The ES-345 Market Bottom?

Nothin like a big ol' red 345. This ones got the "fade" that only the early ones get and it plays like a dream. Long guard is a great look too. This came from an older gentleman in North Carolina.

I don’t know if this is good news or bad news. I guess it’s goods news for everyone except the dealers who were furiously buying at the top of the market and are now trying to get back their investment. I think there is a bottom forming here for ES-345s from 1959-1964. You’ll still find dealers flogging them in the high $20K range but, unless you’ve got a blondie, the days of the $28,000 ES-345 are over. And now, even if you have a mint stop tail, you are going to be hard pressed to see $20,000. But most of you aren’t looking for a mint stop, you’re looking for a great playing, mostly original, PAF’s if you can get ’em, ES-345 for under $10K. One thing I’ve noticed is that the sellers who have owned these guitars for years have finally gotten the memo-even if most of the big dealers haven’t. I’m seeing the lowest prices I’ve seen for awhile on really high quality 345s. I don’t have to mention again how much I love these guitars. I like the design, the parallelogram inlays and, yes, I like the Varitone in all it’s anachronistic analog splendor. It’s no secret that the players who bought 345s brand new back in the day, are getting very old and most have stopped playing. If you were a 25 year old pro back in 1960, a 345 was a great choice for you. But, now you’re 75 and not making a living from your music and that old girl is sitting under the bed doing no one any good. So, the market is coming alive, especially for these wonderfully cared for one owner 345s. There are often a few changes. These pros were subject to the same “fads” as the rest of use. You’ll see a lot of Grovers, a few coil taps, wide travel bridges, a master volume on the pickguard and a lot of pickup changes. Fortunately most of these players saved the old parts and they are right there in the case pocket. The guitars are often in much better shape than the case. These old brown Liftons and early black ones have taken a beating but have continued to protect the guitars in them . In just the past 2 weeks, I’ve found a beautiful red ’60 in North Carolina, a sunburst 59 in California and a sunburst 63 in California. The ’60 and the ’63 will come in well under $10,000 and under $9000 respectively and they are wonderful old instruments. Both are Bigsby/stud versions and are nearly all original.  I don’t usually tout my own inventory in my posts but I think this represents a good opportunity. And don’t necessarily buy mine-get out there and find the ones under the bed. Just do your homework before you hand over the cash. Forgot the neck sizes? OK here we go: Early 59-Really big. Late 59 Big. Early 60 big. Late 60 through mid ’63 wide and relatively flat. Mid 63 and 64 Big. There are exceptions everywhere but, in general, this is a good guideline. These can be found for $7,000 if you can handle a few issues.

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)