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To restore or not...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Fazed, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Hey all, I was recently given 2 Airline guitars... A little history on these... the were purchased new by my GF's dad and uncle in the mid 60's (64 I believe). They were sold through Montgomery Ward back in the day, & they played them in a garage band of sorts until they both got shipped off to 'Nam. Her uncle was KIA, and her dad never picked it up again. They have sat unused in their respective cases since then.

    The 1st is a short scale bass (humbucker/piezo) in fair condition (needs new pots, some wiring repair (piezo is dead), and a fret job). Else than that it's playable, and sounds kinda cool. Obvious player wear in the finish. I replaced the strings, but that was just to see if it even worked.

    The second is a Res-o-Glass EG. In similar condition, no strings on it at the moment. It needs a good cleaning, not sure what else...

    My question is... what should I do with these? I was thinking about a restoration, but if I went that route, who should do it? Are there luthiers who specialize in restorations? Would restoring them decrease any value? Not selling them, but just curious. Should I leave them as is? I contacted a vintage guy who collects these, & he stated that values for mint condition all original were $500 for the bass and $1500 for the EG.

    Any insight would be appreciated.

  2. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    No pics, no bass (and g**tar)... :D

    Let's see what you've got!
  3. I'll get some and post them when I get home. Sorry.
  4. You can't afford to pay a luthier to recon them - it would cost more than they're worth. And the wear on them is honest. They were budget cheapies when new, and they're not high-end now either.

    But you can get some info on guitar repair and maintenance (Dan Erlewine's books would be great and Amazon carries them), and get them into the best shape possible. It might take some time, but it's very manageable. That's my recommendation.
  5. I know that that they were budget cheapies... I know that just because they are old doesn't make them valuable... they are however, kinda rare I think, in that I really had to dig around to find info about them. Since they were the budget level, I don't think many made it out of the 60's. These have sentimental value, especially to her dad. My plan was to restore them and maybe even make a display case and give them back to him. I might be able to do this myself, but I have no experience with it, hence the original question.

    Also, I got another email from a collector type, and he basically said these have no real $$ value, so that fixing them up would only be for sentimental reasons. I will probably do it anyway... I appreciate the responses.

  6. You certainly can do your best to optimize the finish that's still there, clean them up and generally get them into the best shape possible. I like your ideas.
  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Of course, just like diagnosing a guitar's problems on the net, it is impossible to render an accurate appraisal without seeing the instrument(s) first. The first numbers you have are somewhere in the ball park for instruments in good to excellent condition.

    Restoration is not something that should be undertaken lightly. If you do not have the skills, it would be wise to wait until the money is available for a pro to do it. Replacing components will have a negative effect on the value. A pro can diagnose and possibly repair the original electronics.

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