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  1. #51

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    I bought a guitar once from a store online that was listed as "dead mint". It wasn't. It was in excellent condition, but not "dead mint". I was ok with it because I wanted the guitar anyways. If however the guitar had not been in excellent condition I would have felt ripped off. So I can certainly understand the OP's grievance.

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  3. #52

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    Bottom line is everyone's description of mint will be conceived differently and you can get a awesome guitar from JV. He gets and sells a lot of wonderful archtops. When you ask him a direct question you will get a truthful answer. I had one really bad transaction with him but a lot of good ones too. He tends to use generic descriptions on his website. IMO if you call him and ask detailed questions about a specific guitar and you like his answers you will love the guitar you get from him. It is just like buying used cars. Not everyone will be happy all the time. He sells a ton of archtops. He must be doing something right. He has been around a very long time. I would not be afraid to buy a guitar from him. You just need to ask a lot of questions first.

  4. #53

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    Seems to me the option of a Skype consult with him prior to sale is a good one. If I were spending even a fraction of what most of these guitars cost, I'd take advantage of that possibility. I would think the 48 hour return thing ought to be adjusted for his availability, maybe set it for 3 "business days" or the like. Or count a phone message or e-mail as notice of an intent to return. Maybe he already does this, I don't know.

    But that Skype consult on the guitar seems to me to be an outstanding option, and it has to be time consuming for him. I like that idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Bottom line is everyone's description of mint will be conceived differently and you can get a awesome guitar from JV. He gets and sells a lot of wonderful archtops. When you ask him a direct question you will get a truthful answer. I had one really bad transaction with him but a lot of good ones too. He tends to use generic descriptions on his website. IMO if you call him and ask detailed questions about a specific guitar and you like his answers you will love the guitar you get from him. It is just like buying used cars. Not everyone will be happy all the time. He sells a ton of archtops. He must be doing something right. He has been around a very long time. I would not be afraid to buy a guitar from him. You just need to ask a lot of questions first.

  5. #54

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    It's not always just a subjective disagreement between what "mint" or "excellent" means to different people. And it's not always about a buyer being a petty, unrealistic pain in the ass over a nick or a check in the finish. In other words, it's not just about superficial stuff.

    In my case, it was about playability, which - as a player - I care about more than anything! And it happened twice.

    One guitar was specifically noted as having recent frets and super action. However, that guitar never played right, and I could never pinpoint why. Eventually, I took it to "my guy" and spent $400 on new frets, new nut, and a bit of creative fingerboard planing. It took a mental last straw to invest in that, because I really, really wanted to love the guitar, and there was no guarantee the work would be successful. Now it's one of my favorite guitars. But it was already at the top end of the price range when I bought it (and "one only, call now" meant no negotiating).

    Another guitar could be said to play well but with a caveat; that being the fact that its fingerboard radius was tighter than stock, so tight, even, that my tech's measuring gauges (which stopped at 7.5") could not nail it. He estimated it was a 6" radius near the nut. Archtop's copy said it had a "Nice rounded fingerboard radius." No red flags there! How would I have known? Despite sounding really good, it was not possible for me to get comfortable with this guitar, and it was rotated out of the line-up.

    Every guitar is said to have its frets "precision leveled, crowned, and polished" or equivalent. Nuts are inspected and re-cut, things are lubricated or oiled, etc. etc. - read the final paragraph on nearly every single page. There's NO WAY that stuff happens with any consistency.

  6. #55

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    My new favorite merchant to buy a used guitar from is TMZ. They flat out will not use the word "mint". They seem to be extremely honest. I don't mind paying top dollar for honest at all.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone
    This is all pretty harsh. I sure like the guitars I see on his website. Anyone in the thread in the same business?
    I am. Sorta. No vintage guitars. But I do sell archtop jazz boxes.

    This trust issue is big factor and and one that some sellers blow off. I have had it pointed out to me (by a friend) about some small thingy, scratch, finish bump, blem etc on a guitar I was selling, and had been admonished that that the buyer will never notice. Don't bring it up.

    Well, jazz guitar buyer aren't idiots (mostly). They have 2 eyeballs I have come to find out. They see a picture of a gorgeous babe w/ no cloths on behind curtain number one. When said babe limps out because of crooked leg, she has a spate of blemishes, warts and scars that makeup won't fix and her hair is thin and falling out and her front teeth are gone (no snickers, it is just a word game), the buyer will be disappointed. Someone may claim she still plays good, and maybe she does.

    But she wasn't what was pictured or promised on the menu. A seller only has his reputation. And, you can sell half a dozen guitars to one guy over time at decent prices and give good, prompt service, making yourself available for questions afterwards, etc.... and he is a happy fellow. However, if he thinks that you fucked him over just once, he is lost. Your past Mother Theressa dealings generally don't matter if the guy feels betrayed or taken, or robbed.

    A case in point. A so-called friend in the music publishing world needed a mic (25 years ago when I was selling Pro Tools systems). So, I give him a price. I looked in the book, and read the wrong line. Instead of the wholesale on that model, I read the one step up model. Instead of the wholesale deal he expected ....which is NEVER actually wholesale, just a 'perceived' deeper discount, because cost is what you tell the customer it is, he got a slightly higher quote. In this case, I read the wrong cost amount .... and added the 10 or 15% profit put on for customers in the "I EXPECT dead cost cause I'm a big shot music prick and the store owner says I deserve to be able to bend you over and make you spend a half hour with me and then screw you out of any commission you might have made."

    Whew!

    The cost of this misread model for an AKG 414 something something was slightly higher, so my 10 % add-on (sanctioned by the owner, or he'd go broke playing these 'stroke the customer' games) was higher yet ......and after he buys it, and leaves, and someone tells him he should have paid less.... the word comes back that Shelly is pissed at me because I lied and screwed him on the price of the microphone. Ok. The extra total *overcharge* was maybe 10% difference in the actual bottom line of the sale.

    Oops dude, sorry. I misread the wholesale catalog. I'll comp you something of that value. Or, return the mic, I'll refund it. Or, I'll redo the sale and give you the difference. Or..... I'll really grab my ankles on your next purchase and you don't even have to give me a reach around.

    Well, it didn't matter. Damage done. I had screwed him. "That fuckin' Doc, man. Don't trust him. Rip-off artist!" I had heard about this particular guy (who was actually a friend at the time) pissing and moaning from his little circle of songwriters every time one of them came in the shop. "Shelly sure is pissed at you."

    I learned something valuable that day. Number one. I didn't care for this guy much after that. Bigshot or no. And second, all you have to do is shit on your dinner table once, and no matter how long it was nice and tidy before, it ain't now. And innocent mistakes are still mistakes.

    As to selling online. I have been at it 20 years. I don't know of a disgruntled customer. There must be a few somewhere. However I try to not lie, not cheat, not steal, no bait and switch, and I take back any instruments that the client doesn't like. Even if they are dead wrong in my opinion. It's bad karma to lie cheat and steal, but beyond that, it's not worth having pissed off people bad mouthing you out there in cyberspace every chance they get.

    Some dealers are not so picky about their reputations. The bottom line is more important. I tend to want to deal with people like me though. If some seller has a lot of people complaining about him, I won't go near them. A leopard doesn't change his spots.

    Now watch, after all my saintly pontificating, someone will pop up. "That fuckin' Doc, man. Don't trust him....."
    Last edited by docdosco; 12-30-2015 at 04:28 PM.

  8. #57

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    Good word, Doc. Good word indeed.

  9. #58

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    What's TMZ? I tried to google "TMZ guitar" but you can guess what that brought up ...

  10. #59

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    The Music Zoo. You can talk them down quite a bit on their prices also. I deal with a guy named Garrett. Super nice people and dead honest with zero risk. They even called me twice to make sure I was 100% happy after I bought my Super 400.

  11. #60

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    The Music Zoo = class act IMO.

  12. #61

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    Indulge me here. Just to illustrate a point on bad online reviews. Extreme, yes. However, this sadistic doctor has a full time practice and doesn't seem to be at a loss for new victims to torture. I got his name through my insurance company as a pain management doctor. After reading these reviews, I never had to add to the reviews, as I never made an appointment.

    I collected these quotes to email to my primary who scratched his head in disbelief. So, I'll pass them along.

    My point? Could you imagine a guitar seller with reviews anything near as bad as these able to stay in business. It's hard to imagine!



    Run in opposite direction by Regina L. on Nov 30th, 2015

    Dr. Morgan is rude, inconsiderate, dangerous, and should have his license revoked.

    Sep 28th, 2015
    I have never met a more frightening and dangerous Dr.

    by William Duran on Aug 24th, 2015

    I visited Dr Morgan and I have this to say! at the least he was unprofessional, rude , also he had no records of my medical status on file! very child like "if you don’t like it go some where else and pay cash my practice my rules

    STAY AWAY IF YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU

    by Nancy R. on Jul 31st, 2015

    worst doctor by badluck on Apr 30th, 2015 This doctor was the worst


    Apr 17th, 2015 Worst doctor & staff ever,ever,ever.

    Unbelievable by Carter, Warren on Apr 15th, 2015

    Do yourself a favor, don't waste your time. Mr.Morgan wasn't very professional or I would call him Dr.

    Aug 6th, 2014
    He yells at you. Reduces your pain medication if you complain that the meds he prescribed are not effective for your chronic pain. He lies to you and insults you. This know-it-all sadistic doctor doesn't even deserve a star. He doesn't listen, only assumes. Good luck with this sick bastard.

    DON'T GO NEAR THIS DOCTOR May 17th, 2012 DR PHILIP J MORGAN IS A MEAN SADIST. ANY DOCTOR IS BETTER THAN HE!


    Long waits Jul 12th, 2012
    Doctor schedules numerous people at the same time which increases the waiting time. Last visit I waited over 2 hours to see the doctor for a 3 minute consultation
    Unbelievable - Huge Waste of Time!

    I have been to many doctors in my life and am left absolutely stunned after the experience I had there today……(snip) Horrible. Absolutely horrible experience - definitely stay away. Oh and I heard them on the phone telling a patient that they schedule people ten at a time - awesome.

    Worst experience I've ever had with any doctor
    FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR!! Oct 13th, 2011
    HORRIBLE medical office.



  13. #62

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    I'm not here to bad mouth anyone. A few of us forum members have met JV in person. My first impression was, he seems like a very nice "salesman."

    It was but a few months later I discovered a local luthier, who because of personal financial issues, remained working for JV for years, and generally felt taken advantage of. I'm not the only forum member who knows this luthier, or the circumstances surrounding his parting ways with JV. Its been said there are several other local luthiers who've also done work for JV that won't associate with him again.

    Personally, l attempted to sell JV a "gibson" guitar that I knew had at least $1k or more instant profit in it, over and above my asking price of $5k. JV countered, undercut, my already great offer on this "gibson" by $800. I walked, thinking okay you don't want the easy profit. 5 days later that guitar sold on auction for $2600 above JV's offer, and $1800 more than what I offered to sell that "gibson" to JV for.

    I've known at least one archtop listed on JV's site that according to its previous owner "was played to death" by its original owner - sent to JV for consignment, and there wasn't a word in the ad copy about obvious fret and or other wear on the guitar quoted to me from that guitar's original owner.

    Is it necessary to use paypal to protect yourself on any guitar purchase? I'd think absolutely yes, unless you have it in writing that a complete refund will be honored in the event a purchase does not meet your satisfaction.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    My new favorite merchant to buy a used guitar from is TMZ. They flat out will not use the word "mint". They seem to be extremely honest. I don't mind paying top dollar for honest at all.
    This was exactly my experience when I bought my Wesmo from them last year. They didn't even advertise that it was a "Crimson Edition". Under-promising and over-delivering is clearly their business model and I also do not mind paying top dollar for that kind of quality and service.

  15. #64

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    Hey when Greg (2bop) talks you need to listen. This man has been around the block.

  16. #65

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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. 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.
    Frankly I think that some consumer protection laws would be broken by this behavior by the seller. Anybody here a lawyer familiar with New York law (also whether the consumer protection laws of the buyer's vs. the seller's location would be in force). Your first all stating you wanted to return the guitar was his notice within 48 hours, whether you talked to him or not. You talked to his employee and that is good enough.

    Misrepresenting an item you sell is fraud. Fraud across state lines brings in yet another jurisdiction. If I was you, I think I would have called the authorities in New York and filed a criminal complaint... He screwed you over and came out well ahead- he had the guitar to sell to someone else plus $700 bucks he didn't have before.

    I have had one purchasing experience with archtop.com (a pickup) and even that deal felt slightly shady even though I did not get ripped off in any way- this was an impression of personality rather than any wrongdoing. It was enough that I have never done business with him since and will likely not do so. Damed shame, he's got some of the best inventory in the county.

    Well, time wounds all heels. If he's a bad actor it will come back to bite him. If he's not, he may want to look into how to operate differently so that his customers feel he is above board. Let's face it, this forum is one of his largest pools of customers.

  17. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    I'm not here to bad mouth anyone. A few of us forum members have met JV in person. My first impression was, he seems like a very nice "salesman."

    It was but a few months later I discovered a local luthier, who because of personal financial issues, remained working for JV for years, and generally felt taken advantage of. I'm not the only forum member who knows this luthier, or the circumstances surrounding his parting ways with JV. Its been said there are several other local luthiers who've also done work for JV that won't associate with him again.

    Personally, l attempted to sell JV a "gibson" guitar that I knew had at least $1k or more instant profit in it, over and above my asking price of $5k. JV countered, undercut, my already great offer on this "gibson" by $800. I walked, thinking okay you don't want the easy profit. 5 days later that guitar sold on auction for $2600 above JV's offer, and $1800 more than what I offered to sell that "gibson" to JV for.

    I've known at least one archtop listed on JV's site that according to its previous owner "was played to death" by its original owner - sent to JV for consignment, and there wasn't a word in the ad copy about obvious fret and or other wear on the guitar quoted to me from that guitar's original owner.

    Is it necessary to use paypal to protect yourself on any guitar purchase? I'd think absolutely yes, unless you have it in writing that a complete refund will be honored in the event a purchase does not meet your satisfaction.
    Well.....

    This thread has struck a nerve with many.

    Let me say first, I don't know a thing about archtop.com, the owner, or any opinions that had been floating about the ether, so this is very educational for me. I had heard the name of course, along with elderly.com in regards to vintage jazz guitars. I have never owned a true vintage jazz guitar. As some here know, I endorsee for Peerless guitars and I have had some lovely Peerless guitars ...but they are all of a more recent time period. The other jazz boxes I have owned are not in the big bucks category.

    We have a rare guitar store here in LA where the former luthier - repair guy that does all my set-ups and fixes now, worked for this place for 20 odd years. He is independent now, and better off for it. Same story. He felt he had been taken advantage of for years and years. His rather sour opinion was that the owner simply saw dollar signs before anything else. I suppose being a good 'businessman' is useful in a guitar business. Being skilled at sales is helpful selling them. I wonder if playing jazz guitar makes a difference? Do some successful guitar store owners simply look at vintage or high end guitars as a commodity? No real love for the art/craft of the instruments or of playing the damn things?

    Of course, that is a generalization. Not every guitar store owner is a schmuck, but we seem to have our share......

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    The Music Zoo. You can talk them down quite a bit on their prices also. I deal with a guy named Garrett. Super nice people and dead honest with zero risk. They even called me twice to make sure I was 100% happy after I bought my Super 400.
    I second Vinny about The Music Zoo (TMZ). I also worked with Garrett and it was a great experience. I live in NY so I frequent the shop. Its a beautiful, Soho vibe showroom on two floors with a quiet unrushed atmosphere ...with no youngsters blasting amps in big open rooms. They do have amps....and seperate rooms for noise making. They also have seperate Archtop and flat top rooms. They cater to discriminating customers with no pressure.......making you WANT to buy something.
    They also have 72 hr approval with no BS. They will even take the purchased item back within 30 days with full store credit.....HARD TO BEAT.
    In fact, Im currently looking for a blonde Legrand sibling for my Sunburst Legrand and was in contact with Garrett a few minutes ago. They are trying to accomodate me in any way possible...... Its the kind of store thats builds lasting relationships.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    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
    Joe,
    I agree with what you are saying, which is why I hesitated before deciding to post my experience. It usually makes my stomach churn when I read deals gone bad threads on public forums. I almost always automatically give the benefit of the doubt to the seller, especially when it is how he/she makes a living. I posted my experience knowing that there was a good chance that I would get flogged for doing so. Ultimately, I decided that I would feel too bad if I did not say something and the OP went off and made a regretful purchase. Now he can at-least know what to look out for if he decides to attempt a purchase. From what I read, I do not think that any of the negative experiences posted here were from anyone who could be considered a "serial returner". I also think that there is enough smoke here to point to a fire.

    Had my guitar not arrived with issues, I definitely would have written off the fact that he did none of the set-up work that we agreed to prior to shipping. I probably would have also noted the positive buying experience on this forum. Its when things go wrong that a person is tested. Just think of Vinny and your Tal experience for example. I don't think the guy would even know how to be any other way than over the top ethical. On the flip side, I think there is enough evidence here to suggest that JV does not always tend to take the high road when at an ethical crossroads. I think that is as kind as I could say it.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Longobardi
    I second Vinny about The Music Zoo (TMZ). I also worked with Garrett and it was a great experience. I live in NY so I frequent the shop. Its a beautiful, Soho vibe showroom on two floors with a quiet unrushed atmosphere ...with no youngsters blasting amps in big open rooms. They do have amps....and seperate rooms for noise making. They also have seperate Archtop and flat top rooms. They cater to discriminating customers with no pressure.......making you WANT to buy something.
    They also have 72 hr approval with no BS. They will even take the purchased item back within 30 days with full store credit.....HARD TO BEAT.
    In fact, Im currently looking for a blonde Legrand sibling for my Sunburst Legrand and was in contact with Garrett a few minutes ago. They are trying to accomodate me in any way possible...... Its the kind of store thats builds lasting relationships.

    Danny's selling a very nice one in the for sale section

  21. #70

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    Danny W. takes great care of his guitars. I believe him to be very anal like me and Joe D. I am sure his LeGrand's are in pristine condition like getting something from The Music Zoo. I know anyone that has bought a guitar from him has been extremely pleased. Just sayin....

  22. #71

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    Yes - thanks Wintermoon, Ive have been in contact with Danny. Im actually considering his blonde guitar and a few others Ive recently discovered. I really love the Lemonburst at TMZ, it plays effortlessly and sounds beautiful - but the potential deprecitation during a future resale is disheartening. They are still trying to make this purchase satisfy my price point and I apllaud there efforts....they are really great people.

  23. #72

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    If any of you on the east coast are hitting The Music Zoo and have a little extra time, I'd love to get an opinion on an instrument they have in stock. Please send me a PM. Thx

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Danny W. takes great care of his guitars. I believe him to be very anal like me and Joe D. I am sure his LeGrand's are in pristine condition like getting something from The Music Zoo. I know anyone that has bought a guitar from him has been extremely pleased. Just sayin....
    Vinny, I agree -Danny has an impeccable reputation and im loving that blonde. His guitars are pristine.......and im still contemplating things. I found a beautiful unplayed chablis Legrand thats also tugging at me....just not sure about that color or future desirability. These are big purchases and I always try to excersize prudent judgement. Of course, when we fall in love with something...... we rationalize the purchase any way we can. LOL !

  25. #74

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    Steve, buy the Sunburst LeGrand. And when my wife "misplaces" the tube of crazy glue, I'll buy it from you..
    JD

  26. #75

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    Hey Joe.....I love your DA avatar ! It's like Robert DeNiro saying "Hey, you talking to me" !!! :-)