Autographed bass - play it or preserve it?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Polk Salad, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Polk Salad

    Polk Salad Passenger, Ship of Fools

    Sep 18, 2007
    Yes this has been discussed before but hey, let's have some fresh takes.

    I have a bass signed by a player I like.
    Signed right where my arm would rest.
    I like the bass.
    It was signed before I obtained it.
    If I wanted to sell it, losing the signature would decrease value.

    Do I wipe it and play it?
    Do I play it and smear it?
    Do I convert to a lefty so I don't rest my arm there?
    Do I just sell it and take my money?
    Do I go to therapy because this is a first world problem?
  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    If the sig means a lot to you, you can spray a clear coat over it.

    As for me, I’m not big on autographs, so I would play my bass.
    -Asdfgh-, Not yet, jerry and 2 others like this.
  3. Biffa

    Biffa Inactive

    Apr 16, 2019
    County Durham, UK
    Depends if Elvis signed it or the Cider Jug player out of The Wurzels it
    Slinger, pcake, rodsnhawgs and 2 others like this.
  4. CryingBass

    CryingBass Is that an Elephant Fish on the corner over there? Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    I always wanted one of the Chris Squire autographed signature model Ric's.

    I would play my 4003 instead :)
    P. Aaron, Spidey2112 and Polk Salad like this.
  5. gelinas666

    gelinas666 Guest

    Sep 8, 2009
    I purchased a USA G&L L2000 signed by Billy Sheehan. Had the provenance with it.. I played it,name wore off in spots so I removed the rest of it.. It was written in Sharpie.. No biggie.. I bought the bass to play , not "Glass Case" it for the rest of it's life.. Play it!:bassist::thumbsup:
    Spidey2112 and Polk Salad like this.
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    What did you use to remove the Sharpe?
  7. Polk Salad

    Polk Salad Passenger, Ship of Fools

    Sep 18, 2007
    Do a search here on TB, there are many threads about removal. :thumbsup:
  8. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I can't think of a signature that would increase the value of a bass, unless it's celebrity PLAYED.
    In all my years of selling guitars I've been offered 100's of signed guitars, and I tell them all the same thing- take the value of the instrument, and add the ebay price of an autograph (usually about $3).
    Celeb played instruments are a different category ( and I mean played onstage for a full tour or longer). Most instruments signed at clinics and backstage are worth less than without the signature.
    If you love the signature, of course, it's priceless. I have a tele Albert Lee signed the night I opened for him, and Prakash John signed a P bass, ironically a few weeks before I got a job mixing him.
    I usually tell people to put some self adhesive clear film over the signature.
    Bunk McNulty, Slinger and TNCreature like this.
  9. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    If I had a guitar autographed by Geddy, I'd thank him.

    With my luck, both the Sharpe and the guitar would both be the same color, so...

    ... no biggie, I guess.
    bass40hz likes this.
  10. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Is there a bass player who's signature is worth that much?

    I suggest:

    1) Take a picture of the signature and keep it someplace safe.

    2) Play the damn bass, and....if it wipes off...

    3) Grab a sharpie and refresh the signature every once in a while.
  11. Jehos


    Mar 22, 2006
    DFW, TX
    This is the answer. Just get another layer or three of clear sprayed over the top. The sig will be permanent and you can play it all you want.
    NDpeppers and bass40hz like this.
  12. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    If, your cleaning it up all over, automotive rubbing compound works good, followed by a polishing compound.
  13. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    If you bought the bass because it was signed, then obvs protect that sig. I like the clear coat idea.

    As far as the sig's affect on value is concerned, I think it's moot if you don't have some COA.
  14. Ian McLaughlin

    Ian McLaughlin

    Aug 11, 2018
    Sting signed mine.

    It was at a book signing in 1991 in NYC where he and an artist were signing a book of his songs illustrated by said artist.

    Unfortunately the book was water damaged beyond saving, so I don't really have proof. But I know he signed it because I was there.

    Never stopped playing her. Doubt it adds much value, and might even be a turn-off to some.

    This was done in black sharpie and never clear coated or anything. It's lasted this long. Of course, no one touches the headstock that much.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
    Supadope likes this.
  15. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Ian McLaughlin likes this.
  16. Relsom

    Relsom Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2013
    The Old Dominion
    I had ond of those Limited Edition CIJ Noel Redding Jazz Basses. It had been signed on the pickguard in silver sharpie that was beginning to fade. Luckily, Angela's had come into possession of a stack of those pickguards that he had signed but had not been installed on basses. I'm not sure wha th the circumstances around all that was, but I bought one and kept it protected for several years until I sold the bass, providing the new pg with it.
    Something like that, I think is worth preserving the sig.
    My .02
  17. Ian McLaughlin

    Ian McLaughlin

    Aug 11, 2018
    Do you think it added more than $0.02 of value to the sale?
    (Serious question.)
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  18. rodsnhawgs

    rodsnhawgs Custom builder. G-ratio basses Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    U.S., WV
    I doubt it would any value IF the guy who signed it is insignificant in the world of music influence AND still alive AND if it's a bass of some rarity. "Maybe" somewhere in history after an iconic player is gone, his/her sig "might" add some value...but if it's someone who's signed hundreds, or even thousands of basses...and an off the shelf bass, then I'd say clear over it (if it's cool for you to have the signature) and play it. But who know what some would-be buyer might come along...just my .02
  19. lowendrv


    Dec 12, 2007
    I think the only signatures that would add value to a bass would be Jamerson or Pastorius .
  20. Relsom

    Relsom Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2013
    The Old Dominion
    The fact that it was marketed by Fender with the sig, also had a replica sig on the headstock, and was a limited run, would make a difference to a collector, I would imagine, if being sold as mint, with the original case, candy, etc.
    I played it without regard to the sig since I had a replacement at the ready.
    Other than that, it really wasn't worth any more than your standard CIJ Vintage '65 reissue.
    Ian McLaughlin likes this.