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1950 ES350 blonde finish

#1 User is offline   Drbolme 

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 09:49 PM

I'm new to this forum and a new owner of a 1950 ES350. It was left to me by my grandpa who was the original owner. He played in a band for many years, but kept this guitar "under lock and key" so to speak and none of us knew really what he had other than it was a prized possession. Since I am the only grandchild that plays, I am the lucky beneficiary. Since it's a family heirloom, I don't plan on selling it, but am curious about its value. Do any of you know much about this instrument? The serial number is A5407, it has a white oval label inside it with the model and serial. The finish is blonde or natural and appears to be in good condition (no scratches, cracks, etc), although I'm no expert. Like I said, he played it for many years, but did take good care of it. I don't have it in my possession yet, so I don't have any photos.

I would love any ideas about its approximate value or even if it is considered collectible. I'm wondering if I should insure it and if so, for how much? Any other info on the history of this guitar model would be greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

#2 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 28 February 2014 - 09:54 PM

Hello, have any pictures? 350s are pretty nice...

#3 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 12:56 AM

You are a very lucky person. An ES350 is definitely desirable, and the blond finish examples will generally carry a premium over the sunbursts, all other things being equal.

The value will be affected by its condition, its originality (hopefully no changed parts or a refinish), and to some degree the "flame" or grain patterning of the maple body. Without seeing it or knowing any of these things, I would estimate it somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000.

As far as history, the model was introduced right after WWII as the cutaway version of the ES300, and was discontinued in 1956 (a thin-bodied version with a shorter scale, the ES350T, was made from 1955 to 1963). Most 350's were made with two pickups, but the earliest ones had only one pickup.

A similar instrument in the Gibson line around that same time was the ES5, which had the same body, but featured three pickups.

I hope you will post some photos when you get the guitar!

#4 User is offline   Drbolme 

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 07:50 AM

View PostJimR56, on 01 March 2014 - 12:56 AM, said:

You are a very lucky person. An ES350 is definitely desirable, and the blond finish examples will generally carry a premium over the sunbursts, all other things being equal.

The value will be affected by its condition, its originality (hopefully no changed parts or a refinish), and to some degree the "flame" or grain patterning of the maple body. Without seeing it or knowing any of these things, I would estimate it somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000.

As far as history, the model was introduced right after WWII as the cutaway version of the ES300, and was discontinued in 1956 (a thin-bodied version with a shorter scale, the ES350T, was made from 1955 to 1963). Most 350's were made with two pickups, but the earliest ones had only one pickup.

A similar instrument in the Gibson line around that same time was the ES5, which had the same body, but featured three pickups.

I hope you will post some photos when you get the guitar!



Thanks for your response and your info! I will certainly post some pictures when I get it. Unfortunately I live about a 1000 miles from where it is and I didn't want to take it on the plane. I also have some reservations about having it shipped, so I might just have to wait until I can get away for a road trip. Again, thank you for the info. I knew I came to the right place! :)

#5 User is offline   wintermoon 

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 01:13 PM

if it's a 1950 model it's likely a 2 pickup w/master knob near the cutaway.
the later ones '52-'56 w/2 pickups and toggle switch usually bring the most $

I have a '47 blonde w/ one pickup, great guitar

#6 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 06:58 PM

View Postwintermoon, on 02 March 2014 - 01:13 PM, said:

if it's a 1950 model it's likely a 2 pickup w/master knob near the cutaway.
the later ones '52-'56 w/2 pickups and toggle switch usually bring the most $

I have a '47 blonde w/ one pickup, great guitar

Would love to see photos of your '47! Script logo, or modern?

#7 User is offline   wintermoon 

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:52 AM

it's a modern logo Jim,
never seen a blonde script logo, just a few sunbursts
sorry no pics right now, maybe down the road...

#8 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:54 PM

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've seen a blond with a script logo either. I did just come across this, though:

http://sfbay.craigsl...4350206785.html

#9 User is offline   wintermoon 

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:20 PM

looks good, but how did that L-5 tailpiece get on there?

#10 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:26 PM

Custom order, according to the seller. I'm more surprised by a script logo on a '49 than I am by the tailpiece.

#11 User is offline   wintermoon 

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 10:13 PM

yeah Jim,
looks like an L-5 neck as well, including flowerpot inlay and ebony board.
only one like it I've seen....pretty cool

#12 User is offline   Drbolme 

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 04:13 PM

Hi guys,

I said I would post some pics of my grandpa's guitar when I got the chance, so here it is!

Derek

http://s823.photobuc...rbolme/library/

#13 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 06:50 PM

That is sweet.... Very Nice.....

#14 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 10:17 PM

View PostDrbolme, on 08 March 2014 - 04:13 PM, said:

Hi guys,

I said I would post some pics of my grandpa's guitar when I got the chance, so here it is!

Derek

http://s823.photobuc...rbolme/library/

Oh my. Well, I gave you my opinion of a value range, but I sort of assumed that your guitar would be average/typical in terms of its condition and the quality of the wood grain. From what I can tell from your photos, the instrument is in great condition, and the flamed maple is quite nice- even considering it's a blond (the best wood was usually saved for the natural-finished guitars). So, I would say it could be worth more than $7K. Definitely more than that in terms of insurance purposes. You might consider getting an appraisal by a respected authority, such as George Gruhn. You can send photos to them and just answer any questions they may have, and for a fee they'll give you a written appraisal.

I owned two ES350's back in the 1980's, and I regret selling both of them, as they were both great guitars. I was just too interested in trying different models and wheeling and dealing. Neither was handed down in my family, though. That would have prevented me from selling. I'd say you have a real treasure there, and I hope that it will always be well cared for. If you need any advice in terms of care, feel free to ask here or ask an expert like Gruhn. Sigh... I'm so envious! [thumbup]

#15 User is offline   Drbolme 

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:56 PM

View PostJimR56, on 08 March 2014 - 10:17 PM, said:

Oh my. Well, I gave you my opinion of a value range, but I sort of assumed that your guitar would be average/typical in terms of its condition and the quality of the wood grain. From what I can tell from your photos, the instrument is in great condition, and the flamed maple is quite nice- even considering it's a blond (the best wood was usually saved for the natural-finished guitars). So, I would say it could be worth more than $7K. Definitely more than that in terms of insurance purposes. You might consider getting an appraisal by a respected authority, such as George Gruhn. You can send photos to them and just answer any questions they may have, and for a fee they'll give you a written appraisal.

I owned two ES350's back in the 1980's, and I regret selling both of them, as they were both great guitars. I was just too interested in trying different models and wheeling and dealing. Neither was handed down in my family, though. That would have prevented me from selling. I'd say you have a real treasure there, and I hope that it will always be well cared for. If you need any advice in terms of care, feel free to ask here or ask an expert like Gruhn. Sigh... I'm so envious! [thumbup]



Thanks Jim! I'm open to any advice you can give. I've never owned an expensive guitar, much less a vintage one. I play a $350 Alvarez acoustic that I've beat up through the years, so any advice on care or maintenance would be greatly appreciated. My grandpa had just stored it in the case with the strings loosened and (I'm assuming) the truss rod loosened as well (it's currently all the way loosened) I plan on taking it to a professional to have it set up to play. Do you have any advice on what services to have done/not done. I would guess that a professional wouldn't recommend doing any maintenance that would affect its value, but if they did I might not be aware of it. Someone had told me that the frets could stand replacing. Would that affect its value? Thank you for the advice on the appraisal. I spoke with my insurance company today and they said they cannot insure it for more than $5k without a professional written appraisal. I'll take you advice and go to Gruhn.

Thanks again!

#16 User is offline   Cam in alberta 

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 08:09 PM

View PostDrbolme, on 10 March 2014 - 06:56 PM, said:

I'm open to any advice you can give.
Thanks again!


Don't beat this one up like the Alveraz. [biggrin]

#17 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:14 PM

View PostDrbolme, on 10 March 2014 - 06:56 PM, said:

Thanks Jim! I'm open to any advice you can give. I've never owned an expensive guitar, much less a vintage one. I play a $350 Alvarez acoustic that I've beat up through the years, so any advice on care or maintenance would be greatly appreciated. My grandpa had just stored it in the case with the strings loosened and (I'm assuming) the truss rod loosened as well (it's currently all the way loosened) I plan on taking it to a professional to have it set up to play. Do you have any advice on what services to have done/not done. I would guess that a professional wouldn't recommend doing any maintenance that would affect its value, but if they did I might not be aware of it. Someone had told me that the frets could stand replacing. Would that affect its value? Thank you for the advice on the appraisal. I spoke with my insurance company today and they said they cannot insure it for more than $5k without a professional written appraisal. I'll take you advice and go to Gruhn.

Thanks again!

First of all, I forgot to mention that Gruhn is often fairly conservative with his appraisals. You may very well see other 350N's like yours advertised for more than a Gruhn appraisal. The big question is, will they sell for that much. Also, it's subjective, but a lot of people will insure above the estimated market value on an item that has extra personal (family/sentimental) value, so that's your call.

I would be very (very) careful about who you allow to set up the guitar. I'm not saying that most professionals wouldn't treat it with the care it deserves, but I would definitely ask around and find someone with experience and an excellent reputation. If I were you, even if I found such a pro, I would tell them specifically not to do anything (like cleaning or polishing) that I didn't ask them to do. Because your guitar looks to be so well kept, I doubt that it needs anything done to the finish. You might ask about whether the fingerboard needs a light oiling.

I would definitely not replace the frets based solely on somebody telling you they could use it. I would ask the opinion of whoever you select to do the set-up, and if there was any doubt I would have it set up as-is and see how it plays first.

Some collectors will tell you that a re-fret lowers the value of a vintage guitar. That's always struck some of us as a strange notion. Original condition and parts are generally always better when it comes to vintage guitars, but you have to use some common sense too. A guitar has to be playable, and frets are one thing on a guitar that often wear out. Frets are not rare, or difficult to replicate and replace. Originals are not cosmetically or functionally superior. Vintage frets are not parted out and sold and traded due to some inherent traits that make them valuable. When they wear out, you replace them. When the job is done right, it can be difficult to even tell. So, I would not worry at all about a refret's effect on value.

#18 User is offline   Drbolme 

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 07:18 AM

View PostCam in alberta, on 10 March 2014 - 08:09 PM, said:

Don't beat this one up like the Alveraz. [biggrin]



Ha! Yeah, I also won't let my kids bang on it and hide their toys in the holes : [rolleyes]

#19 User is offline   Drbolme 

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 07:19 AM

View PostJimR56, on 10 March 2014 - 10:14 PM, said:

First of all, I forgot to mention that Gruhn is often fairly conservative with his appraisals. You may very well see other 350N's like yours advertised for more than a Gruhn appraisal. The big question is, will they sell for that much. Also, it's subjective, but a lot of people will insure above the estimated market value on an item that has extra personal (family/sentimental) value, so that's your call.

I would be very (very) careful about who you allow to set up the guitar. I'm not saying that most professionals wouldn't treat it with the care it deserves, but I would definitely ask around and find someone with experience and an excellent reputation. If I were you, even if I found such a pro, I would tell them specifically not to do anything (like cleaning or polishing) that I didn't ask them to do. Because your guitar looks to be so well kept, I doubt that it needs anything done to the finish. You might ask about whether the fingerboard needs a light oiling.

I would definitely not replace the frets based solely on somebody telling you they could use it. I would ask the opinion of whoever you select to do the set-up, and if there was any doubt I would have it set up as-is and see how it plays first.

Some collectors will tell you that a re-fret lowers the value of a vintage guitar. That's always struck some of us as a strange notion. Original condition and parts are generally always better when it comes to vintage guitars, but you have to use some common sense too. A guitar has to be playable, and frets are one thing on a guitar that often wear out. Frets are not rare, or difficult to replicate and replace. Originals are not cosmetically or functionally superior. Vintage frets are not parted out and sold and traded due to some inherent traits that make them valuable. When they wear out, you replace them. When the job is done right, it can be difficult to even tell. So, I would not worry at all about a refret's effect on value.



Great advice! Thanks!

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