Playing music and growing as a musician is an incredibly powerful mindfulness discipline. I’ve recently discovered a new joy in playing acoustic guitar I hadn’t considered before: owning and playing a vintage guitar. Think of it as all the benefits of playing guitar and mix in all the benefits of grounding. Plus, you’ll impress some peers and own a very cool object worth admiring.

There is typically not any set market value for vintage guitars so it may vary from dealer to dealer or person to person. The value of the instrument is typically determined by its age, condition, vintage, and even who owned it before. Knowing your history sometimes helps with getting you a better deal. For example, if the guitar belonged to Slash or Jimmy page you could get more money than if it was owned by Joe Blow. When someone famous plays an instrument they leave their ‘signature’ on it and this, in turn, increases the value.

The following list will describe some of the most common problems that you need to watch out for when purchasing a vintage guitar.

Rotted or Cracked Wood

All wooden instruments are susceptible to temperature and humidity changes so cracks in the wood can be expected after many years. It is important to check the guitar for signs of cracking or rotting in the wood. There are many different products on the market that can help glue any splits back together, but it will never be as strong as new wood.

Faulty Truss Rod

The truss rod helps give your guitar its shape and corrects any bow in the neck. If it is broken, you have to replace it to get your guitar back into playing condition.

Loose or Missing Machine Heads

This problem can be very frustrating because every time you change a string the tuning slips out of tune. Although some older guitars may not have machine heads included, many aftermarket sources allow you to replace them.

Tune-O-Matic Bridge

The Tune-O-Matic is very popular on modern guitars and has been used for many years as a way of keeping the guitar in tune. It typically holds the strings using small pegs which are held in place by two screws via a metal plate under each string. If these are loose then the guitar is likely to go out of tune quickly.

Cleaning Products

You mustn’t use any cleaning products when repairing your guitar. Chemicals in cleaners can cause damage to the wood and disintegrate the finish on your guitar over time, so it’s best just to leave them alone.

Guitar Cases

Most vintage guitar collectors prefer to buy their guitars with original cases. If you are buying a guitar that is missing its case then you should consider searching for the correct one, as it will likely cost more than the guitar itself.

When you are looking to buy a vintage guitar it is important to remember that no matter how expensive or cheap the instrument, all guitars need care. Even if the instrument is worth $5,000 but needs $1,000 of repairs you will likely still lose money when selling it on again. This is why it’s important to do research and look for common problems.