1959 Custom

Skerries1

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I came across this 59 Custom last week when I was traveling in the UK and I was very tempted to pick it up as it is in the more affordable range than most bursts (40 K GBP =~60K USD). Also, given my recent experience with Burst scams, I get the impression Customs are less likely to have had major cover-up work done to them as they don't carry the price tag of the bursts.
I wonder if anyone can chime in about a few issues. I have pasted the specifics on this guitar below and its clear its not a clean guitar, but a well-played working guitar.
One question I have is why are the 58/59 Customs a much less desirable LP than the bursts? There was also a lot of interesting stuff going on with them in that period (in terms of rarity, honing of classic looks).
Second is that I have heard the 3 pick-ups can be a real challenge in terms of getting a great tone. Does anyone have experience with this?

Cheers

The guitar (serial 9 0261) originally featured a factory Bigsby which was later changed for a period-correct stop tail-piece.The small mounting holes on the front and sides of the body have been plugged and touched up. The finish on body and neck is weather checked but the aforementioned touch-ups aside, fully original. The ABR-1 bridge is also original to the guitar.

A small switch was added and later removed between the tone and volume controls, again plugged and touched up.

The guitar has been professionally refretted and has a replaced nut - all in keeping with it's life as a working instrument.

There is some extra shielding in the control and switch cavity to help prevent microphonics. Again in keeping with it being a working guitar.

The only other change that I wasn't previously aware of is a changed volume and tone pot, coded 137 72 ** and 137 81 ** dating them to 1972 and 1981 respectively. These are long-shaft units wired to the bridge pickup. The other 2 pots are solder in-tact and original to the guitar.

These points aside, the guitar features it's original 3 x PAF pickups, surrounds, Grover tuners, switch, tip, poker chip, jack socket and control knobs. There are no breaks whatsoever and the guitar blacklights accordingly.

It's a very light-weight and resonant guitar and comes with it's original 4-latch yellow lined hard shell case. We also supply a full written Certificate of Authenticity with printed internal and external photographs, and an insurance valuation.
 

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LenPaul

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What's the asking price for this guitar?

As for the middle Pick-up, you'd have to try & see if you get along with it.

That's a lovely guitar,,,,, for the right price.
 

yeti

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Do I understand correctly? The Custom is priced at $60K?
Seems extraordinarily high even for a non-issue custom.
I'm curious about your Burst scam experiences, please elaborate.
 

LenPaul

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We don't know the asking price for the Custom yet.
 

Skerries1

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The asking price for the Custom is 39.9K GBP, which is about 60K USD.
From what I gather, from looking at existing Customs (58s and 60s), this price is reasonable. My query is whether the 1959 special year applies to Customs at all?
Greg, for example, a vendor member on here, has a similar working, and beautiful, 1958 for under 20K.
Can anyone elaborate?
 

Skerries1

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Do I understand correctly? The Custom is priced at $60K?
Seems extraordinarily high even for a non-issue custom.
I'm curious about your Burst scam experiences, please elaborate.
Thanks, could you elaborate on why you think this is high for a 59 Custom? There isn't much information available on the importance/desirability of 59 Customs compared with other years. I see on some vintage sellers websites that 57, 58, and 60s can go as high as 50K, so is 59 a special year?

My recent burst scam experience was a 1958 re-serialed to look like a 59 and it took a burst expert to figure it out - even the reputable store hadn't noticed it. His best guess was that it was a stolen 58 whose serial number was changed to avoid detection. The serial number was in the high 9-3000s, which is apparently a giveaway for a fake. Apparently, this was once quite common in the "Kosta" days. Even though I involved one of the west coasts most reputable burst experts, the store still tried to convince me that even if stolen, its unlikely to be traced (But I don't want to be holding stolen goods). But from what I can tell, on their website, this reputable store has passed on this guitar to some naive seller. I was, in the beginning, happy to buy in this market, but this experience has sort of turned me off the high end market.
 

LenPaul

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I don't believe a 59 Custom has more value from previous years. Unless it was a custom ordered 2 P/U model.
59 is the magic # for standards, not so much for customs.
 

Jimmi

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Thanks, could you elaborate on why you think this is high for a 59 Custom? There isn't much information available on the importance/desirability of 59 Customs compared with other years. I see on some vintage sellers websites that 57, 58, and 60s can go as high as 50K, so is 59 a special year?

My recent burst scam experience was a 1958 re-serialed to look like a 59 and it took a burst expert to figure it out - even the reputable store hadn't noticed it. His best guess was that it was a stolen 58 whose serial number was changed to avoid detection. The serial number was in the high 9-3000s, which is apparently a giveaway for a fake. Apparently, this was once quite common in the "Kosta" days. Even though I involved one of the west coasts most reputable burst experts, the store still tried to convince me that even if stolen, its unlikely to be traced (But I don't want to be holding stolen goods). But from what I can tell, on their website, this reputable store has passed on this guitar to some naive seller. I was, in the beginning, happy to buy in this market, but this experience has sort of turned me off the high end market.

You should go through Gruhn or Eric. Both are honest and both are very experienced and know what they are doing.

You could also look at an early 50s custom...there are several very good examples for sale right now all for low 20s.
 

Sharky

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Custom prices dropped remarkably during the last year. Between 30 and 40 k USD are seen more than often. Removed Bigsby devalues it by at least 30%. Far too expensive, if you ask me
 

Jimmi

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I don't know about 30%....depends on the effect on the top....but agree, too expensive.
 

RevWillie

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- Removed Bigsby
- non-factory stoptail holes
- extra hole drilled for switch

These 3 things alone put it closer to the $35k range IMO. I would like to see a cavity shot to see the wire channel and added ground wire.

Part of the 'magic' that makes the '59 Bursts iconic are the '59 pickups. This guitar is pretty early in '59 so that might be a moot point.
 

Ducati

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I like the guitar, it looks great. Not a great buy at that price though!

You might find more value in a pre-PAF custom. They look cool, have two pickups, and should sound great. They also cost a lot less money without the issues of the 3 pickup (wiring, hand getting snagged).

Nothing wrong with a Bigsby discount either but I'd rather have the holes still there and the old Bigsby in the case for when I'm feeling twangy.

Keep looking and see what you find.
 

mapleflame

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Tailpiece isn't correct either. Should have a mold mark line on the bottom.
 

Brown Recluse

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As a partial point of reference, my friend just bought an early '59 Bigsby only Custom with 3 double whites for 38K. The underside of the ABR-1 had been ground down slightly and the 3 way switch was an old replacement.
 

Thermionik

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How does it feel to play, how does it sound, and do YOU like it.
That is really all that matters at the end of the day.....
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[email protected]

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My advice- do not buy anything from this shop. There are scores of better guitars from more reliable sellers, at much better prices. Caveat Emptor!
 


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