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Am I crazy to buy this!?


kevbo82

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Ok, so I took a chance on this 1958 J50 knowing I could return it if not happy. I love playing it, but it's clearly beat up. It's had an UGLY headstock repair and some other bumps and bruises around like a big ol dent at the strap button where a pickup jack was installed and some deterioration around the sound hole that has been cleated and treated a bit. Obviously the headstock is the big one. Took it to two local guys I know/trust/respect and both said the same thing to me. " it is what it is, that repair might last 20 years or forever. Don't spend any money until it breaks, seems stable. Shut up and play it!" I'm not looking for a collectors piece, or to make money. Just a good player to replace my 69 dove (great guitar just can't hang with the thin nut width) so looking for some opinions to help me decide if I should keep it. Am I crazy to pay $1600 for this guitar?

 

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Love the body, not sure of the neck fix!

 

Must be the one Lightning Hopkins had when he fell down the back steps!

 

 

Do what you were told and play it hard, and just get a new neck later on if you still like the sound. (There is a guy somewhere that has a pile of old Gibson necks he has retrieved from wrecks).

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Not trying to rattle anyone's cage, but I too think this is too much money for this particular guitar. I know "vintage" is an important word in the language of "used" guitars, but I just don't see the big deal about old guitars. Yes, there are some sweet ones, but they're still old guitars. Making big money off of them is one thing. Paying big money for them is something else......I paid 1600 for my 2009 (used)Dove. Mint condition from Guitar Center. The gems are out there. Patience and a bit of luck will bring them your way.

 

And I wouldn't say you're crazy...lol...maybe just a bit too eager...lol...and I definitely understand where you're coming from. Been there and done that and learned the hard way.

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Not trying to rattle anyone's cage, but I too think this is too much money for this particular guitar. I know "vintage" is an important word in the language of "used" guitars, but I just don't see the big deal about old guitars. Yes, there are some sweet ones, but they're still old guitars. Making big money off of them is one thing. Paying big money for them is something else......I paid 1600 for my 2009 (used)Dove. Mint condition from Guitar Center. The gems are out there. Patience and a bit of luck will bring them your way.

I paid $300 for my 69 dove ;)

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I think its a good price. I would firstly change the tuners to the oval shaped period correct tuners. That wont cost much and it will make you feel better.

 

The other issue is the headstock, sloppy work and it might have to be rebroken and reglued - how much would that cost, $300 ?

 

I had the neck broken and reglued prefessionally on my Les Paul, cost me $150 but thats in my neck of the woods where such costs are lower.

 

Then you would have a lovelly 58' J-50 for $2k, and I reckon thats a pretty damn good price for vintage tone.

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I think its a good price. I would firstly change the tuners to the oval shaped period correct tuners. That wont cost much and it will make you feel better.

 

The other issue is the headstock, sloppy work and it might have to be rebroken and reglued - how much would that cost, $300 ?

 

I had the neck broken and reglued prefessionally on my Les Paul, cost me $150 but thats in my neck of the woods where such costs are lower.

 

Then you would have a lovelly 58' J-50 for $2k, and I reckon thats a pretty damn good price for vintage tone.

 

 

Lol. Says a lot about you EA that the first thing you think about are the tuners.

 

Good point you make though . I've had a neck like that fixed close to 20 years ago on a sigma that my mate now owns. Hasn't effected it at all , but it's a hell of a better job than that one. Guy darkened down the wood around it in a little sunburst effect and a man on a galloping horse wouldn't even know it had been broken.

 

Cost at the time £90

 

But still , I'd wait for one that wasn't broken.

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I'd pass on that one also. Youll never rest easy with it .

 

I agree! Your eye will always fixate on that bad neck/headstock repair. On the other hand, if you had paid less and factored in the price of getting that repair fixed (cosmetically) it may be a guitar that you could live and be happy with as a utilitarian guitar!

 

What is an estimate on making the repair better cosmetically? $200-$400 ???

 

If you come in at $2000 total and you like it, I would not call you crazy.

 

 

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I also thought a clean one would run $3-4K when i bought this one for $1600, but then yesterday i saw a 61 in clean shape sell for $2k on ebay. Not a whole heck of a lot of difference between a 58 and 61 so now i feel i'm off base...I feel like only an exceptional, all original one would run $3-4k. At the end of the day i'm looking for a player guitar to keep, not a collectible to sell, but this guy is just worse than described over the phone, and I don't feel like I'm getting my money's worth (even though i say money isn't the point...) I'm going to return it today while i have the chance and stay patient and look for something else. Maybe back to my J200 lust!?

Thanks again for your input guys

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I also thought a clean one would run $3-4K when i bought this one for $1600, but then yesterday i saw a 61 in clean shape sell for $2k on ebay. Not a whole heck of a lot of difference between a 58 and 61 so now i feel i'm off base...I feel like only an exceptional, all original one would run $3-4k. At the end of the day i'm looking for a player guitar to keep, not a collectible to sell, but this guy is just worse than described over the phone, and I don't feel like I'm getting my money's worth (even though i say money isn't the point...) I'm going to return it today while i have the chance and stay patient and look for something else. Maybe back to my J200 lust!?

Thanks again for your input guys

 

 

Actually some major differences between a 1958 and 1961 J-50. Totally different neck profile and bridge (if the original was left on the '61). While the bridge is not a biggie (because they are easily changed) that difference in the way neck feels is why many of us will not own a pre-Bozeman Gibson made after 1959.

 

Other than that I agree with others. While a professionally done headstock repair will lower the asking price on a guitar considerably if done well it should present no issues down the road. The one on the 1958 J-50 looks like a hack amateur job to me. It could hold and just be butt ugly but as they say - you pay your money you take your chances.

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As a collectible? Haven't a clue. As a player? IMO, Gibson is consistently making better guitars now than they did in the late 50s.

 

Totally disagree. Bozeman does not make any guitar with even a similar bracing system like Kalamazoo used in the late 1950s. So if you like the sound of a 1955-1959 Gibson you are gonna have to buy an original because nothing has or is is cominging out of Bozeman that is going to give it to you. I personally am a big fan of the 1955-1959 Gibsons. I played a 1956 SJ for alot of years and could not find a Gibson I liked better.

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Totally disagree. Bozeman does not make any guitar with even a similar bracing system like Kalamazoo used in the late 1950s. So if you like the sound of a 1955-1959 Gibson you are gonna have to buy an original because nothing has or is is cominging out of Bozeman that is going to give it to you. I personally am a big fan of the 1955-1959 Gibsons.

 

That's why I threw in the IMO. I like the new ones better. YMMV, of course.

 

P

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I do not like using the word "better." Different is more accurate. Those mid- to late 1950s Gibsons have a sound of their own. Again, if you like it you are pretty much stuck with owning an original. I played a 1956 SJ for alot of years and in all that time never laid hands on a Gibson I preferred over it.

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OH THE DRAMA! So today i take it to my local guitar center to return it. Played a new J45, J35, and a used (i think it was 2007?) advanced jumbo. All nice guitars, none like this J50...

I call the store i purchased it from over the phone, they won't give me any money off the price of the J50. I try to return it at my local store. 4 guys including the manger come around and play the guitar and go "you're nuts to not keep this" a few minutes later the manger comes back to me and says "I'm calling the vintage people, i can get you $400 back on that guitar. I would rather you take it home and fix it then we have to fix it and then sell it" so here we are, i'm home with the J50, the price is now going to be $1200 after he gets through all the red tape and at that price i'm going to keep it and have the headstock redone. I've honestly never played a guitar i was this comfortable with, and that sounds this good to my ear. I swear i even sing better when i'm playing it!? [rolleyes] the luthier i use does nice work at VERY fair prices, so i'm thinking this should be properly fixed and i'll have around $1500 into it. If i sell my Dove for around the same price (which i only paid $300 for) I feel very happy with what i've eventually end up with for $300.

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Ha! Great story. Good to hear you went with what you heard and felt. Especially in light of much questioning of your decision. 'Woof also pointed out that there are considerable differences between a '58 and a '61. Plus- we don't know anything about that recent '61 eBay sale, or about the vagaries of how eBay prices can swing at any particular moment.

 

Also: a tip of the hat to EuroAussie for going against the status quo, his tuner recommendations, and for the encouraging words.

 

On my last visit to the luth', I was shown a headstock break/neck repair that was almost impossible to detect, mostly thanks to some strong grain coloring in the wood. I think once you get her back from repairs (and this would be an excellent time to have those heavy Roto's swapped out for some nice 3 on a plates), you will have a New Old Guitar Day redux.

 

'Thought you might enjoy this ("the glue held, but the wood broke"-demo at the end):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk5Wtlkw5e4#t=1m05s

 

 

So, now you've got a guitar with 56 years of aging/curing/opening up for less than half of what they normally fetch, and after already paying for it, received an additional 25% off. And it feels comfortable to make music with. Nicely done.

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