probably continue to appreciate slightly over the years (as all vintage stuff seems to do eventually), but I wouldn't count on buying one now for $2k and thinking it'll be worth $25k in 10 or 15 years...
This is what makes me want to buy one. I've liked the concept of a fully hollow vintage ES-335 style guitar with P90s. If I buy one for 2k I won't have too much money tied up. I don't expect it to go down in value so I can always get my money back. And if I'm lucky it'll appreciate.
Oh, by the way. I don't pretend that I know much about old Gibsons. I am humbled by the vast amounts of knowledge the people on this board posess.
 
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cmatthes

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,087
If that's what you're looking for in that guitar, you should do fine with that one.

Those are nice, even if underappreciated!
 

M55ikael

Member
Messages
584
The guy told me that it was refretted recently (pro job). How much will this retract from the value of the instrument?
 
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