Is it a vintage model or one new from a thrift store?
A vintage guitar is pretty much the same as a standard vintage guitar. Both are made of very heavy wood like ebony, with the difference being that the ebony is a bit thinner than the spruce on an average instrument; it’s usually a bit richer. It’s not unusual for a spruce model to weigh 30 to 35 pounds, while an ebony will weigh maybe one-and-a-half to two pounds—even at the midsection.
A new guitar is almost always made of spruce. What makes it unique is that each of the three pieces in the hand, the fingerboard, the headstock (the back piece where the strings join), and the rest of the design are made from one piece. This type of wood is so different from the natural spruce that we’re called “extra spruce,” and is probably the hardest wood around.
Can you give me some examples of new guitars or how a vintage guitar looks with just one of the components?
Well, let’s say you have a vintage Les Paul. The headstock is probably just one piece. You might see one or two pieces of maple glued on there that we call a fingerboard. There are some fingerboards where you might see one or two pieces of carved ebony or rosewood glued on there. Those are pieces that we’d call a headstock, but we use that term too, because they’re not wood. So we call them “new guitar parts.”
So in some hands, you might find two pieces of black marble-flake glued on there. You might find a pearloid or ebony fingerboard with one or two pieces of spruce glued on there. These are different types of fingerboards. The only difference we had when people picked up older models from the thrift store was that many would have a black marble-flake on the headstock—we used marble-flake on our other guitars, too.
So in these cases, when someone picks up another one of our guitars, they can’t pick up a fingerboard with more than one part of the ebony. You can have a spruce fingerboard with a pearloid fingerboard glued on there, but that’s an unusual configuration.
In a lot of hands, there’s probably only one piece of wood that’s black, and you’d be hard-pressed to find another piece. A lot of people, because they’re
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