Ebay ES of the Week

I was surprised my original stop tail 64 (which this isn't a photo of) didn't sell on Ebay last week. This 63 is currently listed on Ebay. I dunno, at first glance, a 63 335 for $8200 sounds pretty, pretty good. But that blotch on the treble side horn is not a reflection, so read very carefully.

Yep, I still do this when I see something interesting and this week, I do. The Ebay marketplace is a strange place where things happen with no apparent rhyme or reason. I had a 64 ES-335 original stoptail listed last week with a starting price of $9500 and a BIN of $10,500. I got no bids which kind of surprised me. That’s a pretty good price for an original stoptail 64, if you ask me. Even stranger is that I got no less than five offers right after the auction ended for $9500. My question is, then, why didn’t you just bid on it? You had a shot at a great deal but you couldn’t pull the trigger until somebody else did, right? Buying vintage often requires guts. Sometimes, you can get the deal of a lifetime. Sometimes you don’t. Ebay and Paypal make it pretty easy to take the chance with their return policies. If the guitar isn’t what the seller says it is, send it back. But if the seller fails to mention a broken headstock or a changed bridge, it’s up to you as a buyer to ask the question. So, this week there’s a “player” grade 63 with a BIN of $8200. Whoa, that’s lower than my “player” grade 64 was by $1300 but is it a deal? Well, to begin with, most collectors will tell you that the Bigsby alone knocks off 25%. So, already, mine looks like the better deal. But let’s look closely at this guitar on its own merits and see if maybe it’s worth more than a look. What concerns me more than anything is the fact it was refinished and stripped back to its original finish. That’s a dealbreaker for me but maybe not for you. There’s a lot of missing finish but, hey. I’ve seen Strats with no finish left at all sell for some big numbers. It won’t affect the tone or playability, so maybe it’s still worth looking into. There are some changed parts-bridge ($300 for a vintage correct one), truss rod cover-which he thinks might be original-it isn’t ($75), seller calls the Bigsby original but I’ve never seen one as late as 64 with no black paint on the plate, so I wonder about that. I guess it could have been taken or worn off. It has what appear to be factory Grovers-that’s pretty rare and pretty cool but one was changed to chrome, so you’ll need to find another nickel one. Just an aside here: call me crazy but those Grovers look like worn gold plated ones to me. I’ve got a set that look exactly like that. The back of the neck has been refinished-well, we never said it was a collector example. Oh, and the binding on the bass side of the neck is repaired poorly and the binding on the treble side is totally gone but, not to worry, you can’t feel it when you play. Take a look at the photo of the end of the fingerboard. Yikes. The board is heavily scalloped. That’s from the rosewood drying out. What happens when the owner never oils the board is that it dries out in the areas that don’t get a lot of finger contact. The lower part of the fingerboard gets oiled plenty from the oils in your fingers but up by the top 6 or 8 frets, it doesn’t get much play and it dries out and shrinks. That’s the scalloping you see. Seller says the frets are low ($300 or more for a pro fret job). Then there’s that funky pickup surround. Lastly, I would have to think twice about the neck. I don’t think it’s been reset and the seller says it hasn’t been but any time I see the finish broken around the neck join, I get worried. But that’s just me. I’ll bet it sounds just great but is this an $8000 guitar? That’s your call. I try not to judge other people’s prices when I do this type of post. I just call it as I see it. I will say this, however…if I had a chance to buy an original stoptail for $9500 or a Bigsby “custom made” for $8200, I would buy the stop tail. Not because I don’t like Bigsbys but because the stop will always command a premium-no matter what the market does. And by the way, the 64 is sold (for a lot more than $9500 and still a deal). Don’t hold your breath for another on Ebay at that price any time soon.

ES-335's don't require a whole lot of maintenance but you have to oil a rosewood board every once in a while. Or this happens. Yngwie might like the scallops but I sure don't.

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