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Rule Number One

Up until this week, this was the prettiest girl on the block. I swore I'd never sell it but I had a rule that was designed to keep me from having too many guitars.  This 59 Sheraton was my favorite until I sold it.

Up until this week, this was the prettiest girl on the block. I swore I’d never sell it but I had a rule that was designed to keep me from having too many guitars. This 59 Sheraton was my favorite until I sold it.

I haven’t been a guitar dealer for very long. I started buying and selling ES model guitars (and some others) as a hobby in the early days of Ebay. That was probably 1998. The first vintage guitar I bought off Ebay wasn’t even a Gibson-it was a 62 Epiphone Crestwood-cost me $550. I sold it a few months later for $1000 and decided that this might be a fun way to supplement my income as a film editor and director. For the next ten years or so, I bought and sold a few guitars every year-no more than 7 or 8 a year and started concentrating on my favorites-the ES thinlines. The problem was, I was accumulating a lot of really nice guitars. Problem, you say? Well, yeah. If you’re trying to make a few bucks, keeping the guitars you love is a bad business model and that’s what I was doing. When I decided to take the guitar dealer thing seriously (and wind down my editing business), I had to make some rules.  Otherwise, I would end up with 100 guitars (and no money). So I made a rule.

Rule number one-and I don’t have a lot of rules-is DON’T FALL IN LOVE WITH A GUITAR. That was me saying it very loud. And it applies to every guitar I get. And it’s not easy. There have been no less than a dozen guitars that I would love to have back but rules are rules. The blonde 59 Sheraton, the first red 59 ES-345, the red 59 Bigsby 335, the stop tail 59 355, the blonde 63 335, the 53 J-200 and at least one SG and a 69 gold top that sounded like no other guitar I’ve ever owned. Now there’s another in the house and it breaks my heart to think it’s going to go out the door. But, as I mentioned, rules are rules (keep telling yourself that). What does one do to cope with all the beauties that want to stay forever? Well, there are other vintage dealers who don’t have huge collections, but there are also plenty of dealers who do. I have no keepers. Not a one.

It’s pretty simple. I have loads of guitars in my collection and I play them all. The difference between my collection and most collections is that mine are all for sale. But I can play any guitar I want whenever I want.  I always have a dot neck or two, a 64 and usually a few 345’s if I’m in the stereo mood. And there are Strats and Teles and the occasional Jazzmaster, early Epis, SGs and Les Pauls. So, I can play just about whatever I want just like the guy with the great collection. The difference is that mine keeps changing.

So, what is this guitar that’s messing up rule number one? It’s a 335 that checks off all the boxes for Charlie’s perfect guitar. Big, but no too big, neck. Blonde, of course. Nice figure that doesn’t scream too loudly (no sluts here). Thin top and shallow neck angle (I believe the shallow angle necks sound better). Well balanced PAFs and stop tail. It is simply the prettiest girl on the block…no the prettiest girl in town…no more like a super model you don’t have a prayer of dating. And not just a pretty face-a killer player with spectacular tone. Please don’t buy this guitar.

They don't get better than this. Stunning, near mint very late 58 335TDN. Birdseye and blister figuring everywhere. All original. This is probably the cleanest, prettiest blonde 335 on the planet and I want to keep it. But I won't

They don’t get better than this. Stunning, near mint very late 58 335TDN. Birdseye and blister figuring everywhere. All original. This is probably the cleanest, prettiest blonde 335 on the planet and I want to keep it. But I won’t.

15 Responses to “Rule Number One”

  1. RAB says:

    Charlie, an understandable rule for a guitar dealer. I suppose you could modify the rule to say you would never allow yourself to have more than one of each primary kind of guitar im your collection at one time. I.E. one 335-type, one Les Paul, Strat, Tele, etc. that’d keep things from getting too much out of hand (and pocket!) I am pretty darn happy with my current “stable” of 4 guitars. Each is a great example. Some, actually all would be very hard to replace…I made the mistake of selling my short headstock Riviera years ago and when I found this even nicer ’62 it ain’t going anywhere!

  2. Steve Newman says:

    All I can say, Charlie, is WOW! I don’t know if you will ever run across another 335 with all these specific attributes…..one of the most beautiful instruments ever made in that blonde finish, with excellent condition and superior tone/playability, too! You might consider breaking your “don’t fall in love” rule just once for this one. In hindsight, there are definitely a couple of standout instruments that I wish I still had, and can’t replace. That is an absolutely gorgeous, stunning, holy grail 335 you have.

  3. chuckNC says:

    Go ahead and keep it, Charlie. You have my permission. 😉

  4. RAB says:

    I’ll contribute a dollar for the “let Charlie keep the blonde dot neck” fund…only $79,999.00 to go!

  5. GuitarMikey says:

    Don’t do it Charlie! Keep that beautiful guitar 🙂

  6. cgelber says:

    If all my readers each sent me just 35 cents, I’d be able to keep it.

  7. RAB says:

    Great idea!

  8. Vincent Moser says:

    Don´t sell this guitar ! YOU DON`T EVEN HAVE TO BREAK YOUR RULE , because your rule was unfullfillable from the start. You can´t avoid falling in love with a guitar – it just happens. And maybe it would not even be a modification if you say ” I will sell that guitar – one day in the future when the time has come AND the right buyer come along.” And : that guitar is great example of your skills and work as a vintage-guitar – expert and dealer and that´s a good reason to keep it in stock as long as possible. Greetings from Germany.

  9. RAB says:

    Right on Vincent!!

  10. Vincent Moser says:

    Great idea, RAB ! I´d also like to contribute for the “let Charlie keep the blonde dot-neck” fund. We all shure want to see Charlie in business forever and read his his articles . I never did send money to the USA before and I don´t know how and where to send it to. Charles, how can I donate ?

  11. Frank says:

    “but I can’t help falling in love with you”
    remember the song? 😉

  12. cgelber says:

    I’m up to $1.05 (in commitments anyway). Only $79998.95 to go. WooHoo.

  13. RAB says:

    Hopefully Warren Buffett is reading this blog and feeling generous! Early Xmas present for Charlie!

  14. Daniel says:

    Hi — What is the asking price on your blonde 1958 ES-335? Would you consider partial trades? Daniel

  15. cgelber says:

    Email sent

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