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So.. I went to the Luthier today...


splake

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Me and my better half took the 64 Epiphone Frontier ( that I got ripped off on- Another thread I posted dont want to kick that horse again..) and a 74 Hummingbird ( factory 2nd that I never played) I picked up about 8 months ago to a hightly recommended Luthier today, who does a lot of work for the Pro's and whose Chicago Shop has a list of good reviews a mile and 1/2 long.

 

As I expected the 64 Frontier that the Superstar Online Vintage Guitar guru sold me in "Excellent Condition" , needs $750 bones worth of work Includes a Neck reset.. and the 74 Bird I picked up on Ebay, needs a fret dress, new nut nothing major, just old age I guess on the Bird. NO worries there on the Bird.

 

Purpose of this tread is the Luthier kind of changed the way I think. I started Dabbling in the Vintage Guitar Nightmare a Short time back and I have had very a ton of luck, ALL BAD. As I have posted before, more often than not I am a dumping ground for Unscrupulous "Vintage " online dealers, fly by night scum bags, But I digress and will try to keep this positive.

 

 

But here is the purpose of this post. The luthier told me that although it sucks to have to fork out the greenbacks, he knows that in the Vintage Game it is frowned upon to buy a guitar that has had a previous neck reset, or bracing fixed, etc etc. He said people want "original" with no repairs made. I was of that Camp and I ALWAYS,would blow right by and not even consider an Ebay listing or a Vintage guitar dealer listing , if a guitar I am looking for had a neck reset or bracing fixed or needs saddle work etc etc. . He told me that Guitars like people "get old dude", and EVERY GUITAR will sooner or later need structural work. It is inevitable and a FACT. He thought it was ridiculous that the opinion of many who buy Vintage instruments, that they run away from Guitars who have had work done. He said they can be in better condition then if they were "original" in many cases, and again, sooner or later you will have to get work done in the Acoustic Game. Everything gets old. He made sense. He wasnt trying to sell me his services, trust me this shop doesnt need the work, he was no pressure and told me to take my guitars back home and think about it, no hurries, no worries. He took me in the back and showed me what was wrong with my guitars. While 4 people waited in line with their cases and his dog milled around at my feet. He was Honest. He Just changed the way I think. Since I can not, and no longer will , Trust anyone who sells me a guitar anymore Especially Certain Vintage Guitar shops in the Midwest!!!!!!!!..( as I can only put my hand on a hot stove so many times) I have a good Luthier and a changed attitude. Now when I buy a vintage guitar, I will go in Assuming it will need work. No longer will I get pissed off at the dude who lists a 52 year old guitar as "Excellent, original condition". I will just assume I need to blow another grand over what he is asking to make it right. You gotta have that attitude going in, and if in the End you find that one honest man, that one Diamond in the rough, who is not trying to bend you over hard, then so be it, and if you find ( like always) that "Excellent Original Condition Minty, guitar in need of a neck reset and open heart surgery, then thats cool too, because it is what I now will expect.

 

Good to be the King, But today, this King is about a Grand Lighter. I will make more money at the end of the day, and at the end of the same day the dudes who rip people off will continue to do so.

 

Today, all is well in the kingdom.

 

This King is a little broke but a lot wiser.

 

It also, doesnt hurt that the first thing you see when you walk in the shop is a huge poster of Dylan, strumming his J-50.

 

T.

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There probably aren't any 50 year old guitars on good condition that have not had major work.

 

As an example: suppose this guitar was 500 years old and in very good condition? That would be a tipoff to you that every single part of that guitar has probably been completely replaced ten times. Probably not a single piece of that 500 year old guitar is older than 75 years. The strings have probably been repaced 15000 times. That means the tuning keys have been turned hundreds of thousands of revolutions if they were 500 yrs old. No tuning key can take that much wear..

If there is anything left origonal of that 500 year old guitar it is probably in the form of dust blowing in the wind that has circled the Earth 5000 times..

 

All 50 year old guitars need refretting. How many Les Pauls sit untouched in a case in a climate controlled room for 60 years. We didn't even have air conditioning 60 years ago.

The only climate controlled room we had 60 years ago would be in a cave.

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Sorry to hear of your plight, Splake. Not looking to discourage but with minor exception my experience has been different from yours by 180 degrees. My vintage exploits have always and almost exclusively been in the 1930-1960 time frame, including plenty of Ebay as well as vintage 'agents'. Some needed fixing, some not, but I feel I had been thorough enough in my research to avoid or at least be prepared for restoration issues. Knowing a little about pricing scales for 'fixer uppers' and warning signs for hopeless cases has helped as well.

 

Also, my excellent small town luthier can't be beat.

 

Knowledge is power.

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Purpose of this tread is the Luthier kind of changed the way I think.... He thought it was ridiculous that the opinion of many who buy Vintage instruments, that they run away from Guitars who have had work done....

 

Yeah, I picked up that way of thinking here on the forums when I asked about a guitar that had its bridge reset. Most good older guitars will have had work done in the past and will probably need work done in the future. It's a given. Of course, neck problems are one of the more expensive fixes, and I still shy away from those, but they are fixable. Any such drawbacks (like whether the guitar is stamped BGN) really have to be disclosed by the seller. Sorry you ran into one who didn't.

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Thanx - I would loooove to hear/see a serious recording of that Frontier.

 

Is that a possibility, splake ?

 

Will do. When I get her back. I left her there with the Luthier yesterday. She is set to get open heart surery ( neck reset) this week.

 

She is incredible. I cant wait to get her back, will post something up when I do for sure.

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I left her there with the Luthier yesterday. She is set to get open heart surery ( neck reset) this week.

 

 

 

Neck re-sets are a fact of life for vintage guitars. Fortunately, the dovetail neck joint of Gibsons, Martins, and some others makes a neck re-set practical. Be thankful for that.

 

Depending on where you live, a typical Gibson neck re-set costs $300-$600, and if done by someone good, will be virtually invisible cosmetically.

 

I've bought a modest number of vintage Gibsons, and have inspected dozens more over the years. (Vintage Gibsons to my mind mean pre-Norlin guitars, or at least pre-1970 guitars.) A significant number of those would have benefitted from a neck re-set. The problem is that sellers, whether dealers or individuals, are rarely willing to recognize that a guitar needs a neck re-set, and rarely factor that into the price of the guitar.

 

The difference in a guitar that "must" have a re-set and one that would benefit from a re-set may be small dimensionally, but can be big financially, unless you are talking about a guitar with high inherent value.

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I have no idea why anybody who supposedly knows vintage guitars would say a neck reset makes a guitar less desirable. Original means all parts the guitar was born with are there. A neck reset makes a guitar no less attractive than having a lifting bridge or loose brace re-glued. A 1946 Martin 000-28 needing a neck reset will sell for less than one that has had it done. As J45nick says, neck resets are pretty much a given especially on certain makes of guitars. Dealers will advertise a guitar having a "fresh neck reset" because it helps sell them.

 

Not trying to be a jerk here but to me it still comes down to your trust issues being misdirected. Yeah, it sucks that there are dealers out there that take advantage of the unwashed. But in the end, it is not the dealers whom you should be pissed at but yourself. You only got a guitar "dumped" on you because you did not know your away around older guitars.

 

I do think though you are taking the right path by having it fixed up. You will sink a little deeper underwater on it but will end up with good playable guitar that you can enjoy. Plus, value in terms of money to me is really only a factor if you were hoping to flip for a profit or end up with a guitar with a trade-in value higher than your investment which can be put towards another guitar you want. And a '64 Frontier is one heck of a guitar.

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I have no idea why anybody who supposedly knows vintage guitars would say a neck reset makes a guitar less desirable. Original means all parts the guitar was born with are there. A neck reset makes a guitar no less attractive than having a lifting bridge or loose brace re-glued. A 1946 Martin 000-28 needing a neck reset will sell for less than one that has had it done. As J45nick says, neck resets are pretty much a given especially on certain makes of guitars. Dealers will advertise a guitar having a "fresh neck reset" because it helps sell them.

 

Not trying to be a jerk here but to me it still comes down to your trust issues being misdirected. Yeah, it sucks that there are dealers out there that take advantage of the unwashed. But in the end, it is not the dealers whom you should be pissed at but yourself. You only got a guitar "dumped" on you because you did not know your away around older guitars.

 

I do think though you are taking the right path by having it fixed up. You will sink a little deeper underwater on it but will end up with good playable guitar that you can enjoy. Plus, value in terms of money to me is really only a factor if you were hoping to flip for a profit or end up with a guitar with a trade-in value higher than your investment which can be put towards another guitar you want. And a '64 Frontier is one heck of a guitar.

 

You are absoultely right Zomb. . And I could not agree with you more. iI got used because I did not know. Simple as that. Baptism by fire.

 

But I do think you are wrong on your point in one area- ,I believe Dealers should share responsiblity in this. I blame a used car Salesman for not telling the college kid that his 79 Plymouth Horizon needs a valve job- me) , the house owner that the basement floods when there is an Inch of rain, and there is blame to be shared by a ****** bag who advertises himself as a Trusting caretaker of vintage guitars, to unload stuff on the uneducated.

 

Forget about me for a second Zomb. I work a crappy job every day and I have an ulcer to prove it., But I will make more money, starting tomorrow at 8am. and I can afford a neck reset, and how many guys on this earth can afford to buy a 64 Frontier guitar like I did? I scratched and clawed and bought a few heavies. What about the young dude who was as uneducated as me , has that dream and gets one shot at this? Now he has a vintage guitar that sits in the closet because he paid full price and was not told about what it needed. Is he still to blame? Well maybe, but it is an inherit problem in this world today. I am the guy with the 79 Horizon making $4.25 an hour in 1984 delivering office products and I now have to take the bus and walk because I wasnt a mechanic. buyer beware and the seller can do whatever he wants? I dont accept that.

 

But now I am off of my soap box.

 

 

I get your tuff love post, but on that part we just disagree. I am the uneducated, but gettng sharper every day at my own expense. Which, I totally accept and I am working to make amends with the guitar Gods

 

But again, Dude, I am better because of it. Learning a ton of SH*T in the vintage game, and I built a good relationship with a skilled and trusted Luthier.

 

Lesson learned? Time will tell.

 

 

Laters.

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The problem is that sellers, whether dealers or individuals, are rarely willing to recognize that a guitar needs a neck re-set, and rarely factor that into the price of the guitar.

 

The difference in a guitar that "must" have a re-set and one that would benefit from a re-set may be small dimensionally, but can be big financially, unless you are talking about a guitar with high inherent value.

 

 

J 45- You are a wise man. Bingo! Couldnt of said it better myself.

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But I do think you are wrong on your point in one area- , that Dealers should share responsiblity in this.

 

 

 

 

In an ideal word, yeah, you should be able to trust the dealers. Guys like George Gruhn, Jim Baggett at Mass Street Music and others know more about these guitars than I could ever hope to. It is not being cheated that keeps me away from these places. I am just not willing to pay their asking prices.

 

I am sure there are just some plain con men out there. But more often as not, like J45nick pointed out, they are stores that have no more experience with old guitars than what they have read in the pages of some vintage guitar magazine. In just the past week I went to check out two vintage guitars for friends. One, a 1960s Gibson J-50, was fine as to what it was supposed to be and in really nice condition but had a price tag that I thought was ridiculous to the point of being obscene - close to $1K over what I could score it for elsewhere. In the case of the other, a 1970s obviously MIJ Epiphone, the guitar had the blue Kalamazoo Union-Made label in it. So the owner thought it had been made in the U.S. He simply did not know that the early 1970s MIJ Epiphones often came with these labels which were leftovers supplied by Gibson. I did tell the store owner who was mad as a wet hen because he had been taken on the guitar and was now going to take a bath on it.

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Some of us have the advantage of having been around these darn instruments for the last 45 years of more. That sure helps when considering anything vintage. Trial by fire learning is a tough way to go, and should be more avoidable in this day & age with the wealth of info available at your internet fingertips. So by all means keep learning & developing trustworthy contacts, but protect yourself in the process.

 

I never expect the seller to be fully knowledgeable. Maybe he/she is or isn't, but I'm certainly not going to make my move based on what they say. Pictures are nice, but don't tell much of the story. I need the instrument in hand & need to assess it myself.

 

So once again, my bottom line is a liberal return policy - meaning adequate time to assess, and a full refund (less shipping). If a dealer can't stand behind the product to that extent, I'll choose not to bite.

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Ya know, it comes down to this,,,"Do you like and want this acoustic?" Even a new model can dip into the greenbacks! I was from the no neck reset camp...yada,yada! I've since seen the light. If you are going to pay for it...expect to pay to get it set up correctly. Like those Monkees said..."I'm a Believer".......

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It all goes on and keeps going on!

 

 

I have no idea what the answer is, but if you are a beginner with acoustic guitars, it would pay to really, really research what you want or think you want and for now, stick to the top vendors with new guitars and warranty and good advice. Dip the toe in the vintage waters once you have an idea how the stuff works...still no guarantee. Luck of the draw.

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Splake... Healthy attitude. You will make more money.

I didn't buy a new guitar, because I didn't want to spend the money.... So I bought a different model used, which I traded for a different used model, and then added a modification, and then sold that one... And eventually bought the one I should have bought new in the first place. I would have saved a grand if I did it differently.

I did the same thing with my current car; cost me way more than a grand msp_crying.gif .

Right now you have some neat guitars, that will be playable and sound amazing. In the long run their cost won't amount to a hill of beans.

 

 

 

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