Brooklyn Show Post Mortem Ramblings

Sorry about the crappy photo. I only had my phone with me. I had too much other stuff to remember. That's a '60 345, a 64 335 and a 61 335. That's my old '57 Duo Sonic next to it.

The first thing I noticed when I parked around the corner from Brooklyn Bowl was that it was, in fact, a bowling alley and not some big venue like “The Hollywood Bowl” The second thing I noticed was that there was a stream of bile green fluid running into the street from under my car. This was not starting off very well. OK, my radiator has sprung a leak. I’ll deal with it later. Here’s a question: When you have a car full of very expensive guitars, do you carry in the best ones first, leaving the less valuable ones unguarded in the car? But then when I leave the venue to get the others, I’m leaving the guitars alone inside. How do you not get ripped off? I mean everybody knows that there will be carloads of expensive guitars there. Fortunately, my son met me at the site and helped me out. He couldn’t, however, give me any advice about what was wrong with my car since he knows less about cars than I do. I’ll deal with it later. Once we got inside, I was shown our table. It was the first table as you walk in the door. How lucky was that? Now I can pounce on every interesting guitar that walks in and get all kinds of exposure. Then Mike, who along with Lisa, was running the show told me that those doors weren’t the entrance doors. In fact, my table was the farthest from the entrance and I felt like the guy who doesn’t grease the maitre D’s palm and gets stuck at the table between the kitchen and the men’s room which is usually used by the cooking staff to have a smoke and they were all annoyed that I was sitting there. My business partner came down from upstate NY to share the fun and he brought a couple of Stratocasters to broaden out our appeal. Overall, the show was a lot of fun and everybody was very nice and helpful and it appeared to be a great success. About halfway through, I called AAA to see if they could fix my car. They sent a truck. The AAA guy told me he couldn’t do anything but tow the car, jump start it, change a tire or get my keys out of a locked car. I was on my own. The guy said he could tow me to a gas station or drive me to the nearest auto parts store to see if they had a radiator drain plug for a 1997 Volvo. I wasn’t optimistic. After a short ride in the tow truck (listening to the really awful “Easy Listening” station at ear splitting levels) I found out they didn’t have the part but I found something I could jury rig with a little duct tape a maybe, just maybe, I’d make it the 60 miles back home with a carload of guitars. Or maybe I’d sell them all. I figured I’d just deal with it later. I noticed a couple of really interesting things about guitar shows. There are essentially 2 types of buyers. One type asks a lot of questions, plays the guitar, asks more questions and says he’ll let me know-which is fine. I don’t expect anyone to show up and buy a $20,000 guitar on the spot for cash. The other type comes up and starts telling me what’s wrong with each guitar. “The switch tip on that 61 can’t be original, it’s too white. It should be yellowed like the one on the ’60 over there.” Note that he doesn’t ask if its original, he just tells me it isn’t. And of course he was wrong-the 60 switch tips were catalin which turns yellow and the 61’s are plastic-maybe polystyrene or some other more modern plastic. Then he tells me that the frets aren’t original. I asked him why. He said “They aren’t worn.” I explained that the guitar had sat in a case for 48 years and had flatwounds on it when I got it and that lack of wear doesn’t necessarily mean a guitar has had a fret job. Especially one that’s almost mint.  It’s a cheap negotiating tactic that unscrupulous dealers often use on unsuspecting sellers to devalue their guitars. Interesting that the buyers use it on the dealers too. Then he said “Would you take $8,000 for it?”  It was marked at $22,000. End of story. This kind of thing went on a lot all day long and I guess I expect it but I have to point out that if you’re going to act like a big expert and tell me what’s wrong with my guitars, you should, at least, know what you’re talking about. I liked the ones who asked questions so much better. Also interesting to note was that the most popular guitar at my table wasn’t a 335 at all. It was a 61 Epiphone Wilshire. Other than the guys who told me they bought the same one a Guitar Center for $250, most people really liked it and had never seen one before. No wonder, they only made something like 175 of them in 61. My old refinished ’57 Fender Duo Sonic got a lot of play too. The three big ‘ol red 3×5’s got a lot of oohs and aahs but no takers. Not hip enough for Brooklyn I guess. Finally, it was after 5 and I figured I would pack up and go. It was now later and I had to deal with the old Volvo. Let’s see, a little chewing gum and….

2 Responses to “Brooklyn Show Post Mortem Ramblings”

  1. RB says:

    A third type of buyer at the show … other vintage dealers. Did you get a chance to rub elbows with any, perhaps before the doors opened, and check out their stuff? Wonder what guitars were selling at their tables? Was the show mostly electrics or were there acoustics as well?

  2. OK Guitars says:

    I didn’t have 30 seconds to do any of that, unfortunately. Every time I took a break, it was to try to deal with my leaking car. I did walk through on my way out and in and saw that most of the guitars were far more player friendly (read: less expensive) than mine. I didn’t really expect anyone to show up with $18,000 for a 335 but people bring ‘bursts to shows as well and I’m pretty sure there aren’t that many people walking around with $100K or $200K on them. I chatted with a couple of dealers but didn’t really have a chance to talk in depth about anything. It seemed that electrics were in the majority by a good margin. It also seemed that new guitars and recent guitars were more visible than choice vintage pieces. I do believe that, overall, I had some of the nicest collectible guitars in attendance. The three big red ES’s made a mighty bold statement. Too bad I was stuck in Siberia. I guess that’s what you get for signing up late and being the “new kid”.

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