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  1. #26

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    This site is probably the best place you can go to get a great archtop. I have yet to hear about anyone getting burned here. I wouldn't think twice about buying a guitar from a known member here and know it would be as described.
    I am very surprised Joe D. hasn't scooped up a Danny W. LeGrand yet. I can hear the wheels turning from here. :-)

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  3. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchbopper
    You sure you want to buy US? I have to add 25% to the selling price to get a guitar from the US in my home. That usually eats up any price advantage.

    DB
    It's not because of a price advantage that i would buy from the US. I just want a great sounding instrument which is worth the price i pay for.

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by travisty
    I don't know of any guitar dealer out there who is not trying to sell the guitar for a little more than I want to pay, or who will without questions being asked put up all the potential 'faults' anyone might ever be able to claim. When purchasing used, it really is caveat emptor.
    I had a great experience with John Reynolds from Golden Age Guitars who sold me a Korean New Yorker d'Angelico over the internet. I had previously heard of his good reputation, but who knows, maybe it was luck ....

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by docdosco
    JazzNote,

    Which guitar are you considering?
    2003 Gibson L-5 Lee Ritenour Signature but not considering it anymore .......

  6. #30

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    I'm pretty sure many newer guitars will have less issues than older ones, so they're probably a safer bet than a vintage guitar.
    I'd be much more inclined to trust a condition description of a 'newer' instrument from a dealer.
    maybe something that's been babied and inside of 15 yrs old.
    for me, the Ritenour you linked would fall into that category, provided the neck is straight.
    Last edited by wintermoon; 12-29-2015 at 06:03 PM.

  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    This site is probably the best place you can go to get a great archtop. I have yet to hear about anyone getting burned here. I wouldn't think twice about buying a guitar from a known member here and know it would be as described.
    I am very surprised Joe D. hasn't scooped up a Danny W. LeGrand yet. I can hear the wheels turning from here. :-)
    You know me better than I know me..
    That's basically a mint Johnny Smith. Believe me, I'd love to have it. But I cant own all the guitars in the world.
    I do have my eye on a Mint Blond L5 Wes, in fact I'm looking at a small picture of it right now.. My wife has her eye on the tube of crazy Glue..

  8. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    You know me better than I know me..
    That's basically a mint Johnny Smith. Believe me, I'd love to have it. But I cant own all the guitars in the world.
    I do have my eye on a Mint Blond L5 Wes, in fact I'm looking at a small picture of it right now.. My wife has her eye on the tube of crazy Glue..
    Your sights are on much bigger game than me! I would say that my next guitar, if I can find one when I have the money (both being difficult variables!) would be a 96 Heritage H550. I wouldn't turn my nose up at a Super Eagle but the 550 would likely be half the cost. Aiming to have each of my children's birth years represented by a Heritage made in the same year. I already have a 1994 and a 2009. Just need a 1996. haha. Hey, we all have our justifications. haha. I have a 1996 Emperor Regent. Decent guitar... but Emmy deserves better representation.

    To be honest, it was once just a justification. Now that I live on the other side of the country from most of my family including my young adult daughters both of whom are in college, it sounds silly, but I feel a physical closeness with them when I play their corresponding guitars. Can't wait for their first visit.

  9. #33

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    Barry, that's a nice thing to do in honor of your kids.
    If you have a good emperor regent, those other guitars are not gonna be that much better. I wish I had a nice emperor regent. They are excellent guitars, if taken care of..
    JD

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    Barry, that's a nice thing to do in honor of your kids.
    If you have a good emperor regent, those other guitars are not gonna be that much better. I wish I had a nice emperor regent. They are excellent guitars, if taken care of..
    JD
    It is definitely a nice guitar. It plays well. Sounds nice. No complaints. There's just a sentiment missing. I have no plans of being rid of the Epi. Not at all. If anything, it will end up being my knock-around guitar.
    Last edited by barrymclark; 12-29-2015 at 10:40 PM.

  11. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I'm pretty sure many newer guitars will have less issues than older ones, so they're probably a safer bet than a vintage guitar.
    I agree, but even newer guitars that aren't "PERFECT" get unreasonalbe scrutiny and sellers have to deal with some things so minute that they can't even be photographed.

    IMO, anyone that fussy should not buy anything online and support the LGS where they can see everything for themselves. :-)

  12. #36

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    Wow! What an eye opening thread!
    I even saw a mention of a dealer who gets a lot of praise on this forum. (he was more tHan a little rude, to me? I thought it was because I was a lefty... and a Canadian! Maybe not?)
    His site and the subject dealer both came to my attention through our forum.
    Now, I'm leery about... well, pretty much everyone.

  13. #37

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    This is all pretty harsh. I sure like the guitars I see on his website. Anyone in the thread in the same business?

  14. #38

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    I think it important to keep one's eyes open. Any seller of any thing through an agent must deal with "agency risk." Ditto for the buyer. Always.

    If the agent has a generally good reputation over a large number of transactions, that serves as a positive indicator. When other things pop up creating alarm bells, that's a negative. The main issue in a public venue like this is when people believe either aspect to be the absolute unvarnished truth. Take a close look at both the testimonials on his site AND the accusations levelled here. There are some facts, but usually not enough to be absolutely sure of anything. While I trust each poster's good intentions to protect the interests of forum-members, I would be careful about believing interpretation of facts to be fact. Behaviourally, people like "conclusions." (this is why politicians speak in soundbites).

    I think early posts in this thread about flowery and optimistic descriptions and rpguitar's "Trust But Verify" are probably most apropos.

    If you deal with an online dealer and communicate by email, make sure the terms of the transaction are clearly confirmed (including payment terms, contents of the transaction, shipping and insurance, trial period if any, and terms of return). If there is a 48hr trial period, make sure the "within 48hrs" is triggered by your action, not their response (call, leave a voicemail, send an email, post something on this forum, take a short video on your phone with the evening news behind you saying you don't want it, send a letter with a timestamp and/or a picture of the letter and the datestamp and the clock behind the counter at the post office. Be creative. If you think you need 72hrs for whatever reason, get it in writing: if you can't get it, then accept it or move on).

    When Vinny gets his checks within 2 days, that means the seller who sold something on consignment took the return risk after two days. Deals are deals. Make it work for both sides but be very clear about how terms work.

    When dealing online, PREPARATION is key. When purchasing a previously-used item, knowing what you want, and what you will happily accept, is important. If you need to touch it and see it to make sure before you buy, then do so. If you are willing to deal with foibles and "weaknesses" which make a one- to five-decade old guitar less than The Perfect Example Of Its Kind when it was brand new, then know beforehand what would make you walk away.

    Above all, understand that Sellers are Sellers. That is their business. Ones with flowery language are in the business of flowery language - creating perception and 'value' for that perception. Dodgy photos on craigslist don't get the same price even though it may be the same guitar. All of the very well-known web-presences in archtop guitar sales use dramatically positive language to describe what they are selling. Some of it may even be true. But "positive presentation" is their job.



    Very few guitars were hand-signed by Joan of Arc. They are super-rare, were only played by the top cats on Blue Note or Verve, and are still in as-new condition (when those jazz cats lovingly played them in smoky bars, the cigarette smoke parted for the guitars, the microphones got dinged instead, and because they had been blessed by Joan of Arc, finger oils and sweat acted only to preserve pickup covers, tuning pegs, and string friction constantly kept frets perfectly polished). In fact, the only seven surviving examples I am about to put up in the For Sale section...

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by travisty


    very few guitars were hand-signed by joan of arc. They are super-rare, were only played by the top cats on blue note or verve, and are still in as-new condition (when those jazz cats lovingly played them in smoky bars, the cigarette smoke parted for the guitars, the microphones got dinged instead, and because they had been blessed by joan of arc, finger oils and sweat acted only to preserve pickup covers, tuning pegs, and string friction constantly kept frets perfectly polished). In fact, the only seven surviving examples i am about to put up in the for sale section...
    lmfao !!!!!
    Last edited by kkfan; 12-30-2015 at 01:56 AM.

  16. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    He is not dishonest but he leaves you with the niggling feeling that you may have been slightly had.

    One guy I know was promised new T-I strings with his guitar. He received it with old strings on it because the day he shipped it, Joe thought "it sounded better with the original old strings" and so shipped it that way.
    I'm "that guy" of which Jabberwocky speaks. Since the question has been asked, I feel that I would be doing a disservice if I did not convey my experience. Here is the very abridged version.

    I called Joe the day after receiving my archtop to discuss a pronounced dead spot issue (in addition to not being set-up with TIs, or even at all for that matter). I told Joe that I would like to keep the guitar if the problem could be easily fixed, but would want to return it if not. Joe assured me that he would take care of me either way and advised me to take it to a local luthier to see if it was a set-up related issue. He also told me that he would pay the expense if it was indeed set-up related. This was memorialized in email correspondence as well. After my luthier was not able to make it better, I called Joe to discuss the next step of either sending it to the original builder for repair or returning it altogether. At this point Joe told me that it was past the 48-hour approval period and that he would neither accept a return of the guitar nor pay for the set-up work. It did not matter what we had agreed to previously, both on the phone and in writing. Totally unethical behavior in my book. No other way to put it.

    The story has a happy ending though. I reached out to the builder of the guitar, who in turn referred me to another local archtop builder who was able to identify and completely fix the problem. It has turned out to be one of my favorite guitars and one that I expect to own for many years. I would have been completely on my own had it gone any other way.

    Would I buy another guitar from Archtop.com? My first inclination would be to say "no". Thats a bummer because he has a lot of inventory and I love archtops.
    Last edited by kid335; 12-30-2015 at 02:07 AM.

  17. #41

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    Travisty...you nailed it. Just to be clear I have had some very smooth transactions with JV. Not too much risk in a consignment sell but buying a used guitar is just like buy a used car. Just kicking the tires is not good enough. Let's face it, most used car salesmen are glad handers that are going to tell you what you want to hear to get that sale. You must raise your head above the flowery cloud. The big problem is we play archtops. You just can't walk into any music store and say let me see those 3 L5's and I will pick out my favorite. Most of us have had to buy archtops sight unseen. It is a dice roll period. I think of Jack Zucker and how many times he has rolled snake eyes. Another thing is most archtop players are extremely picky about certain aspects of that type of guitar compared to lets say a Strat player. When you are paying thousands for a guitar it has to meet all your requirements.
    When I bought my Super 400 from TMZ they were the opposite. They really underplayed it telling me it was pretty clean and in overall good condition when in fact it was in mint condition. That is probably the best way to sell a guitar. Underplay it so it exceeds the buyers expectations but yes you cannot ask too many questions when buying a guitar unseen or unplayed. If you ask JV direct and detailed questions I do not believe he would ever lie to you but if you are not specific be prepared for the flowery cloud.
    Last edited by vinnyv1k; 12-30-2015 at 03:08 AM.

  18. #42

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    kid335, thanks for the clarification.

    Great happy ending to your story. And one I imagine others can learn from - a good luthier can fix a lot of issues. Even if they can't within 48hrs. Unfortunately, it is also a cautionary tale. Wondering if this thread will survive...

  19. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by travisty
    Wondering if this thread will survive...
    Ideally, not only should this thread survive, but it should also be made a sticky thread. Then again, hardly anything is ideal.

  20. #44

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    What happened to kid335 happened to me. I bought a X700 that JV said was in mint virtually unplayed condition. I just took him at his word. The guitar and case stunk so bad of cigarettes (no offense to you smokers) I couldn't stand it. The frets were all dented and the neck binding was cracked through at every fret and lacquer checks in the cutaway. A couple small dings in the top but not bad. I called immediately to return it but got his old lady Julie. She said he was gone and to call back in 2 hours. Of course that went on till the 48 hours passed then he got back to me and told me no returning. I was livid. Finally he agreed to a 20% restock fee of $700.00 + $150.00 to ship it back and his $130.00 shipping fee to ship to me. Basically I was out a grand because of his description not being honest and then not getting back to me in the 48 hour time frame. That was my really bad experience.

  21. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    I agree, but even newer guitars that aren't "PERFECT" get unreasonalbe scrutiny and sellers have to deal with some things so minute that they can't even be photographed.

    IMO, anyone that fussy should not buy anything online and support the LGS where they can see everything for themselves. :-)
    I think it's about business ethics. Giving an accurate description of a sales object which holds up by objective standards. This is what makes a salesperson trustworthy and i think it is possible online. I feel there's nothing fussy about expecting it to be this way.

  22. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    What happened to kid335 happened to me. I bought a X700 that JV said was in mint virtually unplayed condition. I just took him at his word.
    Yeah the word "mint" is slathered about quite a bit on gits that are not mint. I bought one from yet another dealer in "DEAD MINT, all original" condition at a price that was appropriate for a dead mint specimen.

    When I received it the finish checking (which was rather minor and not bad) and the fact that it was shipped crammed into a non original case that didn't remotely fit made the "dead mint" pricing silly.

    Had the issues been disclosed up front I would have no problem with buying it if the price reflected the issues or I could pass it by. When I pointed out the discrepancies from the description the dealer said "what do you expect from a git that age?" HUH???

    Well, the dealer made an adjustment on the price and I found another well fitting case and I kept it.

    IMO the dealers that have "rose colored glasses" on a sale yet at the same time use any minor condition issues on a trade or consignment against you should be in business selling something else.

    BTW, this is a VERY good reason for using Paypal. If the ad specifies a 48 hour return period and you advise PAYPAL of the problems, a dealer will have to take it back and there's no avoiding contact in the first 48 hours to exonerate the dealer of their responsibilities to the buyer.
    Last edited by GNAPPI; 12-30-2015 at 09:56 AM.

  23. #47

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    There is an old thread on the same subject

    https://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/guita...chtop-com.html

    where you also get a direct reply from Joe Vinikow himself at post #69, but it's interesting reading the whole thing.
    Last edited by Jazz_175; 12-30-2015 at 06:01 PM.

  24. #48

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    This music shop has got one, which is supposed to be like new.

    GIBSON CUSTOM SHOP LEE RITENOUR L5 - #4442521 - su Mercatino Musicale in Chitarre Semiacustiche

    Since you are in Switzerland it should not be too far from where you live, so you might drive there and personally check the instrument.
    I think the music shop should be somewhere around Bergamo, not too far from Milano.

  25. #49

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    This internet thing is good and bad at the same time. I find that for the most part its a convenient place for some to post bad experiences. We should understand that its always prudent to hear both sides of the story before we pass judgment. This man makes his living by selling, for the most part, vintage guitars. No matter what the condition, they are old guitars and at any moment, they can start to look and act their age. I know most of us here absolutely know that.
    I recently sold a guitar, to very respected member of our community here. I asked him how he was getting along with it, he said he likes the guitar, glad he has it but it had a few more checks on it then I had thought. I was up half the night last night thinking about the situation, worrying about whether I was forthright enough. In the end I was comfortable. Now, what if this absolute gentleman decided to post on our forum, in front of 42,000 people something like this.. "I bought a guitar from this creep. When I received it, it had more checks on it than he told me. Don't deal with him.." If that happened, I'd be devastated. Instead, I'm not because this man handled the situation with an ultimate degree of class. And my reputation is not marred by a fair and great buyer.
    I have never bought a used guitar that met my expectations right out of the case. Its a risk you take and if its worth it to you, you make it what you want it to be. In the end hopefully you are happy with your acquisition. If not, you get on an airplane and hand deliver it back to him. With a small box of Italian cookies from a bakery. Everything will be OK after that.
    JD

  26. #50

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    I don't know that this thread should be a sticky, but maybe another thread with a checklist of things to ask in a conversation with a seller that you might forget, e.g., simple stuff like working truss rod, cracks, heel separation, binding, fret wear, relief, original parts, mods. Perhaps with links to sites that will help confirm that parts in a photo are correct for the guitar.

    I generally factor a healthy luthier bill into any purchase of a vintage guitar. I don't recall ever paying what I considered street for one; always street minus luthier tab, or less. Some of my best purchases have involved neck resets and/or new frets after the purchase, which I knew were going to be needed before closing the sale. One of the cool things about buying old guitars is that the right luthier can make an old guitar play *better* than new.