Refinished pre CBS Strat with Repro Decal?

I'm looking at a refinished 60's pre CBS Strat that also has a repro decal. I'm not even 100% sure I want to place an offer for a vintage Strat without the original decal, except for the fact it would be the cheapest way to get my hands on an otherwise dream Strat.

How much discount would you guys expect off of a typical refinished price for a pre CBS 60's Strat, and could you stomach the fact that it's missing the original decal considering it's also a long term investment?
 
Agreed, I wouldn't be buying for investment purposes, but purchasing a vintage Fender is always going to be an investment no matter the initial reason for purchase.

Having said that, obviously any of us would buy practically any pre CBS Strat for the right price, and that's where I'm at. I'm looking at going in maybe under 1/2 of what a refinished model would otherwise go for, but my main reason would be for the privilege of owning and playing one.

I suppose the only way to determine the guitar's true value is if the seller and I agree on a price, then I'll know for sure
 
Agreed, I wouldn't be buying for investment purposes, but purchasing a vintage Fender is always going to be an investment no matter the initial reason for purchase.

Having said that, obviously any of us would buy practically any pre CBS Strat for the right price, and that's where I'm at. I'm looking at going in maybe under 1/2 of what a refinished model would otherwise go for, but my main reason would be for the privilege of owning and playing one.

I suppose the only way to determine the guitar's true value is if the seller and I agree on a price, then I'll know for sure
For me a refinished decal is a no-go territory if I want to buy a vintage guitar.
 
For me a refinished decal is a no-go territory if I want to buy a vintage guitar.
I hear what you're saying, but it's not really the case though, is it? I once purchased a '68 bodied partscaster with an aftermarket neck and no decal for $450. I'm certain everyone here would make the same deal, so it's not a case of never but at what price we would all be comfortable.

The refinish job on this guitar is also quite horrible, so it would leave me open to maybe refinishing it in a pastel colour, which is almost non existent for a left handed Strat of that era.

I understand how uncomfortable the idea is of having a non original decal on a vintage Fender is, but everything has a price
 
There's a refinished '64 with repro decal in the Emporium right now. He doesn't mention the decal, but I asked him about it and he confirmed it's a reroduction decal.

I have no affiliation with the seller.

 
It must be said that buying a refinished, player grade instrument is not the wisest investment strategy. Even if the goal is maintaining its value.

Agreed.

I just had Gruhn appraise my '57 Strat for insurance purposes. I also have a players grade (refinished, rewound pickup) '58 Esquire that they appraised just over two years. With the surge of vintage prices over the last three years I asked them if it was worth having that appraisal updated. The response was that players grade instruments don't increase in value the same as original examples and its worth about the same as it was two years ago. So, I left it as-is. I'm not going to argue with them.

In contrast, the evidence of Reverb prices and sales of refinished Fenders would seem to indicate that players grade instruments have increased over the last few years. I have seen asking prices for several refinished Strats that were $2-3k higher than what I paid for an all-original '64 three years ago. A rising tide raises all ships? I looked at those listings and said to myself there's no way I would pay that much for a refinished instrument. Ultimately, any vintage guitar is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
 
The right refinished instruments have gone up in price. ECG recently sold a 54 strat refinished in black for $50k. And it went fast. But a 54 strat is pretty special to begin with. The refin was very old and the guitar sounded incredible.

A poor refin with a missing decal is a different story. This is one of two mid 60s refin strats in the emporium for $15k-ish that have not moved.
 
The decal itself is obviously not the main indicator of vintage but it would definitely impact the value. If i wanted it to play and the deal was right I might do it but otherwise it’s a pass.
 
Agreed, I wouldn't be buying for investment purposes, but purchasing a vintage Fender is always going to be an investment no matter the initial reason for purchase.

Got it. Just a matter of interpretation but you perhaps mean “outlay of cash” here versus “investment” (which would imply that you’re looking for ROI over the long-term).

@Spider-Man player grade instruments definitely do go up in value, just not at the same pace as original examples. The bigger issue is that when the market softens, player grade stuff is the first to take a bath and not as easy to sell as original guitars. I love player grade stuff though! (Since I’m not generally looking for a return on investment).
 
I think the thing with the player grade market is it's very led by what the market for clean examples is doing, so if clean ones are thin on the ground and expensive a player grade example will perform strongly, and if there's a bunch of clean ones out there and pricing is competitive the player grade ones will be a tough sell.

Obviously the trouble is we can't always predict where the clean market is going, so over the last couple of years supply on vintage gear has dipped a bit and player grade has been pretty strong but what will happen if and when more guitars come back on the market that might not stay the case.

Personally I'm a player who collects a bit from the pleasure of getting to try out the various guitars I'm into so player grade never bothers me much, same I quite enjoy seeing the evidence of previous owners etched into the guitars. I try to buy with resale in mind just to have the security of being able to get out of guitars without taking a bath on them, but ultimately I seem to do ok with player grade examples, I've never really lost much on one. Just takes a bit of caution in not getting drawn into overpaying just because it's so much cheaper than a clean example, it still needs to be priced right for the condition.
 
The right refinished instruments have gone up in price. ECG recently sold a 54 strat refinished in black for $50k. And it went fast. But a 54 strat is pretty special to begin with. The refin was very old and the guitar sounded incredible.

A poor refin with a missing decal is a different story. This is one of two mid 60s refin strats in the emporium for $15k-ish that have not moved.

Haven't seen this particular one in the emporium, this one's definitely pre CBS though. It's left hand, I may be wrong but I get the impression he may be a motivated seller. Left hand + (potential) quick sale normally equals good deal for me, but I admit I've not really been looking at this end of the market so I'm trying to familiarise myself with pricing to ensure I'm not over capitalising.

I do appreciate everyone's comments, even the "I wouldn't touch it" ones as it confirms there would be only a very small amount of potential buyers for this kind of guitar
 
Last edited:
Refins, mutts and modded instruments are the only way some people can get into the vintage thing, especially today where prices have almost doubled to what they were only a few years ago.

Caveat emptor as usual, the buyer needs to be seriously educated before shelling hard earned money on something that may not keep its value, but then one buys a guitar to play and enjoy it before anything else.
Make sure all can be authenticated, a lot of sellers are not even aware that what they're selling may not be original 100%.

A body refin is OK if I can be sure the body is indeed original and has not been mangled, a neck refin on a Fender is a no go, but that’s me.
Missing pickups, plastic, pots & hardware can be bought on the used market if one is patient, but prices there have gone up the roof as well.
 
It must be said that buying a refinished, player grade instrument is not the wisest investment strategy. Even if the goal is maintaining its value.
It all depends. 35 years ago player grade pre-cbs refins went for around $1k. These days, they go for $10k.

Not saying that that they'll go for $100k in 35 years, or if they will even beat the market - but if it's gonna be a lifer guitar, plays / sounds nice, and is legit - it could at least be an enjoyable investment. In 35-40 years, they'll be around 100 years old.
 
Also, a poor refin can be fixed for around $1000-$1500, if that's really important. There are people out there specializing in this kind of stuff, and will re-do the guitar to the point where it's extremely hard to tell it's been refinished at all.

In fact, I think that in a couple of decades down the road, many of the "original" pre-CBS Fenders will actually be refins. Even today it's becoming more hard to really authenticate vintage guitars, as the original or second or third owners are long gone. Many of the experts that have done this a whole lifetime are senior citizens and going. I've seen my fair share of current shops with so-called "experts" that have done blunders, simply because they haven't handled or gone through tons of vintage guitars - those days are long gone, unless you're Gruhn, Normans, or similar. Vintage expertise is really centralized to a small number of shops - while most other are lucky if they get even just a couple of nice and legit pieces a year.

Not to mention that there will be less of these in the future. Guitars will disappear, get parted out, get destroyed, and what not.
 
It all depends. 35 years ago player grade pre-cbs refins went for around $1k. These days, they go for $10k.

Not saying that that they'll go for $100k in 35 years, or if they will even beat the market - but if it's gonna be a lifer guitar, plays / sounds nice, and is legit - it could at least be an enjoyable investment. In 35-40 years, they'll be around 100 years old.

To be clear, I said a refinished, player-grade instrument is not the wisest investment strategy.

I didn't say that player grade guitars don't appreciate (they certainly do, and I owe much of my vintage guitar collection to player grade). However, if "investment" is the primary goal, player grade guitars appreciate at a slower rate than original guitars and are considerably riskier when the market softens.

That's all. Not a reflection on player guitars, I love them and have a bunch. This would all be a moot point if the OP hadn't used the term "investment," which has a very specific connotation attached to it.
 
Just to reaffirm, my desire to own a pre CBS Strat comes from my love of Strats, it would be a frivolous, extravagant purchase, but I would still consider it an investment due to the fact I would expect to not lose money long term and likely appreciate. As opposed to say a Murphy Lab for similar money, which would just be a frivolous purchase (for me at least).

But don't get me wrong, I'd probably be silly enough to have it sprayed sonic blue over 3tsb while you guys yell at me, it's not that expensive that I'd have to be too precious with it. That's probably why a player grade guitar appeals to me more than an original condition example that would be a more considered investment

In this instance, I just want to ensure that if I do make an offer, that it's an offer that does reflect it's true current value, as asking prices seem to come purely out of thin air at the moment
 
It all depends. 35 years ago player grade pre-cbs refins went for around $1k. These days, they go for $10k.

These days they are more like $15k and up.

Earlier this year I was looking at a refinished ‘58 Strat at $18k. I passed when I found out it had a replacement decal. It sold the same afternoon for the asking price. I have seen several other refinished Strats sell over $15k.
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom