Ebay ES of the Week #12

Should I buy this guitar? It sure looks good in the photos.

I’m starting to feel like Andy Rooney on “Sixty Minutes” based on the fact that I seem to complain a lot about Ebay and those who sell their ES 335’s/345’s and 355’s there without doing any due diligence. If it’s not that, it’s the outrageous asking prices or the overstated condition (dead mint! Except for the broken headstock and the paint).  OK, having said that, here’s what appears to be a well priced 1961 ES-355

Nice. A '61 ES 355. But wait, is it really what it says it is? And what makes a 61, a 61? Is it just old wood?

. Buy it Now is $5500 which would be a very good price for a 61 355 except what is it really? Well, the top was refinished and the buyer states that right up front. OK and the refret is a bit dodgy. Then he mentions, in passing, that the rfinish is a bit thick, perhaps to cover the holes from the removed Bigsby. OK, so know we know it had a Bigsby (it is a 355 , after all and we should all know that).  But don’t stop reading because there’s more. He mentions that the pickups aren’t original either which, again, is fine as long as you mention all the issues. Except that he says one of them has a 60’s serial number but there are no serial numbers on Gibson pickups. So, I suppose it could be just about anything. The other is a 57 Classic worth maybe $25-$50. He goes on to mention the serial number and the weight and then, and I quote, he states : “I didn’t mention that as well as the pickups, the bridge, string stop and pickguard are replacements. As I said, it is all reflected in the price.” So, let me get this straight. You want over $5000 for what is essentially a refinished 61 355 husk with a bunch of repro parts on it, What is it about this guitar that IS original? Looks to me like the tuners and the knobs. Just calling this a ’61 is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?  I guess if I had all of the correct parts in my parts bin, I might consider it but $5500? Let’s knock off the value of the repro or newer stuff-what do we have a couple -three hundred bucks? A set of gold grovers is probably another hundred and a set of 61 knobs might be another. So let’s say there’s $500-$700 worth of parts. So, we’re looking at $4800 for a refinished husk. Yikes. A little high, don’t you think? I don’t mean just the price-I mean the seller for asking that much. A refin typically cuts the value in half, so, by extension and extrapolation, an original finish 61 ES 355 husk is worth $11,000. Nope. It ain’t. I think this is a suckers guitar. I think the only fair way to sell one of these is a no reserve auction-then the suckers will pay a true market value which I might define as “whatever the suckers will pay”.

2 Responses to “Ebay ES of the Week #12”

  1. Rick says:

    I would strongly recommend not buying this guitar. The only consideration I would give to it, was if I was able to hold the guitar in my hands and feel it, end of story. I’m a player and have been playing professionally for over 25 years, and can tell you stories that I’ll bet even you couldn’t imagine. Guitars that were 58 Pauls which were in fact 58 Pauls but felt like shit, just because the guitar is old does not mean it necessarily is good. The neck could be warped, any number of things could be wrong with it, never, ever buy a guitar without holding it in your hands and playing it first.
    Take it from someone who has learned the hard way.
    All the best

  2. OK Guitars says:

    Just what I said. Thanks for reading. It’s a jungle out there.

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