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To the people who stole my Les Paul
June 22, 2011 10:28 AM   Subscribe

To the people who stole my Les Paul.
posted by nevercalm (126 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
A friend just posted this on Facebook, and I have to say that it makes me absolutely weep.

Sadly, my fear is that by Maurice completely eliminating the resale market, the thief will just destroy the guitar altogether. I don't see public shaming working out; a person who steals a guitar in the first place is not the sort to care about its history.

I hope I'm wrong though.
posted by pineapple at 10:32 AM on June 22, 2011


So who is Maurice?
posted by maryr at 10:34 AM on June 22, 2011


> So who is Maurice?

He's the one who speaks of the pompitous of love.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:35 AM on June 22, 2011 [90 favorites]


@Maryr--the gangster of love.
posted by stormpooper at 10:36 AM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


You mean the Space Cowboy.
posted by grubi at 10:36 AM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I thought he was just a joker.
posted by maryr at 10:36 AM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


It would be nice to hear that some asshole took it to play himself, and that said asshole was caught on stage somewhere with the guitar and suffered public shaming, arrest and hopefully a sound thrashing by angry audience members as a result.

I don't usually wish violence on people (aside from spammers - kneecap those bastards, someone) but this? Seems to me this is like stealing a piece of someone's soul. And I don't even play an instrument.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:37 AM on June 22, 2011


Maybe the thief knows about guitars and had a specific price range in mind not realizing the modifications, but he'll probably accept "I'll give you five bucks" and move on to the next thing to steal and sell. It kills me to see something of such personal value to one person reduced to a few fleeting bucks for another.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:38 AM on June 22, 2011


So someone posts naked grief, and we get jokes about old Steve Miller lyrics?
posted by Goofyy at 10:40 AM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't want to be the guy out gigging this weekend with an instrument even remotely similar to this.
posted by milk white peacock at 10:41 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, why did he take out the P90s?
I cry.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:41 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


> So someone posts naked grief, and we get jokes about old Steve Miller lyrics?

Well, what else is supposed to happen in a comment thread on a post like this? Are we also supposed to be sad or outraged? Or are we supposed to join the hunt for the stolen guitar and give the thief his or her comeuppance?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:42 AM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Heartbreaking, and when you visit the me.com site you see it's been more than two weeks since the robbery happened. That stuff's gone :(.

Also, yeah, shit, I thought of a lulzy Steve Miller joke or three, but I had the courtesy to not actually post them.. sheesh. 43 years with a guitar, that is just damn sad right there.
posted by cavalier at 10:43 AM on June 22, 2011


I guess it depends on the nature of the thief - if it was just some random junkie, that stuff is sitting in a pawn shop already. If it was somebody who actually knows anything about guitars, well, now they've got a bitchin' guitar to play at home, and that's it.

God help the poor sap who buys it from the pawn shop, if it's the former though.
posted by antifuse at 10:48 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't have anything that's worth as much to me as this guitar apparently is to this person. Not that I'm criticizing him. But it would be very hard for me to say "just give it back -no questions asked" because it would be a total lie. I would stalk that person and punish him to the full extent of the law.
posted by desjardins at 10:49 AM on June 22, 2011


Unfortunately, I don't hold out much hope. James Jamerson, the Motown session bassist, played a 1962 Fender Precision bass (dubbed The Funk machine) on about a hundred different songs that you know. Jamerson lost the bass to a thief just days before he died in 1983. The Funk Machine is still out there, some thirty years on, and has never resurfaced.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:50 AM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Too bad about the typo in the serial number -- if a potential buyer googles the S/N it would have been nice to surface this post (before it expires off CL)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:54 AM on June 22, 2011


Thieves steal stuff. They don't care about what it means to you or your dead grandma. It's highly unlikely someone took this because they just want to jam. It's been traded in some way for cash, it's not being held for ransom, and they wouldn't give a fig about something they (didn't) read on Craigslist.

The guy who breaks into your house to steal your TV isn't doing it because he's desperate to watch reruns.
posted by sageleaf at 10:56 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Too bad about the typo in the serial number

What is the correct serial number?
posted by swift at 10:59 AM on June 22, 2011


Heartbreaking.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:59 AM on June 22, 2011


Maurice who? Where in Vancouver? Where am I?

I'm sorry the dude lost his guitar, but dang. Put some names on these stories.
posted by boo_radley at 11:01 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The website with visuals and the mention of a reward for the safe return of his stuff seems like a more interesting, and more practical, site than the Craigslist post, which just seems like a cathartic release from a guy who was robbed. As others have said, yeah, this is really awful, and I feel terrible that something so precious to him was stolen, but really have no idea what exactly we're supposed to do here. Share our own robbery stories? Short version of all of them: it really fucking sucked too.

And I realize that, yes, this is the terrible, unhelpful "you should have bought a Mac!" question, but: "You've also ripped off my son, now, and in the future. I don't have the money to replace the gear, so it's just gone. " Umm.... you own a studio with, according to your site, at least a dozen keyboards/amps and a half dozen vintage guitars with an estimated value of over $50,000. I understand sentimentally it's irreplaceable but are you seriously saying you didn't have insurance on this stuff? I have homeowner's insurance and my most valuable possession is a 22" Dell monitor.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:03 AM on June 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


James Jamerson, the Motown session bassist, played a 1962 Fender Precision bass (dubbed The Funk machine) on about a hundred different songs that you know. Jamerson lost the bass to a thief just days before he died in 1983. The Funk Machine is still out there, some thirty years on, and has never resurfaced.

Wow, I didn't know that.

To give people a sense of how invaluable an instrument that is, consider that Greil Marcus once described a Motown box set as "the history of James Jamerson's bass playing - on 58 hits".
posted by Trurl at 11:03 AM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


music is art.
art is theft.
theft is art.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:13 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


music is art.
art is theft.
theft is art.


Banal platitudes are forever.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:14 AM on June 22, 2011 [28 favorites]


God, I feel for this guy, but don't give up hope yet! This past January my car was broken into and my 1971 Rickenbacker bass of 10+ years was stolen out of it. I was devastated. We had security camera footage of the guy but even with that there was little chance of finding him. We posted signs, checked out local pawnshops, got the word out online, but after 2 weeks I had pretty much given up hope of seeing my baby again.

On Valentine's Day, we got a phone call from a guy who said he had my bass. He had bought it off a junkie in a store parking lot for $200. I'm guessing the pawnshops wouldn't take it (they're getting much more wary of that kind of thing) and the thief got a little desparate and just started approaching guys that looked like musicians. Knowing a damn good deal when he sees one, they guy bought it and brought it home. When he showed his new purchase to a buddy of his, the friend recognized it from our Facebook post which had thankfully gotten re-posted by dozens of fans and friends all over the county. He convinced the guy who bought it to do the right thing and give us a call. We drove right down and sure enough, it was mine - still with the case, microphone, cables and everything! (Except the kazoo, its whereabouts are still a mystery!) We gave him $200 plus some extra for karma and went home very, very, very happy. It was the best Valentine's Day ever. As an added bonus, we're just finishing up our latest album, named "Valentine's Day" after the song I wrote about the experience.

So moral of the story: Don't underestimate the power of the internet, believe in karma, and you might be lucky enough to get the guitar back and a song to go along with it!
posted by platinum at 11:15 AM on June 22, 2011 [42 favorites]


My Dad's very distinctive banjo was stolen from a fellow musician's car after a gig. A few days later the friend, who was also a highschool english teacher, was approached by one of his students offering to sell a banjo for $25. Oops!

It was stolen again years later and not recovered.
posted by Manjusri at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are we also supposed to be sad or outraged?

The more perverted of us might laugh. I lost everything I own a little while ago. This story (and mine) explains why you really shouldn't own things or care about them. Everything turns to shit eventually.

My green Les Paul is already one of the most recognizable instruments in Canada, I can guarantee you that.

Delusional.

I honestly would like to see this man get his guitar back. I can't say I expect this story to last more than another 24 hours, though. We'll see ...

And yeah. Who's Maurice? There's nothing here that screams "hoax" except the absence of a full name ...
posted by mrgrimm at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


To give people a sense of how invaluable an instrument that is, consider that Greil Marcus once described a Motown box set as "the history of James Jamerson's bass playing - on 58 hits".

I realize that I am on the wrong side of the sentiment here (and probably elsewhere), but, as a musician, I say: fuck fetishizing tools. Would those tracks be less funky with Jamerson playing a different bass?

Yes, this guy spent a lot of time with this guitar, made it unique, learned its quirks, spent some good times, some bad times, probably laid down a lot of hot licks to impress the chicks. But in the end, it's a tool for making music and nothing more. Will any other guitar sound exactly like it? No. The licks, will they be as hot, the chicks, as impressed? Yes.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:18 AM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


11 years ago someone broke into my car and stole my first guitar... and a backpack containing nothing of value to anybody else -- a stack of my old journals / songwriting sketches, a Bible and a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and a pair of glasses -- but of such high value to me that I'm still pretty put out about it. The guitar was bad enough, but there was stuff in those notebooks I'll never get back. I searched nearby dumpsters for hours after I discovered the crime hoping the thief might have recognized the problem and chucked the bag or the notebooks or something. No luck.

I feel for this guy.
posted by weston at 11:20 AM on June 22, 2011


Several years ago my husband's beloved 1972 Les Paul Gold Top was stolen out of his car.

He posted about it on Myspace, and the word spread like crazy. The local newspapers ran articles about the missing guitar, a local TV station even did a segment about it, showing footage of his band and him playing the guitar.

And guess what? He got it back. It was dropped off anonymously to a local eBay resale store, and it was untouched, the picks still in the strings where he had left them.
posted by suki at 11:21 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


All this talk of "karma" is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Isn't one of the principle tenets of Buddhism not to get attached to your worldly possessions?
posted by hnnrs at 11:24 AM on June 22, 2011 [21 favorites]


I posted "WTB Green custom Les Paul, $200" but it got deleted. Disappointing. It's not like I necessarily want to buy his specific guitar or anything.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:25 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are we also supposed to be sad or outraged

Well, yeah, actually. Nothing to lose.

But stuff like this sometimes turns up again. Sometimes: painted, devoid of all keys and transformed into a candle holder, like the up-market clarinet that was stolen out of the house of an Amsterdam musician and found back in the house boat of a drug addict (they say).

My Baroque group's cellist's cello got stolen at an inside-information-coup that struck out against an entire Baroque orchestra-on-tour (Sweden); very many instruments vanished that night. The cello turned up again - I believe in Paris - 1 1/2 years later. This type of inform-everyone-campaign certainly can bear fruit. Good luck to him is what I say...
posted by Namlit at 11:27 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or are we supposed to join the hunt for the stolen guitar and give the thief his or her comeuppance?
posted by Horselover Phattie


You could at least trick a Nigerian scammer into sending him a hand-carved balsa-wood replica.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:36 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


As a lawyer, I had a client who plead guilty to being in possession of a very expensive stolen flute. Unfortunately, he got a judge who was a musician, so he got a lecture on the connection between musician and their instruments, in addition to a year in jail.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:38 AM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


as a musician, I say: fuck fetishizing tools. Would those tracks be less funky with Jamerson playing a different bass?

The issue isn't that only this bass could have produced that treasure chest of American popular music. The issue is that only this bass did.

Any quill pen can dispense ink, but only one signed the Declaration of Independence.
posted by Trurl at 11:43 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've made many other changes to this guitar in favour of playability:
--changed the P-90's to humbuckers


This whole thing is a terrible thing and I feel for the guy... but I admit to feeling a teensy bit less sympathy after reading that. Groooooooss!
posted by basicchannel at 11:45 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


All this talk of "karma" is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Isn't one of the principle tenets of Buddhism not to get attached to your worldly possessions?

Sure, though the concept of karma is not exclusive to Buddhism (Sikhs and Hindus have it, too). But maybe worse than that, the reduction of "karma" to "jerks who do bad things will get punished in the long run" is a fundamental misunderstanding of the term (but of course that's how Western media, I guess superficially borrowing it from muddled New Agey spiritualism, has used it for decades, so what can one do).
posted by aught at 11:48 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Any quill pen can dispense ink, but only one signed the Declaration of Independence.

56 men signed the Declaration between August 2, 1776 and January 22, 1777, including two future presidents, three vice presidents, and ten members of the United States Congress. None played bass though several may have known Les Paul personally.

But I digreff. Continue.
posted by hal9k at 11:52 AM on June 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


Metafilter: this is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 11:54 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Isn't one of the principle tenets of Buddhism not to get attached to your worldly possessions?

Nothing worldly about a '53 LP. That shit is transcendant.
posted by malocchio at 11:55 AM on June 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


It's ridiculous, but now, after reading Maurice's tale of woe, I know I'll casually be looking for that guitar for the next week or two. If I pass a music store, if I see a person with a guitar come into the library, if I'm watching a movie in which there is a guitar present, I'll be scanning for this guy's missing Les Paul. I also do this if I see a flyer with a missing pet: "Oooh, I think I just saw Toodles, The Missing and Beloved Spotted Cat dashing through our yard!" Inefficient brain......
posted by but no cigar at 11:55 AM on June 22, 2011


Sorry, dude. It's probably been sold for drugs already. Sadly, other people don't care about the same things you do, and no amount of heart and soul poured into a CL posting is going to change that.
posted by Eideteker at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2011


So someone posts naked grief, and we get jokes about old Steve Miller lyrics?


1. If he posted himself grieving naked, maybe we would have been more sensitive.
2. If you want sensitivity, go to this post.
3. Yes (?)
posted by stormpooper at 11:57 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah! Another nice side-effect of the war on drugs - cops no longer have the manpower or mandate to pursue property theft, unless you or your insurance company is politically connected. Almost all burglaries and other theft go unpunished, the property unrecovered.

Bicycles, cameras, musical instruments, jewelry, antiques - go ahead and steal as much of it as you want. The cops won't come looking for you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:01 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Any quill pen can dispense ink, but only one signed the Declaration of Independence.

I think we have a difference of opinion on what constitutes a valuable artifact.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


as a musician, I say: fuck fetishizing tools

As another musician, I tell you: fuck generalizations. (and like your instruments and they will like you)
posted by Namlit at 12:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


All this talk of "karma" is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Isn't one of the principle tenets of Buddhism not to get attached to your worldly possessions?

Sure, though the concept of karma is not exclusive to Buddhism (Sikhs and Hindus have it, too). But maybe worse than that, the reduction of "karma" to "jerks who do bad things will get punished in the long run" is a fundamental misunderstanding of the term (but of course that's how Western media, I guess superficially borrowing it from muddled New Agey spiritualism, has used it for decades, so what can one do).


As it seems I was the only one that mentioned karma in this thread, I apologize for apparently starting a religious debate. I should clarify that my intent was the exact opposite of aught's interpretation however. It was intended to mean "if you do good things for others, good things will happen to you." That guy didn't have to call me, he could have kept the $2000 bass that he bought in a parking lot for $200 without me ever being the wiser. But he didn't. He made the call and I got my bass back. He did a good thing because it was the right thing to do. Call it what you want, I'm just glad he did it.
posted by platinum at 12:04 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doesn't every expensive electronic device in the world have an ID chip that would transmit the device's location if it was ever plugged in anywhere? And maybe various RFID tags embedded in the body where they can't be removed without fucking up the whole thing?
posted by pracowity at 12:08 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And how about when some junkie steels a guy's tools, his means of making a living? That's really low.

"A musician fetishizing tools?" OK, a carpenter doesn't (I'm assuming) fetishize his nailgun, but as a musician, there is nothing that I love more than my instrument (people, yeah, but they are not "things").

Luckily, I don't have to worry about someone breaking into my house and stealing my Yamaha upright.
posted by kozad at 12:09 PM on June 22, 2011


I hope he gets it back.
a decent thief would give it back, but a decent thief would not steal it ITFP. Now, a decent thief may intercept it and that is good in a no honor kind of way.
posted by clavdivs at 12:09 PM on June 22, 2011


Had something similar happen a few years ago. Some creeps broke into our studio space and not only nabbed all my video editing equipment, they got my costumes, art book library, and my backup drive. They also smashed the place; knocked holes in the walls, dumped my water jug on my desk. The only thing I really cared about though was getting that backup drive returned.

I wandered through the neighborhood talking to every junkie, every scruffy kid, the foot patrol cops, pawnshop owners, "No questions asked. 100 bucks to anybody who gets me that drive back..."

I told a friend about it over beers and near tears and he said, "I'll ask around, too." My friend has some questionable relations and I guess he got them motivated because about a month later he called in the middle of the night and invited me over to his office for a drink and a chat.

When I walked in he was watching a video. It looked familiar. Holy shit, I thought, that's the train footage I shot going from Seattle to Portland. He turned around with the biggest grin and offered me some wine.

He'd gotten a call from some guy who knew some guy who'd heard from some other guy about a hard drive in a custom green enclosure. Could it be the right one?

The guy showed up with the drive and my friend popped it in. One quick scan of the contents and he knew it was mine. He handed the guy a couple hundred dollars and then the funny part.

The guy tells my friend he's a bit of a handy man. My friend owns a lot of rental properties. Maybe my friend needed a handyman for some of them? That gave us a lot of laughs for weeks. And I got the drive back. Nothing else, but it was the most important thing. My missing work. Miracles you know?
posted by artof.mulata at 12:11 PM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sadly, when the thief reads that, the guitar is going to either be destroyed or thrown in a dumpster somewhere.
posted by J.W. at 12:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


embedded in the body

put one in a Machine head is viable.
posted by clavdivs at 12:14 PM on June 22, 2011


But in the end, it's a tool for making music and nothing more.

Speak for yourself; I have had the same crappy guitar for the past two decades, and hauled it around with me from Guam to Florida to Washington to New Mexico. I bought it in 1991 from a disinterested salesman in Roseburg, Oregon for $300, and I have played it at almost every show I've ever played. I value it much more than any of my more expensive instruments, and though to anyone else it's a piece of junk, to me it's a friend.

Four years ago I was told by a guitar tech who was working on it for me that it was on its last legs: the strings buzz on certain frets, the truss rod is about as tight as it's going to get, the finish is chipped and marred in a hundred different ways. I bought a new guitar, a lovely arch-top made by Godin that plays like a dream, but I'll never get rid of my girl. Even when she's too far gone to make music with, she'll still sit next to my bed the way she does now, and I'll still love her as much as I do today. She may be a 'tool for making music,' but she's also an object that has been everywhere with me, and has seen me through many, many big changes.

I feel for this guy. He may be wealthy and have a studio full of expensive gear, but money doesn't buy you memories, and the weird bond one can develop with a musical instrument is way beyond 'just buying a new one'. I hope he finds his guitar.
posted by Pecinpah at 12:17 PM on June 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Luckily, I don't have to worry about someone breaking into my house and stealing my Yamaha upright.

One of the virtues I have found in playing an upright is that a thief is unlikely to steal it. At least, if he does, he won't get very far hauling that blessed thing. I tell myself this sort of thing as a comfort when I am hauling it up three flights of stairs. At times like that, I wish I were a harmonica player.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


You: musicians. Go out and take good pictures of and record the serial numbers of all your gear. Now.

If you don't, then when fire or theft takes them from you you will be kicking yourself that you don't have that information handy for insurance or internet vigilantism purposes.

No way the thief is returning this guitar. But I would not be surprised if the guy who bought it from the guy who bought it from him just might, if the info is spread wide enough. Can't hurt to spread the word, and it helps that this guy has good pics and serial numbers.
posted by jetsetsc at 12:21 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


This times 100. jetsetsc, I can't favorite that enough!
posted by platinum at 12:24 PM on June 22, 2011


You: musicians. Go out and take good pictures of and record the serial numbers of all your gear. Now.

Same goes for bikers.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:26 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eleven years ago I had my beloved vintage Rogers drum kit stolen out of my truck when I made the mistake of going back inside the club we were playing to watch the next act play. I was crushed. I had two other kits, so I soldiered on, and then also bought a very nice new DW kit. About a year later, our guitarist mentioned, whilst drunk, that "Man, losing that kit was the best thing that's ever happened to your drumming. You never fired up like you do now on that thing, you cared too much for it to really work it out." And our bassist and singer both nodded solemnly in agreement. So that's my story with instrument fetishization. I'd always heard "It's the craftsman, not the tool, that's important." And in my case, that was apparently the truth.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:27 PM on June 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


> Go out and take good pictures of and record the serial numbers of all your gear. Now.

Really, since HD cameras are so cheap now there's no reason to not make a thorough video walk-through of your home and its contents (including several seconds of each serial number). Keep good backups of the video file.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:28 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


My '69 Les Paul bass never came back, but I found one just like it, searching in pawn shops, so I bought it. The headstock on the first one was cracked, so I'm betting it went straight into a dumpster. I get hives when I think about losing my '63 Thunderbird. It's almost not replaceable, there's so few of them left. And the instrument does matter. I've got 9 basses -- six of them playable, anyway -- and the way they feel and sound makes me play each of them slightly differently. I would never take a Rickenbacker to a blues gig.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:33 PM on June 22, 2011


I've got 9 basses -- six of them playable, anyway -- and the way they feel and sound makes me play each of them slightly differently. I would never take a Rickenbacker to a blues gig.

At the end of the day, as long as it's a decent insturment, it really only matters to the musician. That's enough for it to count though because how one feels goes a long way towards how the music is going to be expressed and played.
Through the mix even most other musicians aren't going to notice the difference between guitars. Basses only other bassists generally even care about.
I've found I sound about the same on anything I play now. Tone is all in the hands.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


as a musician, I say: fuck fetishizing tools

As another musician, I tell you: fuck generalizations.


As an Englishman, I tell you: fuck using a Z when it should be an S.
posted by hnnrs at 12:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


What zephyr_words said.

If anybody wants to say otherwise, I'll post a few wav files of me playing a guitar and see if anybody can identify what kind it is, even if it is just the brand.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first new guitar, a '76 Les Paul Deluxe, got stolen back in about '82. I recovered it back in about '88, that's a long story. If it had been a '66, it would have been worth about $150k. But it wasn't, it was just a piece of shit LP from the worst years of Gibson's production. I had to buy it back from the shop that bought it, and to raise the money, I had to sell the guitar I bought to replace it: a '61 Les Paul Jr. I bought the '61 for $350, and sold it for $350. Now you can't touch one in that condition for $6k. Now at the time, I thought that was the move to make. I loved that Deluxe, it was my first serious guitar, I bought it when I was 18 and I couldn't play worth shit. I thought I'd own it for life and eventually become good enough to be worthy of the instrument.

And you know what? Ever since then, I've been regretting selling that 61. Not just because it appreciated to at least twice, maybe triple the value of my 76. No, it's because that was a much better guitar than my 76, even though it was just a single pickup guitar built for the student-grade market.

So Maurice: it's just a fucking guitar. A piece of wood and some wires. They made hundreds of em in 1953. Go buy another one. They're all about the same, you can fuck up that one by shaving down the neck, replacing the pickups and tuning pegs, refinishing it, and putting all the bullshit on it that you did. Now that was the real crime.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


ah fuck spellcheckerz
posted by Namlit at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2011


If it had been a '66, it would have been worth about $150k.

Was this guitar made of solid platinum? Or was it still sitting in its unopened case and you also added a zero?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:04 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are exactly two possessions I care about, my ring inherited from my grandfather, and my Jackson. Even my Magic cards (well over 100,000 of them) can be replaced; I don't have nearly the same attachment, despite having played the game for 17 years versus the 10 I've played guitar.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:05 PM on June 22, 2011


So I left my accordion in the car. Came back to check on it. Saw the window had been busted out. With dread I peered in and discovered the worst: there in the back seat were TWO accordions.

Hey! Who stole my cymbal and high-hat?
posted by hal9k at 1:05 PM on June 22, 2011 [47 favorites]


but, as a musician, I say: fuck fetishizing tools.

Yeah, speak for yourself. I only have one proper guitar (the other one I own is a half-size travel guitar). It's a Martin D-28 I bought just before I was married three years ago. I played it at my wedding. I've played it for my daughter since she was born. I play other guitars and they just don't feel the same - I've bonded with it and it is absolutely unique. It has no replacement value for me because it simply cannot be replaced.

I know exactly how this guy must feel. When something like that gets stolen it's like a part of you vanishes and never returns.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:10 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I say: fuck fetishizing tools.

Yes/no - a good craftsman picks good tools and cares for them and then relies on them - and subsequently others may associate the tool with the work...
posted by jkaczor at 1:17 PM on June 22, 2011


hal9k, I was so sure we'd already made that joke in the banjo joke thread that I had to go look.

Surprisingly, we had not.

Nor should you have.

wah-wah-wahhhhh
posted by pineapple at 1:18 PM on June 22, 2011


Threeway Handshake: Was this guitar made of solid platinum? Or was it still sitting in its unopened case and you also added a zero?

No, those 60s Deluxes are particularly rare and valuable, and have all been bought up by collectors, they call them "sunbursts." I presume this is due to its reputation, McCartney (ugh) and Townsend (yay) played them. The last one I know of that changed hands, sold for $150k. You know, I think I read about that on MeFi. Actually, I stand corrected, the Deluxe shipped in '69, not '66.

If anybody wants to say otherwise, I'll post a few wav files of me playing a guitar and see if anybody can identify what kind it is, even if it is just the brand.

Yeah, if it's you playing maybe. There are reasons why Hendrix played a Strat, Roy Buchanan played a Tele, and Chet Atkins played Gretsch hollowbodies. Sure, those guys were masters, but they played those specific models in a certain way.

jimmythefish: I play other guitars and they just don't feel the same - I've bonded with it and it is absolutely unique.

It's unique in the same way as every other D-28. If I blindfolded you and gave you another D-28 from the same year, set up with the same strings and same adjustments, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's just a guitar.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:20 PM on June 22, 2011


Yeah, speak for yourself.

For the record, because, while I am an asshole, I am not that kind of asshole, I only qualified that statement to make note that yes, I do have experience with owning and playing instruments, not to suggest that I speak for anybody but myself. I realize that people are enormously attached to their instruments, and I get it, but I don't "get" it.

The memories are inside you, not the object. Sure, loss of the object is a time for reflection on the memories, sadness at the loss of a well-worn and useful tool, but to look upon it as devastating, as the loss of something more than that, feels wrong to me.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:22 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


"If I blindfolded you and gave you another D-28 from the same year, set up with the same strings and same adjustments, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's just a guitar."

This is simply wrong.

Every instrument, no matter how mass produced, is unique. I have owned three Bach Strad 37 trumpets. They were all quite different in terms of intonation quirks, note-slotting, and tone. I have owned about seven early 60's Fender Jazzmasters. Same thing. Each neck was hand-shaped and unique. Each slab of alder wood had different weight and resonance. I would imagine that it would be the same for a Martin.
posted by jetsetsc at 1:29 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't one of the principle tenets of Buddhism not to get attached to your worldly possessions?
The central message of Zen Buddhism is 'Every man for himself'.
posted by plinth at 1:31 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The last one I know of that changed hands, sold for $150k.

An all-original 69 Deluxe can be gotten for $5k -- if it is in good shape. I have no idea where you're getting these numbers from. For instance: Jimi Hendrix's Woodstock guitar, like, as in the actual one he played there went for something like $225k at auction. There are several 69 Les Paul Deluxes on Ebay right now that have bids in the $2k+ range.

There are reasons why Hendrix played a Strat
Can you tell what kind of guitar is in this track?

posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:31 PM on June 22, 2011


Thieves steal stuff. They don't care about what it means to you or your dead grandma. It's highly unlikely someone took this because they just want to jam. It's been traded in some way for cash, it's not being held for ransom, and they wouldn't give a fig about something they (didn't) read on Craigslist.

I always wonder about things like this and how they relate to when Sonic Youth's equipment got stolen in 1999. They basically had a truckload of guitars stolen, but being Sonic Youth, the guitars in no way resembled the way they came out of the factory. Just go through here and look at a few examples - I'll recommend the first blue jazzmaster as a decent one. How in the world do you ever sell off a guitar like that? Covered with stickers, electronics rerouted and held in place by duck tape, played with two drumsticks, replaced headstock and neck, in some ungodly tuning, etc.
posted by LionIndex at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2011


Or how about this one?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2011


If I blindfolded you and gave you another D-28 from the same year, set up with the same strings and same adjustments, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's just a guitar.

sure is funny how when i play 119 buck squiers at guitar center, some of them are hopeless pieces of crap, some are ok, and one just seemed to be my guitar
posted by pyramid termite at 1:40 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


wah-wah-wahhhhh

What's the difference between a trumpet and a trombone lying in the middle of the road?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:45 PM on June 22, 2011


I should clarify that my intent was the exact opposite of aught's interpretation however.

platinum - Apologies if I misrepresented you. I didn't actually search the thread for how many actual references there were until after I hit Post; I misunderstood someone else's comment to mean people were generally talking about bad karma. (Of course, I shouldn't have gone off on a pedantic tack in the first place. A couple other threads where Buddhism came up have made me touchy, which usually leads to dumb Mefi comments.)
posted by aught at 1:49 PM on June 22, 2011


LionIndex- Those stolen Sonic Youth guitars were quite widely publicized. About a decade after the fact, a guy bought a red Mustang and realized it was one of them. Long story short - he notified the band, returned it and got rewarded for his efforts.
posted by jetsetsc at 1:50 PM on June 22, 2011


And all that said, to the point of the FPP, I hope the power of the craigslist, which has led me to a lot of cool cheap stuff over the years, gets the musician his guitar back and has many years of playing good music with it.
posted by aught at 1:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


My musical instrument insurance policy even insured my MacBook Pro as a musical instrument (came in handy when that storm blew off the top of that tent during the gig). Anyway, I meant to say it came with a bottle of this stuff which makes it traceable.
posted by yoHighness at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2011


Robyn Hitchcock's blue Tele that he'd been playing for 30 years disappeared in Toronto in 2008. Still no trace of the thing.
posted by scruss at 2:00 PM on June 22, 2011


sure is funny how when i play 119 buck squiers at guitar center, some of them are hopeless pieces of crap, some are ok, and one just seemed to be my guitar

I'm not arguing with you that all instruments aren't a little unique but this is silly reasoning. Most of the guitars at guitar center aren't setup correctly. You're basically getting lucky with one that is close to being tuned into a professional setup.

It's amazing how good some squires can sound with just a run through a PLEK machine.
posted by zephyr_words at 2:00 PM on June 22, 2011


How in the world do you ever sell off a guitar like that?

Quickly, for cash, and for much less than it's actually worth.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:05 PM on June 22, 2011


platinum - Apologies if I misrepresented you.

No worries aught, and I'll raise a glass with you in hoping his guitar comes back to him safe and sound!
posted by platinum at 2:13 PM on June 22, 2011


This breaks my heart. I'm not even a serious musician, and it almost physically hurts. Made me flash back to ten years ago, coming home one Friday after work and finding my apartment had been burgled. A lot of the stuff they took wasn't a big deal. I'm still bummed by losing my great aunt's silver. But my BASS! My fretless Fender jazz bass with Bartolini pick-ups that I got for a song in high school 'cause some dude at the music shop needed the money (dear FSM, looking back, I hope it wasn't stolen goods then, too...). I played it throughout college. I'm more of an upright player, but that bass taught me that bass guitars can be awesome, too. It was a $1200 bass, yes, but it was also a good friend of mine with some great memories attached.

I STILL mourn its loss, especially because it was probably taken by some jerk who just wanted the money. I hope this guy gets it back.
posted by smirkette at 2:25 PM on June 22, 2011


Posts like these make me glad I'm a singer. Nobody's ripping off my instrument without a good scalpel and a bone saw.

of course the downside is that I have terrible laryngitis and two shows this weekend

I hope the guitar comes back home. And yeah, I'll be looking for it. I live in Seattle, it's not inconceivable that it could find its way here.
posted by KathrynT at 2:27 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I blindfolded you and gave you another D-28 from the same year, set up with the same strings and same adjustments, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's just a guitar.

I must also disagree with this, and even more strongly about the original post subject who's guitar is decades old. Not only do I believe that each instrument will have a slightly different feel (and even with the same tech/luthier doing set up, there will be minor differences), but also I think time/temperature/humidity will age the wood differently and different styles of playing by each player will wear the neck and frets and fretboard uniquely over time. In addition, there is certainly something to be said about the emotional connection/attachment to an instrument affecting the way it's owner plays it.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll post a few wav files of me playing a guitar and see if anybody can identify what kind it is, even if it is just the brand.

For me, it's not so much that you should be able to tell what brand/make of bass I'm playing. It's more that they do subtly influence the way I play them, and while the tone might be "good" to the average listener either way, the part itself will consist of different notes, played with a different feel. It's not a better or worse quantization I'm trying to make -- it is just a tool. You use a little screw driver for a little screw, a longer pry-bar will pull out a bigger nail than a little one, etc. When I plug a rick 4001 into a Marshall and it goes "BLAAAAT!" that makes me want to attack it a certain way, and that sound/feel may be more or less appropriate, depending on the music I'm playing. Lots of guys out there go for the active electronics in their basses so they can get a multitude of different tones out of one instrument, but that's not my bag. With the passive electronics of the older classic instruments, Like a P-bass or what have you, they generally only do one thing very well, hence the stable.

I'll admit to fetishizing them as objects a bit, too, though that's mostly because of the recursive emotional attachment I grow with them as a result of them being a unique tool that performs a unique task well, that I love. A carpenter appreciates a really well-balanced hammer. Playing my basses makes me happy. I could give 2 shits about cash value -- I wish the guitar market would crater, actually. I have no intention of ever selling one, so the high book value only hurts my position in that I'm not able to acquire instruments I'd like to own, and I have to worry more about theft.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:40 PM on June 22, 2011


Also, I'm not a buhddist, and I don't believe that Karma is a thing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:45 PM on June 22, 2011


What's the difference between a trumpet and a trombone lying in the middle of the road?

There are skidmarks in front of the trumpet.
posted by pineapple at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's amazing how good some squires can sound...

Can. Not will -- they're inconsistent. I've mentioned this before, but one of my favorite basses is a '91 Mexican-made Jazz bass. It cost me $309.00. There was a row of about 8 of 'em at the store, and another row with about 10 US-made Fenders. This one bass outplayed all the Mexican ones, and US ones. I spent another $150.00 getting Seymour Duncan hot-wounds put in it, and I've got me a world-class instrument. The tuning pegs are getting floppy after 20 years, but so what? I think I'll replace those soon.

It'll be "vintage" here in a few years, and its value will skyrocket!
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:20 PM on June 22, 2011


Can you tell what kind of guitar is in this track?

posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:31 PM on June 22 [+] [!]

I thought 'SG & a plexi' but then spoiled it when I clicked through to the next recommended video on YT.
posted by mcrandello at 3:22 PM on June 22, 2011


What do a trombone and a lawsuit have in common?

Everyone's glad when the case is finally closed.

I hope he gets his guitar back.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Similar, only with a camera.

I'm a bit weird with this kind of stuff. I've got tools such as cameras that have the same sort of history and uniqueness as an instrument might yet if they were stolen, I'd simply be angry about the theft - not the loss of the specific object. BUT - if my 60's Precision Bass that I've owned for 20 years was stolen, there'd be no way to replace it. Or my amp that Green Day borrowed to play a gig with - same deal. It doesn't make sense, but there's a greater attachment to certain creative tools than others.
posted by blaneyphoto at 3:25 PM on June 22, 2011


Not about guitars, but the documentary Note by Note about the crafting of a Steinway grand piano was fascinating. It has scenes of piano virtuosos selecting pianos as well as the craftsmanship that goes in to making a piano. After watching it I realized why my friend, a piano player, got so pissed when I set drinks on his grand piano.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:31 PM on June 22, 2011




Isn't one of the principle tenets of Buddhism not to get attached to your worldly possessions?
The central message of Zen Buddhism is 'Every man for himself'.


Disagree.
posted by sweetkid at 4:16 PM on June 22, 2011


Yes, Threeway, I can instantly recognize the sound of a Flying V (not a Fender since it distinctively sounds like double humbuckers but hotter than other Gibsons) and a Tele (more jangly high end than a Strat). No, I didn't have to google it. Sure, you picked a couple of exceptions, and I proved my point. Or maybe you can pick something a bit harder? And something not buried under a flanger or some other effect?

BTW, I did google about the $150k Sunbursts, and I stand corrected, its the Standard, not the Deluxe, that is fantastically collectible. $150k would be cheap, actually.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:31 PM on June 22, 2011


It's unique in the same way as every other D-28. If I blindfolded you and gave you another D-28 from the same year, set up with the same strings and same adjustments, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's just a guitar.

If I blindfolded some married man and had him have sex with a woman who smelled the same and was roughly similar in size and shape and texture, think he'd notice?

I mean, clearly a person is not an object, and clones are an ethical dilemma in and of themselves. But it's kind of difficult for a guitarist not to put some personal attachment and feeling into a guitar he/she's had for so long. I had a guitar stolen about a year ago in Paris and it still kind of stings.
posted by majonesing at 4:32 PM on June 22, 2011


If I blindfolded some married man and had him have sex with a woman who smelled the same and was roughly similar in size and shape and texture, think he'd notice?

And what if it was the same production line, model and year, her identical twin sister?
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:44 PM on June 22, 2011


music is art.
art is theft.
theft is art
.

I prefer:

Information Is Not Knowledge...
Knowledge Is Not Wisdom...
Wisdom Is Not Truth...
Truth Is Not Beauty...
Beauty Is Not Love...
Love Is Not Music...
Music Is THE BEST...


I hope the asshole who took the guitar returns it unscathed.
posted by birdhaus at 4:54 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what if it was the same production line, model and year, her identical twin sister?

yeah, just turn it up to 11, dude, get off and roll over
posted by pyramid termite at 5:02 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


i had a gorgeous 1973 Hagstrom Swede for like 15 years. then some asshole sold it to raise money for an airline ticket. if i ever get my hands on him i'll choke the livin-gauughaach..gak... . .. .
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do not cover slots or openings of the karma, for they are provided for ventilation and protection against overheating.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:10 PM on June 22, 2011


charlie don't surf writes "It's unique in the same way as every other D-28. If I blindfolded you and gave you another D-28 from the same year, set up with the same strings and same adjustments, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. It's just a guitar."

Guitars aren't made out of unwearium. Surely they must exhibit signs of wear particular to individual users. Heck even something as mundane as a leather tool belt takes months to break in. Wood, brass, aluminum and even steel handles on tools wear and pickup sweat/skin that makes a well cared for tool with lots of use often superior to one fresh out of the box because it just feels right. Heck I can even tell the difference without looking between the two model Ms I regularly use though admittedly one is legally allowed to drink and the other isn't quite yet.

BigHeartedGuy writes "but also I think time/temperature/humidity will age the wood differently and different styles of playing by each player will wear the neck and frets and fretboard uniquely over time. "

Or to sum up, this^
posted by Mitheral at 8:47 PM on June 22, 2011


In the Chuck Berry documentary Hail, Hail Rock and Roll, there is a scene where Berry checks his ES335 with regular baggage. The interviewer can't believe he'd do this and asks him if he's worried he'll lose his one and only perfect instrument. Berry looks at him like he's a crazy white guy and says "if they lose it, I get a new one." And as I recall, he adds "It's deductible."

I'm a serious guitarist. I own several instruments (including a 1963 pre-CBS P-Bass very similar to Jamerson's that I have owned for over 30 years) that are beloved tools of the trade I'd be very sad to lose. I can relate to this guy's agony. But the fact is that it's the guitarist, not the guitar. Every guitar is replaceable. It's a thing. A mass produced thing. A thing that can be customized and modified. But I guarantee you that for a price this instrument could be replicated. Or bettered. That's why there's insurance.

Still I have always been utterly freaked out by the very thought of buying a pawnshop guitar (and I've passed on some sweet axes for that reason). I'm actually more bugged by the idea of buying an instrument someone had to sell themselves because they had hit hard times than by the idea of buying a stolen instrument, although either one has bad kharma all over it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:24 PM on June 22, 2011


"Also, I'm not a buhddist,.."

Well, they make you learn how to spell it.
posted by sneebler at 9:37 PM on June 22, 2011


One of my friends used to play for Irish dance competitions in western Canada and the US. Somewhere in the US (Vegas? Denver?) he went back to the hotel after playing accordion for 10 hours, put the box down at the front desk, and walked across the lobby to get a coke. When he got back his favourite accordion he'd had since he was a little kid was gone.

8 or so years later, he was back in the same town, only now he leaves his accordion at home and rents one when he gets to the competition. The dance organizers call a music store and rent an accordion and they bring it over. (Who knew you could do this?) So they bring him a flight case, which he opens and finds... his old accordion. He had to threaten the store owner to give it to him for the cost of the weekend rental, but still.

And no karma involved - just plain old luck.

On the other hand, I notice that he doesn't play his treasured old instrument any more. It just doesn't have the sound or the response of his new one. Even he thinks his sentimental attachment to the old one was misplaced. I haven't asked him if he can spell Buddhist.
posted by sneebler at 9:50 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hahah.. yeah, fuck the guitar. This ad makes it clear that the instrument is of sentimental value. If the guy didn't suck at guitar then it wouldn't matter what he played.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:28 AM on June 23, 2011


So in our basement of the house I rented with a few friends, we set up a jamming space. One day, we discover that my friend's bass was stolen, most likely through a window that someone just opened and reached down and grabbed the bass. Now, this wasn't a valuable bass at all, but the paint job was very recognizable. It was painted silver-glitter and had a star on it. We figured it was gone. We asked around, figured it was probably some asshat and wrote it off. It had to be a year later when I went over to my friend's house to hangout. I walked up the stairs, turned the corner into his living room, and BAM! There it was. I alerted him that that was 100% my friend's bass. I know that my friend is not the one who stole it (and a very cool person). But, somehow someway, he ended up with it. He was very cool, even apologetic, and immediately gave it to me to give back to my friend. So, I'm just saying, it is possible, even after a significant period of time has passed, that you could get your gear back.

I'm just going to say that for me, I stared at my guitar on a wall in a sweet guitar shop for about a year. I knew that guitar was mine. It kind of spoke to me. I just had to figure out how to get it. (Kind of like Wayne's World) When I finally did get it, and after much hoping that someone else didn't buy it, it was bliss. People can be attached to their instruments. They're not just pieces of wood and metal. They are living things that need to be cared for and loved. Many people name them. For the record, my guitar is a '79 American Fender Strat. And his name is Black Jesus.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 12:58 AM on June 23, 2011


I'm actually more bugged by the idea of buying an instrument someone had to sell themselves because they had hit hard times than by the idea of buying a stolen instrument, although either one has bad kharma all over it.

if no one bought used guitars because they didn't want the "bad karma" of buying one that had been sold in hard times, how would people experiencing hard times be able to get money for their guitars?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:19 AM on June 23, 2011


This is my guitar. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My guitar is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My guitar, without me, is useless. Without my guitar, I am useless. I must play my guitar true. I must play louder than my bassist who is trying to drown me out. I must solo before he solos.

My guitar and myself know that what counts in this session is not the notes we play, the noise from our distortion pedal, nor the smoke we inhale. We know that it is the rock that counts.

My guitar is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its headstock and its bridge.

I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my guitar clean and ready. We will become part of each other.

Before God, I swear this creed. My guitar and myself are the defenders of music. We are the masters of rock. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is mine and there is no music but rock!
posted by malocchio at 8:32 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I hope the asshole who took the guitar returns it unscathed.

I'd like to see the asshole scathed.

"Please bring it back, no questions asked. But I might go Pete Townshend on your sorry ass."
posted by kgasmart at 12:20 PM on June 23, 2011


I've got a few cheap guitars and one nice one. I'm sure I wouldn't know the difference between various iterations of the same model, as I haven't been playing long, but I hope this guy gets his guitar back.

I do wonder why some musicians in this thread seem to have so much invested in the idea that no one can tell the difference between different guitars of the same model. Maybe I'm misreading this, but couldn't it be that other people have different experiences than you? Chuck Berry doesn't seem to care what guitar he plays? Cool. Neil Young has done almost all of his recording on the same guitar? Also cool, I think. Live and let live.
posted by Nabubrush at 7:59 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Last year, my recumbent bike was stolen. It had been my primary vehicle for about 15 years, the first half of which I was carless (I acquired joint custody of a car in a marriage.)

I personally replaced most every replaceable part on it over the years. Tires, cables, chain, and brake pads, of course, but also the bottom bracket, one of the gear shifters, the pedals, and probably other bits that are slipping my mind. I'd sweated on it a lot, and bled on it a little.

My condolences go out to this guy.
posted by Zed at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2011


if no one bought used guitars because they didn't want the "bad karma" of buying one that had been sold in hard times, how would people experiencing hard times be able to get money for their guitars?

I specifically meant pawn shop instruments, where the used/stolen question is often murky. Pawning your guitar is a desperate last ditch solution. You always get a shitty price. And someone will always buy it. This is just personal for me. A used guitar from a reputable dealer or an individual who is clearly a fellow musician who clearly has owned the instrument is fine. I've bought many.

I wasn't saying "fuck this guy," by the way. I said I could relate to his pain! If someone took my P-bass or my black Tele slimline or my early 70s Washburn D-28 (an Illinois-made copy of a Martin, but actually sweeter to play and sweeter toned than any Martin D-28 I've ever played, and that's many, many Martins, including one I owned for several years), both of which I have owned since I was a teenager and played on countless gigs and recording sessions, I'd be heartbroken too. I might even post a rant on craigslist. Because there is no way either of those instruments could be worth to someone else what they are worth to me (the P-bass would get good money; the Washburn is a quiet little gem of no real monetary value, but we all know those guitars that exceed their monetary value by an order of magnitude... I once had someone offer me a sweet 00-18 in exchange for the Washburn after he played it at a recording session and realized what a fine instrument it was. The Martin was worth 5 or 6 times what the Washburn was, objectively, but I could not bring myself to part with it. And he was disappointed too. That's how good that Washburn plays.)

I'm just saying there's a line between grieving a lost tool of great value and acting like someone kidnapped a child (for example, summoning violence down upon the thief, not that I wouldn't be tempted to pop someone found playing one of my guitars illicitly). In the end, it's a thing. But a very meaningful thing.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:29 AM on June 25, 2011


Also, just practically, it is good practice to a) photograph all your guitars, including distinctive blemishes; b) record all the serial numbers, repair history, etc. (can help ID an instrument later); c) secretly mark the instrument somewhere hidden -- under a pickup, inside the electronics compartment -- with your name and tel. number, ideally permanently engraved; d) buy insurance and update it to reflect the actual replacement cost of your instrument; e) never, ever let the fucking thing out of your sight if possible, or else lock it up real good (duh).
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:33 AM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Every guitar is replaceable. It's a thing. A mass produced thing.

I play two guitars. The first (solidbody) was built in a shop that no longer exists, by two luthiers: One has since quit building guitars, and the other has since become a big name and raised his prices considerably. The second (archtop) was built by a luthier who has a long waiting list and can choose to be selective about which commissions he takes.

Not all guitars are mass-produced, or replaceable.
posted by cribcage at 7:42 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I realize that people are enormously attached to their instruments, and I get it, but I don't "get" it.

Well for my part, I don't get how people don't get this, especially musicians. You don't even need to get sentimental about it. Musicians rely on fine motor skills to make stuff happen, and subtle differences in the action of an instrument can make a huge difference in sound. Especially if you've spent many years forging a connection to a particular instrument and all of a sudden it's gone and all those muscle memory things are now out of whack.

Every instrument is unique. Sure, you can still play another instrument and make it sound good, but the artist most certainly can tell the difference. It's not a coincidence that so many high-level musicians have what you might uncharitably call a "fetishistic" relationship to their instrument (Glenn Gould's CD318 being just one of many, many possible examples).
posted by speicus at 12:58 PM on June 29, 2011


Oh ferchrissake. Glenn Gould wouldn't play unless he had the one *chair* he liked. Now you can buy a perfect replica of his chair, so you can personally experience what Glenn Gould's ass felt like when he played.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:38 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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