Miscellaneous Rumbles

Confess Your Gear Recognition Failures

1

I will start of course. In my high school basement band in 1983-4, called The Ugly Headmen, I had a Gibson tweed amp. I remember that it was in pretty clean condition. A single 12" (I think). I generally played a Vox Phantom 6-string through it (with all the on-board effects disabled). I don't think it had reverb, but pretty sure it had trem. Couldn't tell you model or year. Don't remember how I got it or what happened to it. But, DAMN, I wish I had it now... I remember liking it in general and thinking it looked pretty cool. I also remember thinking "Gibson amps? What? Aren't the Fenders better?" Idiot. We should have called ourselves The Idiot Headmen.

3

My best friend in high school sold me the Mosrite Joe Maphis his uncle had given him. I traded it in for an Ovation because it was the ‘80s. We just assumed it was some cheap Japanese beater from the ‘60s because it had a zero fret and we had never heard of the brand before. Little did we know it was the brand the Japanese beaters were copying.

4

I turned down a ‘54-‘55 Strat for $275 in 1969 because I wasn’t playing anymore. I told a friend about it. He bought it, still had it when I last saw him many years later, and simply laughed when I asked about it.

5

My first ever amp was a Selmer Thunderbird Twin 30. I swapped it for an HH.

6

I used to think that 52 Les Pauls with the trapeze looked like old man guitars and 53/54 wraparounds looked cheap...like a Junior...who wants a JUNIOR guitar? They were all over for 4-500 bucks.

7

Back in the late 60's early 70's Princeton and champ amps could be had for chicken feed,little did I know. My first good guitar was a 60 Les Paul Jr , the SG looking one. Paid $150 for it, traded it 4 years later on a new Ibanez artist model, nice but sterile. Biggest mistake I ever made. In the late 70's I played an old Martin 000 something. Best fingerpicking guitar I ever played. It was just majic.Shop wanted $3,000, but I was barely making it by, it might as well have been $30,000 . Never played one that came close again. I'd likely mortgage the house if I ever ran across it again.

8

Hmm...

'52 Gold top

'56 LP Special TV Yellow

'61 Strat

'64 Firebird

'73 SG Custom

This guy used to ride up to my house in a van with all this gear. We didn't know vintage from anything else back then, and there was plenty of it. It started to dry up in the 80s, and of course, the prices adjusted accordingly. Now when I see some of the asking prices for some of the gear I didn't hang on to, I just hold my breath, count to ten, and repeat the mantra, "No Regerts, no regerts..."

9

In 94 I wanted to replace my only amp which was a 64 bandmaster so I bought a magnatone 280a from the cool shop next door to my computer repair shop. I think I gave him 275 for the magnatone which was covered with black waffle print vinyl from VW seats. I peeled it back to the original brown tolex and cleaned off the adhesive and found it was too dark sounding for the trashy garage punk I was playing so I sold the bandmaster for 200 to a band in Seattle that used it as a PA and traded the magnatone in on a musicman hd130 2X10 that served me well for years of gigging. They shop owner was nice enough to give me back my full purchase price of the 280 since I had done the hard work for him.

The musicman was the wise purchase but I miss the other two more.

10

In the early 80’s I was a starving college student. I was flipping guitars to make a quick few bucks. Biggest regrets: a Rick 4001 bass I sold for $400 and a 1968 Gibson ES-335 for $700. I did keep a 1962 Guild T-100, only because no one was interested. It had been hacked with a pair of Signature cover Gibby PAF’s.

11

Some things I sold for top dollar at the time but you look back... and eeeeeeeek. 1953 Tele w/ stock factory Bigsby. Gruhn appraised at $1850 and I got $1800-- so it was top dollar for time. Still, we all have stories like that.

12

I had an Epiphone Olympic with a single pickup and batwing headstock as my first guitar. Basically destroyed it. As had a Gibson Marauder. Thought it was a budget Gibson. I see they fetch a nice price these days.

13

 In the early 1960's I could have bought a "mint" condition (only slightly used) White Penguin for $400 -- probably less. I think it would have been a late 50's model (single cutaway, hump-block fret markers, Dynasonic pickups).

I turned the deal down -- I'd never seen nor heard of the model, so I assumed it must have been junk made up from scrap parts in Brooklyn.

Nearly 50 years later, I still wake up some nights sweating and screaming.....!

14

I wanted a P-90 Les Paul sounding guitar so i installed P-90's in my old Pro jet. After alot of time involved,$$, patience and precision wood work to get it just right, the install was completed. PERFECT!

After countless hours of adjustments and re-wiring and cursing,The guitar still sounded like sh*t no matter what I tried.

I went out and bought a Les Paul with p-90's and sent the Pro jet to the garage with all the other Misfit Toys where it sat for 3 years. 2 weeks ago I installed some FilterTrons in it and it now plays like a dream.

She's back in the House.

15

Trading off my Fender Coronado XII for... something. Can't recall what it was exactly I received in trade -which shows how important it was- or for that matter what I eventually did with it, but I've regretted the loss of the guitar for over three decades.

16

In 1984 I sold my '62 Strat (& companion Princeton amp) for $700 during lean times. After all, I bought them both for $125 two years earlier. I still hate to think about it.

18

Tonyb: Mine was a Thunderbird 50. I had no idea what I had!

19

I posted this in another thread, but it fits here as well.

I once had a basketcase '57 Firebird thinking it might be a project, but I lost the appetite for it and got rid of it. And oddly enough, it had gold hardware and an armrest already installed. Somehow it never occurred to me that this was the perfect candidate for a Cadillac green conversion. That's one that I wish I could take back.

20

Sold a '65 ES175 and a blackface deluxe because they were both "too tiny".

21

1989 , while phoning around for prices on a new Rickenbacker 360/12V64 ,the guy says would you be interested in the real deal,an original 1964/65 360/12 with the double binding just like George's,they wanted £1650 for it ,i bought the reissue,i was pushing my budget and didn't want to push any further ,wish i had though...

1990 ,could've bought a 1964 Rickenbacker 1997 with Accent vibrato and original case,for £250 ,talked myself out of it thinking there had to be some thing wrong with it,which of course there wasn't.It was just well played and dirty with unoriginal machine heads and missing vibro arm,and the shop didn't know what they had. I seen that guitar for sale in the UK a few years ago for £4500,i actually knew the owners dad!

1992 ,could've bought a refinned 63 Strat for £1199 ,they also had a 77 Super Chet in to ,i bought that for £850 ,kept it for 8 years and sold it for £1200.Forward many years later and it's for sale again in the same shop, while on his European tour Richie Sambora, along with Orianthi, pops in and buys it!

That same 63 Strat was also back in my local in the last few years with a price tag of £6000,the owner bought it back then ,he's now sadly passed on ,RIP Harry.

Oh,there was also my 71 Les Paul Deluxe gold top ,bought for £450 with no case in 1990,sold it for £550 2 years later,and i thought i'd done ok... Having done some research after getting a 'puter,my 71 Les may have actually been a 69.

22

The Gretsch Blackhawk I coulda-woulda-shoulda picked up for $300 in the mid 80s eventually became one of the motivators for this very site. Still wish I'd bought the damn guitar though.

The '62 Jazzmaster I let go for couch-cushion money in the mid 90s still brings cold sweats too.

And on a much smaller scale, I regret not picking up a reissue Dano when they were both dirt cheap and very cool back in the 90s. They're still cheap and cool, but not like that.

23

In chronological order:

  1. The blackface Deluxe I bought from Alvino Rey (actually, it was on consignment at Henson's Music in Camarillo where his son Rob worked) for $275 and sold to a friend for $250 as a favor, because I had a '68 Twin that was 'bigger.'

  2. The '71 Tele I bought for $150 (used from Henson's Music in Oxnard) and then spent another $80 on a Fender case for, then tried to sell it for $350 to pay for an Ibanez UE-405 (or was it 400?) multi-effect unit. I listed it in The Reader (San Diego's weekly free paper with classifieds) and didn't get a single call at $350. Dropped the price to $250 and it sold the following week.

  3. Sold the '61 Strat I'd bought for $550 in 1978 (Jim's House of Guitars in San Diego) to pay off the credit card bills that had piled up over 4 years of unemployment, for $10,000.

Oh well, one out of three.

24

I didn't grow up in a time and place where great high-end (Gibson, Fender, Gretsch, etc) gear often floated by, and I'm not much of a getter-rid-of.

With the exception of my first two electrics, and (come to think of it) my first three acoustics - all of which were moved along to fund the next better thing - I've rarely let anything that mattered (or matters now) go.

And from the time I got involved in gigging bands, teaching, and working in a music store, I took advantage of those obvious good deals that came my way.

For the most part, if I liked a guitar then, I like it now. Electric guitars have always seemed to me the coolest manufactured things on the planet to me, and it's never occurred to me to let them go if I could hold on.

Then, after having my 335 (one of two electrics I had at the time) stolen and out of my possession for several months in 1983 - and then getting it back - I doubled down on that grab-and-hold-on urge.

Which isn't to say I haven't eventually sold nice guitars and amps through the years - but absolutely nothing I now regret. I had a micro-tilt 3-bolt 70s Strat for awhile, but it was born a turd (I don't claim turdism afflicts all 3-bolt Strats) and good riddance. I had a lovely red-stain Vox hollowbody with a single coil at the neck and Venetian cutaway; my brother now has it, so I get to visit sometimes.

I've sold on many guitars in Modern Times, including some considered "desirable," but I can scan the list without regret.

Again, it's all because I just hold on to stuff. None of it has been so valuable at any point, either when I got it or during its subsequent appreciation, that I couldn't afford to keep it. The time may come when I have to sell off bit by bit to fund "healthcare" or "retirement," but so far if I get something out and it still brings a smile of satisfaction, I'm fortunate enough to be able to hold on to it.

The family is well aware there's some value embedded in my little hoard, and if it's not gone by the time I am, I hope to leave them with enough information to realize that value. I wouldn't call the gear an investment plan - I never acquired with any sense of collectibility or future appreciation - but I don't think the money's been poured down a rathole either.


As for the first guitars I let go early on, none was particularly precious in the eyes of the world. I now realize my trapeze-tailpieced Harmony Stella concert-sized guitar with screwed on pickguard (Steel-Reinforced Neck!) was a better guitar than I thought it was when I sold it about 3 years in. But it's hardly rare. So many have survived I could replace any time I felt the need. (One lives at my mother-in-law's house, so I get to play it during visits, and enjoy it.)

What followed were a "Martin" Sigma concert acoustic, an Alvarez dread with 3-piece back, and an Alvarez 12-string, all during the college years. Gone with the winds - Sigma traded for the Alvarez (I wanted a bigger guitar), both Alvarezzeseses traded for my fabulous '79 335 - even up. (Yes, I know they aren't supposed to be fabulous. This one always was, and still is.) I don't miss the Alvarii, because shortly after I snagged a Yairi herringbone Martin-alike for 175.00. I still have it.

Now I did miss the first electrics - a 60s Japanese Fujigen branded Crestwood and a Wurlitzer. But I've finally managed to replace both of those with at least as good examples as I had - and am pleased to realize they're both better guitars than I knew at the time. But, as such things go, they're not terribly valuable. Of course, nostalgia and sentiment and the market being what they are, I paid more for my replacements than anyone might have imagined when the guitars were new. But not, like, dramatically more. Not like the appreciation you guys realize you've foregone on truly collectible pieces.


The first amp I cared about was a Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve - and I replaced it 15 years ago with a nice example. I never parted with my Bandmaster twin-JBL cab; I did trade the head along (after having it modded with a toggle switch to cascade one channel into the other) - as it happens, for something with reverb and a "dirt channel" (which turned out to be a Peavey Pacer). But I've replaced that in the last decade as well.

I don't miss the black Kustom 100 head I had for a few years (I'd like one in blue sparkle now), nor the Acoustic (remember them?) brand 6x10 cab.

I'd like to be missing the Seymour Duncan Convertibles I nursed along for a decade, because nothing I've heard before or since does what they did or sounds like them - but they were inherently self-destructive in the extreme, and there can't possibly be a fully functional one left. If there is, don't start using it. It'll fry itself brittle and vibrate to pieces in a couple of years.

I recently sold the 2006 Gretsch Executive, Matchless Lightning Reverb, and 80s Fender Concert, and am currently an expert on their value. They didn't appreciate - but I got out of the Fender what it cost me new.


Perhaps paradoxically, the let-gos I might regret a bit are keyboard-related - not the Rhodes, the Wurlitzer 200, and the Hammond it took me all winter just recently to sell, but some oddities from the 80s. I miss a synth called the Siel DK-700, and the Bit One (just as unusual), and a Korg DW-8000.


Anyway, bottom line. I've rarely let anything go I ended up caring about more later than when I moved it along - and the few times I did, I've made myself whole affordably.

And y'all need not kick yourselves for any of the "deals" you passed by, or gear you let go now considered precious either by you or others.

The deals you missed only seem ridiculously cheap now - and it's not all because some gear appreciated in value (and in community esteem). Remember inflation. What seem giveaway prices now were merely fair at the time (if even always that).

We're not responsible for being able to predict the future - or our own changing taste.

I still have most of my stuff just because I hold on too long.

When my grandmother died, we found a box in the attic labeled "lengths of string too short to save." Sure enough, that's what was in it.

It runs in the family.

25

I had a good E series MIJ 1980s Fender Stratocaster that I sold to fund my Gretsch Duo Jet. While I don't regret selling it since I built a Parts Strat that I like better anyway a lot of people at the time told me I was crazy because they were the "good ones".

I am pretty happy that I see 50th Anniversary Epiphone Casinos like the one I found on Craigs List selling for over twice what I paid for it on Reverb and eBay. My DSV Duo Jet is now a discontinued model now too. There are close models in the modern range like the 53 or 57 VS, the Cliff Gallup model and the George Harrison model but the examples I've tried do not feel or play like my DSV. It's still my all around favorite.

The only regrets I have are with drum sets I sold when I was a kid. One was a 1968 Ludwig and another was a mid 1960s Slingerland. I've since replaced the Ludwigs with an early 1970s set pictured but for a while I was kicking myself.

I think I'm good now. Believe it or not I gained a ton of knowledge and wisdom by hanging out here.


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