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Gibson ES-339 with a Repaired Headstock - Good Purchase?


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Just throwing this out there and was hoping to hear from people with headstock repair experience.

 

Ive been looking for a new (or 2nd hand) Les Paul and had been looking at a new 2014 Traditional ($2,000 AUD) on sale in a local store, but today I was put onto this Gibson ES-339. Its $1,500 (thats Australian dollars so probably more like $750 US). I like the idea of the Semi Hollow as it is something a bit different to the Les Paul I use as my main guitar. The catch is that is has a repaired headstock.

 

12348107_993334467404771_7394347718609418926_n.jpg

 

Ive not been in to play it yet, but a friend had and loved the sound and feel, but he said it did have a repaired headstock. He thought the repair (in his words) was rock solid and similar to others he had seen on gibsons. I'm not sure how the repair looks cosmetically. I was heading over today to check it out, but local flooding and generally bad weather has meant I am not going anywhere.

 

I think it is a 2007 or 2008 (http://archive.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/ProductSpotlight/NewModels/Gibson%20Custom%20Proudly/) but I need to check that as well. Retail they are about $5,000 over here and second hand I can only find a few others for significantly more (more than twice the price) than this,

 

So what should I be looking at with a repaired guitar, or should I just run for the hills and leave it be.

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Generally speaking, a broken/repaired headstock will de-valuate a guitar by 50%.

 

Which is about how it is priced. Over here they seem to be about $3,000 second hand. This one is $1,500 but Ive been told there is a bit of wiggle room.

 

I'm just unsure about if there is anything I should be really concerned bout with the repair, or is it a case of if it plays well it should be fine.

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... if it plays well it should be fine.

 

A professionally, properly repaired headstock should give you no problems. If the glue job looks good and tight and smooth to the touch, it should be fine.

 

If there is any offset, wood chunks missing, or major filler, I would think twice.

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I went and played the guitar today. Unfortunately I was playing it through a Fender Twin, an amp I've never gotten along with. I'll be going back with one of my heads, although the guitar did sound pretty awesome.

 

Anyway, from what I can tell the guitar is a 2010 model based on the serial number, comes with the case and the Certificate of Authenticity (not that I really care about that).

 

The break itself is well behind the nut and doesn't seem to affect the playability at all. Apparently if fell off a stand (knocked by someone in the crowd) between sets at a gig. No info on who repaired it. I played for a while and the guitar seemed to stay in tune.

 

It could do with some new strings though.

 

A few pictures of the break.

IMG_2660.jpg

 

IMG_2658.jpg

 

Only other mark on the guitar

IMG_2664.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

You'd better get some good advice about that. There's guys on here that know a lot about this stuff. Be careful. That's not that great of a repair to my untrained eye.

 

It can end up being kind of an emotional decision too. Make sure that you can be happy with not having a first quality instrument. Or just tell yourself you might decide to flip it later. You won't lose much of anything as long as the buying price is reasonable. Just don't get really attached to it. [thumbup]

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  • 2 weeks later...

You'd better get some good advice about that. There's guys on here that know a lot about this stuff. Be careful. That's not that great of a repair to my untrained eye.

 

It can end up being kind of an emotional decision too. Make sure that you can be happy with not having a first quality instrument. Or just tell yourself you might decide to flip it later. You won't lose much of anything as long as the buying price is reasonable. Just don't get really attached to it. [thumbup]

 

Ive never actually unsold a guitar I have bought. I was very hesitant with this one, but ended up spending a lot of time playing it before making a decision. I ended up buying the guitar. Spent a few hours playing it through my gear. Guitar stayed in tune the whole time and played beautifully. Neck is very similar (maybe a tad thinner) than my Les Paul Standard.

 

In terms of the way it plays, you would never know that if had been broken. It plays as you would expect a Gibson to play. It could do with new strings, but other than that plays and sounds awesome.

 

Being a pre-broken guitar means that unlike my Standard, I won't be stressing about it when its out of the house and people are near it.

 

I kind of had the same opinion badbluesplayer mentioned. looks like some corners were cut on the repair...

 

it's too bad because it looks other wise, pretty nice!

 

all the same, I might be doing the "walk away slowly" dance..

 

Ive had it looked at now by two different Luthiers who have both said that the repair looks straight and feels strong. That was my impression of it, but mine is very much an untrained eye. The break appears to have a lot of surface area for the glue and the way it broke would have been a simple repair. Essentially I have been told it is a good solid repair that was not cosmetically finished off.

 

So now I am going to have the area tidied up a little and the gaps filled. Should take a few weeks to be done properly. The crack will still be visible, albeit a lot less than it is now, but the finish in the area will be clean.

 

I'll put some pics up of the refinished area when its done.

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