Can you tell an older guitar by its feel?

Fretting out

Doctor of Teleocity
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A new member was asking about buying a tele from the 70’s

And it got me thinking that if he’s never played a vintage guitar/fender before he should try before buying

I have limited experience but I can definitely feel a difference between an old guitar and new, not bad just different

And to me they feel way different than a guitar made in the last 10-15 years

Even my mij fenders (88/94) feel different than modern guitars, I’d say they feel more akin to the 70’s examples I’ve played

Is it age? Is it the era?

Do you get what I’m getting at? Half the time I don’t know what I’m getting at…

I know I know/ “get off the internet and play”
 
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LowCaster

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I get that feeling with the 1959 Melody Maker in my profile pic. It feels old, from the pots, checkered finish, weakish pickups, aged hardware, dry wood up to the silkscreened logo (except for the Grover tuners added along the way). And it feels right because everything looks and works as it should. Though honestly I think this is mostly subjective: what I know or believe is confirmed by what I see and feel and vice versa… I am pretty sure I could be fooled by a good replica/relic.

But again how can you really appreciate a good relic if you haven’t played a really old guitar.
 

jvin248

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.

Rolled fretboards and relic wear can achieve that feel, some finish or the grime worked into the finish.

Old antique furniture vs new, same way.

Old jeans vs new jeans.

Relic guitars are controversial for pictures but own a good one and it's about the feel. Same feel the vintage guitar buyers chase.

Spend detailed time figuring out the exact details that make you think fondly of the preferred object over the unliked object and you'll gain the insight to tweak any new object into perfection.

.
 

LowCaster

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.

Rolled fretboards and relic wear can achieve that feel, some finish or the grime worked into the finish.

Old antique furniture vs new, same way.

Old jeans vs new jeans.

Relic guitars are controversial for pictures but own a good one and it's about the feel. Same feel the vintage guitar buyers chase.

Spend detailed time figuring out the exact details that make you think fondly of the preferred object over the unliked object and you'll gain the insight to tweak any new object into perfection.

.

Agreed, though if you want more than just the rolled fretboard, getting the right wood, finish, hardware and pickups and a real good relic job, that does not come cheap.
 

Fretting out

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For me it’s not necessarily the wear on them/being broken in,it’s just something feels a little bit off, not in a bad way but in a way that I can only assume is because of the technology used today/tighter tolerances on modern guitars
 

Tricone

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Mojo. What makes a guitar different from the many others. Generally takes a few years of playing an instrument to develop.

I don't think it is as much of today's production tolerance being better than past production tolerance. It is the old guitar was played,used, and set up by another player for so long.

It feels a little off because it has been set up and tweaked for a different player/owner. It takes awhile to "break in" the older guitar and get "your feel" on it.
 

ClashCityTele

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Old guitars smell different.
I could identify my old Tele blindfolded from the smell.

There's an Andertons YT vid with Chappers & the Captain. They are playing guitars blindfolded & have to identify them from the sound. (Not allowed to feel around the body etc). Someone off camera is explaining the rules. Chappers holds up his guitar, sniffs it and says 'It's a Telecaster'. The Captain asks 'how do you know that'. Chappers replies 'It smells like my Telecaster at home'!!!
 

Fretting out

Doctor of Teleocity
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Old guitars smell different.
I could identify my old Tele blindfolded from the smell.

There's an Andertons YT vid with Chappers & the Captain. They are playing guitars blindfolded & have to identify them from the sound. (Not allowed to feel around the body etc). Someone off camera is explaining the rules. Chappers holds up his guitar, sniffs it and says 'It's a Telecaster'. The Captain asks 'how do you know that'. Chappers replies 'It smells like my Telecaster at home'!!!
I almost mentioned smell

But I think for me it’s the feel, although old guitars certainly have their own essence about them

I think if a new 2012 etc. was set up exactly the same as a 1970 etc. I could still tell the difference even with a neutral aroma
 

bgmacaw

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It's because old guitars have...

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Also, old guitars have a lot of cognitive biasing.
 

Chipss36

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I may be crazy, but I think new guitars are what I call “green”.
I think a huge change happens in like 5 years or so, things just seem to gel.

why? Who knows.

can I tell them apart blindfolded? Some for sure, the body just vibrates more, and it’s louder acoustic wise, also I think string balance gets better.

some however may trip me up. Thinking of my last Strat assembly, that thing is loud, and feels alive first lick, the whole body vibrates but that’s an outlier for sure. A new dano 59 does the same.
my les Pual definitely has gotten better sounding over the years.

and I have a few that just have not changed much at all tone wise,
my srv, a few Ibanez guitars.
 

DaveGo

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Please accept this as a personal observation with no inference as to whether there are advantages to one over another. I have an ash-body '67 Tele (just under 7 pounds) and I've had numerous more recent ash-body Fender Teles that weighed 7.5 pounds or under. The one thing I notice is that the wood seems more dense and harder on the '67; the more modern guitars don't seem as dense. All are great guitars but the wood of the '67 is noticeably harder, neck and body. A case of more years of curing or possibly my fertile imagination.
 

bsman

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I've enjoyed my old guitars and I've enjoyed my new guitars. Is my little pony dust sprinkled on the old ones? Not really. I've gotten goosebumps from a 1960 Musicmaster, a Norlin LP Deluxe and a 2012 LP Special Junior P90. In my hands they all felt like mrs. bsman... ;)
 

msalama

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not necessarily the wear on them

For me, it's mostly the wear. The MIM Luxe is nitro coated, reliced and there's hardly any neck lacquer left, whereas the others are poly and quite tidy, with their neck finishes mostly intact apart from maybe a chip here and there. So as strange as it may sound, my newest indeed does feel the oldest!

Smell? The Lester has just a whiff of that vanilla smell, perhaps, whereas the '76 Tele Custom gave off a faint but unmistakable odor of cat pee when I first got her :D Threw the gig bag she arrived in out and gave her a good scrubbing, and we're good now though...
 

Festofish

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I don’t know about all of that. My fave is a twenty year old Schecter PT. It has some dents so I don’t have to be precious with it. I love feeling the dents. It’s had a productive life and now she’s mine.
 




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