If you have even one beloved vintage guitar, you’ve probably had to buy original parts for it at one time or another. You know the story: you bought an amazing 1967 ES-335 from some dude on eBay who swapped out the original top-hat knobs for speed knobs and cracked one of the pickup rings. Or you need some original spacers for your 1957 Telecaster.
For years, collectors in this situation had to cross their fingers and pray that the original parts they needed would eventually turn up. But as the vintage guitar market blew up over the past decade, a few enterprising individuals began foraging for New Old Stock parts and harvesting everything but the finish from beat-to-death and modified-beyond-salvage guitars. As a result, it’s now possible for an eBayer to find virtually any original part he needs from any model or year of standard production mode guitars.
One of the bent-stocked sellers I’ve found is the eBay store The Parts Drawer (user name: thepartsdrawer). Among the items being offered at press time were the wiring harness from a 1957 Les Paul (complete with pots, caps and jack, $1,795), a 1953 Telecaster/Esquire bridge with saddles ($2,395), a harmonica-style bridge for a 1972 SG ($39), the Bakelite backplate from a 1955 Stratocaster ($379), a Fifties-era Epiphone New Yorker pickup ($299), and many other mouthwatering delicacies, including pickup spacers for a ‘57 Tele ($199). All of the store’s items are offered at Buy It Now prices, eliminating the nail-biting countdown that usually accompanies auctions.
Of course, prices like these might make you think your vintage guitar is worth more in parts than in completely restored condition. And you might just be right.