I've been asked by a lot of people where I find all these guitars. Just think of the obvious places you can buy used guitars and that's where you'll find me. I get my guitars at pawn shops and garage sales most of the time. It does take hard work, dedication, and a great deal of luck to find the better ones at a decent price.
After finding a promising guitar, I like to do research to find out as much as I can about it. Along the way, I'm learning a lot of the history of early guitar manufacturers. I hope my research will help the guitar hunters to come.
You do have to watch out for traps when you're guitar hunting. I'm not talking about the one below -
but the ones like buying a guitar that might have some hidden damage. Cracks, hidden repairs, and electronics that don't work. I'm not sure why people that have no idea how a guitar works go and take the backs off their guitars and even unsolding the connections.
Another big thing you do have to watch out for specially with higher end guitars is a counterfeit. I'm not talking about copies like the strat copies that several companies make, but the ones that try to fool you into thinking they are orignials. These are getting so good that even some experts are being fooled. If you're buying an early Fender or Gibson be very careful.
The chinese fakers are getting really good at this and not only counterfeiting early guitars, but new ones as well. Just last year there were at least 3 websites (such as paylessguitars, samin, musoland) set up to sell the guitars which are offline now. There have also been many ebay sellers offering these chinese guitars. Be careful in what you buy because lots of these guitars are now on the secondary market. I did a quick search and I found a site still operating with counterfeit Les Pauls going for around $200.
In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with tributes to iconic guitars made by companies other than Fender, Gibson or Ibanez - as long as they don't slap Fender, Gibson, or Ibanez logos on them and try to pass them off as the real thing.
Here's a great article on how to spot Counterfeit Guitars.
Here's a nice article on how to spot fake Gibsons.
Here's a article on how to spot fake Fenders.
And the third most counterfeited guitar is the Mosrite.
There is even a coalition of four of the best known guitar manufacturers in the world to fight counterfeiters.
Now that you know the basics of guitar hunting, I hope you have a lot of fun. Some people will even say you've developed GAS (guitar aquisition sydrome) but there's nothing wrong with that. If you'd like to share your experiences and finds with the rest of the readers of this blog, send them to me and I'll get them posted.