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  1. #1

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    Any opinions or insight into this potential purchase of a '74 Super 400? The actual shop in Chicago area has a long-standing good reputation.

    Used 1974-75 Gibson Super 400 CES Arch Top Hollow Body in | Reverb

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  3. #2

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    waaaaaay overpriced

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    waaaaaay overpriced
    Always best to come here first. Thank you for that. Probably under $10k from the store, directly. What do you suppose these should be priced it for excellent condition?

  5. #4

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    I would agree while a nice guitar it is not going to sell at that price. I think possibly it is worth between $7500 and $8500 then it will sell. All these shops have guitars for the most part overprice. Price them correct and they will sell. Just look at dealers who move guitars. I have observed on Reverb the same guitar for sale for years and years literally. Whoever has this guitar that owns it clearly is not a forum person. Put that guitar for sale on this site at a reasonable price and it would sell.

  6. #5

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    the guard looks like a replacement and I'd suspect the pickup covers are as well
    seeing a guitar that clean w/out the original case is kind of a red flag, I bet the old offgassing guard did a number on the case lid.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomvwash
    Any opinions or insight into this potential purchase of a '74 Super 400? The actual shop in Chicago area has a long-standing good reputation.
    The ad says OHSC in the title and "original hard shell case" in the bulleted list of features. Although I don't know anyone who's ever bought a guitar from them, Music Gallery does have a good rep. If it's deserved, they should know that it's not the OHSC and that the original guard was "shell". As for the price, it's a consignment piece and the owner probably insisted on the price in order to net as much as a private sale would bring him. Again, a really fine shop would not only argue against that but refuse to market it at a price that makes them look unrealistic.

  8. #7

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    obviously not the orig case

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    obviously not the orig case
    Yes, it's the Cedar Creek case come back to show its bad self!

  10. #9

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    Nice guitar with a few minor negotiating points involved as noted. Throw them an offer!

  11. #10

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    Prices are going crazy these days...

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    Nice guitar with a few minor negotiating points involved as noted. Throw them an offer!
    I offered them $9k through the store. They countered with $9700, with overnight Fedex. I actually thought it was a good price, then Wintermoon pointed out the case as at least one red flag-agreed. Prices are all over the place on these Supers, and it's part of the reason why I put out a query here first. That said, for anyone on here who purchased a Gibson Archtop 5 or 10+ years ago, it's really easy to say prices now are "too high!" Newcomers like me are looking at a different supply and demand picture now.

  13. #12

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  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomvwash
    I offered them $9k through the store. They countered with $9700, with overnight Fedex. I actually thought it was a good price, then Wintermoon pointed out the case as at least one red flag-agreed. Prices are all over the place on these Supers, and it's part of the reason why I put out a query here first. That said, for anyone on here who purchased a Gibson Archtop 5 or 10+ years ago, it's really easy to say prices now are "too high!" Newcomers like me are looking at a different supply and demand picture now.
    Prices of everything have gone up. Rare Gibson archtops particularly so. I paid $5500 for my sunburst Super 400CES in 2004. And that was a private party deal that was by my estimation about $1000 below what a dealer might have gotten at the time. Today $8500- $9500 sounds about right to me.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Today $8500- $9500 sounds about right to me.
    ...assuming the only two errors the shop made in its description are the case and the pickguard. I agree with wintermoon that the pickup covers look too perfect to be original. I've never had gold Gibson 'buckers that didn't lose at least half their plating in the first few years. Admittedly I played them all, and so did their owners before me if I bought them used. So if the guitar was relatively untouched, they could have stayed that nice from day 1. But as I recall, the strong oxidizing gases from a decaying pickguard cause discoloration of pickup covers. So if that guard was replaced because of outgassing, there'd probably be some sign of the problem on those gold covers too.

    It's become harder to trust remote buys, both because of mistaken or misleading descriptions and because of the hassles involved in returning a guitar that isn't as described. This may well be a wonderful guitar - it's just hard to know without having it in hand, by which time reversing the deal is (as we're reading right now in other threads) often very painful.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    ...assuming the only two errors the shop made in its description are the case and the pickguard. I agree with wintermoon that the pickup covers look too perfect to be original. I've never had gold Gibson 'buckers that didn't lose at least half their plating in the first few years. Admittedly I played them all, and so did their owners before me if I bought them used. So if the guitar was relatively untouched, they could have stayed that nice from day 1. But as I recall, the strong oxidizing gases from a decaying pickguard cause discoloration of pickup covers. So if that guard was replaced because of outgassing, there'd probably be some sign of the problem on those gold covers too.

    It's become harder to trust remote buys, both because of mistaken or misleading descriptions and because of the hassles involved in returning a guitar that isn't as described. This may well be a wonderful guitar - it's just hard to know without having it in hand, by which time reversing the deal is (as we're reading right now in other threads) often very painful.
    All good points. IIRC, back in the 70's, a case was extra with a new Gibson guitar (and 70's Gibson cases were not made to hold up well in any case), so a newer case would not be a deal killer for me. Back in the day I replaced gold pickup covers on a few Gibson's and out gassed pickguards are known to have happened, so neither of those issues would dissuade me. This guitar is being sold by a reputable shop, so if there are other issues, perhaps they could be worked out. An in hand purchase is always best, but getting the opportunity to buy an in hand, local purchase of a Gibson Super 400CES is rare. Sometimes a bit of risk must be assumed.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    All good points. IIRC, back in the 70's, a case was extra with a new Gibson guitar (and 70's Gibson cases were not made to hold up well in any case), so a newer case would not be a deal killer for me. Back in the day I replaced gold pickup covers on a few Gibson's and out gassed pickguards are known to have happened, so neither of those issues would dissuade me. This guitar is being sold by a reputable shop, so if there are other issues, perhaps they could be worked out. An in hand purchase is always best, but getting the opportunity to buy an in hand, local purchase of a Gibson Super 400CES is rare. Sometimes a bit of risk must be assumed.
    I wrote back to their shop earlier today and asked about the case, especially the Cedar Creek factor. No word yet. As others have already mentioned, best to see the guitar in the shop at this price point.

  18. #17

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    So if this was bought as a pristine time capsule investment, and considered as such (as evidenced by the price and condition), would it be something that should only be purchased as an investment? Wouldn't playing it be a risky act?
    Are instruments like this (and the prices that go with them) indicative of instruments that are not to be considered "players"?
    I'm just curious. I also wonder about the sound of an instrument that has obviously NOT been broken in after all these years, no less played. I'm aware of how much and long it takes for an instrument (especially some Norlin era instruments which had a tendency to be built a bit on the heavy side) to get that warm buttery vibe that lurks in the wood. Never met an instrument that got there without some hard work. Even museums that have Strads in their possession have working musicians associated with them so they can be played regularly. And none of them are pristine like this catalogue showpiece. Not by a long shot.

  19. #18

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    Their website is asking $10k for it. Wait a while and the price will probably come down. Make an offer and ask them to call the consignee.
    Used 1974-75 Gibson Super 400 CES Arch Top Hollow Body in Vintage Sunburst 552979

  20. #19
    [QUOTE=WilliamScott;1174168]Their website is asking $10k for it. Wait a while and the price will probably come down. Make an offer and ask them to call the consignee.
    Used 1974-75 Gibson Super 400 CES Arch Top Hollow Body in Vintage Sunburst 552979[/QUOTE

    Im already working with the store, directly. Their price is $9700 with the overnight shipping.

  21. #20

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    ask them to send you pics of the undersides of the pickups

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    ... IIRC, back in the 70's, a case was extra with a new Gibson guitar (and 70's Gibson cases were not made to hold up well in any case), so a newer case would not be a deal killer for me. ...
    The flimsy tops, minimal latching, improperly fitting lower bouts and inadequate neck support of the original cases that came with my '71 L-5 CES and '73 Super 400 CES (both purchased 'pre-owned') rendered them useless for serious transport of the instruments away from home and not even serviceable for any frequent in-and-out storage around my regular use of the instruments at home. A good-quality newer case would have been a plus in my consideration.

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    So if this was bought as a pristine time capsule investment, and considered as such (as evidenced by the price and condition), would it be something that should only be purchased as an investment? Wouldn't playing it be a risky act?
    Are instruments like this (and the prices that go with them) indicative of instruments that are not to be considered "players"?
    I'm just curious. I also wonder about the sound of an instrument that has obviously NOT been broken in after all these years, no less played. I'm aware of how much and long it takes for an instrument (especially some Norlin era instruments which had a tendency to be built a bit on the heavy side) to get that warm buttery vibe that lurks in the wood. Never met an instrument that got there without some hard work. Even museums that have Strads in their possession have working musicians associated with them so they can be played regularly. And none of them are pristine like this catalogue showpiece. Not by a long shot.
    Good observation. Maybe someone else can answer that. Do you suppose the Super 400's remained in a league above the generally poor reputation of the Norlin Era, as literal top of the line guitars?

  24. #23

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    The reason I ask to see the undersides of the pickups is not only to determine if the covers were replaced [I'd bet dollars to donuts they were] but to make sure it has the original pickups as well. Replaced covers aren't the end of the world but @ that price you definitely want the original patent # pickups in there.

    As for the Norlin era it's been said many times, guitars need to be judged on an individual basis regardless of era.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomvwash
    Good observation. Maybe someone else can answer that. Do you suppose the Super 400's remained in a league above the generally poor reputation of the Norlin Era, as literal top of the line guitars?

    Whilst the there are reports of nice sounding and or playing Norlin guitars, that company had a particular ethos regarding cost cutting for profit and it was persued egregiously.
    It is wishful thinking to hope that they changed their ways for the guitar you coincidently now want to buy.

    And with all the shipping malarkey (tm Joe Biden) currently going on in the US, I would stay clear.

    There's always another deal. That's all you need to remember. A nicer one from a better year, for less money, is coming round the corner.
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 01-18-2022 at 05:31 PM.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomvwash
    Good observation. Maybe someone else can answer that. Do you suppose the Super 400's remained in a league above the generally poor reputation of the Norlin Era, as literal top of the line guitars?
    I've seen fine examples, highest quality and that was the work of really legendary caliber luthiers. I also saw the fallout from their lax quality control and acceptance of some that looked great and didn't play as well as they looked. I've seen examples of Johnny Smiths that were serial number close kin, but one of which was lively, and had a piano like ring to it, and the other sounded like it needed new strings (which it had), but there was a time when the second one would have maybe benefitted from a little more construction scrutiny?
    One thing about Norlin policies, I did get the distinct feeling that there was an embracing of the Heftiness=longevity aesthetic. That was a reflection of the new business execs' philosophy. Take that as you may.