Bill Collings Tribute AT 16

After Bill Collings’ passing last July, we wanted to build an instrument to pay tribute to him and to show the world that we would be continuing on the trail that he’d blazed for us over many years. One of the most rare and coveted instruments we offer is a carved acoustic archtop guitar, which Bill Collings built personally over much of his career. Whenever he completed one of these impeccable instruments, it was clear that he had accomplished a craftsman’s dream; a perfect union of exquisite lines, colors, and proportions, equally inspiring to play or simply behold.

I’ve owned three Collings guitars and I still have two of them: one acoustic and one jazz. Exceptional craftsmanship and amazing tone.

Hard to believe that he is gone. Good to see his team still creating such terrific instruments like the AT 16.

Gibson Goes Bankrupt

This was my business card way, way back in time. Telephone number and address is long gone. I elected to use my Gibson Les Paul as part of my calling card. My 1976 Les Paul was my first good electric guitar. Purchased over 40 years ago now. A Les Paul was a player’s guitar.

The brand really meant something to me back then. And perhaps it might mean something again in the future.

Things do need to change at Gibson. My observation from a post I had written about Gibson going down back in February:

Other than being a financial basket case and making shoddy guitars with a nasty CEO and disengaged employees, everything else is going well at Gibson.

From Bloomberg’s release on Gibson filing for bankruptcy:

Juszkiewicz, who has found himself at odds with creditors in recent months, will continue with the company upon emergence from bankruptcy “to facilitate a smooth transition,” according to the agreement. Court papers call for a one-year consulting deal and compensation package for Juszkiewicz. A representative for the company didn’t respond to questions about whether Juszkiewicz will remain as CEO or in a separate role.

Getting rid of Juszkiewicz would be a great start in trying to restore the Gibson brand.

More Fun Selling Stuff On Reverb

This beautiful piece went up for sale on Reverb. I received an offer which was really close to what I wanted to receive for the unit and so I accepted the offer. Sometimes when the offer price is close enough, I don’t counter. It all depends.

The very next evening the buyer backed out.

As you can tell from my reply, I wasn’t too happy about the buyer’s request. This from the Reverb site:

Am I required to make a purchase if my offer is accepted?

Yes, once your offer is accepted, or you accept a seller’s counteroffer, the listing will be considered purchased by you. You’ll get an email notification as well as an “Unpaid Order” notification in the upper right hand corner of Reverb. You’ll then be able to check out and pay via the orders page in the “Buying” section of your Reverb account.

Abandoning orders after your offer is accepted creates extremely frustrating experiences for sellers, so Reverb frowns upon it strongly. Buyers with multiple abandoned orders are subject to negative feedback or account suspension. Please only make an offer on an item if you intend on following through with your purchase.

Okay. Life moves on. I was annoyed but the equipment is top flight and I was confident that another buyer would come along.

And sure enough, one did. Another Reverb user jumped on the re-listed item literally within a few hours of me cancelling the first order.

A much lower offer so I countered. And this buyer agreed to a price that was, oddly enough, the exact same price as the first buyer.

So, I jumped over to my order list. This is what I found:

It was the exact same name and address for both orders — I redacted most of it for obvious reasons. Same price, same address, same name.

So I contacted Reverb support.

(07:05:53 PM) Richard Cleaver: I have had two orders for a Mic Pre that I am selling. One asked to cancel the listing. Then I received a second offer shortly after the cancellation which was much lower than the first offer. I countered and the buyer came back with a price that was the same as the first offer. On my order summary, I have the order number 3503733 that was cancelled and the same name and address is also showing on the pending order 3515995 even though the offer came through a different name. The only difference between the two orders is the phone number. Should I be concerned?
(07:05:59 PM) *** Nate J. joined the chat ***
(07:06:33 PM) Nate J.: Hey Nate J with Reverb here
(07:06:42 PM) Nate J.: Let me take a look at the buyer and I’ll let you know
(07:06:52 PM) Richard Cleaver: Thank you!
(07:07:52 PM) Nate J.: So they put in another offer on this?
(07:08:25 PM) Richard Cleaver: It looks that way to me. However the second offer came from a different user name
(07:09:34 PM) Nate J.: Yeah looks like that is the case. I see that the buyer has successfully purchased in the past with their previous account and doesn’t have any issues in the past.
(07:13:49 PM) Richard Cleaver: Ok. The first offer came from someone named —- and he cancelled because he didn’t want to have the item shipped from Canada. The second offer came from — ——– however both userids are showing the same address hence my concern. I’ll wait to see if payment clears before acting further. Just odd to me that someone would use a different name to make the second offer…
(07:13:50 PM) Nate J.: It definitely isn’t a normal occurrence on the site so I fully understand the apprehension. Our security team will verify that their payment is good and that their information matches up, including matching their phone number to them.

The payment did come through fine and I shipped the unit out to the buyer. Obviously the buyer really wanted the unit and perhaps had second thoughts about cancelling the order or tried to come in with a lower amount thinking that I might go down further in price.

Love using Reverb and experiences like this one add some drama to what is ordinarily a fairly straightforward task of buying and selling gear.

Selling Stuff On Reverb With Canada Post

I’ve generally had good experiences using Canada Post for shipping gear that I have sold on Reverb. But every once in a while, something happens and I have to deal with the inability of a courier to meet a delivery standard.

In this case, it was the sale of this pedal, the Hotcake:

 

Great overdrive for a Vox style amp. Which is weird for me because I don’t play through Vox style amps. What was I thinking?

So many overdrives, so little time.

Anyway, I sold the pedal to a really nice person who lived in a rural area of Quebec. The delivery standard was not met by Canada Post and the buyer became a bit concerned and asked me to intervene.

Here was the discussion:

 

And it was completely out of my hands. I contacted Canada Post a couple of times and I was told, in effect, that the package will get there when the package gets there. One of the decisions a seller makes when using Reverb is how much to pay for shipping. Faster, guaranteed delivery costs more. And for a rural location, it can cost a lot more. The buyer is really not interested in paying any more than necessary to ship a package, especially when it is something as low cost as a guitar pedal. But when a standard gets set by the courier, 4 working days in this case, it can be quite frustrating when a package sits for almost another week without any change in status.

The pedal did finally make its way to the buyer.

Better late than never.

Selling Stuff On Reverb From Canada

Another guitar, another day selling stuff on Reverb.

I have sold a lot of gear on Reverb and for the most part, the experiences have been fine. Some encounters are a tad unusual and humorous. Like this one.

I had offered a Fender Select Tele for sale. Beautiful instrument. Very lightly used. This was one of the shots I had taken of the instrument for the listing:

 

I suppose I need to stop shooting the gear like this. I had to respond to questions asking me for images of the actual instrument. This was, indeed, a picture of the actual instrument and not a stock photo. Maybe I should just use my iPhone and available indoor lighting.

Most of the buyers are from the United States and they are not always aware that Canada is a sovereign country. Canada is considered to be another state, at least as far as things like border control and customs protocols.

Here is the exchange:

 

The guitar shipment to the buyer was being processed by U.S. Customs, not Canada Customs. And they do that for all incoming shipments that cross the border. Primarily to ensure appropriate duties and taxes are levied as well as preventing the entry of prohibited items. All very routine. True of anything that comes into Canada as well.

I’m not sure why UPS did not just inform the buyer that yes, the shipment is on hold pending customs clearance, but it will proceed once cleared. The buyer seemed completely shocked: “Said they have no control of it !!! Don’t know what to do !!!”

I had a bit of chuckle. So many things outside of our control and often we tend to panic when things don’t go our way. He received his beautiful new guitar in due course. Unfortunately it was weather delayed in transit after it had cleared customs so it took a bit longer than normal for U.S. bound shipments from Canada. But it got there nonetheless.

We have become accustomed to next day, or in some cases, same day delivery from services like Amazon. Crossing the border still takes time. Better now than it was but still time consuming due to governments and borders.

I now make a point of letting a U.S. buyer know that the item will have to clear customs and it may take a few days.

Not to say that I haven’t had similar challenges in terms of delays in shipments to Canadians. Another interesting encounter on Reverb to come.

Britain Banned Guitars

 

From the end of World War II until 1959, there was hardly an American electric guitar to be found in Britain. I had always wondered why so many European bands played guitars like the Hofner Club 50 pictured below.

From Reverb:

Following the end of World War II, the British Board of Trade controlled imports to try to improve the UK’s balance of payments, a politician’s term that means the wealth of the country measured by comparing incoming and outgoing costs. The government’s main objective was to secure what they saw as necessary savings in the UK’s overseas spending, in order to reduce the growing dollar deficit.

The broader restrictions of the early ‘50s applied primarily to food and drink imports, but among the restricted manufactured goods were musical items, namely gramophone records, harmonicas and their parts, musical boxes and their movements, stringed instruments (including guitars), wind instruments (not including organs), and some organ parts.

I guess trade wars come and trade wars go.

Selling Stuff On Reverb

Retirement.

Coming up soon now. Just a tad over three months.

Lorraine and I did a lot of downsizing when we sold our house. And part of the downsizing required me to thin the herd. The herd of guitar and recording gear.

I have sold a lot of equipment since we downsized. And I have more to sell.

The process has been interesting to say the least. Being a bit of an avid photographer, I took the time and effort to create some wonderful shots of the instruments I was selling, like the red Strat pictured above.

Here is what one of the shots looked like from my listing on Reverb:

Too good a shot it seems. I had potential buyers ask me if this was a stock photo. No. It is a photo of the actual guitar. Using some white paper and a few well placed studio lights can create a very cool product photo.

Reverb has been wonderful for the most part. With an increase in selling activity comes a slew of issues though. I’ve had at least a dozen or so “interesting” encounters. I’ll share a few of them over the next several days.

Let’s start with the disappearing studio monitors shall we?

The initial offer came in with a request to pick up the monitors. My preference is to use Reverb end-to-end including shipping. That way both the buyer and the seller are protected. I’m also a little wary of strangers coming from several hours away to pick up a product. Are they really serious or just kicking the tires? Would they do something a bit odd or try to renegotiate the deal?

Not worth the hassle. So I offered to waive the shipping charges as part of the deal.

Offer accepted.

Above a certain price point I ship gear with a signature required to ensure proof of delivery.

You just never know when that might come in handy.

Here were the messages from that particular transaction:

You bet I contacted Reverb support at this point in the exchange.

Perhaps it was possible that a courier, taking two very large boxes containing a set of expensive studio monitors, went to the address in question and left it with someone that did not live there. Maybe someone was just walking near the address and was being kind. “I’ll take those two large packages that weigh about 100 pounds. No, I don’t live at that address but I know the guy really, really well. Honest. And, sure thing, I’ll sign for them. No problem.”

What likely happened? The courier went to the door, rang the bell, the door opened, and someone signed for the speakers. They were delivered to the address.

I passed the entire exchange over to the Reverb team. I never heard back from the buyer so I don’t know whether he ever got the speakers that someone at his address signed for that day.

What I do know is that Reverb affords a lot of protection when selling something online. And, if it is expensive enough, I spend the extra money to get proof of delivery.

You never know when someone might try to take advantage.

Of course, it could all have been just a case of mistaken delivery.

Another New Guitar Pedal

At first, I thought that this was just another April Fools joke. But the website looks legit even if the concept seems a bit unusual.

The Plasma Pedal. As noted on their website:

The PLASMA PEDAL is a revolutionary approach within the realm of overdrive and distortion, as it is a new and previously unexplored method of achieving signal clipping. Instead of using LED circuits, transistors or vacuum tubes to produce overdrive, the PLASMA PEDAL transforms your instrument’s live signal into a series of continuous high-voltage discharges within a xenon-filled tube.

In essence – you are playing a bolt of electricity, and the electrical discharges produced by your instrument are instantly converted back into an analog audio signal, producing a quick, responsive, and extremely heavy distortion with TONS of unique character!

Here is their promo video: