Ebay Strategies

March 1, 2005

Auction Item: Gretsch Electromatic Bo Diddley Guitar

Winning Bid: $175

I’ve always secretly dug Bo Diddley’s old rectangular guitar that Gretsch custom built for him in the ’50s, and later made available to the public in limited numbers. I often wondered how a rectangular guitar would sound, but I never cared to “ante up” by shelling out big bucks for a vintage one. A few years ago, however, Gretsch unveiled their Electromatic import line, and when I saw they’d made a budget Bo Diddley model, it was onward to eBay for me.

Back then, eBay had just introduced its “Buy It Now” feature, so I bookmarked a Bo Diddley search to make the process easier. In addition to the automated daily search, I manually searched throughout the day whenever I was on the computer, just in case someone listed one with BIN at a good price.

I searched for several months before I got lucky at 6:30 am one morning (yes, I’m an early riser). Someone on the East Coast had just listed a Bo Diddley model with a BIN of $175, so, after checking the seller’s feedback and payment methods, I bought it on the spot. Shipping was a reasonable $25. A week later, the guitar arrived in a gig bag in like-new condition.

Korean-made guitars have a reputation for quality and affordability, and this one is no exception. The action is pretty good, and the pickups are quiet and full sounding. I thought it would be tough to play without a strap, but the guitar balances on my knee fairly well. My wife saw me taking pictures of it and asked, “Wow, that’s a pretty guitar. How come I never see you playing that one?” Good question. Maybe I should play it more often. —Will Ray, willray@hellecasters.com

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