Vintage Guitar Parts Buying Guide

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Vintage Guitar Parts Buying Guide

Vintage guitar parts are sold commonly in second-hand or charity shops and online marketplaces frequently. They are less common and thus often harder to find than more modern guitar parts, particularly when considering that many vintage guitar manufacturers that existed many years ago will have since ceased production. Fortunately, there are still retailers that specialise in selling such items so that collectors of vintage guitars are able to replace worn or damaged parts on their own models, and musicians playing vintage guitars are able to maintain their instrument rather than purchase a new one.

The Popularity of Vintage Guitars

Some of the most popular purchasers of vintage guitar parts are those who collect the instruments themselves. These collectors generally agree that the term vintage applies to instruments created between the mid-1920s era and the beginning of the 1970s. Models created before the 1920s were generally so basic that they are now unappealing to collectors. However, after 1970, many smaller guitar producers were overtaken by larger companies, able to pump out instruments at a much higher rate.
The reason that guitars from this period are considered vintage and so valuable is that they were created by hand rather than on factory assembly lines. This resulted in a higher number of unique one-off models. Furthermore, many of the materials used in this period are now harder to obtain or are illegal to import into certain countries.

Popular Vintage Guitar Parts

Collectors commonly seek vintage guitar parts to replace those that are worn or broken on a newly acquired model. Similarly, buyers wishing to purchase a vintage guitar to play as their main instrument may need replacement parts for a damaged instrument. This can be a common problem owing to the general age of most vintage instruments.
A number of the more popularly sold vintage guitar parts are listed below.

Body

The guitar's body houses the bridge and connects to the neck of the instrument. It is commonly made from materials such as mahogany wood; however, vintage guitars were often crafted from rarer materials, many of which can no longer be imported, such as Brazilian Rosewood. They were commonly crafted by hand and this affords a great deal more in unique designs. The body of the guitar houses the pickups and bridge.

Neck

The neck of the guitar is usually crafted from the same material as the body and mounts the fingerboard and strings. Musicians place their fingers across frets on the fingerboard to change the sound produced by the strings. Often, the fingerboard of vintage guitars is also made from materials no longer available.

Bridge

The bridge of a guitar does just as the name suggests, bridging the strings between the body and the neck. This creates distance between the strings and the larger surface area of the body so that vibrations can travel between, which allows greater sound to be produced than if the strings were not bridged. Modern guitars use a variety of materials to construct the bridge, but vintage guitars, much like the body and neck, often used discontinued materials in their production of components.

Tuners

Tuners are attached to the headstock of the guitar, which is located at the end of the instrument's neck. Each string is connected to one tuner, which can change the pitch of the note that a string produces when it is turned in either direction, either by raising or lowering it. Vintage guitar tuners were often made from now discontinued materials, and sport a vast range of unique designs due to being handcrafted.

Manufacturers of Vintage Guitars and Guitar Parts

There are a wide range of brands to choose from when considering vintage guitars, including both lesser-known manufacturers and bigger brands in the music industry that are known for the high-quality modern guitars that they produce. The table below details a number of manufacturers of vintage guitars and guitar parts.

D'Angelico

Regarded as one of the two top archtop guitar makers from the 20th century, this company still continues today and has been involved with the production of instruments requested as special builds. These guitars are often quite large in design and have been created in 7- and 8-stringed versions in the past.

Hofner

The Hofner company has German and Czech roots, with many of the instruments created having characteristically long necks. Much of the popularity for Hofner guitars comes from the famous usage of a Hofner guitar by the Beatle's musician Paul McCartney, which was violin-shaped.

Gretsch

Gretsch has been trading since 1883, a great deal longer than many of the other guitar companies that offer vintage guitars and guitar parts, though they have not always produced guitars. The models designed by Gretsch have quite extravagant bodies and designs, commonly features a wide range of control knobs, bridges, pickups and large headstocks. They have been widely used by musicians from popular groups such as The Who and The Stone Roses.

Vintage models are also offered by a number of the more well-known guitar manufacturers of the 21st century, including Gibson, Ibanez, and Fender, the latter producing models such as the Fender Squire. Epiphone have also produced a number of vintage guitars and guitar parts, as their history dates back to the early 20th century, before the company was absorbed by Gibson.

Places to Find Vintage Guitar Parts

Due to their age and many manufacturers discontinuing production of vintage guitar parts, they can be quite difficult to acquire. Fortunately, due to many individuals collecting such items, there is still a market for these parts, and many can also be found from people selling off old models.
Finding vintage guitar parts in high street stores can be more difficult than online due to most mainstream electronic and instrument retailers offering more modern instruments. The best places to look on the high street are in second-hand musical instrument stores, charity stores or at car boot sales, due to people selling their old instruments.
When shopping online, it becomes easier to locate this niche market. One of the easiest places to find vintage guitar parts online is on marketplace websites such as eBay, where many sellers offload their old musical instrument parts or trade through virtual shops and specialise in a particular product area. This can make it easy to find numerous guitar parts in one easy to browse area.

Finding Vintage Guitar Parts on eBay

Vintage guitar parts, like all other items listed on eBay, are found under a specific category. This makes locating items much more efficient and easy. The categorical location of these items is determined by a seller upon creation of the listing. Vintage guitar parts are found under the Guitars category, specifically the Accessories subcategory, which includes parts such as cables, straps and cases.
From the eBay landing page, buyers can navigate through the Sports & Leisure menu and into the category labelled Musical Instruments, where a wide range of instruments are split into easily understandable sections. From here, buyers seeking vintage guitar parts should look under the Guitars category and click into Accessories. By then applying the Parts filter to the left of the web page, only results relating to the sale of guitar parts will be visible. Further filters allow buyers to narrow down results by price and condition, among other parameters.
Some sellers have virtual eBay shops on the website, areas in which they can list all of their current item listings in an easy to find place. Owing to the fact that many of these shops specialise in just one item, it is possible to find a wide range of vintage guitar parts in one eBay shop.

Conclusion

Vintage guitar parts are commonly sought after due to a need to replace worn or damaged parts on vintage guitars. This is a common need due to the relative age of vintage guitars in general. The parts can be difficult to obtain due to discontinued manufacture of the older instruments and are popular due to the high-quality and rare materials generally used in their build.
D'Angelico, Hofner, Gretsch, and Tanglewood are just four of the popular manufactures of vintage guitars that have been trading for considerable time; buying vintage guitar parts made by these companies is a good guarantee of high-quality components.
Buying vintage guitar parts online is likely to be much easier than searching on the high street, and auctioning websites often provide the best medium in which to find such items for sale.
To find these instrument parts on eBay, buyers can look in the Accessories subcategory of the Guitars section, which is found under the Musical Instruments main category. Applying filters to the seller listing results will help to further narrow the search into vintage guitar parts.

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