The Guitar Gallery General Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Written by AriaProII
Here you'll find the most common questions and answers (and growing)

Q:I couldn't find any information on my BlahBlah XX-000 guitar. Can you tell me anything about it?
Q:I have/am looking at/trading off a BlahBlah brand Blah model. What's it worth?
Q:I found a BlahBlah model Blah but it's a color not listed. Is it a custom or special model?
Q:I'm looking at/have a BlahBlah model Blah but it has an extra switch and different pickups. Special Prototype?
Q:I found a BlahBlah guitar a guy in Katmandu said Kurt Kobain and Elvis puked on!
Q:I saw an Aria guitar listed on the SoSo.Com site made by Ibanez. Did Ibanez make Aria?
Q:I saw a BlahBlah lawsuit model on SoSo.Com. Is this good?
Q:Are any of your personal guitars for sale?
Q:Is this all there is to the FAQ?

A Blurb on Hype
A note about the "Lawsuit"

Q: I couldn't find any information on my BlahBlah XX-000 guitar. Can you tell me anything about it?

A: Well, everything I have on anything should be up on the site. I try very hard to update it anytime new information comes in. I may be working on a section that pertains to your guitar, in which case patience will be rewarded! Chances are if I have the information it will be posted, and if I don't, It'll be tough to answer your question.  =]  You might also post your question on the Message Board. That is why it's there! =]

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Q: I have/am looking at/trading off a BlahBlah brand Bleep model. What's it worth?

A: Boy is this a toughie! First, the actual value depends on what the market will bear at that particular time. Factors such as Hype, Name Frenzy or Name Flinging, time of year, how many are available, condition, modifications, and on and on will have a bearing on perceived value. So much comes into play one really has to stay on top of it. Usually there is an acceptable ballpark value that can be used as a general guide, but it all boils down to how bad people in the market want that guitar (or how bad you want it). I usually use eBay to gauge what a guitar is worth, and it is a pretty good indicator as to what a large base of individuals are willing to pay for a guitar. You probably shouldn't go by what you see on guitar dealer websites. They are listing what they want for it, not necessarily what someone will pay for it. If it were such a good deal, would it be there long?

Also, don't go solely by what a Music store tells you either, unless they have a genuine interest in you, your guitar, and your music. Most music stores are businesses first, focused on one thing: The almighty dollar. If you are trying to trade in or sell, many will give you a very low figure, and if you want what they have, most likely the figure will be much higher for the SAME guitar. The "MegaStores" are notorious for this so be warned. If you have come across a store that is genuinely interested in music and you as a player, by all means, patronize them! They're a rare and dying breed in this age of MegaStores (see definitions)!

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Q: I found a BlahBlah model Bleep but it's a color not listed. Is it a custom or special model?

A: This is more than likely not the case. Although many options, features, appointments, and finishes are listed in a catalog's specs, this does not mean that is all that was available from the factory. Every smart company tests the market, making minor variations available. It may be a limited run, but that doesn't mean it was special order, "custom shop", or otherwise one-off. Also, with Matsumoku guitars, some of the aforementioned features were changed according to the targeted geographical market. What was available here in the States may not have been in the UK, and the reverse. Models and variations may have become available first in one location, then later in another, and by that time the specs may have changed. Without a verifiable Certificate of Authenticity (COA) it's pretty much just a guess, hunch, or hope that it's something rare or one-of-a-kind.

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Q: I'm looking at/have a BlahBlah model Bleep but it has an extra switch and different pickups. Special prototype?

A: First thing to consider is has it been modified? If YOU bought it new like this that's one story, but if you got it second hand and are unsure of it's history (or cannot confirm it), or there is no COA, then you can't be sure. Also, see the previous question and answer as it applies to this as well.

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Q: I found a BlahBlah guitar a guy in Katmandu said Kurt Kobain and Elvis puked on!

A: Look here! NEVER accept someone's word on something like this unless they are a saint, or close to it! Don't fall victim to hype such as this (See the blurb on Hype)! Autographs, purported celebrity ownership, celebrity encounters, or any other claim of this nature (you get my drift) are nothing more than interesting anecdotes or embellishments unless they can be verified by means other than a simple verbal claim. When a claim like this is made, you should always demand evidence such as photographic negatives (pictures can be doctored), a verifiable COA, or you hear it directly from the horse's mouth. In the case of Elvis Presley or Kurt Kobain, the "horse's mouth" method will be difficult at best!

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Q: I saw an Aria guitar listed on the SoSo.Com site made by Ibanez. Did Ibanez make Aria?

A: NO! NO! And NO! This one gets me fired up every time! Elger/Hoshino (Ibanez) did NOT make Aria, Aria Pro II, Westone, Vantage, Electra, Westbury, Japanese Washburns, or any of the other guitars in these lines. They were made by Matsumoku in partnership with Shiro Aria co. in entirely different facilities. More likely, Hoshino contracted Matsumoku than the converse. There's one of two things going on when you see this. First, the seller is obviously unaware of the guitar's origins, or second and more often the case, the seller is flinging the Ibanez name to both increase interest and jack up the price, or worse yet, keyword spamming if it's an auction listing (see the blurb on hype). Fortunately, if this was your question, you are doing your homework (hopefully beforehand)! Good for you!

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Q: I saw a BlahBlah lawsuit model on SoSo.Com. Is this good?

A: Oh boy! Here's another doosie that gets my drawers in a bunch! Far too often it is nothing more than hype to jack the price of a guitar up, and less often an actual "Lawsuit" model (open book or "mustache" headstock). You would be surprised to know how many people don't know exactly what a "lawsuit" model is, and unfortunately, sellers sometimes take advantage of this. See the blurb on Hype elsewhere on this page. It boils down to this: If it truly is a lawsuit model, and you are willing to fork out the extra $$$ for a headstock shape, more power to you! Me? I'll skip the "mustache" and save the cash! =]

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Q: Are any of your personal guitars for sale?

A: No, no, no, no, and once more no. Please don't ask. If I decide to sell off one of my sweethearts, I will post a message on the Message Board in the For Sale forum a week or two before I intend to list it on eBay. This goes for parts and such also. This IS written in stone, believe it or not, and I will post a picture of the rock itself on My Guitar Family's page soon. =]    If you are looking for something specific you might get a nibble or two if you post a message in the Wanted forum on the Message Board.

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Q: Is this all there is to the FAQ?

A: Yup, at present. I'm sure I'll add more as time goes on.

Certificate of Authenticity (COA): A document that indicates a particular item's uniqueness, originality, origin(s), feature(s), or rarity to be authentic which can be verified though reliable sources.

BlahBlah: A term used here to represent another term, word, brand, or model which is either unknown, or where a blanket term is best suited. (also written in singular form as Bleep). Term used to represent a site name that needn't be, could not, or should not be referred to directly.

MegaStores: I am sure you know what I'm talking about here! Those Wal-Mart sized puppies with a thousand different pretty flavors of sharp-fretted buzz saws hanging on the walls and lurking in stands just waiting to knaw on their next victim. The places where tone-deaf metal-masters are born. Cacaphony palaces. You get the picture!

Hype: 1: Deception, put-on. 2: Publicity 3: Obnoxious blabber. 4: Misleading statements. 5: A plethera of partially or completely irrelevant over-enthusiastic slanted prose designed to induce in one the extreme desire to throw away their hard earned money. 6: See below.

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A Blurb on "Hype"

One of the things that really chafes my buttocks is the over-use of hype. Words or phrases such as Rare, Lawsuit (see below), Custom, Custom Shop,  Custom Order, "Owned by...", "Played by...", "Autographed by...", One-of-a-Kind, prototype, and the infamous "SoAndSo Model" (when in fact there is no such thing) are some of my favorites. The nuts and bolts is: If it cannot be, or is not backed by a verifiable source or COA, it's really nothing more than empty banter. If it IS legitimate, this is GREAT and is going to make someone a very proud owner, but unfortunately that's not usually the case. Most of the time these and like terms/phrases are nothing more than sucker magnets used to reel in an uninformed buyer and their money.

Autographs can be faked, headstocks re-shaped, guitars re-finished, or pictures doctored, and it is buyer beware. I would rather see someone pass up something questionable than to waste their money on something misrepresented or blown out of proportion! Why else do you think I am telling you this? It's your money, and the seller is asking you for it, so you have every right to be a horse's behind about it and make them PROVE their claims! If they are not cooperative, take this as an indicator, or red flag if you will, and walk away and wait for a legitimate deal to come along. Nearly all honest sellers will be more than willing to back their claims, or at least disclose the claims are not verifiable.

Watch out for Name-Flinging and subliminal techniques too! For example, I have seen a number of listings for guitars where the desciption ran on forever about Gibson, Guild, Gretsch, Ibanez, and countless artists, and even a couple with a pic of a famous artist playing an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT GUITAR. This is high energy salesmanship, but also subliminal bombardment as well as creative keyword spamming! I know for a fact several had counterfeit Gibson logo inlays which added to the hype. You should have seen some of the huge $ amounts peppered all throughout these descriptions adding even more spice to the hype! Don't let this sort of thing suck you in. Keep a clear head!

If you're not sure, ask someone that knows! Use the WWW to do research. If you deal with an honest music store, ask someone there! Doing the homework will often save you money and land you a better deal in the process.

Remember, you are buying their words as well as their guitar!

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A note about the "Lawsuit"

It is a common misconception that the famous Gibson/Norlin lawsuit was filed against a number of Japanese companies. It is also commonly said it was over the exact copying of American designs. Neither is true. The lawsuit was filed by Norlin (Gibson's parent company) against Elger/Hoshino (Ibanez's American division) over the use of the "open book" headstock design which Norlin claimed as a Gibson Trademark. It was not over the exact copying of body dimensions or construction. These guitars were metric! Don't believe me? Just try putting your Gibson stop-tail posts in one of those "exact" copies! When's the last time you saw a bolt-neck genuine LP Custom?

The lawsuit was not "won" by Norlin, but settled out of court. Most of the Japanese companies, as a precautionary move, turned away from close copies but many still offered their "version" of the classic American designs with at least minor departures in design and appearance.

Often I see the term "lawsuit" tossed around rather freely. Most often it is either hype to raise the price of the copy someone trying to sell, or they simply don't know what the "lawsuit" was all about. Too often it really isn't a lawsuit model at all. DON'T FALL VICTIM TO THE HYPE! I see a lot of this in on-line auctions and on-line guitar dealers advertisements. I have seen guitars go for much more than they are actually worth simply because the purchaser has fallen for the hype or actually didn't know what constitutes a "lawsuit" model. Remember, the best customer is a well informed customer.

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