Will Ray's eBay Strategies(3)

April 1, 2003


Okay, I know what some of you are thinking: “What was he doing bidding on a no-name guitar?” Well, truth be told, I love finding cheap guitars that play and sound great. This is basically a copy of a Gibson ES-175 archtop, but with a slightly smaller body and a center block that minimizes feedback. These guitars were very new at the time, and, as I’m curious by nature, I decided to bid on one offered by a dealer who had a “0” Feedback rating—meaning the seller had not yet completed any eBay transactions. I make it a point to check the seller’s feedback before I buy anything, and if their negative-to-positive ratio is more than two or three percent, I usually pass. There are a lot of online “businesses” that are one-person operations run out of a bedroom, and the transactions can sometimes be unprofessional and risky. So while bidding on something from an untested seller can be a chancy proposition, it turned out this seller was a music store in a small town. After talking to them for a few minutes, I felt confident enough to pay with a credit card over the phone.

A week later, I had my guitar. It arrived double-boxed (no case) by UPS, and as soon as I strummed it, the bridge fell apart. Whoa! I put it back together, but it was still wobbly, so I took it to my guitar tech, John Wescott. John shook his head when I brought it in—he can never understand why I buy these strange guitars—but all it needed was a new bridge and a nut-filing job. For $25, he sold me a used bridge and filed down the string slots on the nut. Not bad.

When I got home, I plugged in the guitar, and it suddenly came to life! The action was great, the pickups sounded good, it stayed in tune, and it was really fun to play. In fact, the legendary jazz guitarist and Chord Chemistry author Ted Greene came over to my house for a session, and, after he played the guitar, he was quite surprised it sold for just $295. By the way, the $295 I paid was the guitar’s actual street price, so I didn’t get any particularly great deal here. But I’ll definitely keep the Turser, because it speaks to me on a personal level. And, yes, I know I probably need therapy for that, too.

Will Ray can be contacted at willr@hellecasters.com. Be sure to check out his latest CD, Mojo Blues [Wild Rose], as well as the Hellecasters’ new Essential Listening, Volume One [Hightone].


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