Buying a guitar with imperfections

nmarti31
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Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby nmarti31 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:03 am

Hello all,

So, I'm currently in the hunt for a more concert-level guitar, and I've found one that I like the sound of. It's used and is right around my price range.

The problem is that the finish on the sides is seeing quite a bit of wear, from what the seller describes as some acidic chemistry that probably came from some guitar support like suction cups or something of that nature.

My question to you all is this: How important is the lacquer finish on a guitar and how much does the very apparent flaw lessen the value of the instrument, monetarily speaking? Thanks!

souldier
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby souldier » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:43 pm

Really just sounds cosmetic and won't have any bearing on the sound or structural integrity. So I personally wouldn't mind it as I am not too bothered by cosmetic flaws. If it has good playability, sounds good, and has structural integrity in the end that's all that matters to me... others prefer their guitar looking immaculate.

If it is already used and is only cosmetic flaws, I'd imagine it wouldn't affect the value much since it already has the usual wear and tear. Cosmetic imperfections can turn off some buyers, but there are many who don't care as much and would still pay for what the guitar is worth if everything else is in good condition.
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Grooveman JS
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Grooveman JS » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:11 pm

The important thing is structurally it is sound.....by that there are no damages i.e.. cracks; loose braces or past repairs done on the instrument. If its just purely cosmetic then it doesn't affect the playability or sound of the instrument. Even if it does affect the resale value; its probably very minimal....Its ok, these imperfections are what we call "aging" of the instrument....others in the electric guitar world are paying for this treatment of effect or the vintage look..... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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bear
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby bear » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:19 pm

If it's just cosmetic you can always have it redone. It sounds like you're trying to decide how much you should pay for the cg. Offer what it's worth to you and be prepared to walk away.
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kdwiklund
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby kdwiklund » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:27 pm

That kind of wear on the sides should not affect the tone. If you don't like the look or are in the least bit concerned about this, ask if you can take the guitar to a professional luthier for an opinion. Much like taking a used car to a mechanic before you buy it...
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Beowulf
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Beowulf » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:22 pm

The back and sides of Segovia's 1937 Hauser show considerable wear to the finish...this never seemed to bother Segovia and an area of the upper bout side was caked with his sweat. The instrument could be refinished, but will not be for historical archive reasons.

On the other hand, the soundboard was repaired/refinished after a studio recording accident with a microphone. Segovia stopped playing the guitar after the repair, saying that the first string had lost its former glory...though this may have been due to delamination between the fingerboard and the soundboard. (source R.E. Bruné) All this is to say that side surface wear is unlikely to affect the sound/playability.

Find out what the cost of the guitar was when new and deduct whatever you are comfortable with for age/wear. The most important point is that you like the sound...wear notwithstanding.
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Debussychopin
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Debussychopin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:49 pm

Caked with his sweat?

Ugh.

He couldn't have just wiped it down every once in awhile? Orr you meant aged or deteriorated by his body sweat? Now that's more like it.

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Pat Dodson
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Pat Dodson » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:28 pm

The finish is there for protection, cleanliness and sheen. As others have said cosmetic imperfections such as you describe won't affect the guitar as a musical instrument but, depending on degree, they could affect its ability, among other more pristine instruments, to seem as initially attractive and desirable. As a result cosmetic issues do often (not always) affect marketability. Sometimes sellers ask less to take account of that, sometimes they don't unless the guitar then does not sell or a prospective buyer negotiates a discount.

Hard to say in this case without pictures and further detail but at concert guitar level a discount of 10% to 20% on the price that might be asked for a pristine example of the same vintage is perhaps a ballpark. That might make a useful contribution to a refinish.

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Tomzooki
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Tomzooki » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:53 pm

Debussychopin wrote:Caked with his sweat?

Ugh.

He couldn't have just wiped it down every once in awhile? Orr you meant aged or deteriorated by his body sweat? Now that's more like it.


Yes, more likely deteriorate by sweat. French polish is particularily at risk; I killed the finish on the back of my alto guitar within a month....
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rojarosguitar
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby rojarosguitar » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:10 pm

If it is french polish, it's not difficult to have the guitar repolished. If there are no deep scratches and no cracks, it can look like (almost) new.

So if you really like the soiund and the playbility, and you made sure that the guitar is structurally alroght, then I would go for it. It's not so easy to find an instrument that fits well.
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Pat Dodson
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Pat Dodson » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:37 pm

Maybe due an update but here's a short 2012 thread on the likely cost of a full French polish refinish. $500 or so?

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=65933

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Beowulf
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Beowulf » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:42 pm

Debussychopin wrote:Caked with his sweat?

Ugh.

He couldn't have just wiped it down every once in awhile? Orr you meant aged or deteriorated by his body sweat? Now that's more like it.


From R.E. Bruné's paper on Segovia's 1937 Hauser:

"Currently, the instrument is in less than ideal condition, and shows considerable evidence of the cavalier treatment it received in Segovia’s hands. There’s ample evidence of rough handling, including broken and missing tentellones around the top border, amateurish repairs, and little or no attempt to keep the varnish clean. It appears Segovia never wiped the instrument down; it’s caked with dried sweat."

It may be that to Segovia, the instrument was a tool for his artistic expression and mission to raise the guitar to a celebrated position on the stage of the world's concert halls. Think for a moment how it was not uncommon for flamenco guitars to be used until they wore out, then discarded and replaced.
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petermc61
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby petermc61 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:39 pm

I would ask the owner what the finish is. If it is a nitrocellulose finish the marks from auction cups happen readily. If they are not too bad they can easily be polished out (a cheaper repair than French Polish) - but if they are really bad the repair will probably be expensive and not worth doing. I'd also get some pictures and post them here and some luthiers might be able to provide a ballpark repair cost.

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Debussychopin
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby Debussychopin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:43 pm

Wow segovia was a slob!

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MessyTendon
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Re: Buying a guitar with imperfections

Postby MessyTendon » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:15 am

The only thing you should care are about are loose braces and cracks, playability, fret wear and fingerboard integrity.


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