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Are all of your guitars 100%?

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  • Are all of your guitars 100%?

    For the first ten years of playing, I only owned one guitar. Which meant that if that guitar needed work, I did that work (or paid to have someone do it) or else I wouldn't be able to play.

    The luxury of multiple guitars did not enter my life until the late 90s, but it also introduced a problem. I would typically play my "best" guitar until the frets were worn down or something broke, then I would move on to another guitar.

    The problem is that now I had guitar(s) in my possession that weren't 100%. There might be a scratchy pot or electrical problem. A neck screw may have stripped out and it lost tuning stability. Maybe the whammy bar worked itself loose. Or even just a broken string. Most of the time I had just played it so much that the frets were worn down, buzzing and not sounding good. Rather than spend for a level or refret, it was easier to just move to the next. At one point, my collection didn't have any playable guitars, so I bought a cheap Chinese superstrat to keep me playing.

    Because I'm sentimental, I wouldn't sell these guitars so I ended up with a stable of "junk" guitars. Buying most of my guitars used from ebay didn't help because they all came into my possession in various states of repair. This problem was made worse by a busy work schedule and free time being used to play instead of repair guitars.

    Over the past few years, I've gained better control of my guitar collection. This started by selling off a few guitars that I was not "in love" with, and buying some new retail guitars. But also learning how to level and crown frets let me get a worn guitar back in service.

    I'm looking at my small collection and for the first time, I have a set of guitars that I can grab any of them and make music. This past week was devoted to fixing them up. If I had paid a tech for this work, it would probably be up around 1K-1.5K. There is still one guitar that I'd like to do a full crown/level to get a little better action, but not sure if worth it.

    I am amazed when I see people with huge collections. How do you maintain them? Are they all 100% playable (with great fretwork, no scratchy pots, no stability issues), or are most of them just eye candy in various states of repair?
    Last edited by Top-L; 01-08-2021, 08:09 AM.

  • #2
    Actually, that first guitar is in need of a refret. I have been putting it off, diverting that $ into a new build, but I will get around to it. It is a 1 piece maple neck 1982 Strat, and it will have to be resprayed afterwards...and I want to use SS frets, so it will be on the more expensive side. But other than that, every other guitar is ready for a gig or recording session.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mincer View Post
      Actually, that first guitar is in need of a refret. I have been putting it off, diverting that $ into a new build, but I will get around to it. It is a 1 piece maple neck 1982 Strat, and it will have to be resprayed afterwards...and I want to use SS frets, so it will be on the more expensive side. But other than that, every other guitar is ready for a gig or recording session.
      Have you thought about doing the refret yourself? That chinese superstrat I bought has had a couple levels and is at the point I don't want to go any lower. It could use a refret and I'm going to attempt it myself. If I mess it up, I can just buy it a new neck.

      I guess a 1982 strat is not a good guitar to practice your first refret.

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      • #4
        Two of the three I have are in 100% condition, my Iceman which Ive had since new in 95 needs some fret work, think a good level and crown should do it but been putting it off even though this is my favorite guitar I have.
        1994 Ibanez IC500 Iceman reissue
        Jackson Soloist 7 string
        ESP LTD M-400
        Original Marshall Silver Jubilee 2553

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        • #5
          All of mine are 100% aside from one I am putting a nut on at the moment.
          The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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          • #6
            Part of the reason I bought multiple was to have a spare in case something went wrong I could continue to work and buy some time to deal with repairs later. Eventually I get to the repairs as I don't want to go too long without a spare.

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            • #7
              When I had just one guitar, I played it until it wasn't possible to get the frets dressed any more because of the wear. Since I only had the one guitar I was always putting off maintenance because I'd be without a guitar . . . so it was consistently around 70 - 80%. But I was used to the weirdness. I knew which frets would buzz and would actually choose to play things differently because of it. :P

              These days I've got four guitars. Three of them are outstanding to play and one needs fret work. I love being able to take my time and fix a guitar up perfectly over a few months rather than always paying someone to do it and losing the guitar for a few weeks, or being rushed and doing a half assed job of things.
              Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

              Originally posted by Douglas Adams
              This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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              • #8
                My "collection" isn't too bad. Maybe a half dozen of 30-something are in need of work. I have a dual-humbucker BC Rich Warlock that has 6 control holes. 3 are pot sized and 3 are mini-switch sized. Not sure what to do with it. I also have an old Vantage VP795 with 7 control holes. 3 pots, 3 mini-switches and a 3-way toggle. Not sure what to do with it either.

                And then there's my Kurt Cobain Epiphone ET-270 that needs a complete restoration. (I didn't get it because of Kurt. It was just a cool old guitar that was given to me.)
                Last edited by ArtieToo; 01-08-2021, 11:18 AM. Reason: Spelling.

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                • #9
                  All my regular players are 100%. I really need to get a fret level on one of them but it's completely playable otherwise. The only one not playable is the one I'm building. Once I get better at using the spray gun I'll be taking the next steps.

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                  • #10
                    I have one old Carvin that really needs a refret but is still playable and still gets played regularly. Will at some point refret the old girl in Stainless as she will never be sold as long as I am able to play. Otherwise all my guitars are 100% USA built on the higher end and in great shape. I currently own 10 and have a new Kiesel build in the works.
                    Here is my old 93 DC 127 in solid KOA. This is the best neck on a guitar I have ever had in my hands and need to get her fretted as some point with stainless!
                    Click image for larger version

Name:	93 DC 127 2.jpg
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ID:	6046371 The old beast in action live
                    https://youtu.be/bNb17_MtCxg
                    Last edited by Ascension; 01-08-2021, 09:25 AM.
                    Guitars
                    Kiesel DC 135, Carvin AE 185, DC 400, DC 127 KOA, DC 127 Quilt Purple, X220C, PRS Custom 24, Washburn USA MG 122 proto , MG 102, MG 120.
                    Amps PRS Archon 50 head, MT 15, Mesa Subway Rocket, DC-5, Carvin X50B Hot Rod Mod head, Zinky 25watt Blue Velvet combo.

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                    • #11
                      Eight guitars, one bass and one uke. All are good to go save a bit of dust.

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                      • #12
                        Some of my stuff has iffy switches and the like
                        "New stuff always sucks" -Me

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                        • #13
                          all but one electric are fully playable, an old mij squier is waiting on a full rewire. the rest are all gigable but almost all of them could use a little love in one way or another. some actually need work others just have a pup swap coming sometime in the future for curiosity reasons for the most part

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                          • #14
                            Since I have been home everything is at 99.9%. I have one pot on my Ovation that needs to be replaced. It doesn't stop me from playing the guitar. The only other maintenance needed is my Fender Quad Reverb. It needs to be cleaned (pots, plugs) inside and out.


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                            • #15
                              Not even close. Most are functional but my V90s headstock is held together with hopes and prayers.

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