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.