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Evaluating Vintage Acoustics


(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

Hi All,

For all of you acoustic gurus...

I'm on the market for a vintage acoustic guitar.

I've got a list of things that I look at and consider (listed below) when evaluating a vintage guitar. Wondering if anyone has anyhting else to add to my list, or can identify any flaws in my thinking??....

1) What does it sound like? (obviously) Buzzing?
2) Any cracks anywhere, repaired or otherwise?
3) Any separation between top and bridge?
4) Any bellying of top?
5) Neck is straight? Distance from top of 7th fret to bottom of strings E & e (while fretting at frets 1 and 12)?
6) Any separation between neck heel and body?
7) Fret Condition? Lots of life left? been refretted? Enough material left for a fret dressing?
8) Tuners are tight?
9) How much life is left in the saddle? Is it close to needing a neck reset?
10) Any mods done? Electronics added? Tuners changed? (all work done professionally?)
11) Unusual amount of finish checking? (might indicate that it's been through some severe climate changes that could cause other issues)

I'm by no means a professional dealer or appraiser, so feel free to be critical of my system, questions, etc.

Thanks,
Brian


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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 5468
 

I gently push on the top all around to listen for creaking, like a loose brace.

For more on buying used...

https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/how-to-buy-a-used-acoustic-guitar/


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(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

Thanks Nick. I should've searched a little harder for your article.

Why do grooves in the saddle indicate a need for a neck reset?

B


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(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

Another question for Nick or anyone else...

Is it a big problem if the strings have cut slots at the front of each bridge-pin hole?

B


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(@nicktorres)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 5468
 

It doesn't necessarily, but in order to get the action down sometimes people will groove the saddle. The strings should sit on top. If the saddle is tall and grooved it could just be time to replace it or it could be just made of something soft.

Ramp up slots in the bridge aren't really a cause for concern. They increase the break angle of the string and increase volume. Now if they needed to do that because the saddle couldn't be lowered any more, that's a problem indicating bellying or the need for a neck reset.


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(@brian-f)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 122
Topic starter  

Great info...Thanks!


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