Vince Ray's Kustom Korner

Let’s see your ink

1

Just got a 1966 Astro Jet at auction for 1,400 bucks!! Looks to be pretty solid and I can finally stop obsessing about building my own one. I had never taken part in a live online auction and had a hard time believing no one else had any interest in the AJ (I guess I might not really believe it till it shows up on my doorstep) , I was prepared to spend 2,000 on it and was overjoyed when it went so cheap. I could only find 2 other complete AJ's for sale online one was 3,000 and the other was 6,000!! WTF, are people really paying these prices? I guess I kinda hope so, since I now own one...really can't wait to get it, its gonna be a long 2 weeks.

2

Congratulations! I've watched HA for a while and sometimes there are some very good deals to be had.

3

After watching about an hour and a half of live auction action I can tell you some people got great deals and some people paid through the nose. They auctioned of over a million bucks worth of guitars yesterday, lots of them were pre 1970's Fender, Gibson, Gretsch and every other major name for under two grand. There was also a few 40,000 dollar axes sold, I was intrigued by the whole process. I haven't received the AJ yet so I can't whole heartedly endorse the process, but so far I've been impressed. I'm 41, own about a dozen guitars and had a hard time sleeping last night.

4

Congrats. I was bidding on it as well but dropped out a little before you.

5

What is Heritage Auctions? Is it like an eBay competitor?

6
After watching about an hour and a half of live auction action I can tell you some people got great deals and some people paid through the nose. They auctioned of over a million bucks worth of guitars yesterday, lots of them were pre 1970's Fender, Gibson, Gretsch and every other major name for under two grand. There was also a few 40,000 dollar axes sold, I was intrigued by the whole process. I haven't received the AJ yet so I can't whole heartedly endorse the process, but so far I've been impressed. I'm 41, own about a dozen guitars and had a hard time sleeping last night. -- jakebass

The key to Heritage is the condition of the instruments. The reason some of the vintage Fenders and Gibsons etc.. seem to go so cheap is that they are in very bad shape, heavily modified and missing original parts. A '61 Strat with a replaced neck, non original pickups, replaced jack plate, electronics and pickguard and with amateur re-fin just isn't worth a whole lot, even if it's maybe technically a '61 Strat. When they say "would benefit from a neck set" you better believe the guitar needs a neck set. Another thing to keep in mind is that they add a 20% BP to the total so if you buy a guitar for $2000 the total you pay before shipping is actually $2400. That said, you can find some good deals at Heritage if you look carefully and get lucky. I bet you got a really nice guitar.

7

I agree completely with your thoughts on the guitar auction. Heritage does seem to do some exhaustive examinations of the guitars in question, though. Right down to mentioning dirty pots, replaced parts,worn frets and all aspects of physical condition. The 20% BP seems pretty reasonable to me considering I've been looking for an affordable AJ for about ten years, and they are bringing it to me. You have to keep in mind, I haven't actually received my guitar yet, so this euphoria could be fleeting.

8

Yeah, their descriptions are ok but I regularly see glaring omissions and just plain mistakes made in the listings. I have received a guitar that was listed as "all original, with original case" That had non original tuners and a case from a different company! A close friend of mine bought a very expensive guitar that had a non-disclosed headstock crack. Yesterday they listed a '73 Telecaster Deluxe that they said had a replaced neck which in fact had the original neck. They just got it wrong on that one and unfortunately for me, other people noticed as well and I didn't get it. I guess what I'm saying is that one of the reasons stuff can go cheap is that like ebay, it can be a crap shoot. They're not out to rip people off but with the volume of semi-broken guitars that they go through they are bound to miss a few things. I still think you got a good deal and if it wasn't for you I might very well own that guitar :)

9

I had never heard of Heritage Auctions, so I ran a Google search and checked them out. I like the concept.

Congrats on the great score jakebass. I love how RICS sound but their necks are just really uncomfortable with my big hands and fat fingers.

10
What is Heritage Auctions? Is it like an eBay competitor? -- Ric12string

It's not an eBay competitor. They do online and live auctions on their items. "Heritage Auction Galleries is the world's largest collectibles auctioneer and the third largest auction house, with over $700 million in annual sales and 600,000 online bidder-members.[1] It is also the largest auction house founded in America." Christies and Sotheby's are first and second.

eBay is the largest online auction site.

Heritage Auctions niche, I believe, are collectibles and instruments. They have sold some very notable instruments and musical memorabilia, such as Kurt Cobain's Mosrite, The Buddy Holly Collection, etc.

I have an acquaintance who is a collector and dealer in vintage instruments and he buys a lot form Heritage Auctions. He has been very happy with his purchases and when something does not arrive exactly as described they have refunded his money without incidence.

11

I would have had a hard time paying any more than 1400 for a guitar sight-unseen. I guess that's about the limit for me to roll the dice on a guitar without checking it out personally. The first thing I'm going to do with it is bring it to my guitar guy, I'll pick his brain and see if I really need anything, and see what's what. I am tremendously excited and hope it is what I think it is. As far as the price goes,I've seen the original cases go for between 200-400 and the Burns go for around 200-500, if you can find one. I've been collecting the parts to build my own for about 2 years and just painting mine the way I wanted it was going to cost me a grand (a grand! and my guitar guy assured me he wasn't making a penny on it, that's what he was being charged)never mind all the other parts. If the neck is junk I've got a beautiful spare made by Jackdaniels, and if the neck is fine (as advertised) I've already got a good friend who needs a new neck for his old AJ. He'll either pay me what I paid (which was tremendously reasonable for such a beaut )or we'll work out some kind of trade, he's got plenty of stuff I want.

12
Congratulations! I've watched HA for a while and sometimes there are some very good deals to be had. -- Sarah93003

Thanks, I guess I won't really know how good a deal it is till I see it. They say to expect to wait 14-21 days. I don't know where it's located but if it's anywhere near Boston I would consider picking it up out of sheer impatience.

13

I had never heard of Heritage Auctions, so I ran a Google search and checked them out. I like the concept.

Congrats on the great score jakebass. I love how RICS sound but their necks are just really uncomfortable with my big hands and fat fingers. -- Bear

I might be missing something here but the 1966 Astro Jet is a Gretsch, not a Ric.

I am also a big fan of the Ric look and sound, but only find their basses particularly comfortable, and if you imagine your hands are big and fat, I have to dial my cell phone with a pencil because otherwise I hit three buttons at the same time! That's great for playing bass or piano but not so good for repairing delicate wiring and when it comes to playing jenga, I may as well have cloven hoofs at the end of my sleeves!

14
Congratulations! I've watched HA for a while and sometimes there are some very good deals to be had. -- Sarah93003

Thanks, I guess I won't really know how good a deal it is till I see it. They say to expect to wait 14-21 days. I don't know where it's located but if it's anywhere near Boston I would consider picking it up out of sheer impatience. -- jakebass

They're in Texas.

2-3 weeks is probably about right for them but sometimes they need a friendly reminder to ship your item. If you haven't seen in in a month let them know. As a side note, They package things very well.

15

So, you think they take possession of all those guitars for every auction? That would be a huge undertaking, we're talking tens of thousands of guitars, over a million dollars in sales in yesterdays auction alone.

16

I agree with elisha... Heritage Auction's descriptions of their Gretsch inventory is often grossly inaccurate. I don't just mean the usual confusion around model year. Recently they were auctioning a "'55 Rancher Roundup model" (huh?). I've seen them inadvertently market a reissue as a vintage, and vice versa, suggesting a vintage Annie was a reissue. Sometimes it's laughable. I never look at there Fender and Gibson listings, so perhaps they are better with those. I've bought two things from them and both times it took 6 weeks and phone call to get the items delivered. Enjoy your Astro Jet!

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So, you think they take possession of all those guitars for every auction? That would be a huge undertaking, we're talking tens of thousands of guitars, over a million dollars in sales in yesterdays auction alone. -- jakebass

Yes, they are in possession of all the guitars. They even have preview times where you can go check them all out in person.

They aren't all coming in from individual consigners or private collectors. They get most of them from those "road shows" that set up shop in a hotel conference room and advertise that they are buying old antiques, jewelry, instruments etc... They will offer free (lowball) appraisals and pay cash on the spot for grandpas old junk.

KCeddieB- The Gibson and Fender listings are not much better than the Gretsch.

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I agree with elisha... Heritage Auction's descriptions of their Gretsch inventory is often grossly inaccurate. I don't just mean the usual confusion around model year. Recently they were auctioning a "'55 Rancher Roundup model" (huh?). I've seen them inadvertently market a reissue as a vintage, and vice versa, suggesting a vintage Annie was a reissue. Sometimes it's laughable. I never look at there Fender and Gibson listings, so perhaps they are better with those. I've bought two things from them and both times it took 6 weeks and phone call to get the items delivered. Enjoy your Astro Jet! -- KCeddieB

Yipes, that's a little scary. At least I know it's not a reissue and the odds of it being a fake are a long shot. I can only wait and hope for the best. I called them this morning to make sure that my payment when through(and to see if there was any way to put the spurs to them shipping wise) they told me to expect my delivery in 14-21 days. We'll see, right now I'm optimistic, growing towards cautiously optimistic.

19

With your guitar there is not much risk. It's obviously not a reissue and I can't imagine it's a fake or copy. Judging from their description it'll most likely need a serious set up and some fret work. Possibly a re-fret. Worst case you can get your money back or close to it on ebay. Best case, you bring it to your guy, have him set it up and you've got a guitar you've been looking for for 10 years!

20
With your guitar there is not much risk. It's obviously not a reissue and I can't imagine it's a fake or copy. Judging from their description it'll most likely need a serious set up and some fret work. Possibly a re-fret. Worst case you can get your money back or close to it on ebay. Best case, you bring it to your guy, have him set it up and you've got a guitar you've been looking for for 10 years! -- elisha wiesner

Bingo, if there are any hellish neck issues I've still got my neck made by Jackdaniels for my AJ project that is on indefinite hold now. I do have a very good guy here in Boston and won't mind spending a few more bucks to get the AJ I want, just looking forward to plugging it in and playing.


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