Do I Devalue my Vintage Guitar with Sunlight?

johmica

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Another excuse to post of photo of my new love, a '77 Les Paul Deluxe:

IMG_20220606_084152761_HDR.jpg


I've made a habit of leaving her younger sister (also in the photo) on a stand, about eight feet from the bay window in my "basement" (we're on the side of a hill, and half of my basement is fully above ground).

I've been hoping that the exposure to the sun would mellow the burst a bit over time. The nice thing is that the basement is climate controlled, so even when it's in direct sunlight, it's surrounded by 70° air (or cooler). I keep an eye on the fretboard, and treat it often, with string changes.

The Deluxe is in extraordinary condition for its age. It's got a little ding in the finish on the headstock, and there's just the tiniest bit of buckle rash. But otherwise, it's in very good+ condition.

Because it appears to have been case-stored, the finish is still a little clownish. I'd love to leave it in the sunshine for the next several years, and fade that orange a bit. However, I don't want to destroy the value of the guitar, and I don't want to cause any checking in the finish. Of course, I'd continue to monitor the fretboard closely, and treat it with F-One on the reg.

Thoughts?
 

Killing Floor

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Lovely pair.

If sanding and filing the finish doesn’t devalue a guitar I don’t see how sunlight naturally aging the finish would hurt the value.
 

KokoTele

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Natural fading on the finish does not usually have a big impact the value of a vintage instrument. The value is more about how beat up the finish is, unless the fading is extreme.

Unless your windows are very old, they probably block a lot of the UV light. It could take quite a while to make that finish fade at all.
 

1 21 gigawatts

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I didn’t think that the red would fade on the 70’s models. Didn’t Gibson change the red dies in the 60s to prevent fading?
 

radiocaster

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That sounds like a dumb idea, because you're probably upset that the wood pieces don't match, and putting it in the sun won't help.

If it was my guitar, I'd put a sticker on it. Of course the paint would age less/differently under the sticker, but I wouldn't care.

My idea is equally stupid, but I assume if that lighter part gets darker, the dark part will get even more darker. I could be totally wrong.
 
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Peegoo

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You devalue any guitar by simply playing it--unless you're a Fabulously Famous Player.

If you're worried about retaining maximum value, carefully clean the guitar, loosen the strings by two turns of each tuner, place it into its case, stick it under a bed, and forget it's there.
 

BostonTeleGuy

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You can with Gibson's that have red. I have a 60s Dove and the paint job is beautiful red around around the back and sides. I've seen other 60"s Doves faded to like a to kind of a blah tomato and was told that that was caused by light exposure. So probably because I kept it in the case it's still bright red but.... I also devalued it a bit because in the old Gibson cases there is a knob that attached to the compartment behind the neck and that gouged a mark behind the neck before I realized what was happening.
 

schmee

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I doubt it will improve the cherry burst in some way and faded they will likely be devalued a bit.
 

BluesRoot

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I guess I'll chime in because it's a great opportunity for a guitar story. This may or may not answer the OP's question. A year or two before the pandemic. I saw the Brubeck Brother's at the Detroit International Jazz Festival. Their guitarist was Mike Dimicco who played a beautifully weathered Gibson ES 355 or similar model (it had the rotary selector). The finish was very faded and I thought it might be a custom color. Fast forward to the next night: I was watching John Scofield at the same festival and I noticed that in the next row up across the isle was Mike Dimicco and one of the Brubeck brothers. During a brief lull in the music (Scofield was switching instruments or something) I took the opportunity to go over to Mr. Dimicco and first tell him how much I enjoyed his performance and secondly ask about his guitar. He said it was about a 72' and it was originally a sunburst finish (possibly tobacco sunburst?). He said that its color evolved over the years as he played many outdoor gigs in the sun. For my money, that guitar lost no value at all due to the faded finish.
 

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Back at it

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If you’re a collector it stays in the box…

if you’re a player, honest wear and fading, no problem
 

Falstaff1960

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Fading can happen even without the presence of UV light or sunlight. It all depends on the type of dyes that were used.

For example, PRS Private Stock guitars with their beautiful flamed tops and finishes, like the northern lights effect for example, have been known to completely fade out even when kept in their case all the time. These are guitars that can cost up to 10k or more. Since they are not really vintage guitars I would think that it could have some effect on resale value. See below video.

(1) Dramatic Scary Fading of Original Colour | PRS Private Stock Guitar | Closeup Review | Tony Mckenzie - YouTube

But on vintage instruments, some fading is expected to occur after 30 to 50 or more years. It certainly hasn't effected the value on 58 to 60 bursts. Fading is cosmetic only, What I think would effect value is playing condition. There was a thread on here about headstock breaks and how they effect value and desirability on Gibson guitars. For some a big deal and no-buy scenario. For others a devaluing issue but not a no-buy situation. YMMV.
 




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