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  1. #1

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    As with most of you, I've owned (bought and sold) many guitars and amps over the years. I'm very satisfied with my current lineup. But I was thinking about the ones that have come and gone. It caused me to pose this question: What's the worst deal you ever made in terms of selling/trading a guitar for a dramatically lower price that it's now worth? Mine is easy:

    In the summer of 1968 just before my junior year in college, I was visiting a friend in Philadelphia. He said they had an old guitar up in the attic that was left there by a friend whose wealthy parents had bought it for him to learn on. He didn't stick with it and had left it with them. It turned out to be a 1959 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins - not a 'vintage collectible' or anything like that at the time - just a hardly played pro-level axe. So, I ended up buying it from him through them for $200. I played it for a year in a band I was in at college. I felt it really was just an OK guitar. I decided what I really wanted was a Gibson, so I sold it to a classmate for $200. I figured, "Win/Win." Today, that particular guitar seems to be selling for $10K! It looked just like this:

    The one that got away-gretsch-59-6120-ri-jpg

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  3. #2

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    "In my younger days I wish I had known what I know now."

    (Sonny Boy Williamson)

  4. #3

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    As an ignorant 15-year-old in 1969, or thereabouts, I bought a used 1960 Fender Jazz Bass in great condition for $80 (after my band, White Noise, convinced me to switch from rhythm guitar when our bass player quit). Four years later I sold the bass for $85 and considered myself a financial genius for having played the instrument for four years and still made a profit.

    And I don't even want to talk about that original 1965 Fender blackface Deluxe Reverb I played for several years, then gave away because a tube had gone bad ....

  5. #4

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    In 1982, I bought a 1968 ES-335 (Cherry) in mint condition for $500. It had a Bigsby and I traded the Bigsby to my guitar tech, Ralph Novak (who went on to build fanned fret guitars under the Novax name) in exchange for him installing a stop tail (That was the mod to do with 335's in those days if a 335 had a trapeze tailpiece or a Bigsby). Ralph even supplied the parts so I was still in it for $500. I never bonded with the 1 9/16 nut (I had no idea about the nut size, I just knew that I preferred playing jazz on a 1970 ES-175D that I had owned, so I sold it three years later to fund another 175). I consigned it to Haight-Ashbury Music in San Francisco, who sold it for $500 and charged me a commission of $125, so I paid a $125 audition fee to own that guitar. Today, I figure that guitar to be worth between $4,000 and $5,000 which means that even adjusting for inflation, I left a lot of money on the table.

    I did buy another 175 soon thereafter (a wonderful 1982 example) and foolishly sold that too (three years later as well), but at least I made a $25 profit on that one.

  6. #5

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    I bought a 1982 ES-175 for IIRC about $800 and sold it in '88 or so for $500. Doh!

    I reaquired a similar guitar last month. It wasn't $500, but wasn't too bad accounting for inflation.

  7. #6

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    There was a brief window in the early 80s when the market got saturated with vintage Fender amps, and you could get great amps stupid cheap. I waited too long to pull the trigger on an original BF Vibroverb for $350 (which was stupid cheap even then) that was the best sounding I ever heard. I wound up scoring a brownface Pro for $250 instead, which was also stupid cheap and a great amp, but the Vibroverb was insane. As far as guitars go, I mean in general it was obvious in the mid-90s that 70s Fenders and Gibsons were about to crossover from "used" to "vintage" and get really expensive, and I there were many I woulda-coulda-coulda-shoulda jumped on, but either didn't have the desire or the cash. I also remember trying an L5 studio for something like $2k that was amazing. But alas ...

    John

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A.
    There was a brief window in the early 80s when the market got saturated with vintage Fender amps, and you could get great amps stupid cheap. I waited too long to pull the trigger on an original BF Vibroverb for $350 (which was stupid cheap even then) that was the best sounding I ever heard. I wound up scoring a brownface Pro for $250 instead, which was also stupid cheap and a great amp, but the Vibroverb was insane. As far as guitars go, I mean in general it was obvious in the mid-90s that 70s Fenders and Gibsons were about to crossover from "used" to "vintage" and get really expensive, and I there were many I woulda-coulda-coulda-shoulda jumped on, but either didn't have the desire or the cash. I also remember trying an L5 studio for something like $2k that was amazing. But alas ...

    John
    I have an original Brownface Vibroverb that is the most incredible amp I've ever had (out of quite a few) I gigged and recorded with it incessantly for many years. retiring it from the road only after getting a very early Music Man 112 RD, which was the second greatest amp I ever had and foolishly let it go, having misunderstood the terms of a "swap"* deal I made with a friend of a friend. I thought the deal was for a limited length of time, he felt otherwise and in the meantime had the amp modded with a microphone input. Bitter lesson learned.

    The BFVV I've still got, and is on my bucket list is having it gone over by a good tech for new caps and resistors and tubes, if I can round up the dough to pay for it up front. We'll see.

    * I got a supposed tube amp in return. It was a solid-state amp, and not a good one. I eventually sold it to a friend for his use in a DJing project for 50$ just to get it out of my sight.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    I have an original Brownface Vibroverb that is the most incredible amp I've ever had (out of quite a few) I gigged and recorded with it incessantly for many years. retiring it from the road only after getting a very early Music Man 112 RD, which was the second greatest amp I ever had and foolishly let it go, having misunderstood the terms of a "swap"* deal I made with a friend of a friend. I thought the deal was for a limited length of time, he felt otherwise and in the meantime had the amp modded with a microphone input. Bitter lesson learned.

    The BFVV I've still got, and is on my bucket list is having it gone over by a good tech for new caps and resistors and tubes, if I can round up the dough to pay for it up front. We'll see.

    * I got a supposed tube amp in return. It was a solid-state amp, and not a good one. I eventually sold it to a friend for his use in a DJing project for 50$ just to get it out of my sight.
    Aaaand of course, I forgot the best part! I bought the VV from a jazz guy** bc he needed something cleaner - he was asking $250, so I gave it to him, and with a mind to replacing the Quarter Large (a lot of money for me, in the mid-'70s) I sold my Sunn Concert Lead and the Traynor 6-10" cab to the guy** who was replacing me in the band I had just left (creative differences, as usual). I was so excited to get the VV I totally forgot about collecting on the deal. Lo! and behold, twenty-five years later, a check arrives in the mail, with an apology for the delay. After swiftly cashing the check I wrote back to him with best wishes and many thanks.

    **Played with him a lot over the next few years before he decided to become a Priest. Truly good man.

    ***Nice kid - Hagstrom LP-type player

  10. #9

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    I sold one of these for very little $, all they were going for, about a year before this album came out. And then this hit and the prices skyrocketed. It's true, timing *is* everything. (Other than the scrawny neck, it was a very cool guitar to play.)

    The one that got away-rickenbacker-jpg

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I sold one of these for very little $, all they were going for, about a year before this album came out. And then this hit and the prices skyrocketed. It's true, timing *is* everything. (Other than the scrawny neck, it was a very cool guitar to play.)

    The one that got away-rickenbacker-jpg
    I don't think Tom's neck is all that scrawny...

    Ahem.

    Any guitar that's featured on the cover of a hit record, particularly if the cover is as cool and iconic as this one, is gonna skyrocket in popularity. Tom and Peter Buck almost singlehandedly put Rickenbacker back on the map for desirable guitars.

    This would be worth its own thread--don't know how much Springsteen's Tele on the cover of Born to Run contributed to Tele prices, but it certainly got my attention. I did a pen and ink drawing of the cover that hung on my bedroom and dormroom wall for many years--might even still have it someplace. It led to my buying a Tele of my own about 6-7 years ago.

  12. #11

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    The guy who bought my Slaman has put an original 1930s Gibson "Charlie Christian" pickup on it. LOL I want it back now.

  13. #12

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  14. #13

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    I once had the opportunity to buy a gorgeous wine red Gibson Johnny Smith for VERY cheap... way less than half the price it should have been.
    At the time I had no money, so it made no difference either way... but in hindsight I really should've have taken out a loan or something to get it. It would have been totally worth it.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by omphalopsychos
    The guy who bought my Slaman has put an original 1930s Gibson "Charlie Christian" pickup on it. LOL I want it back now.
    I want it too! Based on a conversation, I think he’s very happy with it though.

  16. #15

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    A guy came up to me on break and asked me if i would be interested in buying his original Gibson Howard Roberts oval hole guitar for 9oo$. I was still paying off my '64 Gibson ES-345 and didn't think it was a good time. Never saw him again but not long after I paid off the 345 a 175 popped up. But I still regret not getting the Howard Roberts.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 02-23-2021 at 05:42 PM.

  17. #16

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    More than a few such stories. One that always cracks me up was my first electric. A Gibson SG Junior, mid sixties I think. Bought it used in '68 for 60 bucks. Never liked it all that much. Sold it a few years later for that same 60 bucks, and was relieved to see it go. Now I see them go for 2500 bucks.

    How could any of us have known of such future vintage fever. I just did not care for it, so it worked out perfectly.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad dog
    More than a few such stories. One that always cracks me up was my first electric. A Gibson SG Junior, mid sixties I think. Bought it used in '68 for 60 bucks. Never liked it all that much.
    And one day the axe just fell.

  19. #18

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    In my 20s I had an Ibanez AS50. Loved the guitar but was looking for a strat sound then so eventually I got a fender. Then my guitar student became my girlfriend and consequently stopped taking lessons. To motivate her to carry on with the guitar I gave her the Ibanez. 2 years later "we" were history. From time to time I think about the girl and also about that guitar.
    Another one I regret letting go was a 2017 limited run George Harrison Rosewood telecaster. I always felt a bit embarrassed about that guitar because it was made from an endangered species. I had the CITES paper and everything and that tree must have been cut long before rosewood became rare - but anyway. Everytime I played it on stage I was expecting someone to step up for the trees. Stupidly I swapped it for a Gibson 335. Never bonded with that Gibson and eventually sold it. The good thing is that I got my money back in the transactions. But that Rosewood telly was something special.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    "In my younger days I wish I had known what I know now."

    (Sonny Boy Williamson)
    Me, too. Ooh-La-La.

    Dave.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave24309
    Me, too. Ooh-La-La.

    Dave.

  22. #21

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    I bought an 80's (I'm assuming since it was the 1980's) burgundy Rickenbacker 360 for $400 in 1985 with money I had saved up doing odd jobs, etc., here in Los Angeles. I have to think that with the metal craze going on at the time, that there wasn't much of a market for these things (this is my guess anyway), because even back then, this was a great deal. I was a huge REM fan, absolutely stoked that I had the same kind of guitar that Peter Buck played.

    Fast forward 5 or 6 years and I'm in grad school in Ohio, and I sign up for a jazz guitar class. I'm sitting there with my Rick, and it's not working, and I'm so enamored with jazz, that I trade the Rick for an Epiphone Joe Pass guitar, blonde with two pickups. I don't have the Epi anymore, and even if I did, I can't see it being anywhere near worth what an '80's Rick is worth, and I never bonded with that guitar anyway.

    First guitar I ever bought with my own money that I worked hard for, man, I regret letting it go. In fact, I still look for it occasionally online because it had a funky white paint mark on the headstock that I'd recognize in an instant if I saw it. I'm frightened to think of how much I'd pay for it if I found it!

  23. #22

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    A 1954 Les Paul Custom.The one that got away-1954_les_paul-jpg

    Not a good pic, but it's the only one I have.
    Last edited by GNAPPI; 02-25-2021 at 11:13 PM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by TPMCD
    I bought an 80's (I'm assuming since it was the 1980's) burgundy Rickenbacker 360...
    have a cherished og late 70's fireglo ric 360...thru a big amp like a fender twin, i always thought it had an incredible low end jazz tone...looks aside, that 5th mix pot lets you dial in a great deep fat tone...that extra mix knob should be used on more guitars!

    beatle lennon got the idea of using a ric from jazzer toots thielemans

    toots with ric thru a classic premier amp!....in george shearing group



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 02-24-2021 at 09:56 PM. Reason: typo-

  25. #24

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    Yeah, and when you're done playing you can cook your dinner on it I used to have an old Premier, new old stock from a closed mom and pop store.

  26. #25

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    that's the grail late 1950's premier 71 amp...as used by link wray on his classic track- rumble...replete with (then) mindnumbing trem...had a 12'' speaker and two 3.5 tweeters...which were known to blow...causing link wray rumble type tones...it was said he slashed his speaker with his switchblade! hah

    also made a good grilled cheese! haha




    cheers

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    A 1954 Les Paul Custom.
    Is that the one that was solid mahogany, that is, without the maple cap? How did it sound compare with other LPCs?

  28. #27

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    About 10 years ago, I decided to let a few guitars go and one of them was a 17” Blonde Campellone Deluxe. It wasn’t long before I started to really regret that decision. I sure wish I could get that guitar back. Of all the guitars that I have let go over the years, I miss this one the most.
    Keith

    The one that got away-a915eafd-f1b7-4808-8816-d26ef93cb7f3-jpg

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by guavajelly
    In my 20s I had an Ibanez AS50. Loved the guitar but was looking for a strat sound then so eventually I got a fender. Then my guitar student became my girlfriend and consequently stopped taking lessons. To motivate her to carry on with the guitar I gave her the Ibanez. 2 years later "we" were history. From time to time I think about the girl and also about that guitar.
    Another one I regret letting go was a 2017 limited run George Harrison Rosewood telecaster. I always felt a bit embarrassed about that guitar because it was made from an endangered species. I had the CITES paper and everything and that tree must have been cut long before rosewood became rare - but anyway. Everytime I played it on stage I was expecting someone to step up for the trees. Stupidly I swapped it for a Gibson 335. Never bonded with that Gibson and eventually sold it. The good thing is that I got my money back in the transactions. But that Rosewood telly was something special.
    It’s his birthday today, ya know.

    The one that got away-478560b6-829f-478e-8ca0-c87790fa2222-jpeg

  30. #29

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    I just remembered my ex asked for and got my 1970 Goya classical—G-20. The neck needed a reset.

    I wasn’t playing it much and got another decent A/E nylon string guitar to replace it. But...I got it in the early 80’s when I was getting back into playing guitar after a long absence. I learned to play Classical Gas on it! (Recorded using this guitar as I recall...)

    I saw it when I was at her house last year. It was pretty much unplayable because of the neck bow. I felt sad...maybe someday I will get it back and fix the neck.


    The one that got away-e21f6ac8-663c-4c3d-9903-1eb8ff4b295e-jpeg

  31. #30

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    I was 15 years old when my father bought me an ES 355TD-SV from the 1970s. I told him I didn't need it because I only played a classical guitar at the time ...

    The one that got away-schermafbeelding-2021-02-26-om-09-17-46-pngThe one that got away-schermafbeelding-2021-02-26-om-09-58-56-png