Trying to get a handle on the value of a '61 335

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Leonc, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I had an oppty to buy a '61 335 dot neck in very good condition about a year ago. Owner wouldn't negotiate to my ballpark and deal fell through. Now, it's resurfaced. The issues, as I recall, are as follows:

    - Non-refin, cherry red. Plenty of finish wear, hardly mint.
    - One bad finish issue...some initials carved into finish on back guitar, IIRC. Not real big and not into wood.
    - Professionally refretted in the '80s by John Carruthers; frets are still pretty good.
    - PAF in bridge
    - Gibson humbucker in neck pos (patent). Both sound GREAT...bridge does indeed "work" a bit better. Both are probably original; this was apparently the transitional period...
    - Big bad finish crack on back of neck, probably 5 or 6" long, very old. Probably 30 years. There is some question about whether or not it goes into wood. Doesn't appear to and has been this way for many years; seems quite stable...but not pretty.
    - I think one tuner may be non-original, but is quite old.
    - Original case in decent shape.
    - Plays really well and sounds great.

    The current owner bought it in the mid 70s.

    Any thoughts on what fair price would be?
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  2. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

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    Maybe it would be easier to let us know the asking price so we have a place to start...
     
  3. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Understood, but that's not the point. I know what I'm simply not willing to pay, :)...I'm just trying to see if anyone has a feel for what the market value is for a guitar like what I described w/o any hints.
     
  4. Blauserk

    Blauserk Member

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    Consider sending photos to Gruhn if you're seriously interested. That is very hard to value, because a lot of the damage is fairly unique (carved initials, long finish cracks--consider whether that might be an over-tightened truss rod). It's hard to tell without seeing the cracks in the finish.

    I deduct $0 for a refret because I'm a player, and it's bound to happen sooner or later on any guitar that isn't a case queen. I'd deduct maybe only a couple hundred for a single replaced tuner, especially if it's a close enough match that you're not sure. For that era, the PAFs and the Pat#s are essentially identical, if the Pat# is identical; they'll both be short magnet pickups with a fairly standard number of windings.

    '61 dots are valued lower than the '59s and '60s because of the skinny necks. "Issues" ES-3X5s have taken such a beating recently that you should be able to get a good deal, because there are plenty of other great buys out there.
     
  5. bikeracr

    bikeracr Supporting Member

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  6. BKL71

    BKL71 Member

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    It's only worth what someone is willing to pay. Not to say anything against your guitar, as it sounds like a nice instrument, but at the end of the day, that is what it ultimately boils down to.
     
  7. treeofpain

    treeofpain Silver Supporting Member

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    There is an issues 61 ES335 on eBay now for $14K. It didn't sell the first time around, which tells me that's not a screaming deal. It has more mods than yours but still has the original finish and looks nice.

    $35K is the stratosphere...
     
  8. bikeracr

    bikeracr Supporting Member

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    A good friend of mine has an original '59. No mods, but the neck was refinished in the 60s. Even with that, his was valued between $20K and $30K. Since the '61s are less collectible, you should be able to go below that.

    Gruhn's also currently has a '60 (more collectable) for $20K and '64 with Bigsby for $13.5K (less collectable). The bigsby brings down the value.

    In my uneducated guess, $15K is in the ballpark.

    Since you are in the LA area, I would go talk with the guys at Norm's Rare Guitars.
     
  9. pickslide

    pickslide Supporting Member

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    I would say go to this website and talk to the guy who runs it. His name is Charles and I just bought a vintage 335 from him. He is extremely knowledgeable about vintage 335s and will help you with pricing your guitar if you contact him.

    http://www.es-335.org/
     
  10. Patrick2

    Patrick2 Member

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    REALLY hard to make an assessment without at least seeing pictures. But, based upone the "issues" you listed, it will probably never be desirable to a serious collector. It's a players grade guitar. Probably a great player and probably killer sound . . . but, players grade none the less. Players don't always have the same discressionary monies to invest in high end gear as collectors do. Therefore, this is going to be a hard piece for the seller to move at a premium price. The PAF alone is probably worth some $3,000 if it's a double cream, which is doubtful given the year of the guitar . . . less if it zebra and less if it double black.

    If you REALLY loved the guitar and just had to have it . . . make an offer with the understanding that you're going to have as difficult a time selling it, when that day comes, as the current seller is.

    I wouldn't go a dime over $9,000 . . . if the finish crack on the back of the neck turns out to be a non-issue. If the finish crack is an issue . . . I'd pass completely.
     
  11. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks so much for the input. Greatly appreciated.
     
  12. FlyingVBlues

    FlyingVBlues Gold Supporting Member

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    According to the 2011 Vintage Guitar Price Guide a Cherry-red, stop-tail 1961 ES-335 is worth $20K to $26K, which I think is a bit high in the current economy. Given the issues the guitar has I think $15-16K would be reasonable. I would take the guitar to a good luthier and confirm that the finish crack on back of neck does not go into the wood before purchasing it.

    FVB
     

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