Will Ray's eBay Strategies
Auction Item: 1950s Kay Barney Kessel Artist
Winning Bid: $550
I love vintage instruments, but I hate paying exorbitant prices for them. So what I do is look for "damaged goods"-meaning guitars that have been modified, or have some minor defects that can be overlooked, while still retaining a classic sound and feel. This late-'50s Barney Kessel Artist is one of the most coveted Kay guitars ever made, and it has an undeniably cool vibe. At $510, I was lucky enough to be the high bidder for this guitar, but the auction ended without the reserve price being met.
I don't give up easily, so I e-mailed the seller to see what he wanted for the guitar, and he said the reserve was $800. Well, the guitar had huge belt-buckle scratches on the back, the finish was flaking off, there were two poorly repaired cracks near the lower f-hole, and the bridge and pickguard weren't original, so I said the price was way too high. I e-mailed a counter offer of $550 along with a detailed letter addressing the guitar's defects. The seller accepted, and he even offered to pay the shipping if I overnighted a money order to him, as he needed the money quickly. Since I usually have pretty good eBay karma-and he had great feedback as a seller-I agreed.
The guitar arrived inside its original brown hardshell case, and it was just dripping with character. It quickly became my favorite Kay. It has very good action, a straight neck, and the pickups are punchy and full sounding. Sure, she has many battle scars, but she sure can play! Another bonus: Since I bought this guitar, the prices of Artists have skyrocketed. If I hadn't jumped on the purchase when I did, I would have regretted it for years.
-Will Ray, firstname.lastname@example.org
Motorcycles and rock guitar have always gone together, but MJ Guitars handcrafted this little hummer for those who really want their rock to roll. The guitar is fully functional-right down to the handle grip volume control-though smokin' riffs could pose a danger, and a helmet may be required in some states. Price? $100,000! Additional photos and a poster are available at mjguitar.com.
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