Last year, when searching for an acoustic archtop, I found a '67 ES-125 and it has been a complete game changer. I'm a composer and producer working in TV, but my gear budget has to be shared between lots of different types of equipment, so I've never really been in the position to even consider vintage and expensive guitars. Now that I have one, when I play my other guitars I find them lacking.
The neck profile of the '67 ES-125 is more comfortable than anything I've ever played. I have very small hands, which are quite weak due to historic sports injuries. The intonation is absolutely perfect across the entire fretboard and the tone of the aged wood is very enchanting. Its probably the first guitar that I've ever found a complete joy to play and that hasn't frustrated me.
Consequently, my current ES-335 search is restricted to 1965 - 1969 and Norlin (1970 - 1979). And my dilemma is - should I pay about 1.75 times more for a pre-Norlin? What am I actually gaining buying a pre-Norlin? What is the actual issue with the volute? Will there be tone and intonation issues? Part of me thinks pre-Norlin is a better investment, but I'm worried that the late '60s ES-335s are already over inflated and I've missed the investment opportunity. Even though I'm looking for a guitar to keep, if I were to sell it on again in a few years, how many people are there really in the UK like me who would consider spending £4.5k - £6k for any guitar? I see pricey Gibsons hang around on eBay and Reverb for months, even years. Maybe a £2.5k - £3.5k Norlin is actually the better investment.
Any wisdom much appreciated.