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Attic find - (warning G*** ** content)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bikemusic, Apr 19, 2021.

  1. bikemusic


    Feb 6, 2019
    Somebody gave me an old Martin 12-string acoustic guitar. A little research indicates it's a 1968 Martin D12-35, which was top of the line back then. Body has no cracks, neck is tight, finish is original, and there are some dings and chips but nothing major. Probably needs a re-fret. But- it has no strings, nut or bridge pins so it's not playable. I see these being sold for $4000 and up but I don't think somebody would pay that money for a non-playable instrument. I don't want to put a huge amount of time/money in since I just want to flip it (money for basses). In this situation would you A)sell it on eBay as-is for whatever it brings, probably a fraction of its worth, B)put in $50 for strings, nut and bridge pins and then sell it as a working vintage instrument, or C)try to make a deal with a collector/vintage luthier who could bring it back to its top value?
  2. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    depending on who the giver is, I might give it to a luthier for a leveling, refret, bridge saddle fit and keep it near the couch or I might take it to GC and if they offer me $50 as-is then I’d take it.
    Erich Bruning and SirMjac28 like this.
  3. dwizum

    dwizum Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    If it got stored that way, it makes me wonder if there's something else going on. Get a dental mirror and have a look inside. If there are no obvious issues (loose, broken, unglued braces etc) then set it up. Seems like a no brainer to me!

    And congrats on your find. That's a super nice guitar and also pretty rare.
    spvmhc, Kubicki Fan, shodan and 5 others like this.
  4. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    Get it to a pro luthier. That's a good instrument and deserves it. When he's done, get it evaluated and than decide what to do.
    GregC, mikecd1, whero and 39 others like this.
  5. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Google is your friend, research the value, if it’s worth some coin, putting even $100 into it may generate a nice payday. Might be a blessing it wasnt strung, 12 strings is a boatload o’ tension. Is the neck straight? Throw a yardstick on it and see. If you post some photos, one of the TB pro Luthiers might give you a quick opinion. DONT take it to GC, they will offer you pennies on the dollar, and generally have mediocre techs at best, anybody good quickly tires of crap pay and no benefits.
  6. James Collins

    James Collins

    Mar 25, 2017
    Augusta, GA
    For this reason alone, I'd take it to a luthier to get inspected and setup or sell it as is. I wouldn't buy it without being already in working condition. I would also be a little concerned about putting strings on it without getting checked out for gear of damaging the sound board if bra ing isn't in working order. I don't have enough experience to tell what I'm looking at with a mirror.
    NOVAX, TinIndian, Duder and 1 other person like this.
  7. RichterScale


    Feb 21, 2021
    If I were buying something like that to restore and resell, I wouldn't want to invest more than half it's value. So, if it can fetch $4000 in mint condition and it would cost me $1000 in time/labor, I wouldn't want to pay more than $1000 for it.
    That's one perspective.
    If it's a collector that wants it just to have it, they might be willing to pay a lot more for it and pay whatever it takes to restore it.
    How rare and sought after are these? What's the market like?
    If it has no major damage, put it in the paper as is for $2k and see if anyone wants it? Gradually lower the price until you get interest.
    Personally, I wouldn't do a quicky $50 fixup and try to sell it for top dollar. If this is a guitar that people really search for and pay good money for, I would either do/pay for a full pro restoration and sell it for top dollar, or sell it as is for whatever value it holds in it's current state. A $50 new strings and armor all job is something a used car salesman would do.
    That's just me. Take it with a grain of salt.
    Redd Hatt, Dasgre0g, Dino78 and 4 others like this.
  8. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Unless you're rolling in cash, I'd slow down and think this through. Selling it "as is" is the worst possible idea, which will likely net you the least amount of money. On the other hand, it might not be worth a full restore. If you want to know what your options are, take it to someone experienced with acoustic guitars, that actually knows what they are doing. Until you do that, you're just guessing.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
    dan1952, shodan, kjp360 and 21 others like this.
  9. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    If it were mine, I'd take it to a pro who's good with vintage Martins.
  10. ardgedee


    May 13, 2018
    Everybody will lowball something being sold as-is because buyers will reasonably assume the worst. Getting it looking good and playable (and having the receipt to prove it) is going to make you more than the repairs cost.
  11. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    Its like selling a house or car. Clean it up, get it in running condition and it will pay for itself.
  12. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Do not string it up before having it assessed by a professional.
    design, Jon McBass, Jefus and 14 others like this.
  13. Take it to a luthier (and I emphasize this) who specializes in fixing acoustic instruments. Acoustic instruments like these are uber sensitive to things like humidity (or dry air) and other things that don't matter as much with electric instruments. The wood is thinner and requires more finesse to work with, and the glues used to put them together are different, as well. Sometimes all they need it a day's worth of hydration. Sometimes they need a lot more.

    Drop it off with that luthier and let him inspect and give you an estimate for getting it fixed up. It's a very nice find and you want to give it the love it deserves.
  14. smtp4me


    Sep 30, 2013
    Philadelphia, PA
    I would have it fixed - option B. Even if it costs $200 to get it fixed, you will still make a profit (potentially a large one).
    Basslice likes this.
  15. nickpc


    Jul 23, 2012
    North Carolina
    Along with the above, a luthier is likely going to know someone who will want it - just mention you're going to look to sell it when you have them work on it. I would imagine a luthier who is certified by Martin would have a few buyers in mind.
    lfmn16 and JoshS like this.
  16. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    I know a luthier in Massachusetts who seems to love jobs like this one.
  17. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Glen Markel, by any chance?
  18. bikemusic


    Feb 6, 2019
    OP here - I'm in the Pittsburgh area and haven't dealt with any local luthiers. I'm sure there must be a few around but I'm not sure there would be a Martin specialist. Pittsburgh isn't that huge a city. Would you think it's worth going further afield to find somebody that knows more about the specific brand? From what I've heard Martin is sort of the Fender of acoustics.
    Huw Phillips likes this.
  19. If it were me I would be calling some of the stores that are known for carrying vintage acoustic instruments. You aren't that far from Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island. They may be too far away for you, but I guarantee you they have done business with many people up and down the east coast and beyond. Their people should be able to point you in the correct direction toward someone near you who has the skills to evaluate this properly.

    There are several stores in this category that do a nationwide business with collectors of vintage acoustics. Run down that rabbit hole and you will find many options.
    MCF and matthewbrown like this.
  20. JoshS


    Dec 30, 2018
    Nazareth is on the way to NYC.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 6, 2021

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