This is a term that is widely used in vintage guitar circles, but it’s meaning may not be immediately obvious. Finish checking, or weather checking as it is also known, refers to the pattern of small cracks, usually comprising a series of parallel lines, but sometimes loosely checkered, that can appear on certain guitars with nitrocellulose finishes. The cracks may be loosely spaced or very tight, and can appear on any part of the guitar.
But what causes the checking? As the two names suggest, these cracks are in the finish (paint) of the guitar and are caused by extreme changes in temperature. Typically a guitar that has got cold and then warmed too quickly: maybe travelling in a cold vehicle, then brought into a warm venue – or flown in an unheated aircraft hold before landing in a warm destination. But this does not mean guitars should not travel, only that they must be allowed to acclimatize gradually.
Finish ‘checking’ may actually be in lines rather than checks Figure 1 checking in a translucent Cherry Gibson SG, Figure 2 in the Candy Apple Red of a Gibson Melody Maker
Times are hard just now, and everyone could do with a few extra pounds. So is it a good time to sell that old guitar that’s been sitting unloved in your closet for all these years? Well it all comes down to knowing what you’ve got, what it is worth, and presenting it in it’s best light to a prospective buyer. If it is true that the vintage guitar market is down now, can it really be the right time to sell? Well the answer may well be yes… read on!
Jeff Beck talks guitars – showing some of his collection and telling some really interesting stories on the way. About the fate of his legendary Fender Esquire he played so much with the Yardbirds, and the many other vintage (and newer) guitars he still has.
JEFF BECK LIVE AT RONNIE SCOTT’S 2007.11
Jeff’s guitar tech Steve Prior gives an in depth interview about Jeff’s guitars and beyond. Stay TUNED for more.
Jeff shows off some of his favourite guitars: his Gibson L5, 1954 Stratocaster, 1954 Telecaster, Gretch Rancher and a Maccaferri given to him by Led Zeppelins Jimmy Page. Jeff Beck clearly has great affection for his guitars, and talks about the other players that influenced his sound – mostly rock and roll guitarists like Cliff Gallup and Scotty Moore, but also the likes of Django Reinhardt.
And he treats us to a few choice licks in a different style for each guitar – even when not plugged in the tonal differences are really apparent. From twanging teles to soulful strats – check this clip out!
The Hollywood Vintage room, LA. Most of the guitars on this wall were priced in the range $8,000-$80,000 (Aug 2008)
Why do people collect guitars? They are usually guitarists, of course, but not always. For some, the guitar is art: displayed on walls, or free-standing as scultpure. For others, it is an exercise in preservation, or museum curation. But increasingly, people are buying guitars primarily as a financial investments.
Vintage guitars made by the likes of Martin, Gibson and Fender, can make great investments, with the right guitars gaining in value more than many stocks and bonds. The guitar investment market is subject to very different forces than the stock market, and investment companies are reportedly turning to instruments as part of a balanced portfolio.