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1974 Gibson Custom Dove (worth? new vs vintage?) Need advice.

#1 User is offline   dmh12 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:04 AM

So I am currently looking at a 1974 Gibson Dove Custom that is being sold locally in my area. I want to make sure I am getting a decent deal on it though.

Description:
It comes with the original hardshell case.
It's in pretty good physical condition. No dents that make their way through the finish. A little light scratching from regular use over the years.
At one point there was a crack in the volute that was repaired. This was about 15 years ago, and I do know the guy who repaired it and he is the best in town.
He added an LR Baggs Element Active pick up to it. He also added strap pegs.

So the price it is going for is $1600, though I would want to only pay $1500.
Is this a good deal? Do you feel like I'd be able to resell it for about the same price if I changed my mind? How much value does the volute repair take off from it? Otherwise it is in great condition: easy to play, the tone is nice, the action is low but not too low.

I guess my other question would be: for that price (I'm looking to spend $1500) should I just go with something a bit newer? I've heard very varying things about the 1970 Gibson acoustics.

#2 User is offline   ParlourMan 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:12 AM

70's Gibson's tend to suffer from the 'Norlin era reputation' meaning there's a smaller market for resale. Common belief is that many 70's models were overbuilt and not the best tonally. It's something you'll see discussed here in quite a volume too!

Of course not all 70's guitars were bad guitars, but the do suffer from this reputation in the marketplace. My honest opinion is that a modern used version would likely be a better guitar, maybe, maybe not.... Unless you're set on this guitar, I'd try to A/B it with modern versions to see which you like or even if only to confirm to yourself that you really do like the 70's model.
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#3 User is offline   pfox14 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:21 AM

View PostParlourMan, on 11 April 2012 - 08:12 AM, said:

70's Gibson's tend to suffer from the 'Norlin era reputation' meaning there's a smaller market for resale. Common belief is that many 70's models were overbuilt and not the best tonally. It's something you'll see discussed here in quite a volume too!

Of course not all 70's guitars were bad guitars, but the do suffer from this reputation in the marketplace. My honest opinion is that a modern used version would likely be a better guitar, maybe, maybe not.... Unless you're set on this guitar, I'd try to A/B it with modern versions to see which you like or even if only to confirm to yourself that you really do like the 70's model.

I think the 70's Norlin-era Gibson have a bad rep for a good reason. Quality went down hill after Ted McCarty left Gibson & under Norlin, not only were the guitars over built, but were not good quality instruments. There are some exceptions, but definitely not acoustic guitars.

#4 User is offline   jdd707 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:28 AM

For $1500 you should be able to get a modern era Gibson in very good condition and avoid the problems noted above. So, unless you have played this guitar and just love it .... pass on it for one of which you are sure of the resale value and the quality of sound. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
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#5 User is offline   Spot 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:01 AM

View Postdmh12, on 11 April 2012 - 08:04 AM, said:

So I am currently looking at a 1974 Gibson Dove Custom that is being sold locally in my area. I want to make sure I am getting a decent deal on it though.


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#6 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:54 AM

The "crack in the volute" is a headstock crack/break, and devalues the guitar significantly with regard to any "vintage" value, no matter how well the repair is done. As others have said, this is a Norlin-era guitar, so you must play it before deciding. In any case, you are likely to be better off with a modern-era guitar, as this one has no real vintage value, and is from the period where Gibson sound quality can be most kindly described as "variable".

#7 User is offline   DanvillRob 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:42 PM

A 1974 Dove with a crack in the headstock is simply NOT worth $1500. If it were in perfect condition, and played and sounded well, it'd be worth maybe $1200-$1300.

With the headstock crack, cut that in half.

I agree with all those above....for $1500 you can get a Bozeman-built Dove, (which is a WONDERFUL guitar!)

I have both a Norlin-Era Dove and and Boseman Dove.... if I were to buy another Dove, (and therefore be banned to sleep in the garage), it'd be a Bozeman, (unless I could get a 1974 for $500).


#8 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:13 PM

Gotta agree - a headstock or neck repair, no matter how skillfully done, can de-value a guitar as much as 50%. There are more than a few of us who look for Gibsons with repaired necks. If the repair was well done, the neck will be sturdier than it was originally and the deep discount is very nice.

In this case though I would still consider a newish Bozeman-made Dove. Gibson's downhill slide begins in 1965 when they started doing things like building a high speed overhead conveyor in the finishing department changing the way guitars (other than those built in the Custom Department) were finished and dried and it just kept going downhill bottoming out in the early 1970s.
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#9 User is offline   merseybeat1963 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:31 PM

Play a Bozeman made Dove..then play the Dove you are considering..the answer will be very obvious(unless it was specially made for a Keith Richards)..
The 70's Dove should aproximate the sound of a plank.. : )

#10 User is offline   slimt 

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:31 PM

A cracked headstock , repaired Norlin Dove.. I wouldnt touch it my self.. I agree with the others here though.. Finding a late 80s. 90s one would be much better..

#11 User is offline   dmh12 

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:22 PM

If the price was dropped down to $1100 on this, would anyone think that is a worthwhile deal?

#12 User is offline   DanvillRob 

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 01:41 PM

View Postdmh12, on 30 April 2012 - 12:22 PM, said:

If the price was dropped down to $1100 on this, would anyone think that is a worthwhile deal?


It's worth whatever someone will pay for it.

I personally would not pay more that $500-$600.

If it didn't have a headstock crack, THEN I might pay $1100.


#13 User is offline   TheRISK 

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:39 AM

I owned a 2006 Dove and have played a 70s Dove at a local store in town. Don't write of the Norlin era just based on rep... That guitar had a really nice vintage tone which I would gladly take over the 06'. The only thing was the guitar was just plain ugly!

#14 User is offline   DanvillRob 

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:43 AM

View PostTheRISK, on 01 May 2012 - 07:39 AM, said:

I owned a 2006 Dove and have played a 70s Dove at a local store in town. Don't write of the Norlin era just based on rep... That guitar had a really nice vintage tone which I would gladly take over the 06'. The only thing was the guitar was just plain ugly!


I agree... I have a Norlin Dove, (1979), and it's a wonderful guitar. I can compare it to a 2003 DIF which is an even better guitar....but my point is that neither of those guitars has a broken headstock...that's what I'd base the cost on.

If the 1974 Dove sounds great, it may well be worth $500-$600, but still not $1100, (due to the broken headstock).


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