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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was offered an used J. Custom which has been left alone in a box for a long time. Yes, a box, because the owner brought it from Japan without the original case (why?!). So basically, there's rust all over the hardware, and I don't know if it's worth buying.

First of all, this is the guitar:



The knobs look like this. Also look at the trem and the 5-way screw:



This is the nut. The owner sent me two pictures. The first one shows the nut untouched. For the second one, he used toilet paper on the string retainer, to show me that the rust is "superficial" and can be easily cleaned:





And finally, this is the trem:



For the sake of comparison: he's asking a price somewhat equivalent of a 2010+ Jem 7VWH in good shape (not cheap, but not out of this world). Just for the record, J. Custom guitars are simply inexistent here in Brazil, this is the first one I see in years.

So what do you guys say? Is it worth buying? Can these hardware be saved?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Is that an 8670? I'd say go for it! Especially if they're that rare in Brazil, and if you really want one of course. Judging by the 2nd picture, the pitting / grime looks like it can be cleaned for the most part. How much? Who knows. But you can always replace the bridge if you can't get the grime off. If he wiped it with tissue and it looks like that, then it is probably mostly superficial. That's a beautiful guitar that just needs some cleaning and love, and a better home.

Don't worry about the 5-way screw, those usually end up rusting, but an easy replacement anyway.

Is it possible to see it in person first?
 

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I bought one worse than that once, it cost about $500 for new hardware. You might want to replace the switch and the pots too. Check for used hardware on ebay and make him an offer.
 

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Assuming the frets are good, neck isn't warped, truss works, fretboard wood is okay, etc. I'd buy it, but only if I could get it cheaply enough to make up for all the new hardware I'd potentially have to replace.

I get off on fixing up neglected guitars though. You'll have to ask yourself it you're willing to do the work and spend the money. Worst-case scenario, you'd have to just replace all the hardware, and that could run at least $500, unless you get lucky on ebay and find a decent used Edge Pro and whatnot. I think you can make the current one work, but it's hard to know anything without inspecting it myself.
 

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The J Customs that I have seen have all been of excellent craftsmanship. Hardware is replaceable or possibly cleaned up; if the neck and body are otherwise clean and the price is right, I would seriously consider it.

-m
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is it possible to see it in person first?
Unfortunately not. The owner lives in a city 700 km away.

There are quite a few around.
Not for sale, at least for what I've seen so far.

I'd buy it, but only if I could get it cheaply enough to make up for all the new hardware I'd potentially have to replace.
if the neck and body are otherwise clean and the price is right, I would seriously consider it.
It's not that cheap. I'll ask the guy for a better price. If he can't make it, I'll just let it pass... thanks for the input, guys.
 

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Woah, closet queen, no way!

Sun damage, seen it in small stores and pawn shops that don't move stuff quickly. Bright but hot days, cold night over and over will quickly trash hardware like that, not neglect.

There's neglect and there is abuse, and imho this is more abuse.

If price is right and neck not twisted or warped I would still jump on it.

If somebody was trying to move a rare and expensive guitar, and they don't know you, they would of course say it was unplayed or left in box vs. left in sun (and obvious damage that can produce). It wasn't played a lot and judging from hardware wear, or lack of, it's not been heavily played so that is good.

As for what hurts a guitar, when I was a vintage collector and actually had to pay attention to this since these could also be investments, is 1) light, 2) hard playing 3) sweat/humidity/moisture.

Most know that hard playing makes things like trem edges eventually go flat and switches break off and the almost inevitable dings appear, and we know sweat and moisture can wear at a finish more quickly, but non-collectors don't usually know about light.

Light is seen, by those not initiated, as usually just "light waves" and rather benign. It's not seen as physical like fingers digging into a fretboard or certain types of human sweat that like to wear off the gold plating of a once nice bridge. But light, as later found out in physics, is really slightly more like a "particle" than a "wave" according to many physicists. It's physical and on a very small level that we can't see, it's akin to a bunch of very tiny BBs being shot very, very quickly against an object. So instead of just eventually fading art or a deep color on a guitar, it can do a number on wood and metal. It can dig and pit and people with a $100,000 dollar guitar now a $50,000 dollar guitar can attest to that thus all the talk about investment grade guitars being kept in vaults vs. just sitting in the livingroom along with couch and the cat.

Anybody living in the countryside any more than 50 miles from any big city, aka nowheresville, will see just how quickly direct light unobstructed by other structures, can just shred a solid, wooden barn. It doesn't matter if where you live has a lot of storms or if it's dry and still. I remember my vintage guitar store owner friend who was anal about rotating his guitars from the front window, and even though he had to put out rare, vintage guitars in the window to get customers, he knew that a nice guitar's absolute worst enemy was light.

This guitar was unplayed mostly, of course, but was kept in a well lit room where sunlight either hit it directly or indirectly. It's not some "closet queen".
 

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Sun damage, seen it in small stores and pawn shops that don't move stuff quickly. Hot day, cold night over and over will quickly trash hardware like that, not neglect.

There's neglect and there is abuse, and imho this is more abuse.

If price is right and neck not twisted or warped I would jump on it.
But if it was left in a box like the OP says, and in the owner's house, then sun damage shouldn't be an issue and temperature should be somewhat consistent if it was left in an insulated room.

Also, how strong are Ibanez 5-piece and 3-piece necks compared to 1-piece when it comes to warping? This I'm not too sure of, but I believe the 8670 is 5-piece, so I'm guessing it should be pretty resistant to warping/twisting?
 

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But if it was left in a box like the OP says, and in the owner's house, then sun damage shouldn't be an issue and temperature should be somewhat consistent if it was left in an insulated room.

Also, how strong are Ibanez 5-piece and 3-piece necks compared to 1-piece when it comes to warping? This I'm not too sure of, but I believe the 8670 is 5-piece, so I'm guessing it should be pretty resistant to warping/twisting?
One of the guitars my best friend had, was a 1961 Gretsch Clipper, kept in a cardboard box under a bed for 30 years in a town we joke as "the Bermuda triangle of mold" because of its cold humidity and dampness, and when I went to buy it there was no damage on chrome parts. That's when I met him, around 1991 and he placed an ad and I went to see this neglected guitar. I have also seen a similar 50s Fender Telecaster that Seymour Duncan, who also collected, had brought in.

You know sun damage when you see it and the above Ibanez is not a victim of any cardboard box.

As for neck twisting and warping, it goes without saying a 3 or 5 piece neck, will not warp as easily as a one piece neck. It's not to say it can't warp, but the forces of the individual pieces of wood are not all warping exactly in the same direction at the same time as would be the case in a one piece neck. You generally won't see a 3 to 5 piece maple/walnut neck from an old Gibson L5/Super 400 be warped but will find plenty of one piece warped necks from SGs and Les Pauls. It's not so much the company but the physics of the construction. This is why you won't see a top of the flagship Gibson guitar as the L-5 or Super 400 with a one piece mahogany neck.

https://images.search.yahoo.com/ima...-001&fr2=piv-web&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla

Being old there was the start of some potential finish crazing on that really cool 61 Clipper, as Gretsches are known for, but nothing bad to the hardware or plastics. Sometimes in a very airtight case, the gasses or fumes can eat into some plastics on plastic tuning pegs and non-ivory bindings.

........

Let's entertain the "no-light/no-sun" theory. What if owner put the perfect guitar in a wet box in a closet that was very, very damp all year around? That's what would almost have to happen, but I haven't seen this on many guitars.

Truthfully, it may have been put as an unplayed ornament in a room in Brazil where it's hot and it was directly in the well light room's sun unplayed for years. That explains the pitting. You just don't see that type of damage via moisture only as an unplayed instrument.

At best I would say, it sat out in a room for years largely unplayed, damage done, and then for whatever reason, was subjected to box in a closet for years. But damage was already done. IMHO it's not a closet classic that just had pitting/dimples just appear out of nowhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Truthfully, it may have been put as an unplayed ornament in a room in Brazil where it's hot and it was directly in the well light room's sun unplayed for years. That explains the pitting. You just don't see that type of damage via moisture only as an unplayed instrument.

At best I would say, it sat out in a room for years largely unplayed, damage done, and then for whatever reason, was subjected to box in a closet for years. But damage was already done. IMHO it's not a closet classic that just had pitting/dimples just appear out of nowhere.
Very informative... many thanks for the input.
 

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Very informative... many thanks for the input.
You are welcome.

I have a cheapo guitar, Artcore, that for ten years sat on a wall that was directly in path of steam from bathroom in small house so the chrome hardware was always wet every morning.

Being inexpensive, I didn't really do anything to dry it off and in those ten years, not one case of a pit or dulling on the hardware. It's also in a room on damp north side of house in a cool climate. The chrome is almost as shiny as it was when I bought it new in a store.

But it's not on or near south side and it's never been around any sun.

The sun is not your friend, neither sunbathing without sunscreen nor on your guitars. You always hear about the idiot who swung the guitar around like Steve Vai and broke the headstock or the idiot who left the guitar on a stand near people slam dancing, but more guitars are damaged by our friend the sun.
 

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I'm going to disagree, sunlight is not the culprit here. This is 100% moisture and possible salt. Does this person live near the ocean? This looks like a guitar stored in a high humidity and possibly corrosive environment. I would 100% believe it was stored in a box as it would explain the extensive pitting of the hardware. I've never seen that happen to dry Gotoh hardware. I might even believe that this guitar was in a basement that flooded at some point.

Now, moving on from that, I would have a hard time turning down an 8670. It's just such a great guitar. However, I wouldn't pay anywhere near the price of a new Jem for that particular example.

EDIT: could sunlight eventually cause some sort of damage to a decades old guitar? Sure. But this is at oldest from 2003. The sun did not do this. You can find plenty of obviously sun faded Ibanez guitars on eBay and none of them have finish issues like this.

Also, minor point but if you were looking to replace that hardware, it would be extremely difficult to find it in the original Violet Chrome out there.
 

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I'm going to disagree, sunlight is not the culprit here. This is 100% moisture and possible salt. Does this person live near the ocean? This looks like a guitar stored in a high humidity and possibly corrosive environment. I would 100% believe it was stored in a box as it would explain the extensive pitting of the hardware. I've never seen that happen to dry Gotoh hardware. I might even believe that this guitar was in a basement that flooded at some point.

Now, moving on from that, I would have a hard time turning down an 8670. It's just such a great guitar. However, I wouldn't pay anywhere near the price of a new Jem for that particular example.

EDIT: could sunlight eventually cause some sort of damage to a decades old guitar? Sure. But this is at oldest from 2003. The sun did not do this. You can find plenty of obviously sun faded Ibanez guitars on eBay and none of them have finish issues like this.

Also, minor point but if you were looking to replace that hardware, it would be extremely difficult to find it in the original Violet Chrome out there.
Those are good points. I certainly can't disagree with the model of: Moisture+salt+corrosive environment+high humidity being bad, even on guitar not directly subjected to that in a room or outdoors.

I have never been in a place like that but I assume that can do damage on a guitar, even not kept out anywhere but in the "safe" closet in a box. I guess some closets can be in a damp house near the ocean in a very tropical environment where it's salty. I do remember seeing some relatively new cars in Kauai on vacation that had what looked like decades old rust issues. It's not something I had ever seen in California.

While my experience seeing this very type of damage is mostly around sun damage where I live, the drought ridden Northern California and for a time Southern California, I haven't lived in a place like New Orleans or the Caribbean or Hawaii where I certainly saw a few moisture proof Ovations being sported at tourist joints. As a guitarist when I went there I enjoyed all the slack key work, but then I thought, why all the freakin' Ovations? A couple of guitarists had those cool Rain Song guitars, too.

Check out this water damaged guitar. Yikes!!

http://www.rsguitarworks.net/cms2/restoring-rich-robinsons-flood-damaged-gibson-es-335/
 

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Yeah, that looks like humidity to me as well - if this was somehow related to the sun (and this is straight-up corrosion, so I have a hard time believing that), then I'd expect to see the guitar itself faded. It's not.

If you can get it cheaply enough to cover a new Edge Pro and a few knobs and screws, and the guitar itself appeals to you, go for it - I definitely could see gold looking pretty elegant on that. If the price isn't discounted enough to cover a full hardware replacement, or if it's a guitar that spec-wise you wouldn't be interested in otherwise, pass.

EDIT - re: price discounted by the cost of new hardware - that doesn't mean you HAVE to replace it, of course. Simply polishing it up to at least get it back to feeling smooth under your palm or maybe soaking it in WD40 and then degreasing it and reassembling, or whatever, to get it back to playable shape would be fine, and if you just want a good player, there's no shame in leaving the hardware like it is. It just wouldn't be fair to pay a price for it that implies the hardware is in good shape.
 

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Going back to the earlier point about the sun. If you had a guitar in a very humid environment and it were exposed to the sun and therefore dealt with big temperature swings, I could see problems like this due to moisture condensation at night, like what you see with a car.

But a lot of people, especially in tropical locations, have guitars stored in very high humidity conditions. This could be made worse by being in a place like a closet or basement. I've seen screws corrode over a pretty short period of time this way. I had a guitar with a neck issue and as a way to try and bring the neck back, I was storing it in a case with damp sponges in there to raise the humidity. Within a couple months of doing this, all the screws were starting to show signs of corrosion.
 
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