Vocabulary 101

I recently took delivery on a 62 ES-335 that the owner said had the top “resprayed”. It turned out that the top of the guitar had been completely refinished and I was plenty angry because I went over with the seller what “resprayed” meant to me. But what it means to me doesn’t matter if it doesn’t mean the same to everybody. If we take resprayed literally-meaning that the guitar was spray painted over the old finish it means something other than what most vintage guitar people take it to mean. So, that would mean that if a red guitar was painted black but the original red is still under it that it is “resprayed” and not “refinished”. To most of us, that’s a refinish and it cuts the value in half. Correct me if I’m wrong, readers, but my definition of “oversprayed” means that a coat of clear lacquer was sprayed over the old lacquer. When I looked inside the guitar I saw the inside of the body was covered with red paint. The fact that it was there told me that the red finish had been redone because Gibson never gets red paint inside their 335s because they mask the f holes off. They do get red paint in the pickup cavities, however. This also told me that the “overspray” wasn’t clear lacquer at all. It was semi-transparent red spray paint and, perhaps clear over that. I truly believe that he didn’t have the same definition of overspray that I did because the amount of paint inside the guitar was prodigious. I’ll reserve judgment until I hear back from him. Finally, overspray doesn’t diminish the value of a guitar to the same extent as a refinish which is generally ¬†felt to cut the value in half. A well executed overspray might lower the value by 25%. It can also sometimes be effectively removed without damage to the original finish. I would leave that to the experts. But we’re talking about words here, so let me get back on track. It’s not just overspray that gets thrown around in guitar sales and auction listings with reckless abandon. I’ve talked amount “mint” ’til I’m blue in the face. I’ve mentioned unique (it means literally one of a kind. it does not mean unusual). A guitar cannot be very unique. It can, however, be almost unique. How about “original”? I have a 64 ES-335 on which every part is from 1964 but none of them are original because they weren’t on the guitar when it left the factory. they are “correct” . With certain parts it’s impossible to tell if it’s original-knobs are particularly difficult because you can’t really compare wear patterns with the rest of the guitar. And rare? This is a tough one because rare is a relative term. There are 50 blonde ES-345s. In my book, that’s rare. I can’t tell you how many “rare” 1967 ES 335-12’s I see. There are over 400 of them. If you’re talking about coins, that’s a very rare coin. If you’re talking about guitars, uh, no. Not rare. Les Paul Standards for 58-60 aren’t rare either. Valuable? For certain. hard to come by? Yep, that too but rare? No. Could you say they are rare on Ebay? I guess you could unless you count all the “unique” ones that aren’t really from 58-60 but are totally mint for their age and are 100% original except for the pickups, tuners, knobs, bridge and tailpiece. Oh, and the case.

One Response to “Vocabulary 101”

  1. Bobbradley says:

    my favorite ebay tag line “all original except for..” Seems old tweed amps suffer badly from this… all original except tubes,caps,speakers,transformers, and a few resistors oh new grill cloth as well!!!
    “rare”, black ES345’s are rare, white penguins and Colt walkers:)
    not much else if you got the jack!

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