Stay in Tune
By Luthier Patrick Podpadec
For all of you faithful readers that may not have had a chance to read my last article on the very cool 1930's Keykord Ukelele in the last issue, I have added a newer and much more detailed version (with pictures) on the photo page of my website . It's a culmination of the research that I did while learning about the Stromberg-Voisinet company.
Well, of course now I have a new obsession. The latest “craze” for me now is “EBAY”. I know your thinking , “That's soooo old school” . I'm surprised that I have not used this extensive source of “musical extravaganza” before now. Well I figured it's never too late to learn.
I recently had a customer (old friend) come by to show me this beautiful 1956 Gibson L-50 that he had and as the conversation grew, he expressed the idea of selling it.
I called a few friends, but had no luck with my immediate connections. This guitar is in such pristine condition , I was determined to make sure that it will fall in the hands of a collector or a musician that would respect it's historical value (it is by the way 55yrs. old). The fact that it still plays as good or better than most new guitars, is just a bonus. I decided that I would do some research on the value so I turned to Ebay. I was amazed to find 3 different similar Gibson guitars. The prices ranged from 1,200.00 (very beat up) to 1,700.00 ( not nearly as good as shape as the one my friend has) . After talking to another good friend that has a lot of experience with Ebay, I was told that buyers on Ebay often look at the “sellers ratings” to determine whether or not it could be a safe and reliable purchase. Buyers also look at the history of the seller to see whether or not that they have experience in selling the product that they are interested in. Especially when the item is a “high end” vintage instrument with a relatively high price. I'm sure that I too would be very cautious in such an endeavor. With the help of my friend I hope to find a good home for this cool 50's archtop Gibson.
The other thing that I found out about Ebay, is that it can almost be as addicting as heroin. When I started looking at guitars, (which is probably a mistake for a guy like me) I had a hard time focusing on the guitar that I was looking up. Next thing you know I had about 40 different “project guitars” set aside in my “watch list”. The only problem with that is you have to have the money to buy all that s*#t.
My wife recently bought me a t-shirt that says”So many Guitars and so little Time” It has become my new “motto”. I have this soft side of me that makes me want to “rescue” all of these poor broken guitars from there inevitable fate. It's a curse I know, but I can't help myself. I have heard of some musicians and collectors that suffer from “GAS” ( Guitar Acquisition Syndrome), but I think I have something much worse. When I see a guitar in need of repair I immediately start trying to figure out how to fix it. I find myself daydreaming about how I'm going to go about the repair (even though I don't even have the guitar in my shop.)
When I started looking on Ebay, I thought it might be a good place to find an instrument for a good price to start a good “collection” to add to my wall of other instruments (my wife is gonna kill me). I quickly decided that I could not afford the ones that were already in good shape, so I turned to the instruments like”broken guitars” or “project guitars”. “Holy Crap Batman”! I thought I'd died and went to heaven. There was about 1500 or more instruments to look at. I was sifting through them for days. I started fantasizing (not what your thinking) about these poor guitars when about 4 days later I finally realized I was starting to go over the edge. Thankfully my bank account balance (or the lack of it) brought me back to reality. I realized a can't afford to own too many junk guitars. I already have plenty of them. The good thing that I realized is that I still have the opportunity and ability to repair all of the ones that come into my shop. That to me is what it is all about anyway. Being able to bring instruments back to life so that the can sing the songs they were meant to sing. The pleasure of accomplishment that I get from fixing the guitars is really the “monkey on my back”. As long as I get to fix them I feel I will be okay. I don't really need to own them all. So now that I have bared my soul and shared my addiction with all of you , I would like to ask you all for some help. All you have to do is look in your closet and dig out that old broken guitar and send it to me so that I can fix it for you. That's not asking too much You never know, you may get to read about your guitar being repaired in a future article in the North Coast Voice .
Well, I sure feel much better now that I have been able to share my (not real) addiction with you. It's good therapy. Till next time, please “Stay in Tune”
Patrick from Wood-n-Strings/Liam Guitars