Building your vintage guitar collection can be a lot of fun. Guitars were made so well a few decades ago, and you can really admire the beauty in the wood and other elements. However, when you go to look at a vintage guitar that you are thinking of adding to your collection, it is important to be careful. There are scammers out there, and there are also guitars being sold for a lot more than they're worth. Here are some things to find out as you shop for guitars.
Why is the seller selling?
When you first show up to look at a vintage guitar, ask the seller why they are selling. They should have a straightforward answer. Maybe they used to play the guitar but they don't anymore, or perhaps they inherited the guitar from a relative and are not interested in guitars themselves. It does not so much matter what the answer is, as long as there is one. Be wary of buying a vintage guitar from someone who stumbles and struggles to tell you why they are selling; this could be a sign that the guitar is stolen, especially if it's listed for a really low price.
Is the guitar in playable shape?
Some vintage guitars can still be played, while others are merely for display purposes. If the guitar has any cracks in the neck, or if any of the frets appear to be broken, then clearly it should not be played. If the guitar appears to be in good shape, ask the owner if they have been playing it. A guitar that appears to be in good shape but has not been played in decades should probably not be played until you have it looked over by a pro; playing it could cause it to split or crack. On the other hand, if the guitar has been played regularly, there's really no reason you should not continue playing it.
Is the guitar strung?
If the guitar is not strung, ask why. It could be that the owner simply removed the strings to store the guitar more safely without risking cracks. There's also a possibility, however, that tuners or tuner nuts are broken in some way, making the guitar unable to be strung. If you plan to display the guitar, you will probably want it strung (even if just loosely for aesthetic purposes), so make sure you know it is capable of being strung before you buy it.
What is the make and model of the guitar?
Not every guitar maker stamped their guitars back in the day. But you should at least look the instrument over for a stamp and see if you can distinguish the make and model. This enables you to look the guitar up online and see how much others are selling for. Then, you can make sure you are getting a fair price. If you are unable to find a make and model, take a picture of the guitar and post it on a guitar forum. Someone may know more about the guitar's identity and what it is worth.
How is the finish?
Is the guitar finish still rich and shiny, or has it become dull and lackluster? Sometimes you can brighten the finish up just by buffing it with a soft cloth. But if it is really dull, you may want to ask if you can get a discount on the guitar and use the extra money to go have it refinished.
Buying vintage guitars can be very rewarding. Just make sure you know what you are getting before you buy.