Can you tell an older guitar by its feel?

arlum

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I'm not sure what you're noticing is age related. Guitar companies go through good times and bad. Sometimes, after a year or two of a sales slump or because of supply issues, guitar manufacturers will alter the quality of the woods used in the construction of their instrument. The same goes for the quality of the electronics. Sometimes staff gets laid off requiring the remaining builders to work faster reducing attention to detail. When business improves, for whatever reason, parts quality and attention to detail often go in the other direction resulting in a higher quality instrument. On an acoustic guitar like Martin of Gibson, etc. age can play a huge role in the tone of the instrument because as their body wood ages the tones become richer. On an electric guitar age plays far less of a role in anything except altering the resale value of the instrument depending on production numbers for the year and model in question. If the pickups are original they will have certainly lost a bit of output and most likely have a smoother and improved voice. If you're comparing apples to apples, (the vintage and newer built guitar having the same type of bridge, tuners, wood choices, etc.), I can't think of any reason for discernible differences between the two.
 

Refugee

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I don't care for guitars that I've played more than 10 years....unless they've been refretted. Not sure why, but right about the 10 year mark, my frets are toast. I just wear them down over and over again. I tend to put them in a case and just throw them in the closet and buy a new one, telling myself I'll get them refretted one of theses days, but it never happens. Play'em into the ground and buy another.
 

netgear69

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I watched some fella on youtube describing an old vintage Fender guitar he was showing off going through the spec the bit that stuck out he sniffed it and said it smelled like granny's old attic which he was really pleased about :lol:
 

Masmus

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As far as buying a 70's Fender, if you pick up and play 10 identical looking Fenders from that time they will probably all feel different. Don't buy one online unless you have a generous return policy or don't care about the differences.

The wider question. If you could for certain tell the difference between old and new there would be a lot less counterfeit guitars.
 

Preacher

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I can attest that older vintage models that used Nitro do smell different than the new polyester models.

My FIL's '56 smells different even than my '05 Replica which was sprayed in SW High Gloss Lacquer which is supposed to be Nitro but has a little different chemistry.

My latest MIM doesn't have any kind of smell at all. It is poly finish and just feels different than the lacquer finished units.
 

ReverendRevolver

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Instrument dependent.

My experience with pricey vintage stuff in 2022 is that it doesn't matter what it plays like, price is the price.

In 2004 I played a 60s mustang that was $1200ish. It felt less comfortable than my grandfathers 70s mustang, but was a better sounding guitar than the then current MIJ mustang reissue, which retailed at about $1000. Out of curiosity, I played "vintage " strats from the 70s, and they costed more and were less impressive feel and sound wise.

My Toronado, with a "gigging life" of maybe 6 years feels more comfortable and looks as beaten up as guitars with much longer, more sheltered lives. It will stay home until I need it for alternative or grunge again. Poor taste using pafs and an offset for rockabilly.

My take is in this age of measured neck specs and body weights, you can order whatever, but the general play wear and setup that speaks to an individual player is still a shot in the dark. You might find it in a '53 tele, you might find it on an '83 bullet, might find it on a '96 mim tele, or you might be the poor moron who beats a brand new American Performer into submission and sells it to a guy/gal who it clicks with magically, becoming thier perfect instrument.
Because it's all really subjective, and at least half of us aren't the original owners of most of our guitars.

Sorry. Still a crap shoot.
 

Fretting out

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No. But you can probably get some satisfaction owning a birth year instrument. Maybe that’s the the ticket. The last Nash model 63 I played absolutely looked and felt more worn than my actual 73.
For me a birth year guitar is a doozy, from my many search’s and personal taste I have a whooping 2 or 3 choices

91 wasn’t the best for guitars:(
 

TunedupFlat

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For me a birth year guitar is a doozy, from my many search’s and personal taste I have a whooping 2 or 3 choices

91 wasn’t the best for guitars:(
Get a custom shop guitar from 91 and your set. Early custom shop guitars are some great playing guitars but they are getting a little pricey.

I especially dug some of those whiteguard/blackguard teles that were all listed as 52 tele's on their certificates from 90 and 91. Another 91 that I had that was really good, was an custom shop Albert Collins Telecaster.
 

Fretting out

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Get a custom shop guitar from 91 and your set. Early custom shop guitars are some great playing guitars but they are getting a little pricey.

I especially dug some of those whiteguard/blackguard teles that were all listed as 52 tele's on their certificates from 90 and 91. Another 91 that I had that was really good, was an custom shop Albert Collins Telecaster.
An Albert collins would be sweet

So far for a birth year guitar I have my heart set on a strat plus but it seems like the colors got less inspired around that time

I didn’t even think about custom shop, I’ll have to start browsing and keep an eye out
 

String Tree

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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”
They feel different to me.
However, different doesn't always mean Better.

Some old Guitars feel great to play.
Some do not.

There is no Rule set in Stone about it.
 




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