What Makes a Guitar Vintage – 7 Ways You Need To Know

A vintage object can be any object that is over a century old, though there’s no fixed chronological definition for how old something has to be in order to be classified as vintage. Buying Vintage guitars for all time is typically around 30 years old or probably made before the 1980s or 70s.  Though, they can also be guitars that have a certain classical quality to them. So, even some of the newer instruments can also fall under this category.

How to buy a vintage guitar?

There are a lot of things that you need to consider and have a clear mind about while aiming to purchase a vintage guitar. A few of which could be;

1. Seller

Even though most buyers prefer to go for buying from some actual stores, there might be an individual who would go for individual sellers too. Though buying from actual stores might be more sensible since they’d have repair arrangements, policies, and at least some reputation. Going for individual sellers always comes with risks and moreover you’re never sure about the actual pricing of the thing itself. It is important that you consider your seller before aiming to purchase a vintage guitar.

2. Payment Method

The second thing you need to keep in consideration is the method of payment that your seller is willing to accept. Online shopping is always risky compared to paying on spot. Make sure that you have checked your item completely before you pay for it.

3. Condition

The condition of the guitar is very much important. No matter how vintage they are, never feel shy enough to question the condition of the guitar. You need to prioritize your own knowledge over comfort. Most sellers do have details about the conditional issues of their instrument especially if they are professional.

4. Originality

Normally guitarists go for a condition over originality. However, the real collectors barely care about the condition of the instruments. They’re often more concerned about the originality of the instrument that they are looking for. You need to decide beforehand, whether you want to prioritize condition or originality. Since with originality you’d have to compromise on the condition, as ‘all original’ can be really difficult to find.

5. Original parts:

Since guitars are modular instruments and guitarists are great at modifications, it’s only natural that many of the guitars that are ‘vintage’ might not have their own original parts anymore. These original parts may include the pickups, bridged, nuts, tuning machines, and many such components. The more the modification, the less value there is for collectors. For most collectors, pickups are the most valued item. In most cases, even if the replacements actually make the guitar better than before, the serious collectors don’t actually prefer it. They’d rather go for the original defective product than go for the modification. So while seeking a vintage, keep the originality of parts into consideration.

6. Original Finish vs. Refinished:

Just like the originality of parts matters a lot for collectors, the originality of the finish is also equally crucial. Refinished or ‘refine’ labeled guitars are the ones that are repainted or refined at some point in time. Now, these repainting jobs can vary from professional delicate painting to even spray paints. Though, they also negatively affect the buyer value. For serious collectors, even the faded and scratched body would hold more value over a spotless painted finish.

7. Repairs

Since originality matters a lot, repairs are also one factor that can be deciding for the value of the vintage guitar. One of these factors is playability. These also include structural properties like cracks or any warps that may impact the sound of the instrument. After all, for the guitar, its sound is always the selling point for it. It’s better to ask for any potential repairs that had been done to the instrument if you are unclear about it.

The most common repairs, in this case, are the Headstock repairs. The angle of the headstock in relation to the neck of the guitar is very important since it affects the strings on the fretboard. The high tension of these strings due to that angle can make the device more vulnerable to crack and breaks. So, headstock repairs are the most common types of repairs that may even leave a true original vintage worth less than it actually is.

7. Player vs. Collector Grade

Player grade refers to nonoriginal types of vintage guitars since they have less to do with the interest of the collector and more to do with someone desiring to hold something cooler than they already have. The vintage types often go through a lot of structural modifications as well as refinishes. On the other hand, the collector grade vintage guitars are meant to be eye candy.

They are supposed to be without any modifications and nearly all of it should be structurally original.  They are not to be played or toyed with, ironically enough they’d cost more than the modified vintages with actually better performance capabilities. It all depends upon the nature of the collector and their priorities. After all vintage guitar prices fall and rise depending upon their tendency to maintain their original selves.

What Should I Know When Buying a Vintage Guitar?

These are the few things that you’d need to keep in mind both while buying or while selling vintage guitars.

Those who might wonder where do vintage guitar dealers even get all these guitars, there’s actually a lot of different places that can be the source. One of the main ones is Guitar shows where people come to buy and sell their instruments. Though with the changing times there are many who deal locally or online. In these cases, they acquire guitars through some old ancestral collections or maybe even something they’d used at some point in their own life.

In those cases, you’d need to be keener about going through your product and making sure to clear any confusion beforehand. There can of course be other dealers that might just be into the trading of these products. They might just buy a vintage item from somewhere and sell it elsewhere guitar in the world. Though most sellers keep their sources secret and that is also the secret of their success. So if you have a vintage guitar for sale you might like to keep a few points here and there into consideration, if you really want your sale to be a successful one.

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