Jun 172011

Regrets never get old.

This post initially appeared 6/22/07.

The one that got away

Ever have a piece of sweet gear sitting right under your nose for a price so right you had to rub your eyes? Ever walk away without that piece of sweet gear, for whatever reason? Tell me about it. Then we’ll share a moment of silence.


  11 Responses to “A Moment of Silence, Please”

  1. I was in Montreal with the puppet-head band in 1997 and I walked into a music shop and there it was: a beautiful Swiss upright bass with nice action and a beautiful sound and that fit perfectly. You guitar players who make a big deal out of the mythical guitar/woman connection know nothing about the perfect feel of an upright bass that fits your body (because you play upright bass with your whole body) just so.

    It sounded deep but defined, probably because it was relatively small, which was very important to me because the size of my hands makes playing bass at all, particularly upright, kind of a ridiculous proposition. But this one I could handle and get around on beautifully – after two minutes, I was playing stuff I’d never been able to do before. And it was actually deeper and louder than the (I say this with all due affection) big hunk of crap I played then and still struggle with today.

    With the Canadian tax, but minus the favorable exchange rate, it would’ve run me $3200 – at the time, every cent I had in the bank. I also would’ve had to make a separate trip back up to Montreal to bring it home, because there was no room in our van.

    But what the hell was I worried about? I was a young, single man. I had no child. I had no ex-wife. So I would’ve had to eat beans and rice for a half a year or so. Like I’d never done that before or since. What did I end up spending that $3200 on that was so important? I dunno. It’s not really that much for a nice upright, and have I ever had $3200 in the bank since? No freaking way.

    A good upright is forever. I always knew that, but now I know that in a visceral sense that I didn’t have 10 years ago.


  2. saturnismine

    Not quite the scenario you describe, mod, but close:

    i had a Sunn Colisseum 300 bass head that was to DIE for: 300 watts, a built-in compressor that was SO GOOD i could use it for recording purposes (and the good people at Sunn knew it: they installed VERY CLEAN sounding effects in / out jacks in the back so that the head could be used for outboard purposes), a 6 band eq w/ parametric sweeps on the mid-range NOBS (not those chincy stereo eq fader-type things that you pull up and down…these nobs were made of heavy duty steel…to turn them was smoooooth….like turning the steering wheel on a Cadillac), and a gain / master volume combination that provided everything from an Entwistle-esque growl to the deepest Fender P tone you can imagine. This thing made ANY cabinet sound good.

    It was stolen out of the trunk of my car while it was parked on 12 and south. that same day, it appeared with a 300 dollar price tag at the pawn shop on 12th and bainbridge. I was too young to handle this gracefully, and in my rage, I managed to have the pawn shop owner pull a gun on me and did nothing but anger the cops who should’ve helped me.

    my heart still breaks when i think about that head.

    now i bow mine in silence….

  3. Mr. Moderator

    Consider this response a moment of silence for each of you.

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    I shared this before on the old list, so I’ll make this version brief:

    In, what, 1980, I guess, I made the drive (wih my parents, of course) over to Johannesburg to buy my first guitar. I was on a strict budget — $350 or something, no more and no less. I found a new Washburn Eagle for $325. I also found a 1959 Stratocaster for $450.

    My father was proud of me for staying within my budget. I still own that Washburn, by the way.

    A moment of silence, please.

  5. This thread is so depressing…plus you got me all excited with the photo of the Princeton Recording Amp. I want one of those…

  6. I sold a late 70’s fender twin reverb for $200 to get a smaller Peavey amp that went belly up a few months later. The twin was “heavy” and had “just one channel”

    I also sold my late 60’s Harmony hollow body bass (you see them in pics of The Animals and The Byrds) for a Yamaha BB300 bass when I was in high school because hollow bass was not cool (I used to jam with Van Halen type players). It’s worth a fortune now and you can get a BB33 for $99 at any pawn shop in America. Plus I play a hollow bass now…damn

  7. In 1979, when I bought my first “real” guitar, a ’78 Fender Strat, which I still have and play today, the store also had a beat-to-hell Danelectro from the ’50s, the kind you sometimes see Jimmy Page playing in early Zeppelin clips. The body looked like it had been the home to Woody the Woodpecker, but it sounded AMAZING! It only cost $75, but back then $75 was $74 more dollars than I’d saved to buy the Strat. There was no “tapping MAC” or putting it on a credit card, and my Mom wasn’t going to go the extra mile for this new obsession over which she was not that comfortable. Damn! I still think about that guitar and how badly I wanted to take the Wilson Choice.

  8. I worked in a guitar store in San Francisco circa 1990. At the end of the month, people used to bring in gear to sell for rent/drug money. I got a ’72 tele for about $225 and Vox 300 watt tube bass head with a really low serial number for somewhere between $200-$300. I sold them both for roughly the same that I bought them for.

    I also saw a pedal steel in a pawn shop for about $200 and I passed on it.

    But all in all, I’ve lucked into some really good deals so I’m fine without a moment of silence.

  9. I’m going to use a thread entitled “A Moment Of Silence, Please” to report the death of Larry Wild Man Fischer.


    Not a lot of on-line corroboration; supposedly Dr. Demento has tweeted about it.

  10. AndyR and I were together when I let a good one get away. It was at a music store outside of D.C. (I’m reaching out to HVB, AndyR, Mockcarr, or Bobby Bitman if any of you remember the name of this glorious music store in Alexandria? Crystal City?) that was more like someone’s packed garage than a store. There were amps and guitars everywhere just stacked on top of each other, propped against the walls, and there might even have been 3 leaning up against each other in a circle as if they were 3 civil war muskets standing upright in field. Don’t pick one up, or the tripod would collapse! Many of the guitars would be missing strings or pegs, but no one ever got around to making them more saleable.

    In the back room, which was the even more crowded and messy section, was a beautiful used Music Man guitar amp. I was still using this unique Rickenbacker solid state amp back then, and switching to a nice heavy tube Music Man would have been a good step up. It was a very reasonable price. I think maybe $200. Being too indecisive to pull the trigger, we left. We came back a week later with Rick amp in tow for a trade-in and purchase. I asked the clerk where the amp I looked at the week prior was, and he told me they had sold it. Seeing how disappointed I was, and taking some odd satisfaction in it, he offered the timeless consoling advice of “Hey, you snooze, you lose”. I lost out on that great amp, but we’ve never forgotten his sage advice.

  11. cherguevara

    A friend of mine just told me that he had a small Silvertone amp that he was going to sell at a yard sale for $5. Somebody called in advance of the sale and offered him $40. I bet it was a cool little amp.

    I once had to walk past a McIntosh amp in somebody’s trash because it was really heavy and I couldn’t take it with me where I was going.

    OTOH, I once trashpicked a Fender Rhodes, which was half of a lucky one-two punch I had one day some years ago…

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