Will Ray's eBay Strategies(5)

June 1, 2003

AUCTION ITEM: '90s Epiphone Sorrento WINNING BID: $205
This is a late ’90s, Korean-made Epiphone Sorrento, and I have to tell you that I really like the guitars coming out of Korea these days. They are affordable and very professional. What caught my eye on this auction was a note that the neck had been cracked and repaired, and, as a result, the bidding was low. All right—that’s my kind of guitar!

Of course, it’s one thing to buy a repaired guitar in person, and quite another when it’s online and can’t be inspected. But I have pretty good “eBay Karma,” so I contacted the seller before bidding, and asked if a professional had repaired the neck. The seller wrote back stating the crack was where the neck meets the headstock, and that it was about two inches long. But he thought the repair stabilized the neck, and he swore the guitar stayed in tune. He also warned me that the repair job was sloppy. I got the feeling he had repaired it himself, and I was a little cautious at that point.

Before bidding on a musical instrument, I’ll frequently check out the user reviews—and street prices—on harmonycentral.com. When I looked up the Sorrento, I found some reviewers had indicated difficulties with the pickup-selector switch, and that info gave me a heads up for a possible problem down the road.

Well, I decided to take a chance on the Sorrento. I “sniped” during the auction’s final seconds, bid $226.66, and won the guitar for $205. The shipping cost was a rather expensive $35 because the guitar came with a hardshell case—which added more weight, but was a welcome addition.

When I started playing the Sorrento after its arrival, I fell in love within 60 seconds. I always know when a guitar is meant for me, and this one spoke to me right away. (And yes, I’m still getting therapy for this!) I ended up reinforcing the glue job, and it has been one of my favorite guitars ever since. I love the P-90 pickups, and I especially love to play the Sorrento unamplified because of its warm, semi-acoustic sound. And the neck? Amazingly, this puppy actually stays in tune better than almost any other guitar I own. It’s a keeper!

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

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