Vintage Fender Electric XII

Hi everyone,

Been listening to some Johnny Winter today and I got a theoretical GAS looking at vinatge Fender Electric XIIs on sale. There are not too many of them, and the prices I saw were crazy high, so I won’t even think about buying either of these guitars just yet (or ever).

As I know that some of you have a much longer history with guitars than I do, could you please share your opinion on these 4 advertisements? Are these guitars in good condition considering they are pushing on 60? If you purchased similarly old and used instruments, would you leave them as they are or try to have the looks restored to factory conditions? Personally, I’m not very fond of beat-up instruments, especially artificially “vintaged” ones, but that’s just me.

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I’m with you. I really don’t get wanting a brand-new instrument to look like it’s been abused. And if a used guitar was all beat up, I wouldn’t be interested. I want it to look like somebody cared about it.


Yes if you refinish a vintage guitar you will lose 50% of its value.

My oldest guitar is a 1947 Gibson. I wouldn’t say its beat up but it has been played and loved a lot so it shows normal wear as any instument used for gigs.
I have 2 guitars from 1975 a Fender 12 string and an Ovation. Both I played gigs with and both have a few scars and stories to prove it. If you want perfect guitars vintage is not for you. Good guitars get played and will show some wear. That doesn’t mean they weren’t looked after. Perfect vintage guitar usually sound bad that’s why they are perfect. Nobody played them because the sound bad.

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If you like the sound of a 12 string electric there are lots of more affordable options. Vintage ones generally are not a good idea because as Stitch has already pointed out - if they’re in good condition it’s usually because they’re not good examples.
As an example of the more affordable ones, I have a friend who gigs with a Harley Benton Ricky 12 inspired one, he uses it for Byrds covers!

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1 - Buy new guitar
2 - set fire to it
3 - sell as relic for profit


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Thanks for your insights. I don’t want to buy vintage instruments (or vintage anything) by all means, but this exact model gave me a bit of GAS.

The reasoning behind why immaculate-looking old instruments would worth less than visibly used ones is a bit tenuous for me. I mean, I try to take good care of my belongings as much as I can, and the guitars are not an exception. If a significant portion of the finish would be worn off, I’d probably consider to have the guitar refinished. But I’m not a collector, so my priorities may be different.

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Thanks for the recommendation. I’m not in immediate need of an electric 12 string, but it’s something I’d like to add to my arsenal in a few years time. Though seeing how the Hungarian currency is getting inflated, I’d probably be better of by learning to be a luthier and build one for myself. :smiley: