1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Questions Regarding the Mechanics of Buying a Vintage Guitar

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by DaveGo, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. GuyR

    GuyR TDPRI Member

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    29
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2017
    Location:
    London
    Best to buy from a reputable dealer with a no quibble returns policy and a reasonable approval period. If you like the instrument, have an expert third party inspection during the approval period and it is difficult to go wrong.
    Private sales from long term members of a specialist forum, with agreed approval period has also been fine for me.
    In the UK, I have bought very well visiting the specialist guitar auctions near Bath. Not sure if there are similar in the US, but in the UK, most vintage buyers are not sufficiently confident in their judgement to bid, so good value can be had. At the auction where I bought a v nice 66 tele for £5500 including premium. a fabulous 56 esquire, original apart from stripped body, was £6250. I should have bought both. I went to buy one of 5 pre cbs Strats, but the teles were better.
     
    aadvark likes this.
  2. aadvark

    aadvark Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    496
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Location:
    melbourne
    I've bought quite a few vintage guitars online, (including the blackguard, a '43 Martin) from overseas, interstate...

    as earlier posters have said, considerable due diligence is required, but so far, touch wood, I've had no bad experiences.

    Phone calls, referees, reputable credentials, good photos, clips audio, and a 'good feeling' - no impulse buys please!- all contribute to my decision.

    The other thing is knowing what you want in terms of specs. neck, feel and sound. Also what are you willing to sacrifice along the playability/collectability line...

    If you are confident about all these things, really good guitars can be had outside your region (In my case Australia!)

    I acquire guitars to play, and if they don't get played I sell them on.
     
    Skamania likes this.
  3. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    16,463
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kimberton
    I'm thinking if you're the kind of person who buys new cars, you'd probably buy from a dealer.
    If you're more of a hands-on tire-kicker type and let someone else take the new car price hit, you'll look for a private deal.
    The latter also takes more patience. You can't necessarily say, I'm going to buy a vintage guitar this week; you have to look for the guitar and the seller you're comfortable with.
    Also...I find that, because of the 30 day return policy, even some of the "reputable dealers" give crappy descriptions unless you ask very specific questions and request plenty of pics. They feel like they don't have to over extend themselves in this way because you can just send it back, right?
    But there are pitfalls attached to this method.
     
  4. Skamania

    Skamania Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    337
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2018
    Location:
    California
    If this dealer is the one I’m thinking of in the Bay Area I always follow his inventory. Usually his inventory is refinished as that is what he does. I have been looking at that guitar but is more than I want to spend. All the Teles that have come through that shop have sold, usually fast. As with most vintage instruments you have to take into account that they will take time to sell unless the right buyer comes along. This is one of those.

    This seller has a 48 hour return policy. I don’t know if that is a good price but one owner 67 Teles are fairly rare especially in that condition with the hang tag, case and other case candy still there. Should the neck come off? I don't know. It would be nice to know what is in there. Seems like a reasonable question. I would buy from this dealer if a Tele really caught my eye. The price may be negotiable. But its your money and seeing the neck may be your requirement to buy a guitar. If interested I would fly to Oakland to check it out.

    I bought a vintage Tele online from a reputable dealer in Seattle. If I ever buy anything online again, I want one or two day air from Fed-Ex and not Fed-Ex Home. Just my $0.02 worth. YMMV.
     
    DaveGo likes this.
  5. DaveGo

    DaveGo Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    242
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Location:
    Austin
    Skamania, thanks for your comments. The price on this particular guitar is (or was) non-negotiable. The premium is for the owner's nostalgia. He really doesn't want to sell it but if someone pays the price...

    Dave
     
    Skamania likes this.
  6. Highnumbers

    Highnumbers NEW MEMBER!

    Posts:
    2
    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Location:
    Orange County
    The biggest factor is the price, and how much you're comfortable with spending on a calculated gamble.

    Whether it's a "good one" is totally subjective and you simply won't know until it's in your hands.

    But when it comes to being original or accurately represented, at some $ point (especially when you're talking high-dollar pre-CBS stuff) you are best advised to purchase from a longstanding reputable dealer. As the old saying in the Rolex world goes, you "buy the seller" when you pay a premium for an instrument that you know 100% will be delivered as advertised.

    That premium even extends past your purchase. If you have proof of buying a guitar from Norman Harris, ECG, Carter's, Gruhn, Elderly, CME, Wellstrung Guitars or many other reputable longstanding dealers, that is valuable when reselling the guitar in the future.
     
    Skamania likes this.
  7. Rykus

    Rykus TDPRI Member

    Age:
    40
    Posts:
    19
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast BC
    I live in Canada so my options for buying in person are more limited, thus I have bought a few online purchases through ebay and gbase/reverb through vintage dealers. So far I only had 2 bad experiences out of 100's of various purchases... a fake PAF off ebay doh! And a early Murphy R9 that was a bit iffy, either fake or a vintage world commissioned one...

    Gotta say the worst packed guitar I ever got, worse than some sub 1000$ ones I bought to flip, was a refinished 1958 Custom from Elderly... they literally just had the guitar in a ****ty 60's case loose in a guitar shipping box with no insulation at all.. seriously just loose banging back and forth when got it thankfully and miraculously undamaged... I would 1000% never buy there again from that one experience so I'm almost surprised to hear so many positive reviews here of their service...

    I like players though... hard to fake real wear and I try to buy only off fairly reputable places( i almost bought a music ground marshall and that taught me too do at least a basic search!)

    But yeah imo if you use your better judgment and ask pertinent questions etc I feel pretty safe with buying decently expensive stuff off the web as long as it goes through my filters of acceptable neck size weight and modifications... if I was buying something really high dollar I would probably suck it up and pay whatever it costs to get a professional opinion, but I probably will never be buying real high $ collector grade stuff anyways.
     
  8. DaveGo

    DaveGo Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    242
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Location:
    Austin
    Thanks to everyone who voiced their opinions, all were valid and helpful in my recent purchase of a ‘67 Tele. I gambled on buying sight unseen and unplayed and I got lucky. It’s a solid instrument, plays and sounds great, so much so I will almost certainly thin my modest herd down to it and only one other.

    Let’s all have a great new year.

    Dave
     
    Matthias, Bill and Rykus like this.
  9. Rykus

    Rykus TDPRI Member

    Age:
    40
    Posts:
    19
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2020
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast BC
    Congratulations! Glad to hear that worked out so well, the anxiety can be high but when you get something that really suits your needs it all is worth while!

    Funny how a really exceptional guitar can make others seem redundant, where as a good guitar makes you want another flavour of the same shade.
     
    DaveGo likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.