Vintage Guitar Buying Tips for the
I have purchased a significant number
of vintage and non-vintage guitars through online auctions, while
most represented good win-win deals, a few were not so good.
Over time, I've learned a few very important and valuable lessons .
. . some of these lessons may seem like common sense, but at times
it easy to get caught up in the bidding fever and lose sight of
How do you avoid being burned on your next vintage guitar purchase?
Here are a few guitar buying insights.
1.) If it seems too good to be true,
it probably is. There are fewer fools out there than you may
think . . . most sellers know EXACTLY what they are selling!
It is almost certain that you 'are not' going to be able to buy a
$12,000 vintage guitar for $400 from some naiveté seller.
2.) If their description is vague
. . . it is likely intended to cause you to believe they just
don't know what a great guitar they are selling away.
3.) If the sellers photos are fuzzy
. . . it is also very likely intentional. What are they
trying to hide? Finish flaws, damage, rust?
4.) No photographs of key guitar features . . like the
headstock or neck joint. Again, this is usually intentional.
I once bought a "vintage 60's Gibson SG Jr." for what seemed like a
fair price. The SG Jr. was presented with photos of the body
(front and back), neck joint, and even the serial number on the back
of the headstock. The seller however, did not mention nor did he
include a photograph of the face of the headstock . . . which was
missing the all important Gibson logo. My lesson, never assume
5.) Never assume anything . . .
if you can't see it, then you simply don't know what you'll be
getting with the guitar.
I once purchased a vintage guitar that had deep ruts in the
fretboard and frets. The seller of course did refer to this .
. . but as "light play wear." There were no close up photos of
6.) Ask questions . . .
Are they the guitar's original owner?
Are 'all parts' original or replica parts?
Do all the electronics (pots & pickups) work?
Have any body or neck repairs been made?
Are there extra holes drilled in the guitar?
Is the serial number completely visible?
Ask any and all questions you may have!
7.) Ask for more photos . . .
If you're going to plunk down several hundred or several thousand
dollars, the seller should be more then happy to respond to serious
8.) If the seller is reluctant to;
answer your questions directly . . . or reluctant provide more
photos of key areas of the guitar . . . If so then RUN, let someone
else be that seller's sucker.
9.) Check out the sellers ratings
as a seller!
What do others who have purchased items from them have to say about
the experience? (If most of their feedback is as a buyer . . .
don't assume they are also a good seller!
I try to do business with "sellers" who have at least several dozen
higher dollar sales under their belt (preferably guitars). I
also look for 99.5 to 100% satisfaction ratings.
10.) The most important tip of all
. . . do run through a check list of all of the above tips and
suggestions BEFORE you place a bid.
There are great vintage guitar buys
out there, just be an informed and cautious buyer. Good guitar