In the last couple of years I have seen a lot of discussions on the price to pay for a Richie Sambora Black Paisley Signature stratocaster. Naturally, a lot of people have thought about the price to pay.
Some people have added the so called emotional value to it, increasing the price. Some people have offered one with damage, some of the Paisleys I have seen are in mind condition, and I have even seen Chinese replica’s of the original.
First of all, there were approximately 200 made of the Black Paisley Strats. All of these were crafted in Japan, not in the USA or Mexico. This means that you can check the serial number of the Paisley on the Fender Website.
If the serial matches, then you can continue. If the serial does not match, be sure to contact Fender, to see if you have made a mistake or that there was an exception in the serial registration process at Fender. However, I have nor seen this issue, so it is kind of unlikely that this might happen. If you would be buying one, which can be a very good investment, please be sure that you get an excellent picture of the serial first, before going to the seller. This enables you to check the serial upfront. Preparation is half the work!
What else is important? First of all the overall conditions. I have seen one example on sale for 2900,- euro which was in absolute terrible condition.
Large parts of the paint were damaged and the print underneath the varnish was damaged. This can never be restored and thus seriously compromises your investment. Only if you are just willing to play on this guitar, this might waive your objections to buy. Do keep in mind that you should not pay more that, let say 1500,- to 1750,- euro for one like this. And, bare in mind, I am only talking about the paint work.
If the paint work is ok, check the hardware. Some guitar players have more so called “skin-acid” in their hands. This means that the hardware such as the tremolo (nickle) will rust and will be less pristine.
I admit, this can be replaced, but one has to make sure that the tremolo looks silver and the knobs are black. The tuning knobs are Gotoh with Pearloid Buttons. These are more rare than others. Also the volume knobs, which might show wear and tear, are supposed to be black with white numbers on them.
The head stock is crucial in identifying if the guitar is original or not. It should have white knobs on the head, branded “Gotoh” on the back. The head should only have “Fender Stratocaster” on the front side and Richie’s signature” Also, the truss rod hole should be black on the inside. The strings should be guided underneath the chrome bar. The head always has a top lock, chrome, with black bolts and is mounted through and through the neck with 2 bolts.
Generally, all the hardware should look the the pictures above. This is my guitar which is in extreme mint condition.
Then, there is the wear on the fet board. Naturally, if somebody has played on the guitar, this is always the case. Since the wood is relatively light of color (Maple), it shows. It can be restored by a craftsman, but should always be done with extreme caution. The neck should also have the signature star on it and should have the Richie Sambora Signature. If not, the neck is not the original neck. Period.
If all this works out, and also the back of the body has little buckle-rash (scratches caused by belts and buttons), it looks like a nice deal.
Now, what would this be worth? Since the numbers are declining (some of them hav been stolen, lost in a fire, smashed…..) the prices are going up. They are getting more and more rare. Fact of life.
However, Richie himself has sold some prototypes or personal ones. These are the guitars crafted by Fender for Richie. The serial will not be there or will be different. These ones are typically very expensive and contact Fender first before buying one. Typically, the are worth more than 8000,- euro.
If this is not the case, which is more likely, a pristine example would do at least 2900,- to 3100,- euro.
I have left open the comments section on this page. If you would like to have my opinion on yours, either for sales or for fun (so owners and Paisley lovers can keep in contact), please leave a message.