What mods decrease the value of a vintage synth?

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What mods decrease the value of a vintage synth?

Post by Bill Wolfer » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:16 pm

It seems as though a lot of people place more value in a vintage synth that is all original. I've seen people on various forums get ripped new holes for tinkering with classic instruments. What's your opinion? Does a MIDI interface add to, or lessen the value of a pre-MIDI synth? What about making a Minimoog patchable, like a 2600? Should we leave classic instruments be, and look to other synths for capabilities that the classics don't have, or where do you draw the line.

I'm thinking about getting a new synthwood case for my mini, and adding an LED under the clear pitchwheels. Am I messing with its value? It's not really significant to me, because I have no plans to ever sell it (serial #1407, bought by me in 1972), but I would like to know if I'm putting racing stripes on a stradivarious, if you get my drift.

Here's a pic of what one guy did with his mini that got me started thinking about it.

Image[/img]

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Post by Soundwave » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:19 pm

I think it all depends on the synth, what the mods is and if someone would fork out more dosh for it.
Functional mods can boost the price like a Linntronic Memorymoog or a Devilfish 303 as the ‘mod’ has just as much cool (if not more) status as the box itself. EMS' own mods for the AKS will also bump up the price.

A mate had individual CV/gate’s put on his SEM four voice that meant disabling some of the programmer features and was warned by the engineer that it might put off a certain collectors market if he wanted to sell it again especially as it was cosmetically a very clean example. Then again I remember The Grid (or was it the Shamen) had some pretty custom stuff done to their four voice so that uniqueness is got to be worth something to someone.
Personally I think if a vintage is near mint (especially the big buck synths) then its best trying to keep it that way for investment purposes alone e.g if I had pristine Minimoog I certainly wouldn’t want a MIDI port hacked into the side but modding a slightly battered SH101 with some filter inputs ect for your own purposes isn’t really going to spoil it rather make it a more useful synth.
Personally I don't like that Voyager mod wheel on a Minimoog. :? You wouldn''t put OZ alloys on an E-Type would you?
Last edited by Soundwave on Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by nadafarms » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:20 pm

If you want to increase the value of your synth, you need to step it up like this: http://cgi.cafr.ebay.ca/Custom-Painted- ... dZViewItem
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Post by WDW » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:27 pm

This is completely subjective, because it is founded wholly upon an individual buyer's preference. Some people desire original authenticity. Some people desire modern upgrades. Some people desire cosmetic uniqueness.

In my opinion, whether or not you want to change your synths depends upon your intent. Do you intend to keep or sell the unit? If you intend to keep it, then build it however you like it. If you are going to sell it, then determine the market that you are targeting. [However, it is always safe to fix up a vintage synth to be factory stock.]

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Post by Soundwave » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:28 pm

nadafarms wrote:If you want to increase the value of your synth, you need to step it up like this: http://cgi.cafr.ebay.ca/Custom-Painted- ... dZViewItem
Ok the Prophet 600 was never the best looking synth but I think that is bloody 'orrible mate. :puke:

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Post by pricklyrobot » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:28 pm

nadafarms wrote:If you want to increase the value of your synth, you need to step it up like this: http://cgi.cafr.ebay.ca/Custom-Painted- ... dZViewItem
Word!

That guy got G.G. Allin to swallow several pots of paint and then c**p it all over that P-600. Once G.G. died, bang, priceless collector's item. That thing's practically a Jackson Pollack!

I remember seeing that abomination go unbid upon on American Ebay, good to see Canadians aren't any stupider.
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Post by xibalba » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:41 pm

nadafarms wrote:If you want to increase the value of your synth, you need to step it up like this: http://cgi.cafr.ebay.ca/Custom-Painted- ... dZViewItem
that person has been trying to sell that damn thing for at least three mths

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Post by Bill Wolfer » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:46 pm

"Personally I don't like that Voyager mod wheel on a Minimoog. Confused You wouldn''t put OZ alloys on an E-Type would you?"

Well, I can understand that, but my mini already has the transparent wheels, I think it was one of the last ones made before they switched to the opaque ones, so putting an LED under it could be an easily removed mod, and wouldn't change the originality of the thing. But what about the new cases? Mine's not so bad, it's got a couple small cracks on the sides, a few small dings, but the finish is looking old and dingy. Does a new case lessen its value? Or enhance it?

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Post by nadafarms » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:55 pm

Funcitonality vs. Cosmetics.

A nice original wood case would be worth more than a new one I suspect.

But some cool functional mods could increase the value, midi etc.
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Post by Bitexion » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:00 pm

Okay, that P600 is the most horrible paintjob I've ever seen. Looks like someone knocked a whole shelf of opened paint cans over it, and the seller is trying to hawk it off as "unique".

Kind of vomit-like, too.

But seriously, vintage synths from the 70's etc are regarded as antiques, and any modification will degrade the price. At least that's the common idea in the antiques business (old tables, chairs etc).

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Post by nadafarms » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:03 pm

Bitexion wrote:Okay, that P600 is the most horrible paintjob I've ever seen. Looks like someone knocked a whole shelf of opened paint cans over it, and the seller is trying to hawk it off as "unique".

Kind of vomit-like, too.

But seriously, vintage synths from the 70's etc are regarded as antiques, and any modification will degrade the price. At least that's the common idea in the antiques business (old tables, chairs etc).
Its not even painted, it actually just shoots diarrhea when you press the keys.
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Post by xibalba » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:11 pm

kinda look at it this way, if you know with out a shadow of a doubt that you are going to keep the synth then do whatever you want with it. but if you plan on giving it up then stay away from cosmetic things and go for functional things

i am a fan however of the pic of the minimoog i really like that wood but not a fan of the color of the led it should be something dark or straight white light.

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Re: What mods decrease the value of a vintage synth?

Post by JMP » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:31 pm

Bill Wolfer wrote:Here's a pic of what one guy did with his mini that got me started thinking about it.

Image[/img]
I wouldn't buy that vintage mini simply due to those blue wheels on it.... Blurgh !

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Re: What mods decrease the value of a vintage synth?

Post by WDW » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:44 pm

JMP wrote:
Bill Wolfer wrote:Here's a pic of what one guy did with his mini that got me started thinking about it.

Image[/img]
I wouldn't buy that vintage mini simply due to those blue wheels on it.... Blurgh !
Well, when you visit, I won't let you play my Electric Blue Voyager. So there. :P

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Post by Automatic Gainsay » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:45 pm

The only problem with the adding of the LEDs is what sort of electrical changes have to occur for that installation? What would those LEDs be connected to, and how much electrical change has to occur?
I don't think the case will be that big of a deal. People primarily want a vintage synth that LOOKS authentic, and wood is wood. I would never buy an altered analog synth at all, and I still wouldn't mind if the wood had been replaced.

Speaking from the "leave it stock" camp, I would say that any changes made to it that are required, and keep within its aesthetics and functionality are not particularly likely to change the value.
Adding lights may enhance your enjoyment, and that's cool... but someone like me won't buy your Mini down the road, unless it is less expensive than one which has not been aesthetically modified.
And that's what it comes down to: If you modify a classic vintage synth, you limit your buying market because there is at least one group of people who will be less interested in it. The people who don't care will be interested no matter what, but the people who DO care won't be. The synth will still go for a lot of money, but when you cut out a part of your buying market, you're likely to cause a lowering in price.
I would buy an altered vintage synth if I could get it for less than an unaltered one, and I think many people share that attitude.
Then again, you might find a person who is so in love with the concept of lit wheels on a Mini that they'll pay anything to have it... but I'm going to say that is not as likely as we might want!

Certain modifications seem to enhance value... but as a synth buyer, they would have to be done VERY well, perhaps with proof that they were done by someone very reputable. I would buy anything that Phil Cirocco had changed. I once was VERY interested in a modular Avatar. Modifications are scary to obsessives like me for two reasons:
1. We don't know who did the modification... and I don't want something some idiot altered with a paperclip and a wire they lifted from their broken answering machine. If the mod was done by a reputable or even famous tech, it is less of a problem.
2. Sound vs. Function. The more you add to a classic vintage synth, the less it sounds like the classic vintage synth. Sure, it'd be cool if your Mini had sync, but what does a Mini with sync sound like? I'm not sure... and that's where its a problem. A lot of these synths are sought after due to what they DO, not because of what they COULD do. When you alter a vintage synth with a trademark sound, it loses its trademark sound... and since many seek certain synths for their trademark sound, it loses value.

Everyone is happy when a damaged, abused, broken, forgotten, etc. vintage synth is rennovated, and it doesn't really matter what changes are made to bring a dead synth back to life. Tardis's SH-1000 comes to mind... any saved synth is a good synth, even if changes are made to bring it back to life.
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