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Upgrades to ES335-12?

#1 User is offline   nightchef 

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:31 AM

Hey everybody--newbie here.

I have an ES335-12, not sure of the year, but I guess they only made them from '65 to '70, so somewhere in there.

It's in far from mint condition--the trapeze tailpiece had been replaced with a stopbar before I bought it (you can still see the imprint of the old tailpiece on the finish). Then I had the bridge replaced and the neck reset to try to fix persistent intonation problems (still not perfect, but better).

It now needs electronics work--there's crackling at the input jack, the pickup switch, and a couple of the pots. Also, the finish is in rough shape--lots of crazing as well as dings and scratches.

My question is, given the fact that so much has already been done to it, is there any reason not to refinish it when I get the electronics work done? It seems like the vintage value horse has already left the barn with the tailpiece and bridge replacements, so from a resale POV I might as well make it look nicer. Is this correct, or would refinishing diminish its value further even after what's already been done? I'm not currently planning to sell it, but I want to keep my options open.

Many thanks for any & all advice,
Brian

#2 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

This is a tricky one, since so much has already been done to the guitar. However, everything that has been done is reversible, while a re-finish is not, so its impact on value is far greater.

In any case, the cost of a re-finish would be high relative to the value of the guitar. I would not recommend it.

Below is my 1968 ES 335-12:

Posted Image

#3 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:40 PM

I agree with Nick on this. His is a very primo example of what you are referencing to, I assume? I would have to see a pic of yours to make a definitive judgement call....BUT....My general rule with vintage guitars is, "never re-finish' unless it has previously been "refinished poorly"!
I can say 'humbly' that I can bring a shine out of most original-finish Gibsons'....no matter how grungy!
I don,t pretend to do any miracles like the POTUS....BUT....I can rock a vintage Gibson finish! Been there and done that and have photos to prove it!
Sorry if I seem too cocky, but it IS Friday Night[scared]
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Celebrating the sixty years of "white privilege" that i have just recently learned that I was born with...

#4 User is offline   JimR56 

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:22 PM

Brian, it might be helpful if we could see some photos of your guitar, but basically I think Nick and Rod nailed it. Generally, refinishing a vintage guitar is one of the worst things you can do to decrease its value.

#5 User is offline   Grog 

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

I agree also with leaving a vintage guitar as close to original as possible. Even as rare as they are, ES-335 12s are worth quite a bit less than a six string ES-335 of the same time frame. The pickups are PAF's & worth quite a bit. I'll post a photo of mine also......................

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#6 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:24 PM

Nice-looking '68 12'er there Grog..! The 'proper' witch-hat knobs really 'completes' the look.
I don,t believe Gibson would put PAF's in this model as late as '68 though...[confused]
Do you think???
"You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."--Cormic McCarthy

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#7 User is offline   Grog 

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:33 PM

According to Gruhns Guide, they should be Pat# decals from 1962 to 1975, not PAF's...................

#8 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:50 PM

Its just that you said it has PAF's in your prior post....anyway?!?
"You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."--Cormic McCarthy

Celebrating the sixty years of "white privilege" that i have just recently learned that I was born with...

#9 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:41 PM

View Postretrorod, on 27 January 2013 - 05:50 PM, said:

Its just that you said it has PAF's in your prior post....anyway?!?


They are pat number pickups, not PAF's. But many of these fairly early patent number pickups are identical to PAF's, except for the sticker. Clapton's '64 has patent numbers, and they sound pretty good in my book.

A 1968 like mine should have witch hats, and I have set to install, but just haven't gotten around to it. Witch hats look a bit too much like Fender amp knobs to me. At least they aren't chicken heads.....

#10 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:33 AM

Come on Nick! Take a walk on the wild side. Throw those witch hats on there.....its the PC thing to do..(period correct).
Here is an interesting site on all things ES....

http://030be21.netso.../es-345/page/2/
"You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."--Cormic McCarthy

Celebrating the sixty years of "white privilege" that i have just recently learned that I was born with...

#11 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

View Postretrorod, on 28 January 2013 - 05:33 AM, said:

Come on Nick! Take a walk on the wild side. Throw those witch hats on there.....its the PC thing to do..(period correct).
Here is an interesting site on all things ES....

http://030be21.netso.../es-345/page/2/



Charlie Gelber has been my guru on all things 335 since I first got interested in these a few years ago. He knows his stuff, and he prices his used guitars very fairly. He's the one that pretty much convinced me that a Nashville Historic (like the '59 Historic I ended up buying) was the way to go for someone like me who didn't want to spend the $25+k on the "real" McCoy.

#12 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:31 PM

I got ya! A 'real' '68 shouldn't set ya back over $2500 though....!??!
Hell, not too much more than 'vintage knobs' from the latest EBAY "vintage whore".......Come on man....let's take a walk....[lol]
Besides! That '68 'looks' far more deadly than your RI....Jes sayin'
Jes Sayin....and Jes(just)
kidding of course!
You both have very nice guitars!
"You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."--Cormic McCarthy

Celebrating the sixty years of "white privilege" that i have just recently learned that I was born with...

#13 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

View Postretrorod, on 28 January 2013 - 05:31 PM, said:

I got ya! A 'real' '68 shouldn't set ya back over $2500 though....!??!
Hell, not too much more than 'vintage knobs' from the latest EBAY "vintage whore".......Come on man....let's take a walk....[lol]
Besides! That '68 'looks' far more deadly than your RI....Jes sayin'
Jes Sayin....and Jes(just)
kidding of course!
You both have very nice guitars!



If you can deal with the narrow neck, the 1965-1969 ES 335's can be great guitars, and a good way to get into the vintage ES 335 market at nominal cost. When you consider that these are only 1/8" narrower at the nut than earleir or modern ES 335's, and the the string spacing at the bridge is the same as earlier and modern ES 335's, they are very good values if you can find one in unmolested original condition. I consider changed knobs to still be "unmolested", since you can install period correct ones in a couple of minutes for not much money.

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