A few side notes on older, vintage guitars and how comfortable they are to play compared to current models.
I will break down a few facts related to parts of the guitar and compare these facts. Overal the breakdown of facts could be used as a rough guideline on how to approach vintage guitars compared to modern ones.
Most guitars these days will have fretboards with rounded edges, they feel smooth and comfortable for your fingers, compared this to older type of guitars this is not always the case. Older Strats in particular do not have rounded edges on the fretboard. The feel of the fretboards is very different compared to newer Strats. The size of the actual fretboard is different as well and Strats are notorious for their differences allround: Strats throughout the ages may all look similar but once you start playing them, and have a close inspection, you will notice the differences.
Fretsize these days may be a bit bigger than on the older guitars, but this may depend on the model of guitar you are looking at. Some guitar players feel bigger frets will feel more comfortable and will help your playing. If you are only used to one fretsize you will not know the difference. There is a difference in feel, and what feels better depends on your taste and experience.
Output Pick Ups:
The output of the pick ups of current guitars may be higher than those of older models, but again, this could depend on the model you are looking at. When you are dealing with a vintage guitar and you feel the pick ups are weak you need to consider the fact the electronics and the pick ups have aged: Pick Ups do have coils with copper winding, they age over time, sometimes this may be a good thing at other times you may feel the guitar is lacking something. It is possible to get the pick-ups rewound if you would like to keep using the same pick ups. You may be able to get them rewound to same specks. Doing so will, off course, make a difference to the sound of the guitar. Try to play the guitar for a while to see how you get on with it before you decide to make any changes to the actual current pick ups.
Older guitars may have thicker necks which may not suit your style of playing. In the past there was less choice in how you wanted your guitar to be: You just got on with whatever you had and that was it.
One way to look at the neck size is to think about various styles of music and the changes these styles brought to guitars in general: The fast, shred guitar styles of the 80s made guitar players request for ultra slim line necks.
Customization of Guitars:
From the late 70s onwards guitar players started to adapt their guitars to their own, unique playing styles: Heavy Rock guitar players often swapped their pick-ups for higher output pick ups, vintage style bridges–as found on any standard Stratocaster—were often changed for Floyd Rose style bridges which enabled the player to preform the heavy dive bombing tricks which became part of the Metal Style of playing.
Some of these customising trends found their ways into the regular guitar models of the day, and that is why the guitars of today often have higher output pick ups and thinner necks and some other features which used to be less standard for older type of guitars.
Older style guitars often have a thinner finish, and that explains for some of the typical wear on the finish you may come across on the necks and the bodies of the guitars. Fenders, until the late 70s had sometimes a mixed finished job: On the back of the body the finish may look a bit thicker compared to the finish on the sides and the edges of the body. Some of the finish was even used to smoothen out any irregularities in the woodwork of the body. Over time these areas of the body will show that typical wear and tear you will see on some guitars.
Are older guitars any better than newer ones? One way to answer this question is to compare older guitars with older cars: Are they any better than newer types of cars?
Why would someone want to check out older guitars? If you are interested in electric guitars you may want to find out how the earlier guitars were compared to newer electric guitars. The electric guitar soldid body guitar has only been around since the early 1950s. It is possible to find an early model to see how they were made in past and to see how well they play.
Enjoy and hope to catch you soon again,