Auction Item: Montano Model 230 Winning Bid: $590 According to the seller, this guitar was made by the Teikokuhatumeisha company of Japan in the early ’60s, and sold by Ibanez as the “Montano Guitar Model No. 230.” It has a carved, solid-spruce top and solid flame maple sides and back. It sports a faded orange finish and a very pronounced “V” neck. Because I had a recording session booked when the auction ended, I used eSnipe.com—a bidding service that lets you place a bid at the last minute without sitting at your computer. You just enter the auction number, your maximum bid, and how many seconds from the EOA (end of auction) you want your bid placed. The service fee is one percent of the final auction price if you win (minimum fee is a quarter; maximum is ten bucks). Thanks to eSnipe, I won the guitar for $590 with five seconds to spare, and I was more than happy to pay the $5.90 fee. But when the guitar arrived, I was under-whelmed. The action was high, the neck felt like a baseball bat, and uneven frets produced excessive string buzz. I decided a refret job would fix most of the problems, so I e-mailed the seller and very delicately brought up that the buzzing was not addressed in the auction description. I suggested a rebate of $75 would make me a happier camper and help pay for a refret. The seller was very nice, and he agreed to the refund. Then I had my tech, John Wescott, replace the frets, install a rear strap button, shim up the bridge P-90 pickup for more volume, and put some side markers on the neck. Now I have a hard time putting this guitar down! When it’s in my hands, some spirit inside the guitar enables me to play “above my head.” Most players call that magic. I just call it discovering a long lost friend. I now consider this guitar family. —Will Ray, firstname.lastname@example.org
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