Archive for August, 2013

Kalamazoo Stew

Saturday, August 31st, 2013
See the small hole with the squiggly lines coming out? That's the ground wire hole-the wire itself made the lines. Sometimes it's drilled at an angle, sometimes straight and, if the Bigsby isn't factory, sometimes not at all. You can just run the ground wire through one of the screw holes.

See the small hole with the squiggly lines coming out? That’s the ground wire hole-the wire itself made the lines. Usually it’s drilled at an angle (to get through the center block) , sometimes straight and, if the Bigsby isn’t factory, sometimes not at all. You can just run the ground wire through one of the screw holes but Gibson didn’t usually do that.


Do you fret over whether the chicken preceded the egg? Or vice versa? OK, then you probably stew over whether your Bigsby equipped ES-335 came from the factory that way or was added somewhere down the road. This only applies to guitars with both stop tail studs and Bigsby holes. If your guitar only has a Bigsby and no studs (or other extra holes in the top), then that’s how it came from the factory. I may have mentioned that a lot of stuff happens to a guitar over 50 years.  Surprisingly, there are a lot of ways to tell whether Gibson did the work or whether it was done by a dealer, a repair guy or an owner. On the other hand, how much does it really matter? Once the holes are there, the vintage value of the guitar is compromised although, as I’m sure you’re aware, that it will play the same holes or no. I don’t think it matters, value wise, if the guitar is a factory stop with an added Bigsby or a factory Bigsby but I get asked the question a lot, so I might as well give you the long answer. Easy stuff first.

If the Bigsby isn’t a B7, it isn’t factory (on a 335, 345 or 355). That’s the one with the tension bar. If there is no ground wire going to the Bigsby, it isn’t factory. Let me take that a little farther. A Bigsby B7 requires 4 holes at the butt end (technical term) and two holes in the top of the guitar. Most dealers and luthiers drilled the 4 holes in the butt and ran the ground wire into one of them. A factory Gibson has a fifth hole, drilled at an angle (coming out the side of the center black) just for the ground wire. No fifth hole? Probably not a factory Bigsby unless someone got lazy- which happens at Gibson. Next thing to look for is the ground wire that goes from the bridge pickup wire to the treble side stoptail stud bushing. Not there? Then the stop tail may have been added later and the guitar left the factory with a Bigsby only. Or it broke off and nobody bothered fixing it. Then you have to look for the solder or a broken wire coming off the bridge pickup. I know, too much work.

Here’s a fairly dependable tell-if the guitar has a “Custom Made” plate, it probably came from the factory that way-with the Bigsby mounted and the studs covered. Ditto for pearl dots, black dots and metal inserts. If the plate or inserts are long gone, it gets trickier. The guitars with the plate usually have two tiny holes made by the brads that hold the plate in place. If the guitar had pearl or black dots, it’s hard to tell if they were ever there. You can look to see if there is lacquer over the ends of the bushings-its more obvious on red guitars but you can see the clear coat on sunbursts. If it’s there, the guitar left the factory with the stud bushings which doesn’t tell you anything about the Bigsby. Then, there’s the “Bigsby beard”;  the mark left in the finish from fading when a long installed Bigsby is removed years later. That tells you it had a Bigsby for a very long time but doesn’t tell you if it left the factory that way. If you suspect the guitar was a factory Bigsby with a stop added, look at the position of the stop -you can research it here. If the position is wrong, then it was added later. Gibson almost always got this right. The variation is relatively slight. As I said before, it really doesn’t make much difference value-wise but I understand the great desire to know as much as possible about your favorite guitar.

If the guitar has a Custom Made plate, it's likely factory but not necessarily original. Guitars went back to Gibson to have Bigsbys added pretty regularly. Dealers were also supplied with the plates so they could be added later. What tells you something is that if the little nail holes aren't there. Then you know the guitar didn't leave the factory with that plate.

If the guitar has a Custom Made plate, it’s likely factory but not necessarily original. Guitars went back to Gibson to have Bigsbys added pretty regularly. Dealers were also supplied with the plates so they could be added later. What tells you something is that if the little nail holes aren’t there. Then you know the guitar didn’t leave the factory with that plate.

Chip Off the Old Writer’s Block

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
My son, the writer. He's the one holding the SG. I'm the old guy.

My son, the writer. He’s the one holding the SG. I’m the old guy.

Today I’m not going to write about guitars. I’m going to write about my very talented (and only) son who plays a pretty decent guitar and a very decent piano. But I’m not going to write about music either. I’m going to write about writing. I like to think that I’m a writer who happens to write about guitars. I write about other stuff as well but you don’t get to read it-at least not yet. There is a memoir called “Centerboard” about sailing and growing up in a family of nine boys. There is also a screenplay called “Fine Line” about a consumer product gone terribly wrong (a little like the Gibson Sonex, I suppose).  I may post links to them eventually but I know that most of you are more interested in the subject matter than the writing. Personally, I hope it’s the writing you keep coming back for because I’m going to run out of topics eventually and will have to depend on the writing to keep it interesting (or do reruns). Oh, I forgot. This isn’t about me. This is about my son Mack, who, like most of his generation, lives in Brooklyn. He makes his living mostly in the TV business but he is a writer. And a good one. I’d like to say I taught him all he knows but I didn’t. He had some wonderful teachers both at the high school level at Staples High School in Westport, CT and at Oberlin College. I hope I contributed in some way but it doesn’t matter in any case. He’s got the talent and I’m happy to stand on the sidelines and applaud. Today, Mack had his first short story published. It’s funny, it’s edgy, it’s timely and it’s free so click on the link and read it. You can say you knew his work before he was a best selling author and big shot Hollywood screenwriter. Click here. And thanks for reading. Feel free to comment.

You’ll Never Get Rich

Saturday, August 24th, 2013


What the... This is, of course, Fender's somewhat lame attempt to capture a chunk of Gibson's market share. It didn't work out so well. I "borrowed" this photo from an Ebay listing and it shows most of the Coronado incarnations.

What the… This is, of course, Fender’s somewhat lame attempt to capture a chunk of Gibson’s market share. It didn’t work out so well. I “borrowed” this photo from an Ebay listing and it shows most of the Coronado incarnations.

Yes, it was the original title of  “The Phil Silvers Show” also known as Sgt. Bilko and it was a Fred Astaire/ Rita Hayworth movie in 1941 but it’s also the beginning of a well known (OK, sort of well known) quote that goes something like this: “you’ll never get rich playing another mans game.” Which means, essentially, do what you do best not what someone else has already been successful at. Gibson? Guilty. Fender? Guilty. Fender has the better story so we’ll tell that one. By 1966 sales of electric guitars went absolutely through the roof. The electric guitar was on the cover of Life Magazine it was such a big deal. The Beatles were, of course, largely responsible along with the rest of the usual British Invasion suspects. Fender sold a huge number of guitars in 1965 and saw an opportunity to cash in on some of its biggest competitors market share. The Beatles were playing Epi Casinos by then (Lennon played his through most of “Revolver”) and Gibson was selling a lot of hollow and semi hollow electrics. Fender didn’t have a single one in their line. So Fender set out to design their own version of a thin body arch top laminate guitar and called it the Coronado. Bad name choice to begin with. The design, while a bit dated, is kind of interesting and doesn’t look Fender-like at all. It looks more like a Rickenbacker probably because it was designed by Roger Rossmeisl who worked at Rickenbacker until the early 60’s. The Coronado was meant to compete head to head with the Casino, the ES-330 and the 335. It was, like a Casino and a 330, fully hollow. Fender, being terribly cost conscious under the leadership of the CBS suits, probably figured nobody would notice the absence of a center block and went ahead and introduced the new model for the 66 model year. I remember when it came out. I was playing a 62 ES-330 at the time and was kind of into the hollow body thing. I loved Fenders too but the design of the Coronado (and the dopey name) left me a bit cold. The first year models were the Coronado I, a single pickup like a 330T and the Coronado II with two (DeArmond) pickups and a trapeze tail (trem extra). A twelve string followed as did a single and a double pickup bass in 1967, I believe. The shape was kind of funny but was essentially a sort of cubist version of the 335. Symmetrical, with double cutaways and a small floating pick guard and double body binding, it was somewhat derivative to say the least. The two pickup two volume two tone configuration is, of course, the usual Gibson setup. Block markers? Check. Trap tail? Check. Three on a side headstock? Uh, no. Fender wasn’t about to let its true trademark disappear. The earlier ones had checkerboard bindings on top-a nod to Rossmeisl’s Rickenbacker roots. I do sort of like the elongated bound f-holes now but I didn’t like them then. And it was a bolt on neck and that seemed a little cheesy as well. The Coronado came in all sorts of colors and sunbursts but also in something called Wildwood where they dyed the wood while it was still a tree but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Antiqua finishes showed up later. But how do they sound? Well, they don’t sound like Fenders, that’s for sure. They tend to feed back at high volume and while they are pretty good at mellow sounds and quiet cleans, they aren’t much for rock and roll, in my opinion. A better blues guitar than some but not really well suited there either. It’s really a guitar that does everything in a fairly mediocre fashion. Faint praise indeed. Here’s the good part…they are dirt cheap. I may have to buy one just because they are so cheap. I’ve never owned one and it might look good on the wall in my office (my wife doesn’t let me display guitars at home). A good Coronado II can be had for under $1000. I don’t think there’s another Fender that cheap. That said, it isn’t a Gibson (or even an Epiphone). The Coronado was a failure-not a colossal failure but it only lasted until 1972-a total of 7 years. Consider this-the ES-335 has been in continuous production for 55 years. And what manufacturer beats that record? Fender with both the Telecaster and the Stratocaster. As I mentioned up at the top, Gibson tried the same thing in the 80’s with the somewhat Strat-like US-1 which was truly a piece of crap. I know, I owned one.

Gotta love the checkerboard binding but the red just doesn't do it for me.

Gotta love the checkerboard binding but the red just doesn’t do it for me.

Point A to Point B

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
Here's a 60 ES-345 ready to close up and ship. I use brown kraft paper instead of newspaper but newspaper works just as well if you don't mind getting newsprint all over your hands. I sometimes put an extra block of foam on the fingerboard as you can see here but it isn't necessary as long as the guitar doesn't move around in the case.

Here’s a 60 ES-345 ready to close up and ship. I use brown kraft paper instead of newspaper but newspaper works just as well if you don’t mind getting newsprint all over your hands. I sometimes put an extra block of foam on the fingerboard as you can see here but it isn’t necessary as long as the guitar doesn’t move around in the case.

There’s always this dilemma when I buy a guitar, especially when I buy it from a family member of the (usually deceased) owner who has no clue how to ship a guitar and no clue about the condition or originality.  My advice to anyone who is buying a guitar from somewhere far away is to go get it in person if you can. There are two reasons for this-both common sense. First, you’re buying a guitar based on photographs and someone else’s description. Photographs can make a guitar look worse than it is and they can make a guitar look better than it is. It seems like I’m almost always surprised when I get a guitar shipped to me that I’ve bought sight unseen. Fortunately, most folks can’t take photos very well and the guitars are frequently a lot better than they look especially after a little cleanup. But, there have been more times than I care to count when the guitar that has shown up has some undisclosed issue that wasn’t visible in the photo. That’s reason one to go get it in person. You can inspect it and then hand over the cash instead of the other way around. Nobody wants to pay good money to travel and then go back home empty handed but think about it…would you rather be out a few hundred bucks for gas or a plane ticket or pay $10,000 or more for a guitar worth, say, half that because the headstock is cracked or the neck is back bowed? It’s nice to think that you can just ask for your money back but you can’t always get it. I don’t buy a lot of guitars off of Ebay but Paypal does give you some recourse if the guitar isn’t as described. But plenty of us buy guitars from Craigslist and The Gear Page and other venues that offer no recourse at all. Caveat Emptor. The other reason to go get the guitar is buyers undying wish to receive the guitar intact. It’s pretty easy for Fedex or UPS or the good ol’ US Postal Service to break, lose or otherwise compromise your expensive guitar. It’s worth noting that even if you “buy” insurance for the full value of the guitar, it is only covered for $1000 if it’s more than 20 years old. I know, from a prior bad experience, that that’s the Fedex rule. I’m told it’s the UPS rule as well and that the USPS won’t insure past a certain dollar figure which is fairly low. So, the guitar you want is in Oklahoma and you’re in Oregon. Too far to drive and probably too expensive to fly there and get it. essentially, you have two less than ideal choices. You can try to explain to the seller how to pack a vintage guitar in what is probably an ill fitting vintage case or you can forget the whole thing. There are plenty of online “how to pack a guitar” tutorials and most are pretty good. Here’s mine: Loosen the strings but  not all the way. Inside the  case:  Wrap bubble wrap around  the headstock and where headstock meets the neck. Put a small  piece of bubble wrap or foam between the end of  the case and  the top of the headstock and another piece between the  endpin and that end of the case. Crumple newspaper under and around the cutaways and at the waist (just stuff it in there).  Take another  piece of bubble wrap (single layer) or foam and put it under the neck (on top of the case pocket). You want the guitar to be “floating” –no part of the neck should be directly touching any part of the case. Put a piece of  newspaper on top of the guitar body  (to protect he finish from  any reaction with bubble wrap) then fold  up enough bubble  wrap on top of the guitar to fill any space between the top of the case and the top of the guitar. Close the case and shake it side to side to make sure the guitar isn’t moving in there. You shouldn’t have to force the lid closed. If you do, take out some packing material. You don’t want any undue pressure on the guitar-you just want to keep it from moving around. For a 335, Get a box at least   46″ long. (I use 50″ boxes). Put a couple of inches of  either bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the box.  I hate the peanuts but they are pretty effective. I’ll never buy them but I do recycle them. Put the case in the box fat end  down. Fill the rest of the space  around the guitar case with just  about anything-peanuts,  bubble wrap, paper, foam, old sheets and  towels-it doesn’t  matter as long as the guitar doesn’t move around in  there. Put  a couple more layers of bubble wrap between the top of the  case and the top of the box and seal it up with decent quality tape. Put “fragile”  on the box  and “this end up” toward the top of the box so  the headstock is  always up. Put the shipping label on the top flap and bring it to the Fedex or UPS shipping center-don’t have them pick it up-that’s just one more ham fisted guy who will potentially break your guitar between your house and the Fedex place. I almost always have the guitars shipped and held at my local Fedex as well. That avoids one more opportunity for a driver to break your guitar-the fewer humans that touch it, the more likely it is to get there intact. I’ve had two broken guitars in the last three years shipped to me and one broken one that I shipped. That’s three too many.

Running with the Herd (Mentality)

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
One of my favorites ever "The Mexican". Here's a 65 with an original stoptail and all of the 64 features EXCEPT the narrow bevel truss. These can be a bargain if you can find one

Herd mentality scored this guitar for me. “El Mexicano” not to be confused with “El Kabong” (who remembers this guitar toting character?). Dirt cheap and nobody had the guts to pull the trigger. Feedback? We don’t need no stinking feedback.


Ebay is a very interesting place. In most cases, it represents the most true of all marketplaces in that it is a “free” market. “Free” in that if you don’t like the price, you don’t have to buy and “free” in that there are no set prices. But, in other ways, it is not free. It is restricted by human nature. The idea that if something looks “too good to be true” it probably is-is a good point. There are a lot of scammers on Ebay, listing items they don’t own, collecting money for them and disappearing. I know. It happened to me early on. Paypal “money back” has helped but the paranoia persists. But then there is something called the “herd mentality”. It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Potential buyer A sees a guitar he likes and then looks at what other buyers are doing (or not doing) and follows the “herd”. And yes, I have a good example. Guitars that are listed near or perhaps slightly below their actual value seem to be problem because the savvy bidders will hold off until near or at the end of the auction and grab it then. You see a lot of guitars sell with one bid-usually at the last minute. But there is something more lurking behind the public face of that auction. A potential buyer sees, say, a 64 Bigsby ES-335 listed for under $10000 (real example). He thinks that it’s a good deal but doesn’t want to get outbid, so he holds off. Buyer B thinks the same thing as does buyer C. Now you would think that all three buyers would come charging in at the end to try to snare this seemingly good deal but they don’t. By the way, there were nearly 100 “watchers”. Here’s my theory as to why this well priced guitar didn’t get a single bid.  Ebay buyers don’t buy expensive guitars every day and while many may feel that they are fairly knowledgeable, they seem to harbor some doubt as well (don’t we all?). As the auction progresses and nobody else bids, potential buyers get the notion that the other potential buyers know something they don’t. It could be related to the seller (scam or legit?) or the guitar itself (is that a reneck?). So, by everybody holding out, those same folks get cold feet and decide not to bid and a good deal goes unsold. I’ve seen it 50 times, at least.  The nagging feeling that the seller himself isn’t legit is a somewhat different phenomenon. A few years back I saw a stop tail 65 ES-335 (yes, they made stops in 65) being sold by a guy in Guadalajara, Mexico with no feedback. The photos looked legit and the price was $7500. It got no bids-I assume due to the lack of feedback and the location and who can blame them. I don’t generally buy guitars from Ebay but I will sometimes bottom fish after a listing I particularly like is completed without a sale.  Following the end of the auction, I emailed the seller, asked for his phone number and spoke to him about the guitar. It turns out he was a pro player in Mexico and had two guitars to sell and he described them carefully to me-playing one (very well, I might add) as he spoke to me on the phone. I bought it and it was a great deal and a great guitar.  The larger point here is that you have to trust your own knowledge if you are going to play on Ebay-or email me and ask what I think. A lot of you already do that and I’m happy to throw out my opinion with the usual disclaimer about bad photos and questionable sellers. I should also point out that close to 90% of the guitars I buy sight unseen (from dealers and from individuals) have some hidden or undisclosed issue. It can be as benign as a few changed saddles or it can be as drastic as an undisclosed headstock break. Perhaps 5% are exactly as described and another 5% are better than described-like when you get a pair of undisclosed double whites-then it’s Christmas morning. Finally, it isn’t because the sellers are dishonest (although some are), it’s usually because they just don’t know.

In case you don't get the reference at the top-noted guitar slinger "El Kabong". "Sorry I'm late, I had to tune my kabonger."

In case you don’t get the reference at the top-noted guitar slinger “El Kabong”. “Sorry I’m late, I had to tune my kabonger.”



Plane Speaking

Monday, August 12th, 2013


You can see that the board on this 64 has been planed or sanded. The dot markers are way up near the top of the binding. That's because the top of the binding was removed with some of the board

You can see that the board on this 64 has been planed or sanded. The dot markers are way up near the top of the binding. That’s because the top of the binding was removed with some of the board

A friend brought by a 58 ES-335 today for me to evaluate and perhaps purchase. It was a very late one so it had most of the 59 features which makes it a very desirable guitar. But it had some issues that seem to affect different people different ways. The owner had just purchased it and was concerned because the fingerboard had been planed. There are a few reasons to do this-one is pretty benign and the other is perhaps a bit scarier. The benign one is simply to even out the wear on the surface of the board. This can be drastic or fairly subtle. I’ve seen some really badly rutted boards but honestly, it’s mostly cosmetic. Someone once said, “you don’t play on the fingerboard, you play on the frets”. Oh, yeah, that was me. But a rutted board can be pretty ugly and will adversely affect the value of the guitar. This particular 58 had two issues with the fingerboard. The first was that it had been mildly planed. That really doesn’t bother me if only a slight amount of wood was taken off. You can usually tell by looking at the binding. Most luthiers will plane the binding along with the board as it’s a lot of work to remove a neck binding, recut the channel and reinstall the board. You can usually tell that the board has been planed by looking at the side dot markers. If they a centered in the binding, the neck probably hasn’t been planed. If they are up near the top of the binding, particularly at the higher frets, the board was most likely planed. There is another reason to plane a board and this can be pretty drastic. If the neck has a back bow that can’t be adjusted out, steamed out, coaxed or pulled out with heavy gauge strings, you may have to compensate by taking off some wood from the fingerboard. It’s a less than ideal method of straightening a neck but it works and it’s often more stable than heat treatment. A planed board is going to diminish the value of the guitar-more than a simple refret, certainly less than a reneck so it isn’t necessarily a poor choice. That said, I think it’s better not to buy an expensive vintage piece that needs this type of work. I mentioned that there were a few problems with this 58. The guitar has clearly been played and was refretted (at least once). The board had, as I mentioned, been planed fairly lightly. Neither of these things will affect the value all that much. The issue that kind of backed me away from what otherwise seemed like a decent guitar was a repaired fingerboard. Ruts are ugly. No question. One way to fix them if they are really deep is to forego the planing and to fill the ruts using a combination of rosewood sawdust mixed with glue-often superglue. It makes a very neat and smooth repair when done correctly but it’s also as obvious as the nose on Barbra Streisands face. The texture of glue and sawdust is much denser and finer than the wood it is replacing and it shows up as shiny spots on the board. This one has at least a dozen repairs and probably more like 20. Each one a little shiny spot behind a fret. In this case they went all the way up to the 10th fret. Didn’t this guy own a nail clipper? The repair is totally functional and is it not noticeable from more than two feet away. But I don’t like it. Interestingly, it was none of these issues that made me turn the guitar away. The biggest problem was that the neck was dead flat and the truss was all the way loose. That invites some pretty drastic measures to bring it back into the correct relief, including, sometimes, planing. To make it worse, the ABR-1 was collapsed and a couple of frets needed leveling. The guitar would not play in its current condition. Neck problems will stop me from buying a guitar faster than a speeding bullet. My experience tells me that neck problems are like a bad penny. They seem to keep coming back. And that’s not to impugn the any competent and talented luthiers who can bring a warped, backbowed or twisted neck back. I just don’t like my odds.

This is how the side markers should look on an untouched 335 board. Pretty much smack in the middle of the binding

This is how the side markers should look on an untouched 335 board. Pretty much smack in the middle of the binding

Is There a Bad Year?

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

That benign looking little line isn’t so benign. Sellers will call it a check, a grain separation or anything else they can think of except for what it is-a truss rod crack. It isn’t the end of the world and it’s fixable.

Well, I’ve had a few bad years but we’re talking about guitars here. I’ve often said there are no bad years during the “Golden Era” but there are some years that are more prone to problems than others. Most of the problems are age related but they are specific to certain years as well. We know that the tuner buttons deteriorate more frequently on 59 and 60 ES models and that 58’s tend to crack around the jack. The 1969 models tend to get crapped up around the inlays because they changed the process-the inlay is a block and the “Gibson” logo is stenciled out with paint which chips off. This is pretty small stuff and is mostly easily fixed. Nobody gets too concerned when a 59 has replaced tuner tips or when a 58 shows stress cracks around the jack. It comes with the territory. But there is one year that sometimes has a problem that isn’t an easy fix. Maybe it’s just bad luck on my part but I’ve had a run of bad 61’s. I like 61’s-flat neck profile and all and I’ve had some great ones so don’t simply assume that every 61 is trouble. And, if you’re after a red dot neck, it’s the most likely one you’ll find considering they made over 400 of them compared with 21 in 1960 and maybe 5 in 59. The problem is the neck. There is so little wood that they are prone to certain problems. It simply logic that a thin neck is going to be less stable than a fat one. What sometimes occurs is that over time the neck is pulled upward by the string tension and the truss rod is tightened to compensate. And tightened and tightened and tightened. Eventually the truss rod runs out of adjustment or, worse, pushes hard enough against the wood that it causes a hairline crack in the back of the neck. And it’s not just 335’s. 61 and some later SG’s are prone to this damage as well. It’s not really structural-there isn’t that much stress on the middle of the neck but it usually means the truss is maxed out and if there is more adjustment to be done, you are out of luck unless you want to spend some serious money with your local luthier. I’ve seen this problem twice in the past two years so it’s not common. But there’s another neck issue that I’ve seen three times this year-and, again, only on 61’s. The dreaded back bow. Again, this is probably the result of that very thin neck. One of them (which I drove 400 miles to pick up and had to drive back home empty handed) was sitting in its case with no strings with a fully loose truss rod. Again-nowhere to go. I’m not saying that 61’s are bad. I’m saying that if you’re buying one sight unseen, you have to ask some very specific questions about the neck. Interestingly, the neck on many 60 and many 62 and 63 ES-335s is pretty similar to the 61 and problems can arise in those years as well. I’m sure there are 62 and 63’s with back bows and stress cracks from an overtightened truss rod. I just haven’t seen any (yet). I will say this-a bigger neck-like a 58, 59, early 60, late 63 and 64 will have fewer problems and will be more stable. But if the wide flat profile is right for you and you have to buy sight unseen, just ask the right questions, get lots of photos and make sure there is a return policy. If the only problem is the stress crack, it’s an easy fix. If the guitar has a crack, a maxed out truss (which is likely) and a back bow or a twist, find another one.

 If the only problem is the stress crack, it's an easy fix. If the guitar has a crack, a maxed out truss (which is likely) and a back bow or a twist, find another one.

Don’t get me wrong. I love 61’s. I take a whole load of them with me to bed every night. Drives the wife batty.