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  1. #1

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    I have been on the hunt for a beat up, but good playing es 125 Gibson for a while. I found an interesting one on the web and spoke to the shop, looked at all the photos and felt good about the deal. When it arrived it was packaged well, played good and sounded amazing (especially through my amp). This is also a guitar for my slide playing 19 year old daughter to play. She loves it.

    THE PROBLEM - No one at the store had mention (or shown photos) that the top had sunken. I knew it had some repaired cracks but the pick guard hid a big top face crack. I took it to my luthier that was a former Gibson luthier. He works on ES guitars for big names in Nashville (I almost scored the ES 125 used by the Black Crows guitar player).
    He said that at some point in time someone stabilized the sunken top and internally all structures were solid. He said to take it home and play the crap out of it without worry. If any issues arose he said he could fix it no problem.

    THE QUESTION - I could send this 56 ES 125 back (for $100). It is full of mojo, sounds amazing, and I like the neck and how it plays. I paid $1,300 plus shipping for this. Would you keep this guitar given the info above? I'm totally 50/50 on the fence. I don't think I could ever sell it but if my daughter is going to keep it then that doesn't matter.

    Thoughts?

    (Links to photos)

    Imgur: The magic of the Internet

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Should you or she ever need to sell it, you would be disclosing those negatives that the store did not. Could you get that same price on resale? That's one of the things that guide me in such situations. Also, do you feel misled? I ask specifically about top sink, ask for side pics to try and assess it. Not always easy to pick up from the pics. So for me, having specifically asked about that, I would feel misled on receiving such an instrument. But that's me, not you. May not apply at all here.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyHell

    THE QUESTION - I could send this 56 ES 125 back (for $100). It is full of mojo, sounds amazing, and I like the neck and how it plays. I paid $1,300 plus shipping for this. Would you keep this guitar given the info above?
    If you love the guitar and it has the magic to inspire you to play, my suggestion would be to contact the seller and note that you feel the item was not represented accurately. Consider what you will do if the discount is offered.

    On the other hand, there are many, many old ES-125 guitars out there. I bought one last year, a '58 in very good condition, no cracks and no issues for not much more than you paid.
    Last edited by Michael Neverisky; 09-08-2020 at 11:47 AM.

  5. #4

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    Keep it and when You want to sell it, come to EU and get about 2500€ (2947,84$) for it.

    Seriously, a tough question. Depends a bit on such things that could You wait a new one to pop up if You send this back.

    I believe that in the case of selling You’ll get the same back. The price of these beauties haven’t decreasing in ten years or so.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky
    I you love the guitar and it has the magic to inspire you to play, my suggestion would be to contact the seller and note that you feel the item was not represented accurately. Consider what you will do if the discount is offered.

    On the other hand, there are many, many old ES-125 guitars out there. I bought one last year, a '58 in very good condition, no cracks and no issues for not much more than you paid.
    I totally agree. Definitely contact the seller. At least seek a discount. It could be that you would come out well after the luthier fixes it. But I also have an ES-125 bought for not much more, similar condition. There are many others out there. If this problem bothers you now, it will bother you more as time goes on, in my opinion.

  7. #6

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    The previously done top repair not having been mentioned is always an issue- -but maybe not so mush on this particular guitar, and for yourself.....
    Personally, I feel the most important thing for you both now and in the future, is the fact that you have a local luthier who used to work at Gibson - who's available. That is huge !
    And the fact that he's inspected it and says it's fine is also a big deal !

    Now, that having been said - you may be at the point in the market where you need to spend some more money but could then basically get twice the instrument in better condition, because you've got that luthier to both inspect what you may find and then do any needed repairs. I have to believe this is going to be the most money for this guitar from now on- - and the next prospective buyer - -if he just doesn't like that mojo - -won't care if the top had been expertly repaired. The condition just won't make up for it for him.

    But hey if you like this one's mojo, and having gotten that luthier's approval of it, go ahead.

    Just my .02 cents.

    Good luck.

  8. #7

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    I had this guitar boxed up and ready to ship but doing so actually made me sad. I stayed up late looking at what I could potentially purchase if I had my $1,300 back right now. I would need to drop much more coin. So this morning I unboxed the 56 and took it to my luthier, explained that one day this would be my daughters guitar and while we both love the mojo and tone I wanted to make sure the thing never became unplayable. He agreed that if I was a collector he would tell me to send it back but since I'm looking for a player it is fine. He also agreed it sounded too good and looked too cool to send back. So I left it with him to get in there and make sure it was good for the next decade. I could have waited but I have lost so many luthiers over the years - one minute they are a call away and the next they have moved to Florida. So I'm keeping the 56 and getting the work done now. I really appreciate the input. When it comes to my guitars I over think everything (that's part of the fun). I love the sound so much (I can sound acoustic and dirty) that I'm thinking about selling my Godin Multiac Steel HG and buying a 60's Epiphone thin body ES.
    Last edited by BillyHell; 09-08-2020 at 12:41 PM.

  9. #8

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    Even though you've decided to keep the ES 125 and have your local guitar repairman/luthier shore it up, I'd still recommend contacting the seller.
    Inform him of the issues as well as your efforts to correct an undisclosed crack and sunken top. Take photos of everything to back up your claim and send it to the seller.

    The least they should do is offer to reimburse you for the repairs. That would be the right thing to do and show good faith as a seller of used and vintage guitars. They had the duty to thoroughly inspect the instrument prior to selling it and advise of any visible issues...even if it was under the pick guard.

    It sounds like you got yourself a very cool ES 125 that you plan to keep in your family for years to come. Notifying the seller and giving them a chance to do what is right will only add to your joy as the years go by.

  10. #9

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    Will do. I actually got photos of the internal cracks. I just got word that the original repairs had already been done over 15 years ago.

  11. #10

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    Seller might (rightfully) argue that the price (1300$ for a 1956 ES 125) already reflects the repair that's done. I can't imagine that guitar selling for less even if it had sunken top repair. Most laminate guitars from that era have sunken tops to one extend or another.

  12. #11

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    Could you post a pic of the guitar’s top as taken from the side? I’m curious to see how sunken the top is.

  13. #12

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  14. #13

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    #wzpgsr This link should take you to all of the photos....
    1956 Gibson ES 125 - Album on Imgur1956 ES 125 Ordered from online store - Has repaired sunken top...Input-img_0605-jpg1956 ES 125 Ordered from online store - Has repaired sunken top...Input-img_0602-jpg1956 ES 125 Ordered from online store - Has repaired sunken top...Input-img_0623-jpg1956 ES 125 Ordered from online store - Has repaired sunken top...Input-img_0606-jpg1956 ES 125 Ordered from online store - Has repaired sunken top...Input-img_0623-jpg

  15. #14

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    That is a great point and why I brought my question here. I think it is probably a $1,000 guitar.

  16. #15

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    Some other points - this has new frets as of 10 years ago and new tuners. Maybe that has a part in why I enjoy playing it. I'm as fast on this neck as any I own. It doesn't play like my Godin Multiac Steel HG up and down the neck - BUT I enjoy playing the ES a lot more...go figure.

  17. #16

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    if that one is $1300, I'd email the seller of the one I linked and see if he'd take $1500 for his.
    if he would, for the extra $200 it looks a lot nicer and much easier to move if you ever did have to sell it. heck I'd probably be even willing to pay his full $1700
    just my opinion for what it's worth and no affiliation of course.

  18. #17

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    the bridge saddle is jacked up a bit high..thats why it's tilting as well


    if you do keep it, get a spacer for the p90...the screws shouldn't be that high out of the pickup...p90's have the magnet below the bobbin, so you want to raise the entire pup up closer to the strings..not boost the screws

    luck

    cheers

  19. #18

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    Spacer shims ordered from Mojotone.

  20. #19

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    I have gone back and forth over this concept - spend more money and get a more perfect guitar. I'm in $100 for shipping, it would be $100 to ship back. Then the shipping on the new guitar. If I could do it all over again I would not have purchased this 56 but I did want a guitar that looked beat up and played and sounded great. This is exactly what the 56 is.

  21. #20

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    I think full disclosure is the important issue. The dealer should not be able to get away with selling the guitar without informing you of all of the issues [and his "ignorance" is not an excuse]. Whether you like the guitar or not should not take precedent over the fact it is structurally flawed and he is getting away with shady dealings. If he does it with you he'll keep doing it to others.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by myhandhurts
    I think full disclosure is the important issue. The dealer should not be able to get away with selling the guitar without informing you of all of the issues [and his "ignorance" is not an excuse]. Whether you like the guitar or not should not take precedent over the fact it is structurally flawed and he is getting away with shady dealings. If he does it with you he'll keep doing it to others.
    In total agreement! Maybe if BillyHell knew about the issues before hand because the dealer disclosed them, he would have still purchased the guitar at a fair price taking the issues into account. But, I ended up in a similar situation and felt taken advantage of. Although, I now enjoy the guitar, that feeling has never left me and I will never do business with that dealer again. It's just unethical.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    In total agreement! Maybe if BillyHell knew about the issues before hand because the dealer disclosed them, he would have still purchased the guitar at a fair price taking the issues into account. But, I ended up in a similar situation and felt taken advantage of. Although, I now enjoy the guitar, that feeling has never left me and I will never do business with that dealer again. It's just unethical.
    I am repeating myself. But to me it's obvious: Why not contact the seller? For the reasons discussed earlier in the thread.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil59
    I am repeating myself. But to me it's obvious: Why not contact the seller? For the reasons discussed earlier in the thread.
    Yes, it would be reasonable to do so. And, I did contact the seller regarding my situation, but I didn't discover the problem until it was way past the return period. Unfortunately, I didn't get anywhere. But in this case, this transaction is fairly recent. Can't hurt.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    In total agreement! Maybe if BillyHell knew about the issues before hand because the dealer disclosed them, he would have still purchased the guitar at a fair price taking the issues into account. But, I ended up in a similar situation and felt taken advantage of. Although, I now enjoy the guitar, that feeling has never left me and I will never do business with that dealer again. It's just unethical.
    YUp, that "nice guy" that was facilitating our purchase of his used guitar suddenly reveals his true colours as a snake when he gets your money and will screw you on a technicality. I make sure I know all the facts before I pay anybody [but, I also don't buy anything in the mail unless I already know the dealer] There are more sniveling punks out there trying to do business on the internet everyday and it's making it harder to avoid a scam.

  26. #25

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    I'd send it back and count the $200 as tuition. To need that much bridge and pickup height it wasn't done right. Something like this I'd view as a project to soften the glue if you could figure out what they used or re break it and start over, with maybe some carbon fiber uni on the top underside.
    In both cases use new braces to support the correct contour. In which case maybe $500 - $700 would be appropriate, my pricing of worth is probably not current but.....

    You and your daughter would appreciate the difference, play one that is closer to spec and see. Projects are great if they are a bargain, this isn't. Bargain projects are also great in that you can go to town on mods if you want and won't be hurting the "value". So I say save and think of the money spent as a rental to get a base line comparison or bargain down. When doing a repair one shouldn't build in the collapse but restore the contour. Another thing to think of is the bridge height and break angle are putting more string tension into that flat top, not easing the load. That might beef up the acoustic sound but it doesn't make it more stable unless they put in a sound post.

  27. #26

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    I have two thoughts. First, I would talk to the seller and try to get a partial refund. Second, the new and mellower me would look at the big picture and ask whether this is worth fighting about. If I really bonded with the guitar, a few hundred dollars won't mean anything over your lifetime. Besides, you won't sell it when you're alive probably. I'd still advocate for a partial refund but wouldn't slash tires over this dispute.

    I have two great guitars that I will keep. Both were damaged during shipping. They're fine now but have tiny scars on them post repair. I don't want to ever go through the hassle of putting them up for sale and telling the story about a repaired minor crack. That either disqualifies the guitars in prospective buyers' minds or attracts the sharks for 70% off. Only a few would discuss paying a fair price.

    I'll post my recent UPS story in the next few days.

    I sold a Heritage Johnny Smith to an 18 year old serious guitarist about eight years ago. He came from wealth and his dad was doing the acquisition. The dad owned a small plane service for special clients. He used one of his planes to fly his kid from their home in North Carolina to Seattle to check out a guitar, but they didn't like it. They also looked at some closer. Eventually they decided they wanted to check out mine.

    I told the father that it made no sense to fly to Kalamazoo when FedEx would only cost $75. So we worked out when the guitar would be at FedEx in their city. They booked an hour with a prestigious luthier in their city so that they could take the guitar from FedEx directly to the luthier. It the luthier rejected the guitar or the dear boy didn't like it, the guitar would be returned to me the next day.

    Against all odds, the luthier found nothing wrong with the guitar and everything right. He set it up with heavier strings. The boy played it hours a day for years. The father and boy still stay in contact with me. Here is Nate's website. Note that one of the videos shows him with the HJS. ABOUT | nate-huvard-guitar



    So what is the point of this story? This is a case in which the person went more than the extra mile to get exactly what he wanted in a guitar, got the guitar, and never regretted it or decided he wanted something better. That is incredibly rare. If time is money, this guy spent hundreds just finding the guitar, not to mention the airplane expenses. I translated that to paying at least twice the market value for the guitar. That didn't bother him because he absolutely feels he got more than his money's worth with the hundreds of hours of playing. Years later he was still putting in about four hours a day on that instrument and was happy.

    That's why I think it's often not worth the fight if you believe you overpaid for something or that the seller didn't divulge everything. If you really like the guitar, ask for a partial refund. If you don't get it, spend your energy on something you enjoy and let the negative feelings dissipate.
    Last edited by Marty Grass; 09-09-2020 at 08:59 AM.

  28. #27

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    I have been in daily contact with the seller - Buckdancer's Choice Music Co.

    I haven't heard back since yesterday. At this point I would like them to offer some money back based on not disclosing the sunken top. It looks to me like the deal in old Gibsons so they should be knowledgeable in issues like this - LINK.

    I think I'm past returning it since I have handed it over to my luthier. I have considered that the high bridge and angle might attribute to what we like about the guitar but that's just a theory. I did ask about a sound post but my guy said that we weren't going to do that. I'll leave that to his knowledge. If he has been maintaining the Black Crow ES 125 I'm sure he will know what to do with mine!

    SIDE NOTE/Different Story - Without knowing it I almost scored Luther Dickenson's ES 125 that he has used for all live Black Crows and Mississippi All Stars shows since 2009.
    Last edited by BillyHell; 09-09-2020 at 09:41 AM.

  29. #28

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    They charge you $100 when they didn't disclose the condition? I would start by refusing to pay for that and being a dick about it, however, If you aren't in a financial bind at the moment, I'd just keep it.. I want a 125 so badly and have never even played one.... They always sound so damn good..
    I wish I had bought one before the prices started getting crazy

  30. #29

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    Send it back and get a Eastman

  31. #30

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    If I had to do this again I would just find a good 1,600 to 2,000 guitar. I had been looking locally for one and lost two so I got desperate and went online.

    I sent this to Buckdancers Music Choice this morning:

    Are you going to offer a refund for not disclosing in photos, description or on the phone that this guitar had a sunken top, that the bridge was maxed out and the P90 was so low due to the sunken top that the pickup screws were raised to a ridiculous level? Your store is old and established and it looks like you deal in vintage Gibsons so I would expect that you would have noticed all these things. You took my money without disclosing any of this to me and I have to say that it has left me feeling like I'm stuck with an inferior ES 125. I'm willing to have my luthier see if he can make it right but I feel like I threw my money at a problem. I am super frustrated over this. I have $1,400 in what is at best an $800 guitar. I'm about to put $300 more in it in an attempt to make it right. If I had to sell this I would have to disclose the issue with photos and description. If you can cover my $300 luthier bill I will make the best out of a bad situation and move on.

  32. #31

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    The one I linked is now in the for sale section here. It's not too late....

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyHell
    If I had to do this again I would just find a good 1,600 to 2,000 guitar. I had been looking locally for one and lost two so I got desperate and went online.

    I sent this to Buckdancers Music Choice this morning:

    Are you going to offer a refund for not disclosing in photos, description or on the phone that this guitar had a sunken top, that the bridge was maxed out and the P90 was so low due to the sunken top that the pickup screws were raised to a ridiculous level? Your store is old and established and it looks like you deal in vintage Gibsons so I would expect that you would have noticed all these things. You took my money without disclosing any of this to me and I have to say that it has left me feeling like I'm stuck with an inferior ES 125. I'm willing to have my luthier see if he can make it right but I feel like I threw my money at a problem. I am super frustrated over this. I have $1,400 in what is at best an $800 guitar. I'm about to put $300 more in it in an attempt to make it right. If I had to sell this I would have to disclose the issue with photos and description. If you can cover my $300 luthier bill I will make the best out of a bad situation and move on.
    If they say no, I definitely would send it back and look elsewhere. Actually, at this point, I would send it back anyway. Education usually isn't free, and a $100 shipping cost is a small price to pay to learn and move on.

  34. #33

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    do you still have the pictures that made you buy this guitar?

  35. #34

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    UPDATE

    Getting some money back would have made me happy with keeping the guitar. Now my new decision is to send it back or keep as is....

    After reading your description and looking over the listing- you’re right; this was our error. We think the best solution at this point would be for us to supply you a return label for the guitar and refund you fully. If that sounds ok with you, I can get attach the return label ASAP so the guitar can get in our hands and we can get your money back.


    Our apologies,

  36. #35

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    Send it back.

    There are win-win guitar deals to be had out there. Don't settle for less.

  37. #36

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    "do you still have the pictures that made you buy this guitar?"

    I did save them and when I went back and looked there was no angle that showed the high bridge, big crack (under pick guard) or sunken top. I would post them here but I'm limited on image size.

  38. #37

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    Now that you can officially send the sunken top guitar back. I would seriously look at the one in the for sale section right here.
    Just so you know I recently purchased a 2002 Guild X150 made in Corona CA from a guy on Reverb. When it arrived it had the same exact problem it had a sunken top on the bass side, And the bridge was pretty maxed out. It did not reveal itself in any of the original sellers pictures. The same day I received it, I took it to my experienced Guitar Tech. He verified my findings and concluded that if I was not happy I should return it to which I did..
    Last edited by Nick71; 09-10-2020 at 08:44 AM.

  39. #38

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    I can barely notice the sunken top now that it's back in it's shipping box and getting ready to go back to Maine!

  40. #39

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    I would send it back on principle alone. This happened to a friend of mine from a well known archtop site that I won't mention. It was not an "affordable" guitar, it was a custom luthiers instrument.

    It's dishonest not to disclose damage on a guitar just like it is on a house or car, or whatever. Unacceptable.

    But that's just me. My friend kept the guitar in question.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    So what is the point of this story? This is a case in which the person went more than the extra mile to get exactly what he wanted in a guitar, got the guitar, and never regretted it or decided he wanted something better
    Mark, that is the son's point alright.
    There was also a dad's point: "Y'know, I'm not always the best father but never doubt that I support your quest. I'm excited to fly all over with you. Let's go!"

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyHell
    "After reading your description and looking over the listing- you’re right; this was our error. We think the best solution at this point would be for us to supply you a return label for the guitar and refund you fully. . . Our apologies, Love, Buckdancers Choice Music
    Buckdancer's has been my hometown store for close to thirty years. Phin and Tim are generally knowledgeable, honest, and friendly unless provoked by, ah, ME!

    Your pics show a guitar I have no desire to own. There are two places where I draw a line: Collapsed arches and fingerboard-to-soundhole cracks on flat-tops. Each can be fixed but they're each easy to get wrong.
    Last edited by Sam Sherry; 09-10-2020 at 05:58 PM.

  42. #41

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    "Phin and Tim are generally knowledgeable, honest, and friendly unless provoked by nameless people who might have authored this post."

    I hope you don't think I have provoked this company. I was in a position I have not been in and was looking for input. My online name is one I have had for almost 20 years and have a presence on Youtube and other sites.

    I appreciate all the input I received and it did affect how I looked at and handled this situation. I'm glad that the issue has been rectified and I can move forward in owning my dream ES 125.

  43. #42

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    .....I'd already posted this photo of my '37 L-7, and maybe it'll help here too. I also own a '52 L-7, a WesMo, and that recent Campellone purchase.
    It shows very well Gibson's double carve on some models during that period. This carve also can appear as a top sink because the design has a low spot in the center.
    At my pre-purchase inspection, my luthier inspected the interior and said that yes the top has settled but the braces had not separated and were still attached.
    But - -there was nothing else wrong with the guitar- - no decal, no scratches, no cracks on f-holes nothing......
    So I bought it 1956 ES 125 Ordered from online store - Has repaired sunken top...Input-l-7-top-002-jpg
    ** 20 years ago ** and the top still looks like this and fwiw it is the best sounding guitar I own -period !

    Like I said hope that helps someone here !

  44. #43

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    Nick71 I am looking heavily at the ES 125 you linked to. I have to get my money back in my Paypal account to move forward but fingers crossed. That thing looks great.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyHell
    "Phin and Tim are generally knowledgeable, honest, and friendly unless provoked by nameless people who might have authored this post."

    I hope you don't think I have provoked this company. .
    Naw, man, I was talking about ME -- I've gotten up Phineas' nose once or twice. You do what you gotta do.

  46. #45

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    Gotcha - thanks for clarifying. Just dropped off the 56 at Fedex. Now for the new search.

  47. #46

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    The moral of this story is always purchase with an Amex card. You get reimbursed immediately.

  48. #47

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    You might be right but I didn't want to file a claim or do anything like that until I really needed to. I did pay via Paypal and that has usually worked for me.
    It is super hard to sit on my hands until the money goes back in though. I'm trying to find one here in Nashville but no luck yet.

  49. #48

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    You can pay via PayPal. But pay with Amex, and if you need a refund you file for your refund not with PayPal but with Amex. Don’t even approach PayPal because all they’re going to do is go back and forth and jerk you around. Amex is instant refund. Can you see it?

  50. #49

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    I long ago got rid of all my real credit cards but this might be a reason to grab an Amex.

  51. #50

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    BIG NEWS - The ES 125 mentioned in this thread is now mine! Big thanks to wintermoon and everyone in the thread for walking me through this.
    Eclectic16's guitar was purchased from the widow of the original owner. It looks to be a nice one!