Vintage guitars and signatures

monkeybrains

Member
Messages
2,448
Depends where it is on the guitar.
Price of guitar.
Who's signature it was.
How big it is, colour of ink etc.
If the guitar is great I'd buy it with a sig and maybe try to remove it or let it wear off naturally if it's in a place to do that.
 

Sweetfinger

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,839
Unless you have very good provenance, like a photo or video the celebrity actually signing, unquestionably, that guitar, or some kind of documentation, be it an autograph authentication from a reputable source, or purchase records from a charity sale, that kind of stuff, any signature on an instrument is just scribbling.
Sure, you know it says "Elvis", and your momma tells the story of how she got the guitar signed by the King at a Memphis burger joint drive through in 1975, but without some kind of generally accepted authentication, the guitar might as well say "Eric Parsley", or have an old ID number or property stamp.
It may give you warm fuzzy feelings or a genuine thrill as you touch the same object Elvis might have, but unless you have documents, you've got a cool story.
If you're a good storyteller and/or got sales pitch game, you may be able to convince others that the signature has value but for the most part, it's an unwanted scribble. If the writing can't be removed, it devalues the instrument.
I have wiped the Sharpie off many guitars over the years.
 

hogy

Member
Messages
14,760
There's a Gibson L-00 around somewhere - I think someone on here used to own it - that belonged to a service man during WWII and had the names of everyone in his regiment scratched into the back - I always thought that was a nice idea and something worth preserving. Martin have a uke in their museum that was taken on an early polar expidition and signed by the travellers, also in that category.

The guitar that inspired the thread has a glaringly obvious signature in white paint on the front, so it wasn't subtle. It's a varnish rather than nitro finish and I've got white paint off violins successfully before, so I think it probably could be removed, but it'd be a gamble.

That’s the coolest guitar ever. I did a neck reset on it (if memory serves),so I got to check it out in detail.
 

sws1

Member
Messages
12,889
Depends on the guitar. If it was an original owner, AND famous signature, that's cool. If it's simply got JB's signature on it from the past few years, no way.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
6,921
.

The problem comes when you try to sell a guitar.
Signatures on a guitar as well as signature-guitars are hard to sell.

Imagine being a buyer and there is a guitar with a player's name associated with it who you hate, can't stand their music, just don't want that dude/dudette on your guitar, nor do you want to advertise that you are enjoying that dude/dudette's association. Perhaps you play Grunge/Metal and there is a Hip-Hop/Country signature on there. You are going to pass on that guitar.

So what you end up with is a Venn diagram of the guitar and the performer.

A pool of people buy guitars, a smaller pool of people buy PRS, a smaller pool of people buy a 24 fret guitar (that sounds more SG than LP due to pickup placement), a smaller pool of those like Santana, and some love/hate birds. So a Santana 24 fret PRS with birds is going to sell a lot slower than say a generic Fender Telecaster.

The only signatures that sell ok: "Fender", "Gibson", "PRS", "Les Paul"

.
 

derekd

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
46,646
Doesn't do a thing for me.

Reduces the price from my POV. However, if I got a good deal on one with a sig, or custom inlay with someone's name, I'd just basically ignore it and roll on.
 

DrumBob

Member
Messages
18,754
I had Roger McGuinn sign the top half of the pickguard on my Fireglo Rick 330-12. I later bought a clean one and took the autographed one off for safe keeping.

I would not buy an autographed guitar, period.
 

57gold

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,236
Had Carlos sign a 1986 PRS.

Was trying to get client in to meet him, stage manager (who was a friend) brought him the guitar. Said he was too beat after show to do a meet and greet.

So got signature...have though of buffing it out.

Well, 1986 isn't vintage, maybe for a PRS. Made during first year of production for Sam Ash, the order that built his business. Had to order the guitar in 1985, got in early 1986.
 

mc5nrg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,985
Plenty of repair folk including some guy named Dan have been known to leave a Sig under pickguards.
 

Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,313
Well Robben Ford signed this one for me, so I am biased. I took it to the multi day camp he was holding in Ojai where he lived and he asked me about the guitar. He came to town a few months later for a concert and he signed it for me.

I would say this, a sig guitar of a guitarist I highly respected, I have zero issues buying it, even marked up, with their signature. I have one from Pat Metheny like that. He personally signed this one as part of a promo at a music store. I got that in confirmation from his management team.


 

scmavl

Enjoyer
Messages
3,584
Well Robben Ford signed this one for me, so I am biased. I took it to the multi day camp he was holding in Ojai where he lived and he asked me about the guitar. He came to town a few months later for a concert and he signed it for me.

I would say this, a sig guitar of a guitarist I highly respected, I have zero issues buying it, even marked up, with their signature. I have one from Pat Metheny like that. He personally signed this one as part of a promo at a music store. I got that in confirmation from his management team.


At least those signatures are out of the way when playing, so your guitars are still usable. My pet peeve is sigs on the forearm area. But Pat Metheny really just prints his name in block letters? Huh.
 

Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,313
At least those signatures are out of the way when playing, so your guitars are still usable. My pet peeve is sigs on the forearm area. But Pat Metheny really just prints his name in block letters? Huh.

Well with that wild hair he’s got going on, maybe a boring signature is the balance :D
 

Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,313
Every now and then I see a vintage guitar come up for sale with a signature on it and I'm curious to know how others perceive them. Let's assume it's a valuable guitar regardless of the signature, that the signature is relevant to the guitar (a signature model signed by the artist whose model it is, for example) and that the seller isn't applying a massive mark up because it's been scribbled on. And let's assume you're not a particular fan of the signer, so you're not getting the warm and fuzzies knowing you might be able to own something they touched.

Do you try to restore the guitar by removing the signature? Or is the signature part of the history of that guitar and something you can appreciate? Do you pass on the guitar thinking it's better placed with someone who values the signature more?

A guitar with just such a scribble is vaguely on my radar at the moment, and I can't decide how I feel about it.

Well did it stay on or drop off your radar?
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,986
Well did it stay on or drop off your radar?

It's still on, it's a 10k guitar and a bit too much money for me at the moment but I'm thinking about selling off a few things which would put me comfortably in the ballpark. Unfortunately we're in a strict lockdown at the moment which has thrown an extra spanner in the works as well. But we'll see. It's been on sale a while, if it's meant to be it'll still be around in a couple of months.
 




Trending Topics

Top Bottom