Some thoughts on worn out guitars

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by knh555, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. Dibbs

    Dibbs Senior Stratmaster

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    I know a guitar CAN "wear out", but IMO, usually it's only in extreme cases. How many of us play as much as EC, or Slash? Even gigging, with a HSC, a guitar that's not knocked around too much will last a long time.

    Obviously, EC didn't want to replace Blackie's neck, it was probably like a family member to him, or an old pet, and he probably felt that putting it out to pasture was far better than relegating it to the status of partscaster, in order to "save" it. But it could have easily been re-necked. Blackie isn't an instrument in need of repair, it actually represents a time period of EC's career.
    (I guess it's a good thing Captain Obvious is here, to tell you these things.)

    Case in point, my latest Strat, used, from 2007, looked like it had been played for about five minutes, before I got it. Over seven months later, after playing it, 2 hours a day, it still looks like it's been played, for about 5 minutes. I just take minimal care, and don't purposefully bang it around, but I doubt I may ever wear the frets out, for instance.
     
  2. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    This one is on it's third set of frets and it's 4th (?) paint job...

    sGeddes.png
     
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  3. rafasounds

    rafasounds Senior Stratmaster

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    I don't mind a guitar that I have used overtime, shows some wear, some marks, but in general is in good condition and well cared for. Like the 3 pairs of jeans I've been using for 5 years. I'm not into the idea of throwing it around and letting it accumulate smegma as if it were a cool factor.
     
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  4. HighwayStar106

    HighwayStar106 Senior Stratmaster

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    Blackie was already a partscaster, it was made out of EC's favourite parts from 3 Strats.
     
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  5. CandyAppleHead

    CandyAppleHead Strat-O-Master

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    Of course an electric guitar used by a rock musician for many years is going to be in a worse state than a violin played by a classical musician for a similar length of time. The environments in which they are played are totally different. In a rock band you're playing on a cramped stage usually with inadequate lighting, you and your band mates move about a lot and then factor in the presence of drink or other substances - whether ingested by the band or the audience - and things can get out of hand resulting in wear and tear. Nothing like the genteel, refined situation of an orchestra.

    Having said that I agree with some posters that it is a mystery how some electric guitars are said to have become unplayable after a while. I think David Gilmour said that about his 0001 Strat.
     
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  6. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    I think he said it had been refretted so many times that the neck was getting really worn down and couldn’t take another refret. The crew at fender offered to make him a new neck, but he didn’t think that was respectful of the guitar and what it had meant to him.

    Not that I’m Clapton, but my main guitar for years had two fret jobs by me and maybe two prior to me and I just kept wearing through frets. I could get a new neck, but I still like to play that guitar and I got another Strat to take over the daily duties so I wasn’t wearing that guitar more. A very well respected luthier told me that the guitar couldn’t take much more refretting. Rene Martinez said the same thing to SRV about his #1 so they switched necks and when they had a break in touring, he was going to put a new fingerboard on the guitar for Stevie, but unfortunately that was Stevie’s last tour.
     
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  7. Philo426

    Philo426 Senior Stratmaster

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    SRVs violent playing probably caused the frets to wear down quickly.
     
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  8. Fenderbaum

    Fenderbaum Strat-O-Master

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    Rory Gallaghers strat was pretty abused when he died. Amazing it worked til the very end. Apparently he never had any neck problems on it.
     
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  9. knh555

    knh555 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Reading through this thread, I see a lot of good points. I suppose I overstated regarding a guitar being "worn out", but I do think that a lack of care and sometimes maintenance on any musical instrument is sad and seeing things "unnecessarily worn" feels like a waste. I'm not one of those who saw Pete Townsend, SRV, or Jimi Hendrix abusing guitars and thought it was cool no matter how much I enjoyed their playing. I cringe when I see that. There are lesser levels of neglect and abuse than that that, over time, will degrade an instrument even it's still playable.

    I'm not one to get too worked up from the occasional nick, scratch, or dent. That's part of using an instrument. But I am one to try to avoid it and I suppose that's where my reaction is coming from. It's important to me to take care of and properly maintain my instruments. Sticking a cigarette on the headstock, for example, bothers me when it begins damaging the guitar. Growing up, I had a student-grade viola in school until later a guitar in high school, but other than the school recorder, those were the only instruments in our household and I cherished what I had. I learned early on that even the humblest of musical instruments and what you can do with them is something special and to be well cared for.

    With all that said, what you do with your guitar is none of my business. Just one person's view.
     
  10. ptb1

    ptb1 Strat-O-Master

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    ^^^ Sorry Trup´ny Bit - I (don´t know why but I) read Define it as Definitelyo_O.

    Trigger is maybe one of the best examples to verify that it´s hard to wear out a guitar. What stories that "piece of wood" could tell:)
     
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  11. Mike Furlong

    Mike Furlong Strat-O-Master

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    Exactly. The worlds most valuable partscaster. $959,000 USD I believe :eek:!!! Can't imagine that a new neck, trussrod, frets whatever would have made any difference at all apart from making it more playable :)
     
  12. Sarnodude

    Sarnodude Most Honored Senior Member

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    Bah... anything can be fixed....
    Steam the fretboard off and throw it away remove and replace the trus rod, new fretboard ,new frets ,new nut. Good for another Clapton world tour.
     
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  13. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    Trigger is constantly and carefully maintained to keep it from wearing out any further.

    I have a guitar with deep fingernail indentations in the fretboard from many years of my stepfather playing it. Last time I took it to a luthier he recommended installing a new fretboard--which I declined. It's a brazillian rosewood board--I wouldn't be able to get another like it, and if the wear all went away it wouldn't be my stepfather's guitar anymore.

    Sure Blackie could get a new neck, but then it wouldn't be the same guitar anymore--and the value to collectors would be substantially reduced. All that money is for the story, not for playability.

    I had a POS bass with a particleboard body, it lost its structural integrity around the jack plate. I'd call that worn out beyond being worth repairing.
     
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  14. Mike Furlong

    Mike Furlong Strat-O-Master

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    Maybe..... Now what the heck can I do to the neck on my '63 to increase it's value. Well I did jam with a few of my mates and a bloke called Eric once :D
     
  15. Stevn

    Stevn Senior Stratmaster

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    I’m with you. I have my second ever guitar from 1968. It’s just exactly the same as when I played it in high school. Probably needs new strings a new nut and a new saddle, after 40 years!
     
  16. Stevn

    Stevn Senior Stratmaster

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    so true. I thank God every time I play. For letting me use His instruments, and giving me “the gift”.
     
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  17. ptb1

    ptb1 Strat-O-Master

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    Nope, Gilmours Black Strat was sold for USD 3.975.000 - and that was a partscaster too.
     
  18. Isca

    Isca Strat-Talker

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    I just looked it up as I hadn't thought much about it before, but it turns out that very few Stradivariuses are all-original, for example. Just like guitar players, honest playing wear results in parts needing to be switched out eventually:

    "Not every Stradivarius sounds alike, and frankly, says Bissinger, even a genuine Stradivarius violin isn't all it's cracked up to be sometimes. The passage of time can exact a devastating toll. Many of Stradivari's surviving instruments have deteriorated to the point where they are primarily collector's items. Play a violin too frequently, and the parts wear down and must be replaced, altering the sound; play it too little, and the sound deteriorates, too. Most of the Strads still played today do not have all their original parts, although Joshua Bell prides himself on the fact that his Strad still boasts the original varnish."

    (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/anatomy-of-a-stradivarius/)
     
  19. Pandamasque

    Pandamasque Strat-O-Master

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    Partscaster!
     
  20. knh555

    knh555 Most Honored Senior Member

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    Agreed. And notice I didn't say Stradivariius, just that many 200+ year-old violins are still in use. And that's b/c those are maintained - including replacing fingerboards and whatnot - and cared for, not tossed around on stage, leaned up against the wall, or exposed directly to lit cigarettes.

    Note that baroque era fingerboards were shorter and didn't meet modern "specs". Many have been replaced but not all.
     
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