Are NOS (new old stock) guitars lemons?

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by bdub415, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. bdub415

    bdub415 Electromatic

    Jun 29, 2020
    Anyone here ever purchased or experienced a new old stock guitar that plays well? I've seen a few online that have caught my interest but I'm hesitant to pull the trigger. My theory is that the lemons that can't sell get put in a case in storage and then are sold at a later date. The whole NOS designation is confusing...
    Back in Black likes this.
  2. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    NOS can mean a dud, but it can also just mean it wasn’t what the market was looking for.
    mrfixitmi and 5120mantis like this.
  3. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    It makes sense for vacuum tubes, but I'm not sure how it works with guitars.
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  4. sgarnett

    sgarnett Synchromatic

    Apr 14, 2020
    I should add that sometimes I’m looking for something very different than what the general market wants.
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  5. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    Feb 17, 2020
    All of the NOS (new old stock) items I've ever seen were new. Car and motorcycle parts, model trains, all kinds of things, and there can be a million reasons why they didn't sell when new.
    Technically, NOS means new, not returned or defective.

    When I was collecting Lionel trains an old hobby shop in Cleveland came up for sale and they found many boxes full of new Lionel trains from the '50s up in the attic. The original store owner had died so no one could explain how they were overlooked and forgotten.

    Squier made a Standard Telecaster model until it was dropped sometime last year. It was a closer copy of the standard Fender than the Affinity and only cost $20 more, it was actually as good as the Classsic Vibe for $150 less.
    A few months ago Amazon found some somewhere and blew them out at $230 each and I was lucky to grab one. Sealed factory box, brand new in perfect condition and the highest quality $230 guitar I've ever seen.

    I'd call and ask the dealer the condition of whatever you're considering, then make sure you can return it if you decide to.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  6. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    Also, from what I understand, NOS is still covered under normal warranties from time of purchase. I could be wrong. Someone else may know for sure.
    Randy99CL likes this.
  7. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    I am sure that there are lots of unsold NOS guitars around that are great. Why not?
  8. 5120mantis

    5120mantis Country Gent

    Mar 6, 2011
    Always figured NOS were items that did not sell.
    Factory second or scratch &dent would be ones that are not 100% cosmetic or flawed but playable.
  9. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    I bought a NOS Vox Virage eight years after it was made. Top 40 Guitars had purchased the unsold Vox inventory a while after it was discontinued... literally over 300 guitars from what they write. The guitar arrived fine and was stone mint. Surprisingly I didn’t even have to adjust the truss rod. The box was opened right before shipping just to verify it was as marked from the factory and with no defects.
  10. Back in Black

    Back in Black Gretschie

    Jun 22, 2020
    Ontario Canada

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy a NOS guitar if it was a model that I was looking for, and it was defect free.

    Like one of these, from the mid 1960's.

    Because the ''F'' holes were painted on, this model had a rear access panel and back pad, like the Country Gentleman.

    One thing about can always make lemonade!



    Gretsch Nashville.jpg
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  11. cvr31

    cvr31 Gretschie

    I would have no problem buying a NOS Gretsch. In fact, both of my Gretsch guitars were a few years old when bought. Both have turned out to be excellent guitars. Due to their age the price was knocked down quite a bit too. I guess nobody wanted to bite on them, but that turned out to benefit me. Neither of my guitars had any defect whatsoever when bought as NOS.

    That is my opinion on NOS Gretsch guitars. I have absolutely no idea about other brands.
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  12. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    I guess I can say my 1975 Gibson ES 335 was new old stock. I bought it at Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center in May 1978. I had been in the store on and off for a few years and it was in the glass display every time I went there.
    What happen was I put $100 down on a 1963 Gretsch Gent and when I went back a few days later to pick it up someone had sold it on my salesman's day off. I was pissed but he offered me a really good discount since I was a customer that spent lots of money there. I asked to play the NOS 335 and fell in love with it in a few minutes. I paid $500 for it and it came with a hard shell case.
    It turns out this guitar has been my favorite #1 guitar for the past 42 years...:).
    I bought my 2012 Country Gent in 2017 from Street Sounds in NYC. It was brand new, never played or sold and it's a great guitar.
    So from my point of view no not all NOS guitars are lemons. Over the years I've bought a few NOS guitars and it's turned out well for me.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  13. bdub415

    bdub415 Electromatic

    Jun 29, 2020
    Super helpful thanks all. The term is confusing especially how it relates to guitar. I suppose a brand new guitar unsealed would become new old stock after some random period of time.
  14. dreamingGretsch

    dreamingGretsch Synchromatic

    Oct 12, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    My 330 is a NOS from 2018. I really wanted this model because of the VOS treatment on Cherry Red. I was lucky to find the very last one in Australia and not a dud by any means. I bought it earlier this year, and had full Gibson warranty.

    there are a few models from Fender from way back that I wish I can find a NOS. Like a Cabronita, or a Black Dove telecaster.

    NOS dont mean lemons, most of it were just forgotten stock from the stock room, or just didnt sell and was not a popular item.
  15. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    My 6120-1959 was NOS when I bought it . In fact , it was 5 years old when I bought it . I actually watch the sales man open the box and take the plastic bag off of the case .

    :eek::eek:Now , I know what your all going to say on this one ........ I purchase 2 NOS Harmonicas about 2 years ago . The guy who inherited his uncles store , found a box of harmonicas that where tucked away in the store for years in sealed box . One harmonica is no longer made by Hohner , the double sided , 2 keys ( C & G ) Comet
  16. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    I bought my 6129-TC Champagne Sparkle Jet back in 2013 from a guy in West Australia. It was manufactured in 2001 but had never been out of the case, never played. The plastic film protector was still on the pickguard, and the strings had never been changed and probably never tuned. To all intents and purposes it was 12 years NOS when I got it. BTW, that awful roller bridge is gone, I need to take a new photo!
    resized6129-TC 039.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  17. Andrew6128

    Andrew6128 Electromatic

    Oct 20, 2019
    Japan, Tokyo
    I recently acquired a 2005 Duo Jet and a 2019(8) ES-335 Kalamazoo that we’re hanging in stores forever and they were both superb guitars.

    Regardless of whether It’s NOS, used, new you gotta play before you buy.
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  18. Axis39

    Axis39 Country Gent

    Jun 2, 2008
    Beaumont, CA
    I bought my 2005 5126 in 2008 and my 2008 6129TLS in 2011 or 2012. I love them both. They are both spectacular guitars.

    I have bought a number of guitars on clearance. Had an old Nashville Tele, a double cut LP Special, a Classic Player 50's Strat, and my Less+ P-90 LP... They were all great guitars!

    I still have my Less+ and the Gretsches. The LP and 5126 are #1-a and #1-b stage guitars!

    Back when I bought my 5126, Gretsches hung on the wall for years. Even just the three years mine hung was considered short. Gibson makes the biggest deal over this year's guitars. I don't think Gretsch or Fender care all that much. I am pretty sure PRS doesn't really care all that much either. But, higher end guitars definitely sit around longer than the cheaper models. That's just economics.
    mrfixitmi likes this.
  19. mrfixitmi

    mrfixitmi Country Gent

    Mar 20, 2010
    I agree, we have seen both wonderful and not so wonderful. It is always helpful to play to see if the guitar fits you. What may be one person's dream, may be a nightmare to others. That is why there is no rule of thumb, everyone was born with a different thumb. If you can't play it, verify if they have a return policy without some unreasonable restocking charge.
    That said, a decent luthier should be able to make modifications to bring the guitar to your expectations.
  20. afire

    afire Country Gent

    There's a parallel theory that vintage guitars that are in too good condition must be lemons because they weren't played much. I don't think there's any truth to it. Guitars that didn't get played much didn't get played much because the guy who owned them didn't play much. And when you find one, you're lucky.
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