Original condition vs modified guitars value?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Blanco, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Blanco


    Jun 1, 2012
    I own a few bass guitars & my best one is a 1975 P-Bass I modified back in the day while I was playing clubs & since then all my guitars have sat, since I moved on with life, I randomly play them from time to time & might play much more if I had some jammin buddies...?

    Anyways Back in my day I wanted to build what was my ideal bass at the time & here's what I got.
    Stripped off the paint & went natural wood & simply use lemon oil on it, & then pulled the frets & filled them in, I liked the idea of still having the lines in the neck to make sure where I was placing my fingers when in doubt.
    Bone nut. & a BadAssII bridge with EMG pick-ups.
    & I prefer Ground round strings.

    I personally LOVE the deep round sound I get from this bass & so did the band I was in at the time, My Drummer even said If I go back to my other guitars he's gonna start throwing drum sticks at me because he loves it sound so much! :D

    Anyways, Since I've not played it in so long ( until last night & I still love this thing, it just feels so perfect in my hands, I've never like painted necks & etc etc, This this is sex on strings( LOL! ) & Being broke I thought maybe I should sell it?

    So I took it to a shop today & the guys tells me there no value in a guitar like this except maybe in its parts.
    What sells is original, & I suppose I sorta get it. :eyebrow:

    I compare it to classic cars, an unmolested original car does tend to hold its value better than a HotRod, Unless of course you find the guys wanting just that sort of hot rod?

    So.... This had me thinking why not ask you guys about this?
    After what this shop offered me, I figure I'll just keep it being its such a sweet guitar & wouldn't be able to buy a replacement 1/10 as sweet IMHO for what he offered me. ( $300.00 )

    Oh & I forgot to mentioned it has been signed by Gene Simons of KISS.
  2. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    Someone on this board recently said of me something to the effect that I "obviously don't know anything about guitar pricing" or something like that. Rarely has there been a more inaccurate statement made about me, but since the poster was clearly incapable of comprehending this - I didn't reply. Just in terms of full disclosure, I wanted you to know that at least one person has this opinion of me.


    You have a few options, none benefiting from originality, of course:

    1. Sell the guitar specifically to someone who wants the Gene Simmons link. This may be something to explore. Contact an auction house that does instruments and collections and get a rough estimate. You have the photos already. Maybe a Kiss bulletin board member will buy it for the same price without the auction house's commission. I personally think these are your best bets, considering the many mods to the bass. This is what I would do. Bass prices are down, and modded vintage basses have taken even more a hit of course.

    2. Sell the bass as-is:

    If #1 doesn't work for you, try to get 1250 cash for it. You will probably get closer to 1000. Don't sell it for less than 1000. Don't sell to a store - sell this one privately. May take time to get this price, but I say go for it. If there are no routes under the pickguard and you can return the original pickup to the instrument, then even better. Also, the neck looks like an ok job of defretting, but not perfect, no?

    3. Part out the bass. However, none of the parts are original. If there are no routes under the pickguard, which there may be are if you needed room for a battery for the pickup).
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Unfortunately, though your shop guy obviously lowballed you, you definitely lose value on basses that have been modded, and the more you mod, the more value it loses.

    I'm in the same boat, BTW...my 76 Precision has been so modded that the only things original on it now are the body and neck plate. I made it into a bass I love but at the cost of resale value.
  4. Blanco


    Jun 1, 2012
    To be honest, when I had the guitar all done up about 20 years ago, I was told it was about a $1,400.00 dollar bass & maybe more if it still had a nice paint job.
    But I wanted the natural finish due to the sound qualities that change with it. ( So I've been led to believe )
    & I really don't want to sell it, Its just that I've fallen into hard times as far as money goes & so its entered my mind.
    Bummer is being I never play it anymore & I dont see myself as worthy of it & really wish a good player with skills could make her shine as I know she was designed to do! :hyper:

    So I'm telling myself & the wife, I'll sell it if I can get a mortgage payment out of it. ( $1.300.00 ) I suppose being very close to that would due to help us out in keeping the house, other wise, I'll just keep her.

    & so this really has trying to find the cheapest smallest full scale bass I can find so I can travel with it.
    I drive a Big Rig for a living an Often find my self sitting in the cab waiting for my next job & would love to have a very small ( Full scale ) Bass I can just keep my chop up with.
    I saw Stanley Clark play a few month ago & MAN!
    Talk about motivating & making you wanna give it up all at the same time!.

    Anyways since I started touching her again I'm getting horny & think I might get back into it if I can find a small enough practice bass to play while in the cab of my truck.

    Attached Files:

  5. bootsox


    Apr 28, 2012
    Biloxi, MS
    I wouldn't pay more than $300 for it simply because that defret job looks so poor. I'm not a fan of Gene's signature on the back either but that's not a terribly big deal.

    If you threw a new neck on it (and a decent quality one, like Warmoth or something) I'd consider $700.

    If it were all original and in good condition I'd put it somewhere in the range of $3200. I wouldn't pay that much, I'd just build it myself with the best materials if I was blowing that kind of cash.
  6. Blanco


    Jun 1, 2012
    Almost sounds like its worth restoring it to make that sorta money from it?
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If that bass was stock, I'd pay $1000 less than that if we're going by current market value, and $1500 less if I were serious ;)
  8. bootsox


    Apr 28, 2012
    Biloxi, MS
    For a '75? I know I've been out of the market for a while but there's no way it's dropped that much in the past few years.
    I'm talking nice condition, maybe a bit of yellowing at worst. Closet case stuff.

    I still probably wouldn't pay more than $1000 for a pristine '75 Precision, they just weren't great players. Certainly not bad, but you can get much better these days.
  9. bootsox


    Apr 28, 2012
    Biloxi, MS
    Restored still isn't worth as much as stock.
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Ya, you can't put the genie back in the bottle.
  11. soulman969

    soulman969 Inactive

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    FWIW you may want to check out these Ministars. They sound like what you're after. Full size necks, pickup configuration, built in preamp with ear buds for self contained practice.

    I'm not affiliated with these people at all but I did have their luthier do some work on one of my Tele's and saw these instruments in their show room.

    Watch the demo at the bottom of the webpage.

  12. Korladis

    Korladis Inactive

    The store was lowballing you. Don't sell to stores, they are only looking to resell, and so need to pay you much less than what they sell it for to make it worth their while.

    If you must sell, ebay or craigslist, or just privately. Or right here on talkbass.

    It's an old bass, and looks nice, but very heavily modded, so it won't be anywhere near the market value of a stock instrument from the same year.

    Personally, I'd hold onto it.
  13. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Well said.
    On really vintage isntruments, the one with the original pots with dead spots, or with the finish completely worn out and hacked up often sell for much more than a restored instrument with a pro refinish
    This rule seems to hold true for most collectables with the exception of many automobiles (at least back to the early 40's)
  14. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    $300 is a generous offer from a retail shop for that bass. Personally, were I a walk-in customer, I wouldn't pay the shop $300 for it. That bass has been refinished, the original pickups are gone, much of the original hardware is gone, and - worst of all - it's had an appalling defret job. It's a mess. (I always get a kick when people say "Jesus built this bass. It's as though my dead grandmother's spirit lives inside it. How much do you think I can get for it??)

    20 years ago, this bass was worth $400-$500. That is a fact. Today, if that thing were all original in pristine condition, it would bring around $1,800 on a really good day. (a bass of this vintage NEVER brought $3,200, even at the height of the market). As it is, you'd be lucky to get $500 for it on ebay. Don't believe me? List it and watch what happens.
  15. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    There are several values for an item. There's the value of it based on what's in it or what it'd cost to recreate it. But there's also a market value based on so many intangibles that there's simply no logic.

    The intrinsic value of a '70s Precision is pretty much what you could get a new bass for and do the mods. That's pretty cheap. The market value of a '70s P bass however is based on the value that collectors attribute to factors beyond the cost of the materials- things like "mojo", reputed rarity, nostalgia, etc. A real '62 Precision is worth more than a really well made VS '62 P because they can't make a real 1962 Precision any more. And, to enough people that it affects the market, just being old makes it more valuable, IF it's all original.

  16. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Id say the damage to price was from the nonprofessional mod to fretless. They probably would have bought it for trade in otherwise imo. O the gene simmons sig, its worthless unless you have ceritfied proof in writing like is required by anyone collector of sigs for authenticity proof.
  17. Dwight


    Apr 9, 2012
    Don't do something stupid! The Bass has more value to you than you could ever get by selling it. Keep and enjoy it for the rest of your life.
  18. louloomis


    Dec 28, 2004
    Whoever said this bass would be worth 3200 if unmodded is not in line with current 70s P-bass prices. You said you were out of the market for a bit. Markets can plunge within minutes, overnight, or over days/weeks/months/years. The stock market has proven this. The vintage bass market is down. 3200 is not realistic in today's market.

    As for the person who said they wouldn't pay 300 if they saw this in a store. I'm surprised to hear that. I would certainly pay 300 for this. The body alone, even with a route under the pickguard could fetch 300 and then there's the rest of the parts.

    Furthermore, this particular unit with the signature of Gene Simmons is worth more than 300 just for that. So, you'd be making a big blunder not to buy it for 300.
  19. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I don't believe that body would bring $300. For a refin '75? Not likely. (if the body has been routed, it absolutely won't bring $300). After that, what are "the rest of the parts"? Bridge and pickup are gone. The neck is junk. The only things left are the tuners, which are worth around $150. The signature, as mentioned above, isn't worth anything unless it's documented.
  20. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Sorry dude, the mods have ruined the re-sale value on it, all mods ruin the re-sale, especially poor mods. That de-fret looks terrible, keep the bass for sentimental value, you would never get $1000 out of it, if you did it would take a long time for you to find a buyer. You probably wouldn't get an offer higher than $300 from anybody, unless it was trade-in value.

    Also the Gene Simmons signature probably takes more away from it than it gains, most bass players don't care for Gene Simmons. I was interested until I saw it. (Shannon's family is local, lots of Gene spottings here, only people who have nice things to say about him met him in a professional setting where he was getting paid to talk to them, Gene is a $ addict so he gets friendly)

    Even in a Kiss auction, Gene's signature isn't a high money rarity, unless it is on a Kiss pinball machine or something actually Kiss related.
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