Are NOS (new old stock) guitars lemons?

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

  1. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    I think of NOS much the same that I do a used guitar. Yes, it's possible that there is something about the guitar that might make it less desirable, but then again, just because it was something someone else didn't want, it doesn't make it a bad guitar. It just means it wasn't quite what someone else wanted, and lucky me! It's always best to be able to play it, but if it's an online purchase, just make sure of the return policy, just in case (BTW, I feel that way about any online guitar purchase.).

    I bought a Taylor 710ce that had been on the wall of my local music store for 6 years. The 710ce was a dreadnaught, and people looking for Taylor acoustic guitars seemed to prefer the Grand Concert shape. Lucky for me, because I fell in love with the sound and feel of the 710ce from the first time I played it in the store. We've been together for 4 years now.
  2. BohemianLikeMe

    BohemianLikeMe Gretschie

    Apr 18, 2020
    Prague, CZ
    I don't think it's always a good rule of thumb, but I am incredibly suspicious of well known vintage equipment (e.g. from the 40s to 80s and not some weird obscure model or brand that disappeared or flew under the radar) that has absolutely no signs of wear at all. That's either a sign that someone's not telling the whole truth about the instrument (e.g. refrets, refins, restorations), or that it was not a good sounding/playing instrument in the first place.

    I'm also especially wary about vintage amps that look too new.

    Then again, there are always exceptions and deals to be had. They're just not particularly likely in this post Harmony Central/eBay/Reverb era.
  3. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    In about 2015 I got a 2003 Hot Rod via eBay. The listing said it was found in the back of a storage room. Sure enough, it arrived in the cardboard shipping box. There was no case. It even had some cardboard glue on the body that came off very easily. The frets were covered in some black gunk (oxidation?) that cleaned up nicely. Fantastic guitar!
    Axis39 likes this.
  4. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    New Old Stock means exactly that. It's New, but it's old stock that has been on the shelf for a long time. It probably means different things with different types of products.

    For example, if we are talking about a consumer product in a sealed package, that is definitely new, old stock. it is a new item that has been on the shelf. However, there is a very different matter when a product is not sealed. For example, most music stores open the boxes, inspect the guitars and usually display them. These are new guitars, but they subject to shop-wear. So a guitar that has been decorating the walls of a music store for years on end may never have been sold, but may have been handled, played and possibly even showed signs of that wear. From the perspective of the owners, it is new, unsold merchandise, but not necessarily fresh out of the box. From the perspective of a buyer, it is not all that different from used, but there is a new instrument warranty. It's a murky subject.

    Now, when it comes to vacuum tubes, things are a lot murkier. I had a friend that was an RCA factory tech and his workbench had tubes lined up and he would try one. If it didn't work, he might put that one back and try another, of the same part number. So "NOS" vacuum tubes could be the rejects that were tried repeatedly, but never worked well. Anything that is not sealed can have a somewhat nebulous meaning to the word new.
    emitex, Axis39 and GOOBALL JEFF like this.
  5. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Strange, I was under the impression Hot Rods and a Japanese Gretsch always came with a case. My first one was a 98 or 99 and it came with one. I’m glad it was fantastic.
  6. jsrf

    jsrf Newbie

    Oct 21, 2018
    About 9 years ago, I found what I remember to be an eBay posting from California of a guy selling a Gibson ES-125-TDC. The guy had four guitars, the TDC, DC, TC, and C, I believe. All were combinations of either thin/thick body, single or dual pickup. All were single cutaway versions with dog ear P-90's. I ended up buying the cherry burst TDC, and it arrived in its original Gibson chipboard case with red lining, five of the original strings (high e was broken), and all of the hang tags still on the guitar. It arrived in near perfect condition with the tuner metal having some patina. So, yes, it does happen, and yes, I did pay a bit more than market for the guitar when I bought it, but it was a one time opportunity for a decent mid 60's Gibson. Apparently this guy's family owned a music store and these four were forgotten somehow, for nearly 40 years.
    Rmccamey and Axis39 like this.
  7. gretsch-to-go

    gretsch-to-go Electromatic

    Oct 2, 2019
    Palm Coast, FL
    Older guitars are pretty tough pieces of wood. When one is found pristine, just means it wasn't played. The Epiphone LP I bought was a 2017, I bought it in May 2019. Maybe it finally rotated out of the box of inventory. That was a new guitar. Then there's the 2005 Squier Bullet SSS HT that was a filthy mess and in need of a setup. The Bullet was kind of sloppy and that scared me to think it had stripped screw holes everywhere for a 14+ year old guitar. It cleaned up well, truss rod adjusted and the neck had a couple of small dents in it. Almost undetectable depending upon expansion & contraction during any given day. Screws tightened up as well. Ia did have to toothpick a couple of holes for the instrument clam shell. Outside of that, one of my favorite guitars to play. And the radius of the neck isn't like the Bullets of more recent manufacture. I prefer the neck mine has. The newer Bullets feel & play like Affinity necks, natural maple with a satin finish. The one I have is a polyurethane maple tint. They are comparable instruments the newer Bullet & Affinity guitars. Anyway find a gem and the right price, not really a lemon.
  8. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    My Streamliner was a NOS guitar 8 (?) years old IIRC. It was fine.
    Joe Hi-LoTron and Rmccamey like this.
  9. doc538

    doc538 Electromatic

    Sep 20, 2017
    The term "NOS" STRICTLY means NEW OLD STOCK for all products that are sold. Does not mean a store "NEW" DEMO unit or a "New" slightly used tube as it is no longer NEW once it is used. It has to be Brand New, Never used or Demoed. The unfortunate part is depending on the seller to be truthful about the condition.
  10. amp360

    amp360 Gretschie

    Oct 21, 2012
    I wouldn't have any issue buying something NOS. Sometimes I've found guitars that just weren't that popular with stores that stocked them so they sat for a while.

    I don't think it's still this way but Gibson was forcing dealers to order mandolins, Dobros and the like for a while if they wanted to get Les Pauls and ES-335s. Kind of an odd thing to do but I ended up needing a resonator guitar for a record I was playing on. I looked online and I went to a bunch of stores. I played some of the cheaper available models like the Dean, Gretsch, Fender, etc... and they were literally junk. At one of the few Guitar Center stores I went to I found a NOS USA made Dobro with a wood body. It sounded killer and was $700. While I only needed the guitar for a couple songs on one record it's become one of my favorite guitars to sit around and play while I'm watching tv or something. Plus, I've used it on a bunch more projects.

    Had I bought the el cheapo it would have been a pita to record and I would have most likely sold it at a loss. Instead I got a great guitar that I prob would have a hard time selling but it's worth having around.

  11. ToneM1

    ToneM1 Gretschie

    Mar 10, 2009
    Northern L.A. County
    In 1988 I bought a NOS 1981 Gibson ES-335 TDC. It was one of the early Dot neck reissues and made in Kalamazoo. Great guitar and I wish to hell I'd kept it. The dealer had bought 25 of them when they first came out. Technically the model wasn't started until 1982, but Gibson back then was always good about putting guitars out before the model was "Officially" launched.
    TeleRooo likes this.
  12. Clifton

    Clifton Electromatic

    Dec 9, 2012
    Fender uses a NOS designation for some of their Custom Shop guitars. I think Gretsch uses the same designation too, for some of their Custom Shop guitars. I’ve never heard it being used for less than top-end guitars.
  13. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    The NOS term for custom shop models means the condition of the finish.

    No relic, finish new, like an old one right off the line. NOS
  14. Clifton

    Clifton Electromatic

    Dec 9, 2012
  15. Joe Hi-LoTron

    Joe Hi-LoTron Electromatic

    May 19, 2010
    why are those features considered feck ups? I’m buying my 2nd 60s 6120dc. Love them

    Back in Black likes this.
  16. Joe Hi-LoTron

    Joe Hi-LoTron Electromatic

    May 19, 2010
    I’ve bought several NOS guitars and basses. One being a 1967 Höfner 500/1 that sat in the back till I bought it in 1984. It’s nice to be the first owner!

    Latest being a Fender Telecaster Bass, only made 1200 of them, think I got it in 2017, after sitting in the attic for 6 years.

    love it. Don’t ever be so discredible or negative about NOS treasure.
  17. Bubbalou88

    Bubbalou88 Electromatic

    Sep 25, 2020
    Dallas-Ft.Worth Texas
    Back in the late 1970's no one wanted a Gretsch so they sold for relatively little money. I could have bought some very nice used Gretsch guitars for $400-$800 depending on model and condition. I wish I had jumped on them and bought a couple while they were at those prices, however at that time it was almost a month's salary and I got skittish and backed off. So foolish. I would love to have had a good 6120. Part of the reason was I had not played one so didn't want to risk the money and thought then "If I bought it would they go down even further. Live and learn!
  18. Bugleboy

    Bugleboy Electromatic

    Apr 26, 2020
    I bought a new Taylor 618 from Sam Ash in L.A. a couple years back that was on Reverb. I called and asked why the price was so low and the sales rep said after they had a guitar for 90 days and it didn’t sell they blew it out at cost. I got the guitar a few day later and discovered why they haven’t sold it. THE SETUP WAS HORRIBLE ESPECIALLY FOR A TAYLOR. I really don’t get guitar stores that have expensive instruments on the wall that aren’t playable. The big box stores should have a guy whose job it is to all day long take guitars off the wall and make sure they are playable. WHo wants to buy a guitar that does feel right!
  19. Bugleboy

    Bugleboy Electromatic

    Apr 26, 2020
    I remember years ago when Gibson was still in Kalamazoo you could buy guitars that were clearly marked “2nds”. They were fine guitars at great price but had a flaw or two. Do guitar manufacturers still mark guitar as “2nds”?
  20. Bugleboy

    Bugleboy Electromatic

    Apr 26, 2020
    I just bought a 1995 Martin D-42 from the original owner This past year. It is still perfect! I don’t think he ever played it. I have sold and traded a lot of guitars in my 75 years on this planet but this baby ain’t leaving the studio. Some people buy guitars to just admire and don’t want to play them. The previous owner made $1,000 profit when he sold me his D-42. That a pretty good profit for 25 years. But he didn’t get to enjoy the beautiful music it could make.
    Rmccamey likes this.
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