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Vintage Gear, E-bait etc
Well... I also knew (back in the pre Ebay day) antique dealers who would go to yard sales, live auctions, estate sales and buy stuff and pay peanuts for it and sell it for a fortune. So in a way Ebay has been good for those folks who in the past would have sold their dead soldier brothers' 55 Tele for $200. Of course, it's absurd what folks pay in auctions. This is true in live auctions too. You get into a frenzy and lose your mind. I went to ONE and will never go again. It's like Las Vegas on acid.
But if any of you ever decide to sell your 1940 Ford or early 60s gold top Les Paul for half of what it sold for new, please let me know.
Now... I wrote this email that follows this morning and wasn't going to send it because it's long winded. But because the thread is still alive here we go:
Well... I think you're incredibly right on pricing of vintage gear. On the other hand, it's like property in Marin California or Portland Oregon! They're just not making any more of it. Fender amps have gone though the ceiling. Some amps I sold like five years ago I could get double for now. And I sold them for very high prices. Some of the new boutique amps cost about as much as a tweed Fender Twin or Deluxe! So I reckon for some folks it's an investment - like buying a Martin D 45 and storing it for three years or a PRS Dragon and waiting a year or two and selling it for more. But it's a roll of the dice. Who can say when the bottom falls out? It might... but then it might NOT! Soon enough China will be like Japan - buying North American history. So this could mean the prices will continue to rise. It's a well known fact that folks are buying vintage guitars for investment. Some who aren't musicians! So in a way some of this is out of our hands and irrelevant to the working musician.
We are on outer edge of a booming antique business.
A good friend of mine is a treasure trove of cultural information. He follows the culture very closely and, being bound in a wheelchair, watches LOTS of television, reads lots of magazines, ponders the nature and fate of the universe a lot... etc. He's predicted music trends better than any magazine pundit I've read - dead on years in advance. He says that in the future hand made stuff from 20th century North American culture will be priceless. For those of us old enough, we know we lived through a MAJOR cultural revolution and historical event. For the remainder of human history, that stuff from those times touched by those fingers who SAW The Beatles or Hendrix or Dylan will be valuable. Just as antique Shaker furniture is now. But... just how valuable I don't know.
I know I love playing my 1934 National thinking of the hands that have held it, wondering what they played, where they lived. It's fascinating. I wouldn't pay what it's worth now... but I do enjoy the vicarious mysteries that ooze out of its resonator and fret board. If you've ever experienced it, you know what I mean.
Just to confuse things, I DO play my brand new (2006) little Ron Phillips parlor resonator guitar more than any other piece I own.
And truth is, some old amps just sound amazingly good. Sometimes the differences are subtle compared to newer ones, or so people say, but when you're out there on the edge of a solo hanging on by a twig, every little bit helps! Or that's my experience. Is it worth twice or three times a much? Not if it costs too much of your TIME. And, to me, therein lies the rub. If you're wealthy and can afford vintage gear and you still have PLENTY time to practice, then Hari Bol! But if not, buy a decent amp and guitar, have it set up well and go to town and ignore the Ebay Weird Hall of Mirrors.
Great music will rise regardless. And, I can't remember who said it but I love the quote, "No one's ever heard someone walking down the street and whistling the sound of vintage Pultec EQ!"
There's so much to learn. So many songs to write, scales to learn, gear to conquer.
And families to feed
glassWing farm and studio
vancouver island, b.c.
On 17-Dec-06, at 8:55 AM, Krispen Hartung wrote:
what's also amazing is the change in yard/estate sale tactics. Years ago, before eBay, you could wander your neighborhood and find some good deals on things at yard sales.....I used to see musical instruments and old gear for decent prices. Now, with folks going to yard sales, buying junk, and selling it for profit on eBay, people are catching on and are asking more for items. They get on line and do the research to see what they can ask. Gone are the days of someone going to some old lady's yard sale and finding a mint and vintage Fender in a case in the attic, from her son who went to the war but never came back, and getting a stellar deal on it. This is an extreme, I admit.
I used to think that 50% of new price was a fair deal on used gear. 15 years ago I used this rule and it worked fine. Now, as you mention below, you can find used gear sometimes going for 70% of the new price....it's crazy. Hell, I bought Behringer FCB controller several years ago, new from a music store, and some idiot bought it for more than what I paid for it on eBay....if he had done the research he could have got it new for less. It's like people go to eBay and lose their minds.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Paul" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2006 8:40 AM
Subject: Re: Compact guitar amp...
There's a lot of money out there. A roof-top classic apartment (or floor actually with a ballroom) is currently going in NYC for 70 million dollars. That's a lot of fazules! And Bently Automobiles has been advertising more in the periodicals.
My own impression (gleaned from shopping eBay, pawn shops, etc.) is that used music gear seems to be priced higher than ever. I know, I know, there's always the good buy that someone got but I noticed that every single item I bid on eBay turns into a bidding war and drives the price up. No good bargains there. Pawnshops used to have good stuff (I picked up a Minimoog synthesizer a few years back for $120). Now (at least the ones I've visited the last few years) have cheap junk. And music stores that have used gear (like Johnny B Goods in Pittsburgh) have all the stuff priced way too high (is anyone paying those prices for, say, an old Yamaha midi sequencer?).
Then, there's these corporate collectors like Hard Rock cafe and individual collectors with deep pockets that seem to scour every guitar/synth/effect pedal/etc. like a purse seine trawling for tuna. Guys with very deep pockets like Paul Allen from Microsoft.
Gibson prices seem inordinately high to me. Maybe I'm wrong. I bought a gold Les Paul Deluxe in, oh, 1970's for $500.00 so maybe that equates to the current asking price. Some newer Fenders seem to be priced right but both brands seem pricy to me for the moderately good stuff. Personally, I can only afford guitars in the $500-1000 price point range. And I usually stick to lower/mid end PRS/Godin or Ephiphone brands. I doubt I'd ever spend more than that unless I won the lottery.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Todd Howell" <email@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2006 12:06 AM
Subject: Re: Compact guitar amp...
Rare is it that I chime in on such matters. But I am in agreement with Mr. Hartung here.
The whole idea of the dream tone is so subjective that it's to the point of being moot in many cases.
As for the idea of paying 40K for anything that I can't sleep in is absurd. I am sure that these Gibson Jazz Boxes are supremely well crafted and play and sound wonderful. I have no doubt about this. However. I can't imagine most people, even the pornographically wealthy, being able to justify the price tag.
I find that most mid range priced gear usually suits my purposes just fine. I play a Godin LGXT that I got at GC for less than 800.00 used, a Vox AC30 (CC1) and a bunch of pedals from Boss and Digitech, and a Gibson Echoplex. These all serve me very well in the current context that I play. Even if I could afford a bunch of seriously boutique-ish gear, why? I know that alot of it probably sound grand, but for most of us, the idea of doing things like paying the mortgage, feeding our kids (or in my case Border Collie and Tabbies) and most of all not winding up getting kicked the curb or at least wind up sleeping on the couch alot of nights. All of this to make sure that we sound transcendent as opposed to good. Most of John Q. Public is usually too busy picking the tomatoes off of their nachos or trying to making connection with carnal possibility to really notice your tone. I guess I don't worry too much about playing for other musicians when I do. I hope they appreciate it.
Forty-Thousand Dollars for a guitar? Five thousand dollars for an amplifier? Chime in and show me where this is a great idea.
I could be well wrong here...........
From: Krispen Hartung <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Dec 16, 2006 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: Compact guitar amp...
From: "Zoe Keating" <email@example.com>
I tried a very small Schertler amp a few months ago and was pretty
impressed....but that was with a cello.
Was it the David? I tried one here in Boise...very nice sounding....though
they were mainly for acoustic vs. electric mondern jazz...but really nice
amps, nonetheless...built like tanks (Swiss, of course, I think). I can see
how they would sound great for cello.
It's funny how my taste has changed in amps over the years. I used to think
boutique amps, $1000 and higher, were the only way to go...and I've owned a
few of them over the years (power, pre, combo). These days I find that a
$200-$300 amp suits me just fine, and that the "alleged dream tone" really
isn't dramatically different than a mid-range amp. This is only my personal
experience and opinion here, of course. I can generally get a tone I like
out of a lower cost amp. I put most of my investment in my guitars and my
I'm also finding that there is a trend going on today with guitars and amps.
Many foreign manufacturers are starting to produce some very affordable gear
that plays really good and consistently. A local music store here has some
hollow body jazz guitars that are made in Taiwan that play just amazing, and
are a fraction of the price of the boutique jazz axes. I know some guys who
have paid $40,000 for their Gibson L5s, Super 400 or Wes Montgomery
model.s....freakin' insane. I think Gibson's guitar are grossly
overpriced...you can get a not-well-known luthier to make something for a
fraction of the price. I wouldn't even feel comfortable taking a guitar
like that (the high end Gibson's) out of the case at a gig.
I've read on MANY jazz guitar discussion forums that the Roland Cube 60
($300 +) is a great pick for diverse tone and portability. It keeps popping
up as a great pick....pretty amazing and quite appealing for a bunch of old
guys with gray hair whose backs are too bad to lift those Fender Twins and
JC-120s. Purism in amps is starting to lose grip a bit with all the latest
greatest DSP technology. Interesting phenomeon going on with music
----- Original Message -----
On Dec 16, 2006, at 1:20 PM, Andrew Koenig wrote:
Anyone have any ideas for a small,
compact guitar amp for
jazz, with a lot of bells and whistles, effects,
How compact? What price range? If you want something to drool over,
out www.acousticimg.com and look for the Corus model.