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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member LCP's Avatar
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    Before buying a vintage

    I have given some thought on buying myself a vintage guitar - a 68 Les Paul Custom.

    I own three high end guitars and would have to let go of them in order to buy myself this one.

    But I have actually never owned a vintage guitar, so I wonder if in doing so, it would need to be stored in a glass box and played in white gloves in order for me not to loose my investment.

    Or if it is indeed a great instrument and thus should be played as any other. What differences in care and maintenance will it require? Also, what is to watch out for before buying this particular model?

    All you collectors in here, please come in and help me out. Before I enter the realm of vintage Lesters, I am trying to gather as much info as I can get.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member deytookerjaabs's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Well, it's more about your track record as it is. If your high end guitars are still in great shape and you've gotten what you want out of them then I wouldn't worry about buying something extra clean.


    Me, I've had a couple headstock repairs over the years and I usually tinker at least a bit with most any guitar so I don't mind my guitars of the "player" grade variety.

  3. #3

    Re: Before buying a vintage

    I have a few old guitars that are worth at least ten times what I paid for them. I learned a long time ago never sell a guitar because you'll just spend the money, then you don't have the money or the guitar, If I would have stuck to this rule I'd still have a 60s Telecaster that my brother's roommate found at a rolling stones concert in a trash can. I was covered in rabbit fur. I bought it from him for 60 bucks but later traded it for a new classical guitar. (Ouch)...Mike

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
    Click here: www.burstserial.com

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Nick21's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post
    I have given some thought on buying myself a vintage guitar - a 68 Les Paul Custom.

    I own three high end guitars and would have to let go of them in order to buy myself this one.

    But I have actually never owned a vintage guitar, so I wonder if in doing so, it would need to be stored in a glass box and played in white gloves in order for me not to loose my investment.

    Or if it is indeed a great instrument and thus should be played as any other. What differences in care and maintenance will it require? Also, what is to watch out for before buying this particular model?

    All you collectors in here, please come in and help me out. Before I enter the realm of vintage Lesters, I am trying to gather as much info as I can get.

    Thanks in advance.
    I play my vintage guitars everyday and occasionally gig with them. Some are in very good condition, some are beat up mutts. I think it depends on the condition of the guitar. I consider a “white glove” instrument something that’s basically brand new or museum quality. Those are usually for the hardcore collectors that don’t play them and the price reflects it. If the guitar is in B+ condition I wouldn’t worry about playing it unless you plan on taking it on a world tour.

    Invesment wise, there are no guarantees, so buy what you love. However, I think your money is much safer in a ‘68 LPC than three R9’s.

    One thing I’d be cautious about is a lot of times people misidentify a 1969 as a 1968, which is a big difference in value. Most common mistake is when the pot codes are the 52nd week of 1968 so they date it as a ‘68. When, in fact, the other specs date it to 1969. So before you buy it have it vetted by someone knowledgeable that you can trust. Otherwise, play it and enjoy. They’re great guitars.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member LCP's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Nick, thanks for your tips!

    Did not have a clue about electrics on a 68. Only knew they have one-piece neck, no volute. And rounder, thicker profile.

    Tom, not a word from you? Come on... please? You of all people? Ok...

    Nice tale about the tele there... those are some stupid things we do from time to time, Mike... Thanks for sharing!

    It is not a lot, but at least it is something I can sleep on.

    Cheers.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post
    But I have actually never owned a vintage guitar, so I wonder if in doing so, it would need to be stored in a glass box and played in white gloves in order for me not to lose my investment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post

    Tom, not a word from you? Come on... please? You of all people? Ok....
    After that statement it was hard to take your seriously.

    But since you seem sincere, then I would say:

    If you have to ask the question I highlighted in red, you aren't ready to make this move to vintage.

    And buying for investment is strongly argued against in hundreds of threads on this Forum.

    I think you need more vintage guitar education and understanding than it appears you currently have.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
    Click here: www.burstserial.com

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    I agree with Mr Wittrocks assessment of the OP & Tom would know !

    Disclaimer : The vintage experience can be like a bad hair day,[IMG][/IMG] this I know !
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    He thinks the mirror is a photo of a clown ?

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    That is an exceptional mullet.

    Tom's on the money.

    - Don't buy for investment purposes. Buy for the love of old guitars. If you make a bit, good stuff, if not, at least you've played a guitar you really enjoyed. In my real life experience I've found if you buy well, you'll usually keep your money or +, compared with buying new, where you can often take a hit.
    - I gig my old guitars. From my perspective, that's the entire point. But I am security conscious all the time. No white gloves, no mercy on the string bends, just used as intended.
    - If you're going from three guitars to one, you are essentially limiting your tonal options. Consider that.
    - Black light the guitar you're looking at - focus on the headstock/neck transition area, heel, top (for any filled holes etc). Check the pot codes, solder joints. Check everything. Make sure it is what it is meant to be. If you don't have the experience then get help, or post it here so an expert might be able to help.

    I love old guitars. They truly bring me joy. I feel very privileged to have been exposed to so many. If you have the addiction, you'll have to respond to it eventually...and maybe the 68 Custom is the gateway drug!
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  10. #10

    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by AA00475Bassman View Post
    I agree with Mr Wittrocks assessment of the OP & Tom would know !

    Disclaimer : The vintage experience can be like a bad hair day,[IMG][/IMG] this I know !
    Hey ..I remember that dudeeee.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member LCP's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    After that statement it was hard to take your seriously.

    But since you seem sincere, then I would say:

    If you have to ask the question I highlighted in red, you aren't ready to make this move to vintage.

    And buying for investment is strongly argued against in hundreds of threads on this Forum.

    I think you need more vintage guitar education and understanding than it appears you currently have.

    Thank you, Tom!

    It is no illusion. I am an honest man, even when it comes to admitting my own ignorance.

    I did not mean to be rude to you on my post... I was just disappointed, because as soon as I saw your avatar on the screen I anticipated a good piece of information on your reply, but got an emoji instead.

    You are right Sir, about a few things. I am uneducated when it comes to vintage guitars. How can I not be? I never even came close to one and until very recently never even considered owning one. So, I agree when you say I may not be ready to own one yet.

    But as a matter of fact, I did hear from someone in New York that some collectors did not play their vintage guitars, that they instead kept them as museum pieces. Thus the [newby] question.

    I realize this thread may be a lot more of the same to most, but this is the place where I come for help and information.

    So, ok. I can take it. Beat me up all you want, but please, do take me seriously.

    Also, links on related threads here and/or book recommendations on the subject are highly welcome.

    Thanks.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member LCP's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by latestarter View Post
    That is an exceptional mullet.

    Tom's on the money.

    - Don't buy for investment purposes. Buy for the love of old guitars. If you make a bit, good stuff, if not, at least you've played a guitar you really enjoyed. In my real life experience I've found if you buy well, you'll usually keep your money or +, compared with buying new, where you can often take a hit.
    - I gig my old guitars. From my perspective, that's the entire point. But I am security conscious all the time. No white gloves, no mercy on the string bends, just used as intended.
    - If you're going from three guitars to one, you are essentially limiting your tonal options. Consider that.
    - Black light the guitar you're looking at - focus on the headstock/neck transition area, heel, top (for any filled holes etc). Check the pot codes, solder joints. Check everything. Make sure it is what it is meant to be. If you don't have the experience then get help, or post it here so an expert might be able to help.

    I love old guitars. They truly bring me joy. I feel very privileged to have been exposed to so many. If you have the addiction, you'll have to respond to it eventually...and maybe the 68 Custom is the gateway drug!
    Latestarter, thank you very much for the tips. I may end up not selling my guitars to buy this one after all and that will be great, because I love all my guitars...

    Amen to the highlighted line there! I just read an interview with David Gilmour and he said, when asked about playing a very precious guitar he owned, that no instrument is too precious to be played. Add that up with Tom's reply and now yours... I actually feel relieved

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post
    But as a matter of fact, I did hear from someone in New York that some collectors did not play their vintage guitars, that they instead kept them as museum pieces. Thus the [newby] question.
    While these people might exist, they are incredibly rare.
    I've known thousands of vintage guitar collectors and cannot remember one who only held them with white gloves.
    The collectors I know well are similar to myself. I am happy to play my finest pieces in the local bar. And I certainly play them in private, as I expect you would.
    If you bought a collectors piece in virtually new condition [museum piece], you might be concerned to handle it.

    Don't over think it.
    If you want to play it, buy one you like to play.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
    Click here: www.burstserial.com

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member Deep Purple Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    I bought my first vintage Gibson last year- a 1956 LPJR. love it. I have 3 now and a few years ago bought a pre-CBS Fender. I play them all the time.

    I think the OP may be confusing not gigging with or even playing the vintage piece with the fear of getting the guitar stolen or damaged at a gig. I think it’s a valid concern but by no means should you “white glove” the piece. I Agree play the guitar! Just be careful.

  15. #15

    Re: Before buying a vintage

    I would never leave one of my old guitars sitting on stage unless I was standing right there...

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member musekatcher's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    I have both, more vintage than new high end gear. There is a tax in terms of maintenance, issues, headaches etc with vintage stuff. And, I treat them like investments, so I'm less comfortable when using them live. But, there's no replacement for learning on, and playing vintage equipment, because all the parts of the equation are there, known or unknown - the same parts, workmanship, same design that the masters exploited/suffered to make their great music are built in to original equipment. With new gear, you are never quite sure all the parts of the equation are there, despite claims.

  17. #17

    Re: Before buying a vintage

    People in the vintage guitar communuty have as many different opinions as any other "hobby". Some are in it for the potential monetary gain that can be made, some just like the feel of old stuff, some think there is no way anything new can be as good as anything old...("There hasn't been a real car made since they took off the running boards..."), but for me the truth is that I just grew up into it. I have been a guitaraholic and ampoholic for 5 decades. I bought used guitars because they were cheap and were the ones our "heros" had used to get those great sounds and move us. Sure I have made money on some but there are still a number of pieces that I still have that haven't increased in value enough for me to say it makes sense to part with them. That doesn't make them any less enjoyable or important to me in any way, I will continue to play them. There have been pieces that became too valuable fo me to ignore the fact that the responsibility (yes there is a stewardship involved in keeping vintage equipment) was becoming a liability.
    And besides after years of being a vintage snob I do believe that many new products are excellent, as good or even in some ways even better that an original vintage piece (vintage intonation vs modern precision built for instance).
    If you decide to take the plunge into the vintage world, the water is deep and you need to commit yourself to learning everything there is available to you. In fact before you take the plunge. Once the hook is set you can't escape.

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member JPP-1's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    A glass box and white gloves? seems a little silly to ask dontcha think? I mean no criticism intended but let’s be real, you own 3 high end guitars. How do you care for them to preserve their value if that’s your thing. I mean It’s the same deal,: wood, metal, pickups, frets,string, you must know this.

    If anything, a vintage guitar will likely already have wear so a little additional wear provided it blends in well with the exiting wear and patina should make it less likely to loose value than a ding and nick on new guitar.

    Frankly, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to buy a guitar and not play and enjoy it. If you’re buying it for an investment just remember this, there are guys that do this for a living with a lot more knowledge and understanding of the market than you.

    This place is a great resource, with plenty of experienced owners who could lend you some insight. If you buy right, just don’t break the headstock and it’s all good. You probably could get most of your money out in a pinch. There are some folks that don’t like a refret so keep that in mind too but I personally wouldn’t sell to someone that anal about a guitar. Imho a pristine vintage guitar is like a 30 year old virgin, there’s a strong likelihood something’s just not right.


    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post
    I have given some thought on buying myself a vintage guitar - a 68 Les Paul Custom.

    I own three high end guitars and would have to let go of them in order to buy myself this one.

    But I have actually never owned a vintage guitar, so I wonder if in doing so, it would need to be stored in a glass box and played in white gloves in order for me not to loose my investment.

    Or if it is indeed a great instrument and thus should be played as any other. What differences in care and maintenance will it require? Also, what is to watch out for before buying this particular model?

    All you collectors in here, please come in and help me out. Before I enter the realm of vintage Lesters, I am trying to gather as much info as I can get.

    Thanks in advance.

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    My 2 cents to be taken with a grain of salt . I love the guitar and I don't see myself coming into the right amount of cash for a 59 Burst . I might be able to afford a lesser value vintage instrument one day . I believe in playing guitars as they are a musical instrument meant to be played to make music on . I do not have the self discipline to be able to see a valuable vintage guitar in my home and not be able to pick it up and play it . One of the above posters mentioned and rightfully so the cost to maintain and do regular upkeep and it does not even have to be a prized vintage guitar to cost to maintain and to keep in good playing condition . My advice is to play it and enjoy it .

  20. #20

    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by LCP View Post
    I
    But I have actually never owned a vintage guitar, so I wonder if in doing so, it would need to be stored in a glass box and played in white gloves in order for me not to loose my investment..
    Why not just buy a guitar you'll want to keep, then you don't have to worry about losing anything on the 'investment'...

    Personally I just don't understand why people buy guitars with the intention of selling them?

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Before buying a vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by StreetPreacher View Post
    Why not just buy a guitar you'll want to keep, then you don't have to worry about losing anything on the 'investment'...

    Personally I just don't understand why people buy guitars with the intention of selling them?
    You will find a lot of people on this forum go threw a lot of guitars , each one is the grail the day they post NGD !!
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    He thinks the mirror is a photo of a clown ?

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

  22. #22

    Re: Before buying a vintage

    I was in the same boat as the OP last year or so. Bought, tried, and flipped a fair number of 50s-60s Gibsons, mostly of the ES variety (330s, 335, 345, 355s, early 60s Casinos, etc.), although I had a couple of SGs, too. No Les Pauls, but currently looking at a 69 LP Custom with 68 spec.

    For me personally, the only value of a vintage instrument is that it's been played for 60 years and thus all kinks have been worked out. It's like a pair of super well worn shoes. The playing comfort is out of this world. They all just play differently even compared to Custom Shop reissues (like a 2009 ES-335 '59). Although I do suspect a super worn 80s guitar might feel similarly. For instance, I had a 78 LP Standard, which was similar, but just didn't love the neck. I appreciate the tonal differences, but that's secondary to playing comfort for me.

    Numbers-wise, mortgaging a house to buy a guitar isn't advisable. A 68 LPC is probably 12-15K these days. Serious money, but not retirement savings. If you buy it for 10, you'll have some equity in it. If you buy it for 15, probably not much. Worst case scenario, if it's in one piece, even with a neck repair, it'll be worth 7-8K. Whether that bothers you enough not to play it out is really up to you.

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