Guitar originality

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Diytelecaster, Oct 18, 2020 at 5:44 PM.

  1. Diytelecaster

    Diytelecaster TDPRI Member

    Jan 25, 2018
    How do. At what point do you consider a guitar not original.
    Things replaced due wear/failure for me are:-
    Strings obviously
    Tuners, like for like or near as
    With all these changes I'd still consider original.
    Would you buy a vintage car running the same brakes?
  2. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

    May 8, 2008
    Knoxville TN for now
    Original is original to the serious collector or vintage afficionado...

    Strings are about the only thing allowable ...

    There is no near or almost original, just as there is no Near Mint ...
    Fretting out likes this.
  3. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2006
    It's the ship of Theseus all over again (assuming that parts of a thing can be changed without necessarily changing the thing, how many or what sort of changes until it is a different thing?).

    For a guitar's identity as this particular guitar, I think its history and role need to be taken into account. My Strat is my Strat so long as it's still my Strat, regardless of anything else.

    In the business sense, "original" is always best, even if it's crap (like say dead pickups), because even these parts can help prove the guitar is whatever desirable thing a seller claims/a buyer hopes.

    To a "civilian" who's nevertheless somewhat educated about guitars, same neck and same body are probably enough for "same guitar".

    I think it really goes to show that the whole "original vintage guitar" thing is a little silly. Many (if not most) electric guitars ever made are largely assembly-line products made with interchangeable parts that could have ended up on any other guitar, and designed to be set up to an individual's needs, and for parts to be fairly easily replaced in case of failure or a desire for modification. Many stories of some magically perfect old guitar probably boil down to something the guitarist already likes (say an old Strat found by a Strat lover) that, by sheer coincidence, happens to be set up in such a way that's just right for them. That's a wonderful thing, but I'm sure that a couple of screwdrivers and Allen keys could have gotten most any Strat to that point.

    If you like a specific guitar or a certain feature set is important to you, by all means have at it. But the mere fact of a guitar being a certain age or from a certain time does not in itself say anything about the quality of that guitar.
    JL_LI and Otis Fine like this.
  4. JJLC

    JJLC Tele-Holic

    Jan 20, 2014
    in this world of alternative facts anything is possible but buyer beware .......
    ozcal likes this.
  5. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 2, 2019
    Ohio (Nerk)
    I just replaced one tuning machine on my ancient and unknown metal lapsteel. I kept the same shaft, but one gear, the key, and bracket are different. It is now non original.

    But I can tune the damn thing! Victory.

    I'm going to use this thread to ask a question:
    16030600434012639814443317552243.jpg 16030601159245083370647539518155.jpg
    This is a Gibson lapsteel from the early 40s, an EH-185.
    It's in better shape than examples that have sold for $2000. If it were a new instrument, I'd rate it in excellent condition.
    The tuners are obviously replaced. Kluson deluxes I think. Not original, but the original machines would get replaced by a buyer anyway, right?

    But that pickup. I dont even know what it is. These originally had a slanted single coil big bickup with an incredibly sexy tortoise bobbin topper the pole pieces poked through. Plainly this isnt it. Someone (more than 20 years ago at this point) mounted this thing, putting 4 screws through the otherwise pristine black stuff on the face of the instrument.

    Is this thing original?

    No. Its gonna fetch probably $1200. It feels like the highest quality lapsteel I've ever touched. Better than the Gretche, Rickenbacher, Fender, Supro, and the other Gibson. But when you're talking about an 80 year old lapsteel, that pickup takes it from collection gem to immaculately preserved player instrument.
    Original depends on the buyer. Anyone just keeping a guitar has thier own view that trumps "original ".
    My 50s Fender BSB dual8 16030608908287811003740236068134.jpg
    IS original. Apart from strings and the obvious feet of its legs(those wear out every year or so....). Totally original. One of the kids gets it when I kick the bucket. That'll be at least 50 years from now, barring freak accident, so its "original " status doesn't really mean anything.

    (Although, if it were a tele, I could pay off the house by selling it.....)

    None of my electrics are original. 3 of them were made in 1999, everything else later.

    I'd rather pay mad money for a 1960 brownface pro that's had a cap job and a fixed power cord than an all original time bomb.
    All subjective, always depends on the Instrument.
    Collectors market inflates originality. We just play the damn guitars. (Or, in my case, spend 2 decades and counting trying to play the thing ;) )
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 7:01 PM
  6. BFcaster

    BFcaster Tele-Meister

    Mar 13, 2005
    Iowa City IA
    To me original is everything but the strings. That said tuners get bent, nuts may have never been correct, and pots, switches, jacks and soldering can go bad. If I was to consider buying a very old guitar that was by my definition "all original", I know the first thing I would do is change out what needed changed out---so it therefore by my own hand was no longer all original. To me the guitar has to be playable and enjoyed...even improved (a proper nut as opposed to a stock plastic one, for example), or it's just a collection of parts that really want to expose their potential. I'm not a collector, I'm a player that appreciates his instruments.
    Would I do that to a closet original Broadcaster find that someone wanted to just give me, maybe all corroded and stuff?? I probably would, but I would look far and wide to find the working replacements from that same guitar make/era. How could I have one and not play it? I'd certainly keep the original parts in the case, for chain-of-evidence or whatever. If someone wants those original bad pots back in there, more power to him for being 'all original'. Enjoy the guitar.
  7. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 18, 2015
    How do you know how many have replaced nuts? It doesn't seem to be an easily identifiable part.
  8. telleutelleme

    telleutelleme Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jan 15, 2010
    All my hair is gone yet I'm still original. Maybe if I lose an appendage, perhaps an ear I might not be original. In either case according to the wife, no sale value.
    WalthamMoosical likes this.
  9. Henley

    Henley Tele-Meister

    Sep 4, 2017
    Beach Cities
    As a buyer, if you change anything but the strings,. it is not original. Also as a used buyer, if the owner(s) changed out anything like pot's, pickups, frets and the sort, the guitar loses points and they usually expect less anyway.

    A perfect new nut or fret job does little to change the value to me however, more so, it's usually indicative of what is a good used vintage that has been played. Anything reversible with NOS parts does not bother me either. As said, 100% originality is mainly important to collectors and obsessive purists,. and buyers that want to change it first themselves.
  10. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2020
    Brooklyn, NY
    At first, Spinal Tap were called The Originals, but they found out there was already another band with that name. So they went with The New Originals.
  11. LAPlayer

    LAPlayer Tele-Meister

    May 13, 2020
    LA / Denver
    Altered from its original state.
  12. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 9, 2010
    I too think anything beyond strings is not 100% original and should not be represented as such
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