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  1. #1

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    I had listed my 2017 Eastman Pagelli PG-2 on Reverb not too long ago for $2300 and had a buyer soon after. The guitar had been meticulously packed both inside the case and inside the Reverb shipping box. I shipped it out via UPS Second Day Air with the Reverb Buyer Protection. I asked the buyer not to open the case until 24 hours elapsed after he had received it due to potential finish cracking. And, I believe he did so because I didn't hear anything from him about the guitar until the evening of the day after it arrived. He then reported to me that he was unable to raise the action to a height that was acceptable to him. So, I extended the evaluation time so he could get it to his tech to have it evaluated. What was odd about this was that several people had played the guitar just before it shipped and no one, including myself, noticed anything unusual about the action height. In fact, one person told me that he thought the action was a little high. The buyer was able to get the guitar to his tech the following day and the tech confirmed the issue with the action saying that it appeared to be a manufacturing defect with the neck angle. So, I asked the buyer to return the guitar to me and Reverb provided me with a return shipping label and the buyer was refunded his money. I received the guitar back a few days later and waited the 24 or so hours before I opened the case. To my dismay, I found finish cracks mostly on the top (see photos of some of the examples) and a few on the sides of the guitar, with nothing on the back. I then checked out the guitar for neck angle and action issues and couldn't find anything wrong with it. I then reported the finish cracks to Reverb and am now waiting to hear back from their resolution team. I took the guitar to my tech today and he thoroughly went over the guitar and could find nothing wrong with it except the finish cracks. He and my local Eastman dealer also weighed in with the Eastman representative on the phone and he couldn't offer any insight into the supposed neck angle defect. So, I'm not sure what the buyer or his tech saw that caused them to think the action couldn't be raised to an adequate playing level.

    So, I now have this guitar that obviously can't be sold for my original asking price. And, I now need to prepare myself for what Reverb will come back with as their resolution to the issue. Of course, I would just like to send them the guitar at their expense and have them send me a check for $2300. I'm guessing that probably won't happen. Does anyone have any ideas as to how much these finish cracks would decrease the value of the guitar at the price I was asking? I really don't have an idea as I think these sorts of things are typically found on vintage guitars and are to be expected, but not for a guitar of recent manufacture. Thanks!

    Guitar Returned from Reverb Buyer with Finish Cracks-fd501832-9685-46c4-9699-5d0cb237ea55-jpgGuitar Returned from Reverb Buyer with Finish Cracks-9acd6063-10fc-44fa-bef2-27fb27306cfd-jpgGuitar Returned from Reverb Buyer with Finish Cracks-2c3a339c-272f-4687-a233-289e98aa1632-jpgGuitar Returned from Reverb Buyer with Finish Cracks-b9dfbcbf-fe84-45be-a646-f1204d83bf32-jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images Guitar Returned from Reverb Buyer with Finish Cracks-a5e49919-b2e8-4c0d-b83f-0cc57ca860cd-jpg 

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  3. #2
    The location of the cracks tells the story. There was top flex during the shipping, maybe tossing, maybe even a drop, but the top flexed on one side of the F hole and on the other side it's bound to the side. That resulted in a disparity of movement and the resulting "flex" couldn't be resisted by Eastman's finish, which is notoriously brittle.
    Good news all around. It doesn't look like the wood fibre is broken, at least from the photos. And the change in action may very well be due to the extreme drop in humidity in these winter months. That finish breach on the upper bout by the neck block is unsettling; it belies at least an incidence of neck trauma. Sharp torque to the neck angle at the join. The top had a "thunk" and the neck and body moved (picture breaking a bundle of spaghetti) and there was undue stress. Did you immobilize the neck COMPLETELY in insulation top, back and all around when packing? Headstock above and below? Check the finish beneath the nut. Is there any tiny finish cracking there? I'm going to hope really hard there isn't since you didn't say.
    While there may be a possibility of more serious top or bracing damage, that kind of shift does fall under expected changes for an Eastman, which uses a pretty high arch and they carve thinner than Gibson or many other archtops in an older carving tradition. That's one of the reasons Eastmans have that fast attack.

    What can you do? Let it sit and humidify. Let it return to a more hospitable environment and see if it comes back. Very good chance it will.
    As for the crazing and crackle, have a luthier apply a lacquer amalgamator to them. They will disappear. Stewmac makes the stuff and any Luthier worth his/her salt will have it on hand. It gets into the breach in the finish, dissolves the lac around the break and "melts" them together. Virtually undetectable and functionally good as new.

    Obvious question regarding the action: Did your tech check your truss rod? Duh, Of Course, should be the answer.

    Try that first. There's hope.
    Last edited by Jimmy blue note; 12-23-2020 at 06:44 AM.

  4. #3

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    Are the frets intact? I could imagine from the orientation of the cracks that the top has been under pressure, like something dropping or a child stepping on it. A blow on the strings leaves marks on upper frets. My sympathies!

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Are the frets intact? I could imagine from the orientation of the cracks that the top has been under pressure, like something dropping or a child stepping on it. A blow on the strings leaves marks on upper frets. My sympathies!
    Yeah a kid on a guitar would definitely do it, but it takes a lot less to craze finish like that. I worked at Ibanez and their finish is a lot tougher and still, it was not unusual to see this and worse, just from shipping. Even from a clumsy handling of a fork lift. You just never see it cuz those guitars would go straight to the seconds room and the public remains unknowing. And with a handbuilt lacquer finish, yeah that crazes just from being used as the lacquer cures, which actually takes quite a bit of time, maybe even within the window of ownership on a new guitar.
    I don't preclude the worst case scenario but the truth is, shipping is hell on a hand built guitar. Shipping an Eastman in the Winter, yeah, the possibility of disaster goes way up. They sound great because they're built light. This year especially, shipping industry is a disaster, backups are unprecedented and manpower is way down.
    Dangerous business when it comes to shipping a fragile piece of wood carved to move air with the touch of a finger...

  6. #5

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    I think buyer decided he did not want the guitar. Whatever happened in travel just looking is only cosmetic. Yes certainly not what it was but not exactly bad. These things don’t bother me on guitars. Unfortunately you had bad experience. The problem with buying guitar over internet. Hopefully you can resell get something back my guess reverb the buyer wins. Avoid them.

  7. #6

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    Was the bridge set unusually high? Photo of the bridge? Could there be shipping damage that dropped the top a bit. The stress cracks could support this theory.

  8. #7

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    There is always a risk in shipping guitars and I think Reverb will pin that risk on you, the seller. That means eating the shipping costs and having the paint damage repaired. I would get the paint repaired and resell it. Don't let it keep you up at night. Wait for Reverb's decision and move on.

  9. #8

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    That sucks, Bill. I never sell anything with a return policy although I had an EBay buyer show me some shipping damage on a $35 pick up cover once. I refunded him the purchase price. Your situation is nowhere analogous though. Hope you get compensated.

  10. #9

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    Guitar shipping is so risky. Winter ships really intensify that risk especially with nitrocellulose lacquer. Very sorry.

  11. #10

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    Wise words. I had a similar situtation on Ebay about a year ago. The buyer drove me crazy with issues that were not there when I shipped it. He fought me on waiting 24 hours as he thought that was not necessary. I paid him some compensation and moved on. It was my last transaction on Ebay as I deleted my account soon after. Life's too short to deal with this sort of aggravation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    There is always a risk in shipping guitars and I think Reverb will pin that risk on you, the seller. That means eating the shipping costs and having the paint damage repaired. I would get the paint repaired and resell it. Don't let it keep you up at night. Wait for Reverb's decision and move on.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    The location of the cracks tells the story. There was top flex during the shipping, maybe tossing, maybe even a drop, but the top flexed on one side of the F hole and on the other side it's bound to the side. That resulted in a disparity of movement and the resulting "flex" couldn't be resisted by Eastman's finish, which is notoriously brittle.
    Good news all around. It doesn't look like the wood fibre is broken, at least from the photos. And the change in action may very well be due to the extreme drop in humidity in these winter months. That finish breach on the upper bout by the neck block is unsettling; it belies at least an incidence of neck trauma. Sharp torque to the neck angle at the join. The top had a "thunk" and the neck and body moved (picture breaking a bundle of spaghetti) and there was undue stress. Did you immobilize the neck COMPLETELY in insulation top, back and all around when packing? Headstock above and below? Check the finish beneath the nut. Is there any tiny finish cracking there? I'm going to hope really hard there isn't since you didn't say.
    While there may be a possibility of more serious top or bracing damage, that kind of shift does fall under expected changes for an Eastman, which uses a pretty high arch and they carve thinner than Gibson or many other archtops in an older carving tradition. That's one of the reasons Eastmans have that fast attack.

    What can you do? Let it sit and humidify. Let it return to a more hospitable environment and see if it comes back. Very good chance it will.
    As for the crazing and crackle, have a luthier apply a lacquer amalgamator to them. They will disappear. Stewmac makes the stuff and any Luthier worth his/her salt will have it on hand. It gets into the breach in the finish, dissolves the lac around the break and "melts" them together. Virtually undetectable and functionally good as new.

    Obvious question regarding the action: Did your tech check your truss rod? Duh, Of Course, should be the answer.

    Try that first. There's hope.
    Thank you for your reply, Jimmy blue note! You are very insightful. I believe that, yes, there was some kind of impact to the shipping box. There are some indentations and tears on the box where the top would have been located, although I don't know the orientation of the top to the box when shipped out and back. And, aside from the finish cracks in the top, there is also at least one on the side by the neck and as you mention, right by the nut on the side of the neck. I forgot to mention it and take a photo for here. The guitar was thoroughly immobilized in the case on the way out and back from the erstwhile buyer with packing paper per Joe Vinikow's packing instructions on his archtop.com website (the best and most thorough instructions I have seen on the web). The bridge was removed and stored in the accessory compartment during shipment to and from, as well. But the case top is not arched and has some flex to it. Plus, there is a substantial amount of padding on the underside of the case top that comes in contact with the top. So, any kind of shock to the box could be easily transmitted to the guitar top given the right circumstances. The case was immobilized in the box as well with cushioning above and below the case as well as an insert to hold the case in the middle of the box.

    So, the guitar is being humidified with Boveda 72% packs right now and I am awaiting a part so that the tech can do a setup on it before moving forward with anything else. Both the tech and I did check the truss rod adjustment and it is set with very minor relief. I am going to try to see if I can detect any brace cracks or cracks on the underside of the top with a borescope that I have on hand. I will report back with any findings. Thanks again!

  13. #12

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    What a nightmare. I hope that the lacquer amalgamator works well, Bill. Kudos to the collective knowledge of JGO...

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    Are the frets intact? I could imagine from the orientation of the cracks that the top has been under pressure, like something dropping or a child stepping on it. A blow on the strings leaves marks on upper frets. My sympathies!
    Yes, the frets are intact. I had put several plies of packing paper between the slackened strings and the fingerboard. But there are some small marks on top of the upper frets, but not sure if that was from the impact. Thanks for your sympathies, Gitterbug!

  15. #14

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    If you ship a guitar in the middle of winter you’re trusting that the buyer will do his diligence and not open the box for 24 hours. This idiot likely opened the box as soon as it arrived and experienced horror when those cracks began to appear. And now you the shipper has to cope with the outcome. Bottom line, you can’t trust buyers to do the right thing, especially in winter.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy blue note
    Yeah a kid on a guitar would definitely do it, but it takes a lot less to craze finish like that. I worked at Ibanez and their finish is a lot tougher and still, it was not unusual to see this and worse, just from shipping. Even from a clumsy handling of a fork lift. You just never see it cuz those guitars would go straight to the seconds room and the public remains unknowing. And with a handbuilt lacquer finish, yeah that crazes just from being used as the lacquer cures, which actually takes quite a bit of time, maybe even within the window of ownership on a new guitar.
    I don't preclude the worst case scenario but the truth is, shipping is hell on a hand built guitar. Shipping an Eastman in the Winter, yeah, the possibility of disaster goes way up. They sound great because they're built light. This year especially, shipping industry is a disaster, backups are unprecedented and manpower is way down.
    Dangerous business when it comes to shipping a fragile piece of wood carved to move air with the touch of a finger...
    There is no doubt in my mind now that the guitar suffered a blow or some type of compression to the top. I just now looked inside with an inspection light and mirror and couldn't find any cracks that penetrated through the top. And the braces look intact to me. But, as you say, given the location of the finish cracks and the presence of those cracks on the side of the neck adjacent to the nut is evidence of the top being stressed and the neck and headstock being bent. A tough lesson learned for me! And, I had sent it out UPS 2 Day Air thinking it would be handled less but when it was shipped back, Reverb insisted on UPS Ground.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    I think buyer decided he did not want the guitar. Whatever happened in travel just looking is only cosmetic. Yes certainly not what it was but not exactly bad. These things don’t bother me on guitars. Unfortunately you had bad experience. The problem with buying guitar over internet. Hopefully you can resell get something back my guess reverb the buyer wins. Avoid them.
    Thanks Deacon Mark! It seems to me now, based on the feedback I'm getting here, that this is more than just crazing in the finish. There was some kind of compression or shock damage to the guitar which I don't think can assessed further. The cracks in the neck near the nut and one on the side near the neck joint would appear to indicate there was some kind of force that stressed the neck/body joint and the neck/headstock area. And that is aside from the compression of the top itself. I couldn't find any cracks on the underside of the top so that's good news.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiboyny
    Was the bridge set unusually high? Photo of the bridge? Could there be shipping damage that dropped the top a bit. The stress cracks could support this theory.
    The bridge was removed during shipping both ways. And when I reinstalled it, the curvature of the bottom of the bridge exactly matched the curvature of the top. So, it seems that the compression of the top did not cause permanent sinking like I initially suspected when the buyer reported that he couldn't raise the action to a sufficient level. But good points to consider!

  19. #18

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    Spruce is amazingly stable unless conditions get really dry, but that is one reason they put finish on guitars besides looks. Finish protects the wood and its properties. Spruce can take quite a big hit and flex so if nothing is cracked or broken underneath my guess is it is completely fine. Glued on necks and the blocks don't moved they crack or get damaged the same way with braces. String the guitar up and play it very hard. In fact playing the guitar with force and power generally will show up any issues with buzzing in the top due to cracks of braces. Possible you have a claim with the shipper but they are a hard nut to crack.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    There is always a risk in shipping guitars and I think Reverb will pin that risk on you, the seller. That means eating the shipping costs and having the paint damage repaired. I would get the paint repaired and resell it. Don't let it keep you up at night. Wait for Reverb's decision and move on.
    Yes, there definitely is a huge risk with shipping guitars, Stringswinger. Especially with archtop guitars. I'm hoping that Reverb will do the right thing given that I purchased their buyer shipping protection and used one of their shipping boxes. And the guitar was very well packed inside the case and inside the shipping box in accordance with Joe Vinikow's packing instructions which are very comprehensive. I'll let everyone know what the Reverb response is once I hear back from them. It's taking a while and I'm starting to think they are dealing with a lot of guitars that have been damaged in shipping due to the holiday rush of getting packages out.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    Spruce is amazingly stable unless conditions get really dry, but that is one reason they put finish on guitars besides looks. Finish protects the wood and its properties. Spruce can take quite a big hit and flex so if nothing is cracked or broken underneath my guess is it is completely fine. Glued on necks and the blocks don't moved they crack or get damaged the same way with braces. String the guitar up and play it very hard. In fact playing the guitar with force and power generally will show up any issues with buzzing in the top due to cracks of braces. Possible you have a claim with the shipper but they are a hard nut to crack.
    I am waiting on Kevlar cord for cello tailpieces to firmly secure the tailpiece to the endpin. For some reason, the original cord was frayed when the guitar came back to me. I didn't have sturdy cord or cable on hand to reattach it but used some pushback wire to reattach the tailpiece to at least get the geometry of the guitar, etc., right to make the appropriate measurements. Unfortunately, pushback wire is waxed, so when I try to get the strings up to tension, the knot starts to pull out. But it will show up next Monday and it and the guitar will go back to my tech for setup and further evaluation. When my tech was on the phone with the Eastman representative, he asked about getting the exact replacement cord, but the rep said it would take four to six weeks to get it from China. Your idea to push the guitar by playing it hard is a great idea and I will do that once it is back in playing condition, hopefully by the end of next week. While UPS is the shipper, Reverb insured the guitar so I will see what they have to say. Will let everyone know. Thanks!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    What a nightmare. I hope that the lacquer amalgamator works well, Bill. Kudos to the collective knowledge of JGO...
    Thanks, starjasmine! I'm trying to take it all in stride at this point. I obviously wasn't happy when I first opened the case and saw the finish cracks. And, now, it has become apparent from the feedback here that there definitely was some kind of shock or compression to the guitar in the case while being shipped. And, yes, the JGO forum collective knowledge is fantastic. Thank you all! I will let you know how this all proceeds.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    If you ship a guitar in the middle of winter you’re trusting that the buyer will do his diligence and not open the box for 24 hours. This idiot likely opened the box as soon as it arrived and experienced horror when those cracks began to appear. And now you the shipper has to cope with the outcome. Bottom line, you can’t trust buyers to do the right thing, especially in winter.
    Yes, 2bornot2bop, nothing would surprise me! Right now it looks like compression damage, but it's also possible that there could have been some crazing due to cold shock. I did ask the buyer both in my Reverb message and in a note in the shipping box that he not open the case until 24 hours after its arrival and I did the same when it was returned. Yes, this has definitely turned me off of shipping guitars any time of year unless they are plank guitars and even then it's doubtful. I have a really nice Epiphone Elitist Byrdland and two steel guitars that I wanted to sell, but decided to just consign them to my local dealer which happened yesterday. They will probably sit for quite a while. He said the last archtop guitar sale he had was about a year ago. And, he has a number of nice ones in his shop. Oh, well!

  24. #23

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    Every seller's nightmare. So sorry to read about your selling experience, Bill. I hope you are made whole.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    Every seller's nightmare. So sorry to read about your selling experience, Bill. I hope you are made whole.
    Indeed it is Jabberwocky! Thanks for your support. Reverb just reached out to me about resolving the issue so will see what happens. I think it’s a tough lesson learned. If I do sell again on Reverb, which is doubtful, it will be on a “sold as is basis with no returns” and for local pickup only. If someone insists on having it shipped I will tell them to send me a prepaid shipping label and any damage negotiations will have to be worked out on their end with the shipper.

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Indeed it is Jabberwocky! Thanks for your support. Reverb just reached out to me about resolving the issue so will see what happens. I think it’s a tough lesson learned. If I do sell again on Reverb, which is doubtful, it will be on a “sold as is basis with no returns” and for local pickup only. If someone insists on having it shipped I will tell them to send me a prepaid shipping label and any damage negotiations will have to be worked out on their end with the shipper.
    Something I did not know that is common today is that drivers are signing boxes that the person who is receiving them would normally sign because of Covid fears . This happened to me recently and I freaked out needlessly because my deal involves sending someone two trade guitars worth over 2K. first and when someone I had never heard of signed for them I thought I had been tricked. Later I found out its common for delivery driver to go ahead and sign rather than risk contact.What a Huge Relief!

  27. #26

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    Bill,
    I share the same sentiments as the other guys. This is an unfortunate experience and not uncommon when it gets cold and boxes are mis-handled. The longer the cold exposure, along with numerous shipping hand offs - just increases this potential.
    The good news is that its easily repairable as previously noted. Chris Mirabella just took care of a similar finish issue on a friends guitar - and the finish checking was made invisible. The question you have to ask yourself - is it worth doing the repair, since the loss cost of the repair may not be worth the added value over the current depreciated value.
    You may want to get some estimates in the meantime so you have some facts when trying to arrive at a settlement with Reverb.

    Best of luck.....and try not to worry too much - just learn from the experience.



    Sent from my SM-P610 using Tapatalk

  28. #27

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    sorry to hear this. like the deacon said, finish checking doesn't bother me, but you really don't want it on a 3 yr old guitar if you can help it, especially one that you have to sell as some people are really picky about things like that. you have to be very specific in giving instructions to a seller in how to pack a guitar safely--this guy should have known how to send it back as it was sent to him properly.
    on a side note I did a trade w/ a pretty prominent dealer for an old L-5 last week and it came w/the bridge still on it and tuned up to pitch. I assumed someone like them would know how to pack but we all know about that 'assume' word

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve burchfield
    Something I did not know that is common today is that drivers are signing boxes that the person who is receiving them would normally sign because of Covid fears . This happened to me recently and I freaked out needlessly because my deal involves sending someone two trade guitars worth over 2K. first and when someone I had never heard of signed for them I thought I had been tricked. Later I found out its common for delivery driver to go ahead and sign rather than risk contact.What a Huge Relief!
    Yes, I can definitely see why you freaked out, Steve. We have seen quite a bit of this during since COVID. Sometimes they don't ring the doorbell even when signature is required. But, they always sign for us. No touching of their tablet and stylus to sign.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    Bill,
    I share the same sentiments as the other guys. This is an unfortunate experience and not uncommon when it gets cold and boxes are mis-handled. The longer the cold exposure, along with numerous shipping hand offs - just increases this potential.
    The good news is that its easily repairable as previously noted. Chris Mirabella just took care of a similar finish issue on a friends guitar - and the finish checking was made invisible. The question you have to ask yourself - is it worth doing the repair, since the loss cost of the repair may not be worth the added value over the current depreciated value.
    You may want to get some estimates in the meantime so you have some facts when trying to arrive at a settlement with Reverb.

    Best of luck.....and try not to worry too much - just learn from the experience.



    Sent from my SM-P610 using Tapatalk
    Thanks, QAman! I had shipped the guitar via UPS 2 day air to the buyer thinking it would involve minimum handling given the cold weather and holiday rush of packages, but when the buyer decided to return the guitar Reverb insisted on sending it back UPS Ground at their expense. So, given that the buyer and his tech said nothing about the finish cracks I have to assume that the damage occurred during the return trip.

    As long as it can be verified that there was no lasting structural damage I guess I can live with the cracks. I performed an internal inspection inside the body of the guitar today with an inspection light and mirror and couldn't find anything, but I wonder about stress at the neck/body joint and neck/headstock area. I will follow Deacon Marks advice to string up the guitar and play it hard to see if anything untoward happens. I am hoping that Reverb will come through with at least enough compensation to either sell the guitar with the cracks at a lowered price or with enough money to make the cracks disappear. But, I would disclose the repair anyway so there would be some depreciation reflected in the sale price of the guitar.

    I do have certain luthiers who I trust for these kinds of repairs but one is in Kalamazoo and one is in Ventura. But, I am not going to send the guitar out for crack repair given my experience with the shipping. So, I will use my go to tech to get an estimate next week. He does good finish repair work.

    And, I am past the worrying stage. Just trying to figure out how to get adequately compensated by Reverb, get the guitar repaired and properly set up, and then try to sell it locally. Thanks again for your support!

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve burchfield
    Something I did not know that is common today is that drivers are signing boxes that the person who is receiving them would normally sign because of Covid fears . This happened to me recently...
    Yeah, I got caught by surprise on this aspect, too. Was expecting a $500 value delivery about a month ago and met the UPS driver when he pulled up. He gave me the package and we chatted a bit and then I said, "oh, don't I need to sign?" and he said that UPS is not requiring a signature at all for a signature-required delivery. Seems a bit sketchy to me, especially in light of the fact that you usually pay more for signature-required, no?

    I happened to get the driver who actually brought the package to my door, but usually I don't. I've had expensive packages left by the roadside more than once...

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    sorry to hear this. like the deacon said, finish checking doesn't bother me, but you really don't want it on a 3 yr old guitar if you can help it, especially one that you have to sell as some people are really picky about things like that. you have to be very specific in giving instructions to a seller in how to pack a guitar safely--this guy should have known how to send it back as it was sent to him properly.
    on a side note I did a trade w/ a pretty prominent dealer for an old L-5 last week and it came w/the bridge still on it and tuned up to pitch. I assumed someone like them would know how to pack but we all know about that 'assume' word
    I think finish checking is fine with a vintage guitar but not on something this new as you say, wintermoon. I'm pretty picky myself, but take the age of the instrument into account when considering the grading used to describe it. I did send a link to Joe Vinikow's packing instructions to the erstwhile buyer and he was pretty diligent in following them. I think it was just a matter of something unusual happening during the return shipment. I was pretty careful in marking up the shipping box as well indicating no side loading and to have the box stand up instead of being laid on its side. But, we all know shippers don't follow those requests. That really is disappointing to hear about the L-5 shipping with the bridge on and the strings up to pitch. We all know these packages are treated roughly and it doesn't help when the dealer doesn't take all available precautions to minimize damage. I hope the L-5 didn't suffer from the dealers neglect.

    Because UPS and FedEx use dimensional weight these days instead of the real weight of the package I wonder if it would be appropriate to reinforce the interior of the shipping box with additional cardboard, fiberboard, or something like it. But the main consideration would be to direct any force against the box away from the contents and towards the reinforcing inner structure. Not sure how easy that would be.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Yeah, I got caught by surprise on this aspect, too. Was expecting a $500 value delivery about a month ago and met the UPS driver when he pulled up. He gave me the package and we chatted a bit and then I said, "oh, don't I need to sign?" and he said that UPS is not requiring a signature at all for a signature-required delivery. Seems a bit sketchy to me, especially in light of the fact that you usually pay more for signature-required, no?

    I happened to get the driver who actually brought the package to my door, but usually I don't. I've had expensive packages left by the roadside more than once...
    I have a friend who was expecting a PRS guitar and Marshall amp from Sweetwater. He waited and waited and they didn't show up even though he received confirmation via email they had been delivered. Not only were they not delivered to his doorstep with signature required, but he found the boxes in the middle of the street in front of his house. So, in the middle of the road, not even left by the roadside!

  34. #33
    The man I did the recent deal with said his young daughter had to tell him about two guitar sized boxes being delivered across his street to a person who lived nearby. Good thing she knew what a guitar sized box looked like,the two were his being left at a wrong address,and were really for him.

  35. #34

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    It is getting to a stage where selling your equipment yourself through ebay or Reverb is no longer worth the stress of dealing with flakey buyers. Consign it to a good responsible dealer. A dealer is usually able to fetch a better price than you can so it all works out the same at the end of the day minus the headaches. A good dealer weeds out the flakey buyers. I think they are worth their fees.

    Operative words are good and responsible.

    Too many jackasses out to take someone's prized guitar for a weekend's free strum and return it for "not as described". They can always find something. They even do it to dealers: I found this guy who bought a Les Paul Historic from a dealer under my nose. He timed the delivery for Friday so as to get an extra 48 hours of use-the dealer's 48-hour trial does not include Saturday and Sunday. Posted photos of it out on his lawn on a Les Paul forum, received all kinds of congratulatory slaps on the back...and then returned it to the dealer. I was in no mood to buy someone else's return at full price when he had exposed it on the web. It was an essentially 4-day old used guitar. I would have kept it, too, had I bought it first. Sick of such jackasses.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    Thanks, QAman! I had shipped the guitar via UPS 2 day air to the buyer thinking it would involve minimum handling given the cold weather and holiday rush of packages, but when the buyer decided to return the guitar Reverb insisted on sending it back UPS Ground at their expense. So, given that the buyer and his tech said nothing about the finish cracks I have to assume that the damage occurred during the return trip.

    As long as it can be verified that there was no lasting structural damage I guess I can live with the cracks. I performed an internal inspection inside the body of the guitar today with an inspection light and mirror and couldn't find anything, but I wonder about stress at the neck/body joint and neck/headstock area. I will follow Deacon Marks advice to string up the guitar and play it hard to see if anything untoward happens. I am hoping that Reverb will come through with at least enough compensation to either sell the guitar with the cracks at a lowered price or with enough money to make the cracks disappear. But, I would disclose the repair anyway so there would be some depreciation reflected in the sale price of the guitar.

    I do have certain luthiers who I trust for these kinds of repairs but one is in Kalamazoo and one is in Ventura. But, I am not going to send the guitar out for crack repair given my experience with the shipping. So, I will use my go to tech to get an estimate next week. He does good finish repair work.

    And, I am past the worrying stage. Just trying to figure out how to get adequately compensated by Reverb, get the guitar repaired and properly set up, and then try to sell it locally. Thanks again for your support!
    Bill - you did everything correctly for sure. I will not buy through Reverb because they have too much control over the shipments. I recently cancelled an expensive Martin custom shop purchase because Reverb would not allow the merchant to use my Fed X account for overnight shipment.

    UPS ground is the kiss of death for an Archtop - especially in the winter. Just explain to Reverb that your choice of sending it priority mail was to avoid this exact situation and was clearly the right choice. In my opinion, based on numerous reports of damage, no one should use UPS ground as a choice for shipping a guitar.

    I use many carriers in my business and if you knew the amount of incoming damaged boxes we’ve received via UPS ground - you would understand my opinion of them.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    Bill - you did everything correctly for sure. I will not buy through Reverb because they have too much control over the shipments. I recently cancelled an expensive Martin custom shop purchase because Reverb would not allow the merchant to use my Fed X account for overnight shipment.

    UPS ground is the kiss of death for an Archtop - especially in the winter. Just explain to Reverb that your choice of sending it priority mail was to avoid this exact situation and was clearly the right choice. In my opinion, based on numerous reports of damage, no one should use UPS ground as a choice for shipping a guitar.

    I use many carriers in my business and if you knew the amount of incoming damaged boxes we’ve received via UPS ground - you would understand my opinion of them.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I agree with everything you say here, Steve, except that I’ve never had an issue shipping any way I prefer if I sell something on Reverb. I’d be interested in knowing the details. Do you think the seller just didn’t want to ship that way?

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    It is getting to a stage where selling your equipment yourself through ebay or Reverb is no longer worth the stress of dealing with flakey buyers. Consign it to a good responsible dealer. A dealer is usually able to fetch a better price than you can so it all works out the same at the end of the day minus the headaches. A good dealer weeds out the flakey buyers. I think they are worth their fees.

    Operative words are good and responsible.

    Too many jackasses out to take someone's prized guitar for a weekend's free strum and return it for "not as described". They can always find something. They even do it to dealers: I found this guy who bought a Les Paul Historic from a dealer under my nose. He timed the delivery for Friday so as to get an extra 48 hours of use-the dealer's 48-hour trial does not include Saturday and Sunday. Posted photos of it out on his lawn on a Les Paul forum, received all kinds of congratulatory slaps on the back...and then returned it to the dealer. I was in no mood to buy someone else's return at full price when he had exposed it on the web. It was an essentially 4-day old used guitar. I would have kept it, too, had I bought it first. Sick of such jackasses.
    That's what I thought about a year ago, when I consigned a guitar at a well-known local shop. Nothing happened, then lockdown killed the shop's foot trqffic. The shop promised to push it online, but got into a beef with Reverb and never even listed it.

    After months of this, I took it back, put it on Reverb myself, and sold it in about a week for my full asking price minus fees that were less than the shop would have taken. I doubt I'll ever do consignment again.

    John

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    That's what I thought about a year ago, when I consigned a guitar at a well-known local shop. Nothing happened, then lockdown killed the shop's foot trqffic. The shop promised to push it online, but got into a beef with Reverb and never even listed it.

    After months of this, I took it back, put it on Reverb myself, and sold it in about a week for my full asking price minus fees that were less than the shop would have taken. I doubt I'll ever do consignment again.

    John
    My thoughts about selling guitars today are as follows:

    1. Try Craigslist. This is how we mostly sold stuff in the 60's through the 90's. A local classified ad. In days of yore, we had to pay mightily for this service, today it is free. Advantage: No shipping and no returns. Not to mention cash on delivery.

    2. Advertise on forums like this one. One still has the shipping risk and the possibility of a beef with the buyer, but at least there are no fees.

    3. EBay and Reverb. Fees and risk come with the territory. Do you feel lucky punk? Well do you? These big companies may screw you and they have very deep pockets. Be prepared to take your licks if things go awry.

    4. Consignment. The best dealers are not usually close by so shipping is still a risk. Then there is the risk of the dealer going out of business or passing away and if that happens, getting your instrument back can be a major hassle or simply not possible. Add to that risk a 20-25 percent fee and you may be better off with EBay and Reverb.

    I am sticking with 1 and 2. I would rather mark the instrument down for a local cash sale if possible and not have to look back. That said, I have instructed my wife that if I die with a bunch of guitars, her easiest choice would be to consign them one at a time to Gryphon (which she could drive to) and take her chances.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    It is getting to a stage where selling your equipment yourself through ebay or Reverb is no longer worth the stress of dealing with flakey buyers. Consign it to a good responsible dealer. A dealer is usually able to fetch a better price than you can so it all works out the same at the end of the day minus the headaches. A good dealer weeds out the flakey buyers. I think they are worth their fees.

    Operative words are good and responsible.

    Too many jackasses out to take someone's prized guitar for a weekend's free strum and return it for "not as described". They can always find something. They even do it to dealers: I found this guy who bought a Les Paul Historic from a dealer under my nose. He timed the delivery for Friday so as to get an extra 48 hours of use-the dealer's 48-hour trial does not include Saturday and Sunday. Posted photos of it out on his lawn on a Les Paul forum, received all kinds of congratulatory slaps on the back...and then returned it to the dealer. I was in no mood to buy someone else's return at full price when he had exposed it on the web. It was an essentially 4-day old used guitar. I would have kept it, too, had I bought it first. Sick of such jackasses.
    I'm of the opinion that I just don't want to personally deal with prospective buyers anymore. Between this experience and the experiences a good friend has had on Reverb it's just not worth it. I think the word "flakey" is a good descriptor for the potential buyers my friend has dealt with. In my case, I believe it was a matter of the guitar drying out too much during shipping in the cold weather to prevent the action being raised to adequate level for playing for the buyer.

    And, I agree that "not as described" is very open ended. Your story about the Les Paul Historic is a sad one, but not surprising given certain peoples' behavior.

    My only problem with consigning is that the most active archtop consignment shops are all far away from me and now I am spooked about shipping. As I mentioned previously, I just consigned my Epiphone Elitist Byrdland and two steel guitars to my local dealer in Albuquerque. But the dealer told me that he hasn't sold an archtop guitar for quite a long time. He said the players and aficionados of these guitars are fading away.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    My thoughts about selling guitars today are as follows:

    1. Try Craigslist. This is how we mostly sold stuff in the 60's through the 90's. A local classified ad. In days of yore, we had to pay mightily for this service, today it is free. Advantage: No shipping and no returns. Not to mention cash on delivery.

    2. Advertise on forums like this one. One still has the shipping risk and the possibility of a beef with the buyer, but at least there are no fees.

    3. EBay and Reverb. Fees and risk come with the territory. Do you feel lucky punk? Well do you? These big companies may screw you and they have very deep pockets. Be prepared to take your licks if things go awry.

    4. Consignment. The best dealers are not usually close by so shipping is still a risk. Then there is the risk of the dealer going out of business or passing away and if that happens, getting your instrument back can be a major hassle or simply not possible. Add to that risk a 20-25 percent fee and you may be better off with EBay and Reverb.

    I am sticking with 1 and 2. I would rather mark the instrument down for a local cash sale if possible and not have to look back. That said, I have instructed my wife that if I die with a bunch of guitars, her easiest choice would be to consign them one at a time to Gryphon (which she could drive to) and take her chances.
    I think this is all excellent advice. I do have to say that I had the Eastman Pagelli on Craigslist for a while and it only attracted one potential buyer and after several visits to the house (somewhat scary during COVID) he decided not to purchase it. But I ended up with a new friend, so something good came out of it. I find that Craigslist usually attracts people looking within a certain price range and when you get above, say, $1000, you just don't get the inquiries. And, I have also had the experience of having folks come to the house and saying they want to buy the guitar but only came with certain amount of cash which is well below the asking price. In some cases I have accepted their offer because they were obviously students without much money or were very enthusiastic and were taking lessons from a teacher that I knew. I have also had inquiries from out of the area asking to have the guitar shipped, but I have declined. So far, that has been my experience with Craigslist.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    I'm of the opinion that I just don't want to personally deal with prospective buyers anymore. Between this experience and the experiences a good friend has had on Reverb it's just not worth it. I think the word "flakey" is a good descriptor for the potential buyers my friend has dealt with. In my case, I believe it was a matter of the guitar drying out too much during shipping in the cold weather to prevent the action being raised to adequate level for playing for the buyer.

    And, I agree that "not as described" is very open ended. Your story about the Les Paul Historic is a sad one, but not surprising given certain peoples' behavior.

    My only problem with consigning is that the most active archtop consignment shops are all far away from me and now I am spooked about shipping. As I mentioned previously, I just consigned my Epiphone Elitist Byrdland and two steel guitars to my local dealer in Albuquerque. But the dealer told me that he hasn't sold an archtop guitar for quite a long time. He said the players and aficionados of these guitars are fading away.
    I have a guitar for sale on reverb but I think I am not going to sell on Reverb they are an outfit that seems to not work well. They raised the price of selling and then put all sorts of rules in place. I would go back to ebay if needed. In my case the best way to sell a guitar is possible local even on facebook or craigslist. Require the buyer come and pick it and buy in in person. In fact some almost 17 years ago I sold a D'angelico New Yorker and not on any auction sight. My requirement was the person had to come to my place and pick up the guitar. They could go over it and inspect it and then buy it and be done. That seems a little much but for the given guitar completely within reason.

    If a guitar is a real expensive guitar then it goes without saying the buyers generally have the money. They are not worried about shipping cost or the rest, only that the guitar is what they want. So for example a person has a 1940 Super 400 worth say $10000. Well then the buyer can just come and make a decision. I know myself as a buyer at some point I will go pick the guitar up. In my case I would like to find a nice D'angelico Style A or B for sale. If ever I find one I am going to get it in person. That eliminates issues.

    The problem is that if a person has to sell the guitar in a hurry or is a needed sell for money. Then of course that changes things but hopefully avoid those situations.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    My thoughts about selling guitars today are as follows:

    1. Try Craigslist. This is how we mostly sold stuff in the 60's through the 90's. A local classified ad. In days of yore, we had to pay mightily for this service, today it is free. Advantage: No shipping and no returns. Not to mention cash on delivery.

    2. Advertise on forums like this one. One still has the shipping risk and the possibility of a beef with the buyer, but at least there are no fees.

    3. EBay and Reverb. Fees and risk come with the territory. Do you feel lucky punk? Well do you? These big companies may screw you and they have very deep pockets. Be prepared to take your licks if things go awry.

    4. Consignment. The best dealers are not usually close by so shipping is still a risk. Then there is the risk of the dealer going out of business or passing away and if that happens, getting your instrument back can be a major hassle or simply not possible. Add to that risk a 20-25 percent fee and you may be better off with EBay and Reverb.

    I am sticking with 1 and 2. I would rather mark the instrument down for a local cash sale if possible and not have to look back. That said, I have instructed my wife that if I die with a bunch of guitars, her easiest choice would be to consign them one at a time to Gryphon (which she could drive to) and take her chances.
    Craigslist seems to have run its course here (NYC). Some years back I had good experiences both buying and selling, but not recently (nothing I've listed sold; everything I tried to buy turned out to be junk). Buying and selling here are great for archtops (I've done both), but not really for other types of guitars.

    Maybe I am just lucky, but I've done well with Reverb, both buying and selling it. I avoided using for a long time for fear of the potential downsides, but I've been a lucky punk (ditto with eBay, though I haven't tried it in a long time). I wish this weren't the case since I'd rather deal locally, and I'd rather not have to act like a retailer, but the market has shifted to Reverb almost entirely.

    John

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    I agree with everything you say here, Steve, except that I’ve never had an issue shipping any way I prefer if I sell something on Reverb. I’d be interested in knowing the details. Do you think the seller just didn’t want to ship that way?
    Chuck- the seller insisted on using Reverbs buyer protection shipping protocol - and he claimed it would not allow the use of my Fed X account when using buyer protection. I told him the instrument was insured through my Heritage Policy and that I didn’t need Reverbs protection.

    The store claimed they’ve gotten burnt in the past and insisted I follow their policy.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  45. #44

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    Ahhh...ok.....I thought it must be something like that. Reverb has long been all or nothing in that regard. Their shipping rates are often a little better than mine, so I asked about shipping without “Reverb protection”, even offering to provide documentation of my Heritage policy, but that was a no go for them. Their coverage rates are far too costly to make a slightly better shipping rate worthwhile.

  46. #45

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    I recently sold 3 guitars in separate listings that I posted here and listed on Reverb. All 3 sold here. Great transactions and they went to people I “know” through the forum. I have been lucky with shipping. I’ve never had an issue.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Eisele
    I think this is all excellent advice. I do have to say that I had the Eastman Pagelli on Craigslist for a while and it only attracted one potential buyer and after several visits to the house (somewhat scary during COVID) he decided not to purchase it. But I ended up with a new friend, so something good came out of it. I find that Craigslist usually attracts people looking within a certain price range and when you get above, say, $1000, you just don't get the inquiries. And, I have also had the experience of having folks come to the house and saying they want to buy the guitar but only came with certain amount of cash which is well below the asking price. In some cases I have accepted their offer because they were obviously students without much money or were very enthusiastic and were taking lessons from a teacher that I knew. I have also had inquiries from out of the area asking to have the guitar shipped, but I have declined. So far, that has been my experience with Craigslist.
    I goes without saying, bu the larger metro area you are near, the better luck you will probably have with craigslist. Also, you'll have better luck with items that have a wide appeal a/o demand. A Les Paul will get more traffic than a Pagelli.

  48. #47

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    I have only sold on Craigslist and the forums. I’ve only bought on the forums, Reverb, and Elderly. 99.9% were very good experiences. Only felt ripped off once in a CL parking lot sale.

    As someone implied earlier, the hidden benefit of selling via Craigslist is that you meet people who are aficionados, so at long last you can chat it up with an actual person about this guitar gear that just bores most people to death.

  49. #48

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    My immediate reaction when seeing those lacquer checks is not damage or impact, it's just a risk of sending a guitar during the winter.

    Even with FedEx air, you're talking about, according to their own documents, a range of anywhere between 35 to 85 degrees F depending on the location in the cargo hold.

    I sent a Les Paul to Chicago, from NYC, during the dead of winter. The guitar arrived with very faint checking on the headstock. Luckily, I had taken very high resolution pics of the guitar during packing. The buyer was reasonable, just asked if there was checking when I sent it. When I said no, he was fine since he could reference the pictures to see I wasn't lying.

    Reverb *should* be able to see your pics from before and know the guitar returned in different condition than when it was sent.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I goes without saying, bu the larger metro area you are near, the better luck you will probably have with craigslist. Also, you'll have better luck with items that have a wide appeal a/o demand. A Les Paul will get more traffic than a Pagelli.
    Eh, I'd disagree. Craigslist in NYC is a bunch of flakes and tire kickers. I had a guy come try a guitar and say "I hope I can afford one of these some day".

  51. #50

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    After reading all these posts it seems the only no risk buy is to buy a archtop from QAman if and when he sells one.
    Gryphon also has a Heritage policy and have told me that they pay up immediately on a damage claim. No questions asked. Unlike fully insuring with UPS which means a court battle.Guitar Returned from Reverb Buyer with Finish Cracks-af67c055-fa8a-4aad-b88b-fa48ca6e82af-jpegGuitar Returned from Reverb Buyer with Finish Cracks-0613eb5b-93c9-4931-9892-50125a13cba4-jpeg