Selling my '73 Tele - is this a mistake?

Happy Enchilada

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My first electric was a '62 Esquire. I never really "bonded" with it, always wishing instead for the candyapple Strat that I saw in the window (now I prefer Teles, but that's another chapter). So when I was living in Colorado Springs in the '80s, a guy who owned a big music store there talked me into trading it for a shiny red POS Kramer super strat. Come to find out later that his house was like a warehouse of old Fenders in tweed cases - and to him, it was just another piece in his vast collection. To me, it was an icon of my guitar-playing life. The Kramer went by the wayside in a few years, traded for a fiesta red Strat that I also shoulda kept (yet another story).

Nowadays I enjoy building and modding Telecaster-shaped guitars. But I always wish I'd kept that old Esquire. I can get all kinds of parts and assemble whatever suits my mood ... but that old Esquire is forever gone. :cry:

My point is the guy in the guitar shop definitely has designs on your '73 Tele, and whatever deal he offers you, you KNOW you're on the losing end. Have you done some due diligence and checked what pristine '73 Teles are going for on the open market? Chances are it's well north of what he's offering you. And here's a flash for ya - he doesn't give a rodent's rectum whether you "bond" with it or not. He'll probably have the Reverb ad written already before you shake hands on the deal.

I understand GAS, but if I were in your shoes, I'd keep the '73 Tele and save up my lunch money and get a used Princeton down the line. Who knows - by the time you have the $$$, there may be another shiny object you desire. Meanwhile, the '73 will be appreciating in value and who can tell - you may grow to love it. But that's just years of hard-bought, knuckle-bruising, real-life experience talking, and people do whatever they wanna do.
 

Boreas

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Just wanted to make another point that may have been overlooked. There is a HUGE difference between selling a guitar and trading. If you are talking inexpensive guitars and gear, trading makes some sense. Once you get into valuable gear, not so much. No retailer will give you anything near what your trade is worth. Typically, they will give you 60-75% of what it is worth - and that is only toward their stock or shop credit. On a valuable guitar, this gap is BIG money. You have a valuable guitar, whether you love it or not. If you must, sell, but don't trade with a retail shop. Finding a private seller who wants to swap HIS similar valuable guitar for yours is the best way to trade.

But taking a step back, I agree with others in that you are most of the way toward Nirvana. If the neck turns you off, you can order a custom neck for the loss you will take on any trade. Even a vintage Fender neck may make the difference for you. Mothball the original neck in case you do decide to sell it down the line. Then that custom neck can be installed on almost any Fender/Squire/Custom guitar you should ever buy. I would be hesitatant to throw out the baby with the bathwater!!:)
 
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Sea Devil

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The ideal scenario would be a direct trade with an individual who has a guitar of comparable value, probably a Custom Shop, that you just like better. You take the guitar over, they play yours, you play theirs, maybe jam together a little, and you both go on your merry way with no fuss, no regrets, and no tax liability. That opportunity may not present itself for a while, though, if ever.
 

FenderLover

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Gruhn’s policy is to offer 60% of the appraised value in cash for a vintage guitar they want.

Yikes. That means if you bought anything in the last 20 years, you might come out only a little ahead, just for the convenience of a low ball offer.

Last I checked, Music-Go-Round was 75%.
 

FenderLover

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I'm getting older, and would sell my '73. And my '68, a couple of Martins and a half dozen amps. But I'm lazy and don't need to. It's just that I'm completely happy with what I've built myself, and frankly is about all I play anyway. Owning the iconic vintage stuff has been fun for a couple of decades, and making huge profit was never the reason for buying in the first place.
 

StoneH

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Yikes. That means if you bought anything in the last 20 years, you might come out only a little ahead, just for the convenience of a low ball offer.

Last I checked, Music-Go-Round was 75%.
I would guess Gruhn is not too interested in many guitars made after 1970, but yes . . . 40% convenience fee.
 

EsquireOK

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I never thought about that. But is "all stock" really that important when it comes to frets? I mean, the guitar is almost 50 years old - if it's the original frets with no wear, I'm guessing the guitar wasn't good enough to be played. If it has had a refret, and the frets are in good condition, I would consider this a plus. But then again, I'm not a collector. But maybe you are only referring to my choice of words, and not whether or not the frets have been changed?

I am referring to your wording.

But yes, re-frets can dramatically affect the value of a vintage guitar. A bad or mediocre quality refret and/or a non-original fret size are big deals – and often deal killers – to most vintage guitar buyers.

Your theory about a guitar with lots of original fret life being left not being "good enough to be played" is complete imagination, and sounds like a sleazy (and disturbingly common) sales pitch, used as a way to paint a re-fret in a positive light. Guitars get played or not played for innumerable reasons. And in all the vintage instruments I own, many of which have zero or close to zero fret wear, not one of them is a stinker. I have never noticed a correlation between fret wear and overall build quality or tonal quality. There is more likely to be a correlation between fret wear and overall wear on an instrument, though. Often the most played instruments (i.e. the instruments with the most fret wear) have also picked up the most general wear and tear.

All a serious vintage shopper will want to know about a fret job is when it was done, who did it, what fret stock was used, and very good photos of the details/quality of the work. No sales pitch or other description required. Just dryly provide those things.

As a shopper for a vintage instrument, all I want is cold, hard facts – not anyone's editorializing, analysis, opinion, or pitch.
 
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Peteurre

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All a serious vintage shopper will want to know about a fret job is when it was done, who did it, what fret stock was used, and very good photos of the details/quality of the work. No sales pitch or other description required. Just dryly provide those things.
I'm sure you are right about the amount of fret wear on a vintage instrument not necessarily being equal to the quality of the thing. I guess the way a player plays the guitar also affects the amount of wear on the frets.

When I bought the guitar from the private collector, I just trusted his word about the refret. He didn't own the guitar when the fret job was done, but since he bought the guitar from the original owner, then sold it to a prof. session player, bought it back a few years later, and then sold it to me, and I could look up the guy on "myspace" (remember myspace, anyone ;-) ), and I could see pictures of the guy in the studio and at gigs with the guitar, everything seemed to check out, I didn't feel any reason to doubt that the info on who did the refret (one of Denmarks top Luthiers) was true.

After I bought the guitar I actually had a small chat online with the session guy that owned the tele before me, and funny thing is, he "never really bonded with it", which is why it ended up back in the hands of the collector. Whether it was the neck, the sound or it just being a Tele that made him not bond with it, I don't know. Guy is playing mostly Strats and Jazzmasters at the moment, so who knows...
 

Peteurre

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Thanks for all the great replies about the actual percentage you might expect to get from a dealer. Definitely considering doing a sale directly to another player, rather than loosing 30-40 percent
 

ponycar

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I sold all, (3)of my vintage Guild hollow body electrics within the past two years. They were stunning. Each kind of too nice to play without devaluing. All needed little tweaks that I didn't want to do,if I wanted them to be "perfect" players.i have no regrets. The buyers were all given full disclosure of their little quirks and very pleased.
I replaced them with a $400 Indonesian Gretsch. It's a great player. I don't care about wear and tear with it!
I'd sell your Tele for cash.
 

bcorig

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Hello Tele-slingers!

So, for the first time ever I'm actually considering selling a guitar to fund something else. Usually I've been getting rid of gear, because I did an upgrade so to speak: selling a Korean Strat coz I got an Am. Std., selling that same Am. Std. because I got a Custom Shop '56 Strat, selling the Hot Rod Deluxe amp, because I bought a Tweed Deluxe, and so on.

Now I'm gas'ing for a Princeton Amp (probably the 68 custom), and I kinda feel that I should get rid of something to fund that purchase, and the wife won't let me sell one of the kids.
I have had a 1973 Telecaster (blonde, rw neck) since 2007, and since it's my first and only Tele, I couldn't really compare it to much other than my Strats, and although I've played the Tele a lot, it will never be my number one, as I simply love my 56 CS Strat to much (Sorry, I will show myself out of the Tele-forum after this post...), mainly because I really love the v-shaped neck of the '56. So in fact, for all these years I've had the '73 Tele, it's always been in the back of my head, that maybe one day I'd swap it for a good used Custom Shop Tele/Nocaster, and get a neck that's closer to the one on my Strat, and maybe even with some money coming my way.

So at the moment I'm considering doing a deal with a local guitar shop on a new Princeton Reverb and another Tele, in exchange for my '73. I've got my eyes on the JV modified 50's Tele, because it has a vintage vibe, and more importantly, the v-shaped neck. Haven't tried it yet, though.

I originally got the '73 as a "I want a Tele, and I want to dip my toes in the vintage world"-thing, and paid as much as the price of a Custom Shop. But I can't say that I ever really bonded with the guitar in the same way as I'm hoping I could do with a different tele, with a v-neck.

Sorry for rambling, my question is: I have no idea what is happening in the market for vintage guitars, specifically 70s teles at the moment, but would it be a bad move to get rid of a 70s Tele, and swap it with a new amp and a new japanese made Tele? I'll admit that I'm only really considering this, because I want to get another amp, without spending money, but as I mentioned, the thought of getting a Tele that might feel even better is intriguing. To me a 70s Tele, even though considered at this point to be "vintage", it doesn't strike me as "retirement-savings"-guitar, but I might be wrong?

The '73 Tele is all stock, except for a brilliantly done refret, great overall condition, with the expected wear on the body after almost 50 years. Weighs in at 3,8 kg./8,37lbs

Feel free to try and talk me out of it!

Thanks in advance,
Pete
I don’t know. This seems like discussion best had with your Personal Weslth Manager
 

Milspec

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If you didn't bond with that guitar by now, you never will. I would absolutely support selling it, but not trading it. You will do better selling it outright and then shopping for the amp and guitar.
 

Tele-friend

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Since you are asking us here whether to sell the guitar or not, it seems to me that you dont really feel that connected to this guitar and that you will evetually sell it. Sooner or later. So sell it now, when the prices are high and make someone who will appreciate this guitar very happy. And yourself too with something new.
 




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