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Vintage Gibsons you've 'let go!'


flameburst

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Just wanted to ask if anyone else here has any big regrets about selling or trading their old vintage Gibson guitars over the years? Please share your horrible experiences here...

 

I still hanker for these ones which are now long, long gone.

 

1961 Cherry 335 (w/PAFs)

1949 ES-350 T with flamed-to-death top (used to belong to E.C. many years ago)

1962 ES-355 mono (w/PAFs)

1961 Byrdland (w/PAFs)

 

flameburst. 8-[

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I have let go of two of my Gibson's over the years. In the mid 70's I picked up a '64 Firebird III, really wanted a Firebird V, so was never completely satisfied with the III. Finally sent it to the Dallas guitar show for sale sometime during the 90's.

 

The other was a '75 ES-335 I bought around 1980, the sweetest playing guitar I ever layed my hands on. I pretty much played that one to death and replaced it with a Historic Series ES-345 in 2000. Although I'm sure the 335 went to a good home, I certainally wish I would have kept it.

 

I made good money on both sales, but probably should have just put them both "under the bed".

 

The one that really gets me is a 60's SG that a friend asked me to sell for her. I wasn't interested in the guitar because it had P-90's and not humbuckers. Sold it to a dealer in St. Louis for almost nothing. If I hadn't been such a humbucker snob, that would have been a great guitar to have. He turned it around in less than a week.

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Mid thirties L-OO

 

It was soooooooo sweet. White logo. A few repairs but it had MOJO!

 

I've let loose well over a dozen 70's-80's les pauls, SG's, Explorers, and even a T-bird that I don't really miss at all. Out of them all there was only one electric that I'd like to have back, and that was a 68 model Goldtop which was MINT with a neck like the business end of a baseball bat.

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I don't think theres a single old Gibson archtop that I don't regret letting go....

 

I've traded a '29 oval-hole L-3, and sold off a '36 L-30, a '41 L-47 and a '42 L-50, all from the "people's archtop" category.

 

The oddball L-3 went in trade for something even more rare and unusual and even more fun to play....a Tonk Brothers era Washburn archtop. The blonde L-47 won't be easy to replace, but the others......well there's a bunch around that are still quite affordable. But those 4 were all good sounding instruments and I bonded with them.

 

So regrets? Yes indeed.

 

My house is small and I'm living on the edge....can't have it all.

 

ziz

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I miss some that I've sold, but don't regret the sales because I used the proceeds to get something that I like even more. A lovely, circa 1930, all mahogany L-0 became an even lovlier, circa 1930 mahogany/adi L-1. A battered circa 1943 all mahogany J-45 became a pristine 1943 SJ.

 

But, if I'd had the resoruces, I'd now have all four.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An excellent topic considering this is the bind I find myself in currently.

 

 

The Background:

 

I've inherited a unique 1958 Gibson L7c (along with numerous other vintage guitars none Gibson) that I've recently had healed. The guitar was previously owned by my father who had it since he was a teenager. Furthermore this guitar was not a decoration, it was his primary work guitar. So, this guitar has seen many many bars. For the past 30 years however it was hung on his wall along with a Gretsch.

 

The guitar was filthy when I retrieved it from his home though the bindings, neck, fret, and body were in very good condition. Initially I knew nothing about guitars. So I did my research and discovered what it was I inherited. Needless to say I was a bit floored with the results of my preliminary research. I held onto the guitar for another year before deciding perhaps that I should sell it. Before selling it I took it to a few vintage guitar shops in the area to get an estimate for its real worth. It seems I only got one honest answer which was - "keep it I can't put a price on it, its a museum piece ". The others offered me cash on the spot for it which seemed more than dubious. Though the offers were relatively high to the uninformed (3-5k) I was turned off by the cash on the spot offer. Being a neophyte in the world of vintage guitar collecting I figured it best to hold my wares until I had a better understanding of the ongoings in this particular market. The reactions this guitar consistently garnered by collectors and knowledgeable players compelled me to hold onto it until I could find someone I could trust to assist me with properly identifying it and cleaning it.

 

(The problem was the guitar was an electronic guitar but the serial number was registering it as an Acoustic. All of the Vintage Guitar store owners were puzzled by it. One in particular was consulting his guitar blue book to identify it and told me that the Electronic Archtops were manufactured as acoustic, and stamped as such and that the electronic components were added later on as the technology became available either at the factory or at the store the guitar was purchased - of course - I don't really know if this is the case but it seemed like a sensible answer)

 

Don't even ask me what guitar center asked for it.

 

Needless to say I kept the guitar.

 

Then one day this past summer I was lucky enough to meet a luthier who worked as a consultant to Gibson through a mutual friend. When I gave him the guitar he gave it a thorough look over, when he got to the electronic pickup guard he seemed to get a little giddy. He immediately called Gibson Montana on the speaker phone dialed I believe Ren Fergurson though he was unavailable the time and instead seemed to be on the line with his secretary or something of the like. She was able to give us a date range for when the guitar was manufactured.

 

The Luthier took several photographs of it and sent them to Mr. Furgerson and a few days later we determined it was in fact a 1958 L7C and not a C-e. The Luthiers initial suspicion seemed to be correct. That the electronic pickup guard was an aftermarket modification. He said however that this did not devalue the guitar, and if anything made it something of a one of a kind. Then the Luthier told me his estimate of the value of the guitar - I must admit this blew my mind. The numbers he suggested far surpassed anything that I had previously read or had heard.

 

So the pickup guard was not original. None the less the pickup guard was a unique item unto its own. The design of the pickup guard was European/German in origin. At least that is the going theory because it uses a european sized connector, wiring and metal plating with an american standard quarter inch adaptor - and it doesn't just control the volume, it has two extra knobs that control tone and something else. Apparently the pickup guard did the job of the equalizer in the amps of the period. Meaning quite simply that at the time this was a serious piece of technology. The luthier said he had never seen an archtop with this type of electronic pickup guard and seemed to be genuinely impressed - he even said as much.

 

Anyway - the guitar needed what I could best describe as a "detailing" - if speaking in automotive terms. It was so incredibly filthy and there were small cracks in the front where the slots had been cut out and I was worried they would progress. Furthermore - having been a collector of many things I knew I didn't want to devalue the guitar by having it restored - it didn't seem to be in such bad condition that it required a restoration. Instead I wanted to preserve it. The Luthier calls it "healing". I hand over the guitar and put a down payment on the work to be done.

 

 

A week goes by and receive my guitar back; the quality of work performed was superb - it didn't even look like the same guitar now that it was clean and put together properly. (Apparently dad had glued the floating pickup guard to the guitar body instead of screwing it on properly and used a metal on wood bridge instead of the standard wood on wood) The man was able to remove the epoxy without damaging the finish of the guitar!! I was stunned. I had the tuners replaced with original gibson parts, I had the bridge converted to a nashville style wood on wood with a felt bottom - the previous one was not original so for sake of sound the luthier recommended the bridge. He seemed to be of the opinion that the guitar was meant to be played, not to be hung on a wall. Which, I suppose if I played that would be my thinking as well. He said were I to sell it would be easy enough to convert it to original spec.

 

The original tuners metal components functions perfectly but the resin knobs on the tuners were so brittle that they would fall apart were they to be turned. So, for sake of preservation I had the tuners removed - they were a liability while still attached to the guitar. I had them replaced with original gibson vintage replacement parts. So the tuners on the guitar are identical to the ones removed. He was also able to arrest the cracks on the front of the guitar that had developed next to the cut outs. I did not have this restored - I prefer the vintage look anyway. A crack, nick or bump IMO only enhances the look of an old instrument.

 

On top of this he had sent out word that the guitar was potentially for sale since he knew I had been interested in selling it previous to the work he performed on it. I received a substantial offer for the guitar almost immediately. The offer was far more than any offer I had received on the guitar previously. I told him I had to take 10 days to think this over.

 

Today is day 9.

 

 

I never had an interest in the guitar before. In fact you could say I snubbed the guitar .. perhaps as reaction to my father playing it - we did not have the best of relationships. Oddly, through the process of having this guitar healed I feel that I got a bit closer to my father. He had always wanted me to play the guitar (musicians ran in the family, his father played trombone for the Benny Goodman band and his brother was a master banjo player in a traveling bluegrass band) and I'd always decline. Now I view these as missed opportunities and have taken every free moment I've had to noodle on this thing.

 

 

It seems as each day goes by I admire the guitar more and more. Previous to meeting the luthier I had no context with which to appreciate the historical and cultural value of the guitar. When he termed it a rarefied item it dawned on me what I actually had in my possession.

 

It's been such an adventure owning this guitar and it's created so many opportunities to meet great people I feel like I've come to bond with the instrument. I almost feel obligated to learn to play it and keep it now and I'd hate to regret having sold it. Especially considering it is unlikely I'd ever have one in my possession again.

 

A few months ago, had the same offer been made for the guitar I wouldn't have thought twice about selling it. The deal would have been made instantly.

 

Now.. now I don't know what to do. The guitar is the most valuable item I own. I don't really know how often a deal like this is going to come along. Being that I'm not a guitar player, to me its primary purpose is to serve as an art object. I don't necessarily feel deserving of this thing because I so adamantly shunned the guitar - but maybe thats the irony - maybe that is the lesson to be learned. I shunned my Father and I regret it terribly - I'm thinking maybe I should give this guitar a chance despite the potential windfall it would provide me.

 

I'm not really desperate for money and I figure the guitar will only increase in value over the years. My only real worry is keeping it safe and well preserved. To be honest, this has caused me a bit of anxiety.

 

 

So... if you all can offer any insight - any advice as to how I should consider the sale - I'd appreciate it. My circumstances might differ from all of yours - being that this was not a passion of mine to begin with. But maybe, maybe some of you have been in similar positions. Again any input would be genuinely appreciated.

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I agree with your luthier, this guitar, as with all fine instruments, should be played and enjoyed. Actually, the best way to preserve it is to play it. Keep it strung, tuned, and well played, and clean and polish it now and then. Once you sell it you can never really know what happens to it. It might just go into some collector's vault, never to see the light of day or make any music again. But the cash might buy you something you have more interst in or need for.

 

It's a great story, and if you have any inclination to learn to play, it will bring you great joy and sentiment if you keep it. A few years ago I picked up a 1947 L-7 from the original owner. It was advertised for sale but I could tell he really hated to part with it, and had it over priced such as not to really invite any offers. After explaning to him that I was a professional guitar player, not a collector, and that this guitar would continue to be played and enjoyed by me and those listening to it, he sold it to me for way below his asking price (at what the guitar was really worth). I think it worked out for both of us, he knows it went to a good home, and I play it daily and gig with it regularly.

 

All that doesn't really help much, does it. Good luck with your dilemma

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Its interesting that you mention that the individual who sold you your L-7 desired that it not go on someones wall never to see the light of day again - that was my identical worry. I told the luthier I'd prefer to sell the guitar to someone who will perform with it - so that I might see it again in a magazine, on television or in a concert if I were to sell it.

 

 

It would definitely pain me to sell the guitar to a collector and not a performer. I can empathize with that sentiment greatly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I agree with your luthier' date=' this guitar, as with all fine instruments, should be played and enjoyed. Actually, the best way to preserve it is to play it. Keep it strung, tuned, and well played, and clean and polish it now and then. Once you sell it you can never really know what happens to it. It might just go into some collector's vault, never to see the light of day or make any music again. But the cash might buy you something you have more interst in or need for.

 

It's a great story, and if you have any inclination to learn to play, it will bring you great joy and sentiment if you keep it. A few years ago I picked up a 1947 L-7 from the original owner. It was advertised for sale but I could tell he really hated to part with it, and had it over priced such as not to really invite any offers. After explaning to him that I was a professional guitar player, not a collector, and that this guitar would continue to be played and enjoyed by me and those listening to it, he sold it to me for way below his asking price (at what the guitar was really worth). I think it worked out for both of us, he knows it went to a good home, and I play it daily and gig with it regularly.

 

All that doesn't really help much, does it. Good luck with your dilemma

 

[/quote']

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Please try to link some photos of this L7-C - I would love to see it!

 

I have an unusual L7 (1963) which has a factory fitted Charlie Christian 'Bar' pick-up. The orange label states the model designation as L7-C 'elec'.

 

According to Ducchoissoir's Gibson Electrics book, Gibson only made a handful of these.

 

Your L7-C sounds very unusual. If you can post some pictures I'd appreciate it, as I'm sure some other members on this forum will too.

 

I would hang onto it for as long as possible, look after it, play it... etc. If/when the day comes when you feel you can't live with it, then shop around for the best price. There are collector/players out there, and some of them are very nice, reasonable people. Equally, there are sharks too - so watch out! Do not not take any less than the highest price you are ever offered. It's a buyer's market, and guitarists are often a fickle bunch - choosing only to buy instruments which their 'hero's play/ed, and until Slash or Bryan Adams or any number of celeb players are seen in videos or MTV with a Gibson archtop in tow, then they will be relatively 'affordable' and a great viable guitar for many people.

 

Who knows... maybe one day people will realise just how FEW L7-C's or L5's or ES-5 Switchmaster's were made - and these models will one day be revered as highly as a mass produced Les Paul, SG or pre-CBS Fender guitar!??? Maybe not - but they sure have rarity value and are wonderful guitars.

 

Play it and I'm sure you will love it. It's a great connection to your past, and Americana culture too.

 

flameburst.

 

 

An excellent topic considering this is the bind I find myself in currently.

 

 

The Background:

 

I've inherited a unique 1958 Gibson L7c (along with numerous other vintage guitars none Gibson) that I've recently had healed. The guitar was previously owned by my father who had it since he was a teenager. Furthermore this guitar was not a decoration' date=' it was his primary work guitar. So, this guitar has seen many many bars. For the past 30 years however it was hung on his wall along with a Gretsch.

 

The guitar was filthy when I retrieved it from his home though the bindings, neck, fret, and body were in very good condition. Initially I knew nothing about guitars. So I did my research and discovered what it was I inherited. Needless to say I was a bit floored with the results of my preliminary research. I held onto the guitar for another year before deciding perhaps that I should sell it. Before selling it I took it to a few vintage guitar shops in the area to get an estimate for its real worth. It seems I only got one honest answer which was - "keep it I can't put a price on it, its a museum piece ". The others offered me cash on the spot for it which seemed more than dubious. Though the offers were relatively high to the uninformed (3-5k) I was turned off by the cash on the spot offer. Being a neophyte in the world of vintage guitar collecting I figured it best to hold my wares until I had a better understanding of the ongoings in this particular market. The reactions this guitar consistently garnered by collectors and knowledgeable players compelled me to hold onto it until I could find someone I could trust to assist me with properly identifying it and cleaning it.

 

(The problem was the guitar was an electronic guitar but the serial number was registering it as an Acoustic. All of the Vintage Guitar store owners were puzzled by it. One in particular was consulting his guitar blue book to identify it and told me that the Electronic Archtops were manufactured as acoustic, and stamped as such and that the electronic components were added later on as the technology became available either at the factory or at the store the guitar was purchased - of course - I don't really know if this is the case but it seemed like a sensible answer)

 

Don't even ask me what guitar center asked for it.

 

Needless to say I kept the guitar.

 

Then one day this past summer I was lucky enough to meet a luthier who worked as a consultant to Gibson through a mutual friend. When I gave him the guitar he gave it a thorough look over, when he got to the electronic pickup guard he seemed to get a little giddy. He immediately called Gibson Montana on the speaker phone dialed I believe Ren Fergurson though he was unavailable the time and instead seemed to be on the line with his secretary or something of the like. She was able to give us a date range for when the guitar was manufactured.

 

The Luthier took several photographs of it and sent them to Mr. Furgerson and a few days later we determined it was in fact a 1958 L7C and not a C-e. The Luthiers initial suspicion seemed to be correct. That the electronic pickup guard was an aftermarket modification. He said however that this did not devalue the guitar, and if anything made it something of a one of a kind. Then the Luthier told me his estimate of the value of the guitar - I must admit this blew my mind. The numbers he suggested far surpassed anything that I had previously read or had heard.

 

So the pickup guard was not original. None the less the pickup guard was a unique item unto its own. The design of the pickup guard was European/German in origin. At least that is the going theory because it uses a european sized connector, wiring and metal plating with an american standard quarter inch adaptor - and it doesn't just control the volume, it has two extra knobs that control tone and something else. Apparently the pickup guard did the job of the equalizer in the amps of the period. Meaning quite simply that at the time this was a serious piece of technology. The luthier said he had never seen an archtop with this type of electronic pickup guard and seemed to be genuinely impressed - he even said as much.

 

Anyway - the guitar needed what I could best describe as a "detailing" - if speaking in automotive terms. It was so incredibly filthy and there were small cracks in the front where the slots had been cut out and I was worried they would progress. Furthermore - having been a collector of many things I knew I didn't want to devalue the guitar by having it restored - it didn't seem to be in such bad condition that it required a restoration. Instead I wanted to preserve it. The Luthier calls it "healing". I hand over the guitar and put a down payment on the work to be done.

 

 

A week goes by and receive my guitar back; the quality of work performed was superb - it didn't even look like the same guitar now that it was clean and put together properly. (Apparently dad had glued the floating pickup guard to the guitar body instead of screwing it on properly and used a metal on wood bridge instead of the standard wood on wood) The man was able to remove the epoxy without damaging the finish of the guitar!! I was stunned. I had the tuners replaced with original gibson parts, I had the bridge converted to a nashville style wood on wood with a felt bottom - the previous one was not original so for sake of sound the luthier recommended the bridge. He seemed to be of the opinion that the guitar was meant to be played, not to be hung on a wall. Which, I suppose if I played that would be my thinking as well. He said were I to sell it would be easy enough to convert it to original spec.

 

The original tuners metal components functions perfectly but the resin knobs on the tuners were so brittle that they would fall apart were they to be turned. So, for sake of preservation I had the tuners removed - they were a liability while still attached to the guitar. I had them replaced with original gibson vintage replacement parts. So the tuners on the guitar are identical to the ones removed. He was also able to arrest the cracks on the front of the guitar that had developed next to the cut outs. I did not have this restored - I prefer the vintage look anyway. A crack, nick or bump IMO only enhances the look of an old instrument.

 

On top of this he had sent out word that the guitar was potentially for sale since he knew I had been interested in selling it previous to the work he performed on it. I received a substantial offer for the guitar almost immediately. The offer was far more than any offer I had received on the guitar previously. I told him I had to take 10 days to think this over.

 

Today is day 9.

 

 

I never had an interest in the guitar before. In fact you could say I snubbed the guitar .. perhaps as reaction to my father playing it - we did not have the best of relationships. Oddly, through the process of having this guitar healed I feel that I got a bit closer to my father. He had always wanted me to play the guitar (musicians ran in the family, his father played trombone for the Benny Goodman band and his brother was a master banjo player in a traveling bluegrass band) and I'd always decline. Now I view these as missed opportunities and have taken every free moment I've had to noodle on this thing.

 

 

It seems as each day goes by I admire the guitar more and more. Previous to meeting the luthier I had no context with which to appreciate the historical and cultural value of the guitar. When he termed it a rarefied item it dawned on me what I actually had in my possession.

 

It's been such an adventure owning this guitar and it's created so many opportunities to meet great people I feel like I've come to bond with the instrument. I almost feel obligated to learn to play it and keep it now and I'd hate to regret having sold it. Especially considering it is unlikely I'd ever have one in my possession again.

 

A few months ago, had the same offer been made for the guitar I wouldn't have thought twice about selling it. The deal would have been made instantly.

 

Now.. now I don't know what to do. The guitar is the most valuable item I own. I don't really know how often a deal like this is going to come along. Being that I'm not a guitar player, to me its primary purpose is to serve as an art object. I don't necessarily feel deserving of this thing because I so adamantly shunned the guitar - but maybe thats the irony - maybe that is the lesson to be learned. I shunned my Father and I regret it terribly - I'm thinking maybe I should give this guitar a chance despite the potential windfall it would provide me.

 

I'm not really desperate for money and I figure the guitar will only increase in value over the years. My only real worry is keeping it safe and well preserved. To be honest, this has caused me a bit of anxiety.

 

 

So... if you all can offer any insight - any advice as to how I should consider the sale - I'd appreciate it. My circumstances might differ from all of yours - being that this was not a passion of mine to begin with. But maybe, maybe some of you have been in similar positions. Again any input would be genuinely appreciated.[/quote']

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Sure.. I'll post some pics.

 

 

 

 

This is the connector on the floating electronic pick guard:

 

connector.jpg

 

 

and here are a few shots of the guitar and the pickguard:

 

pickupguard.jpg

 

L7-C.jpg

 

 

 

I apologize for not using a better camera - was using the camera on my mini-dv cam. I'll post some better photographs when I get a chance to use my friends hasleblad.

 

 

Well I don't know what a good offer really is for this guitar - the value I was told - and I don't know if this is uncouth to mention this was no less than 20k - and I had been offered more than that for this guitar (I was debating if I could get more for my money over 10 years if I took the sale and invested it in the stock market). I have since turned the offer down. I figured when people start throwing numbers around like that it can only become more valuable as it ages in my possession.

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65 melody,59 melody,62,65 sg spec.,61[2],62 sg standard,61 335 burst, 64 [2] 345,trini lopez 63,55,58,59[2]les jr.,59[2]les special,57 les custom,58 les gt,flying v#0095[original owner 65],les gt 67,30s the gibson lap hawaiian,always wanted a firebird, passed on a 3 pickup reverse for 475 dollars what a dope

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Oh Yeah - The ones that got away!! Several LP's but that doesn't hurt as much; I prefer my late 80's Epiphone...

1. '60's ES-330 - traded for something, can't remember what

2. '67 ES-335 12 string (pristine) traded to have a custom Strat made, which I still have

3. '67 ES-175 sold to pay bills in '97 for..........$1200...duh

4. And I hate to even put this in writing. I bought a '63 SG with a Gibson Maestro tailpiece in 1970 for.....$50.00 and turned around and sold to the guy I bought it from for $500.00 20 or so years later. Another..........DUH

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There have been a few....But these two ,I regret for monetary reasons, mainly. A '67 ES-355 (replaced electronics and too thin of a neck)...and a '60 Les Paul JR (Serial # mucked-up and too thin of a neck). Both guitars went up in value after selling/trading....But I was not in love with them...playability-wise!

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  • 1 month later...

I just sold this one but do not regret it as I never played it and it helped me get an R0 LPSPDC. It's a 1950 ES-150, that I inherited from my dad who bought it yet never ever played it. It had no real sentimental value, like his '58 Martin 00-18 that he had forever, and now I have.

l_7121308ba483fabbdc139a649d6343a0.jpg

l_f9bd7efef161e2ff8eb98a5e5815c216.jpg

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A white 64 Les Paul/SG custom, w/gold hardware, including a Bigsby, and 3- count 'em 3 PAF's.

A 70's white top (yes, just the top, the sides, back, and neck were black) LP Custom.

My first good guitar- an early 60's 2 pup Melody Maker,

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Is this a form of group therapy?

I wonder if I'll feel better after I admit what a bone-brain I was to sell my '67 Firebird V12 for $300 or so in 1991.

It was one of 272 total V12's made, 24 of which were shipped in '67.

Wow, it's funny, but I don't feel any better...

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My experience after 30 some years playing and trading is that guitars are like women; Ya wonder if you kept or let go the right ones. Even if I were rich' date=' how many can you actually play in a day/week? john [/quote']

 

 

Ah John, it sounds like you're trying in vain to justify selling 'em!!! LET IT ALL OUT MAN!!! We're here for you!! *LOL*

 

I reckon no matter how many you can play in one week or month the difference in sounds and feelings justifys having a good range and keeps us playing and getting better... plus they can be a pretty good investment!

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