FRETS.NET

Hi. This is my first post here.

I am a guitar novice and late starter. Frank Ford is a familiar name to me from my tie with the HSM site. When I saw Fret. Net and saw who was involved, well, thats a no brainer.

I am looking at an old Hofner, could be a 492 from what I can find. It appears to have some leanings toward the 499 model.

It has that neck to body latch system and at the moment it is strung as a 6 but running 5

It is not local, I'm not experienced and it  has had a life  -   thats a good start (grin)

My main question is what should I be concerned with about purchasing such a guitar?

Is it worthy?

I will post images for your interest.

Thanks

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very interesting!!  * strings!!  Wonder how it Is tunned?

Ron

Are you looking at this online or in person? If its online Id request as many pics as possible.

Definitely appears to need some tlc at the minimum. What kind of wood is the top? Its hard to tell if those dark lines are in the wood or finish cracks that soaked up a load of oil lol. Theres also some cracks on the back that are probably just the finish, but might be in the wood. It will probably need a refret or at least a fret dress and proper setup, and the tuners given a good cleaning. I personally would ditch the 'adjustable' bridge too...

On the plus side (to me) its a 12 fret neck, which tends to sound sweeter/resonate more nicely. Again thats a personal opinion.

Anyway, if youre just getting into playing guitar, Im not sure this would be a good choice, unless youve played it and really like it.

Personally, I'd pass. However, if it 'talks to you' and you're willing to take the time & accept the cost to resurrect it, then it's your decision.

The bridge, alone, looks like a potential nightmare. Your other concerns are the frets, new tuning keys and the possibility that the neck has twisted or otherwise has severe geometry issues.

Those were not high quality guitars when new and even perfectly set up, sound inferior to even inexpensive Asian imports.

Andrew: Tops like that made from cheap grades of wood were very common in the late 50's through the early 80's. .  To me, they're a warning sign that says "Avoid at all costs". But that's just me.

Best of luck, Ken & welcome to the forum :)

Cant say that I disagree with any of that.

Thank you for the warm welcome your honest insights gentlemen.

Good question Ron. I am likely the best candidate for selling a 5 string/12 string  ;-)

I have only seen images and some I have requested haven't been provided; they're either tardy or obfuscating.

I like the look of it Andrew. From the Vintage Hofner site, the top is supposed to be solid Spruce with mahogany sides and back.

I was told that the 'cracks' that are seen in the flash shots are the clear coat and not the wood. The top also.

It appears to definitely need a good clean and maybe that is what is highlighting the lines in the top view? They don't seem to correspond with the grain so maybe it is the clear?

I have the option of sending it back for a refund if I am not happy with it, so that would be dead money but not a complete loss.

I like a punt, especially if it comes off on the right side of the ledger; or it is an item of particular interest or rarity.

Which poses another question; what is its value?

I am going to hold on for a while until my head catches up with my heart (big grin)

Or maybe I should go to the SPCA and adopt a 3 legged dog with mange as my next project?

 Which poses another question; what is its value?

In the USA... as is...very little.... maybe $50 USD tops.  Fully cleaned, repaired & set up.. a bit more than 'not much'... perhaps $150-$225 USD. These types of instruments fall into the 'niche buyer' category.  They are neither "collectable" or "desirable"... again, in the USA.

In the world of guitar buying, trading & selling, a guitar truly is worth whatever you can get for it.

Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, TN USA, offer fee based valuations and appraisals.

Until it can be seen, handled & inspected, it's impossible to guess it's value. Generally, we're reluctant to assign 'hard' values to guitars as we're predominantly a technical group. The 'selling' end of the MI business is another beast entirely.

And Ken, I'm not being 'hard on you', I'm simply giving you my honest opinion without mincing words. I'm well known for that on this forum, for better or worse.

Hope some of that info is useful to your acquisition quest :)

I agree with Paul on this one. When ever I look at something like this as a potential project, I automatically assume that it will  take twice as much work to get it back as I can assess in the pictures. I have VERY seldom been let down with that.  It's also always a worry to me when a 12 string guitar doesn't have 12 strings on it much less it not being brought to tension.  With 12 string guitars I assume that a neck reset is looming it the it's immediate future... on top of everything else it may need that I can't see.  

Please excuse me while I get up on my soap box.

 Thank you.

 In my experience it's not all that uncommon for people new to guitars to think that a 12 string guitar would be great. I can tell you from experience that they are great... right up until they are not.  The truth for a pretty good percentage of guitar player is that 12 strings guitars are niche instruments that are wonderful in the right song/setting but not really something most of us would tolerate well as our primary guitar.  I wanted and still want a 12 string but I ended up having access to one often enough that I never got around to getting one of my own.  I've also never regretted not owning one.  They are fun sometimes and have their uses but my 6 strings are much more flexible and decidedly NOT janglely. I still want one, just not enough to actually pay for one.

( Shameless disclamer; I have a Seagull body and an martin neck which I just may "franky" into a "Martigull" or a "Seatin" sometime in the future so I will have a 12 on those rare times when I want to use one.  OK, OK, I guess I would pay for one... just not very much. Martin neck - free from a friend. Seagull body- $10 and shipping. Time to "franky" the two together - free*. Total cost- not much.)  

Besides all that, the first few weeks/months of physical/mental guitar learning curve is hard enough without adding another set of strings to tune and twice the finger tip slots to toughen up on top of it ( should I mention string changes??)  

If you want to go "Leo Kottke", learn on a 6 then move to a 12. His style is very advanced and will be much easier to handle on a 6 first.

 ( I calmly steps down and kicks aside the soap box.)

In the end I wouldn't recommend this guitar for you for 3 reasons: You are new to guitars. It's an "online" purchase,which is not for the faint of heart or the unprepared... with issues. It's a 12 string.

Calculated by multiplying a possibily infinite number of hours by an hourly rate of $0.00 per hour.

Fair do's, Paul and Ned. I need someone to kick the romantic notions and over-optimism out of me, so thanks (grin).

Seriously though, and thinking on what has been told, you are correct.

They say that there is one born every minute and after considering all the advice offered and listening to that quiet voice of reason in my head, I will be avoiding this minute of mine.

I have a friend or two who I can call on to help me out in selecting a guitar to learn on but for now; the Hofner? I have left it to another, this time.

Thank you all.

Ken, you had good advice and you listened - too often good advice falls on ears which are supporting rose-tinted internet glasses.  Every used guitar for sale online is for sale for a good reason. The trick is to be sure that your reason for buying is better than their reason for selling.

I agree with you  Ian.

Referencing to my experience with cars and the same applies.

There are only a few main reasons why something is up for sale;

It has a problem,

The need/want to upgrade,

Cashing up.

My daughter called in the other day and has kindly lent me her Yamaha 310.... and I like it.

 Ken, There are actually a lot of nice second hand guitars available in the world. One of the things that happens to some of us is GAS which, if you haven't heard yet, stands for Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. It can sneak up on you and every once in a while someone with GAS will realize that they need to clear out some of their collection. There seems to be quit a bit of this going on at any given time.  The catch is that you, as the potential buyer, must cull the less desirable instruments from the good ones.

You can't count on the sellers to give you a good assessment. Some are just dishonest but, to be fair, there are a lot of sellers that are just ignorant. People can become very good players without really learning all that much about how to assess the physical condition of their instruments. They don't mean to misrepresent their instruments, they just don't know what matters. Ebay is very popular as a source for used guitars. It's also probably the worst place to purchase one.  Too many people just don't know how to evaluate their instrument and when you couple this with their need to get as much as possible for it, it's almost always true that what they think they are offering isn't what you are seeing and what you are seeing isn't what you will get when it arrives. I do buy on Ebay but I watch a LOT more than I even bid much less actually buy. I set very low "stop bidding" points and, as I said earlier, always assume that it will take twice as much as I can see online to make it functional. I also NEVER, EVER think I can make money on anything I see there unless I exclude my time. ( That's why this is a hobby for me). I've only opened up two instruments that I got from Ebay that were either completely accurate or, in one case, better than it seemed in the ad.  

As you can guess, I'm looking for projects so there's a greater risk that the instrument is misrepresented. If you're looking for a good player, the field may be a bit more even but you are still subject to the same sort of inaccuracies.    

The best way to insure that your guitar is what you really want is to educate yourself and spend time looking at different guitars. Being able to borrow one is a very good way to start since almost every one that gets very serious will want to move up to something better. Starting on your daughter's guitar gives you the best of both worlds. You now have time to ramp up  your knowledge about the types of guitars available, the features and construction and to determine what type of guitar you will actually want. Oh yeah, you can also start saving for that big spend when you find one that you really fall in love with.  That's the best reason to avoid buying online, you really want to hold and play THE guitar you get. Brand name, model number and pretty pictures won't actually tell you if you really like THAT guitar. Every one of them is different and it's completely possible to find "junk" with high end names on the label and to find "gems" in lower end equipment. 

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