Category: Random thoughts

I’ve said it before…..

I know I’ve said this before…but I think I’m done playing out and collecting guitars. I decided to get my finances in order…or at least in a better state so I’ve stopped buying guitars and actually sold off a few and paid off some credit cards. I think being in a band that has to travel 2 hours to a gig really turned me off to playing out. Plus we never got to practice and our performances suffered because of it. Not having an adequate monitoring set up hurt us too. There were gigs when I sounded great when I sang…and other nights I had no idea if I was on key or not (I’m sure I wasn’t!!).
I’d like to say it was a fun ride…but it really wasn’t. So I’ll go back to messing around with home recording for my own entertainment and that will be that.


Craigslist police

I put an ad on Craigslist trying to sell my triple pickup B.C. Rich Mockingbird. My local Craigslist has what we like to call “The Craigslist police”. If they see you asking too much for a guitar they’ll post comments harrassing you. Sometimes they do good…like if someone is trying to sell a fake brand name axe, they’ll call them on it. So…I post my ad and I say the guitar is brand new. Which basically it is. Some asshat emails me and rips me a new one saying that the guiatr isn’t brand new because I own it therefore it’s used. He calls me an asshole who’s trying to rip people off. Technically he’s right….but he didn’t have to be a dick. So I sarcastically wrote back that I didn’t want to be an asshole so I’ll change the ad. Another guy says he can get the same guitar at Guitar Center for a similar price and offers me $200 less than I’m asking. I send him a link to the Musician’s friend ad where they’re asking $300 more than I’m asking.
Then I get the email I’m waiting for. Some guy wants to trade his Fender Strat for my Mockingbird. The strat is exactly what I’m looking for. We do the trade and I’m happy. But I had one more thing to do. I got to email those jagoffs back and tell them that the guitar sold despite their emails.

strat 2

I collect stuff. As you can tell by this blog I collect guitars. But I’ve been known to collect diecast cars, albums, coins and a whole array of other stuff. About 4 years ago I noticed the price of silver going up and the American Silver Eagle coin I bought for $24 was now worth nearly $60! I thought “What a great idea. Collect coins and make some money!” So I started buying up ASEs. Both uncirculated and proofs.I watched as the price of silver went up and was delighted at my decision. But then the economy started to turn around. Here’s how it works. When the economy is bad people invest in precious metals like silver and gold. This drives up the price. If the economy is good people tend to not invest in precious metals and the price drops. I’d check the silver price daily and each day it would drop. Maybe a few cents…maybe over a dollar. I got rid of my silver and lost a couple of bucks. But it could’ve been worse. My girlfriend wants to sell some of her mom’s old silver coins, quarters and dimes and silver dollars. I told her I’d buy them. I still like coins. I told her I’d buy them for the melt value and I was shocked to see that silver is now $14.90 and ounce! Man am I glad I dumped my silver collection when I did!

Buying and selling online

I’ve bought and sold a lot of stuff online. Usually with a great deal of success. Selling on eBay or Craigslist is really hit or miss. I’d have a guitar up for auction for weeks on eBay. No bids. I’d let the auction expire and wait a week or two. Put the same guitar up again and within hours I had a bidding war. The same with Craigslist. I can put a guitar on and renew the ad for weeks. Take it of for a few days and put it back and BAM! I’m getting emails left and right. I check out Craigslist every day and have to laugh. I sold a guitar to a guy and within a week it was back on Craigslist. He was asking $50 more than I sold it to him for. I laughed because I tried selling that guitar on Craigslist for a few months before he bought it. A week went by and he relisted it…same asking price. Another week goes by and now he drops the price by $25. Another week goes by and he drops it another $25. The guitar disappeared from Craigslist after that so maybe he sold it. I ‘m amazed at the thought process of some people. There’s one guy who’s trying to sell an Epiphone Slash model Les Paul. He was asking $800. I thought that was high but when I did some research I found that that was a fair price. But people started dogging him out because he’d relist the guitar EVERY day. That started 3 months ago. He’s down to listing the guitar once a week now, and he’s dropped the price to $700. But I doubt he’ll sell it. People go on Craigslist for a bargain.

I’m sure if I were 18 or 19 I’d have fun playing in a rock and roll band. But I’m 48. I’m sure if I were 18 I wouldn’t mind lugging around equipment and getting shafted on my pay because I’d be having fun and probably would be getting laid. But I’m 48. My guitarist lives in Johnstown and has been in a band out there for years. So he has contacts and can get us gigs. My drummer grew up in Cambria county and he has contacts there. I live in Pittsburgh. At 48 years old I’m just not too keen on driving 2 hours one way to a gig. Then getting there and having the bar owner screw us out of the agreed pay. There’s been times where I’ve basically paid to play somewhere because of gas money and food and parking. Seriously if my band mates were to call me and say “We’re done” I wouldn’t cry. I’d sell my shit and party! Don’t get me wrong. Once the drive and the load in is complete and the set up is done and we start playing, I have fun. But then we have to tear down and drive home at 1am. Again maybe if I was 18 I could handle it. But fuck…I’m 48! Oh…and let’s not talk about how I feel the next day! Haha! Here’s a picture of us playing the motorcycle rally in Johnstown. We had a sucky time on the bill and most of the people watching us were way behind the barracades.10462585_1527088387519796_2407638409425719147_n

As you know I love cruising Craigslist. There’s a guy who has been posting an Epiphone Les Paul for the last 5 months. It’s a Slash edition and I guess it’s a limited production guitar. The dude is asking $875. I’m sorry but I’m not paying $875 for an Epiphone. I did some checking and the guitars are going for that price…but seriously. I mean paying a huge amount for a guitar will not make you play better. It is true that a $500 guitar will sound and play better than a $50 one, but I no longer get why people buy $3200 guitars. I’ll be the first to admit that I once collected high end guitars. But I lost a shit load of money doing that. Now I buy decent Epiphone models for a fraction of the cost of Gibsons and I probably use them more. So you can keep your Artist tribute guitars. You can keep your factory reliced guitars. You can keep your reissue guitars. Just give me a decent axe and a decent amp and I’ll be happy.
The other thing that I roll my eyes about is the guitars with all this gingerbread on them. Epiphone just released a Les Paul with a USB port on it. It also has mono and stereo jacks. Really? Asking price is $1250. Will all that stuff make me play better? No. I’ll stick with my little $350 Les Pauls thankyou.

We had our first gig in 6 weeks over the weekend. I was chomping at the bit! The night we were playing coincided with a Pittsburgh Penguin playoff game. Being a Pittsburgher I understood when the bar owner told us we couldn’t power anything up until the game was over. In the first period The Pens were up 3-1. We figured we’d go on around 9:30ish. Then the game was tied. Lovely. Overtime. The bar owner called my drummer and said “Since the game is going into overtime and there’s hardly anyone at the bar I want to give you only $200 rather than the agreed on $400”. We talked him into letting us go on after the game and play it by ear. First overtime ends…still tied. Going into second overtime. We didn’t go on until after 11:00. We played 2 sets and the owner gave us $300. Like AC/DC said “It’s a long way to the top if ya wanna rock and roll.” I did get to use my new P-Bass and my new Rumble 350 bass amp. NICE!
Oh…and the Penquins lost in double overtime!

So I’m now in an 80’s band. We play pop, rock and alternative tunes from the 80’s. We played our 10th gig last night and I have to say every show has had their Spinal Tap moments. The very first show our PA gave us fits. One speaker wouldn’t work and we ended up using a monitor as our PA. Forming a band in the winter is a drag. We’d drive 2 hours to a gig in a snow storm and set up just to have the bar owner say “Look…no one’s coming out tonight. You guys might as well pack up and head home.” Some have been cool and offered us gas money and some have been dicks and let us leave without so much as saying “Thanks for coming”. We’ve had a few shows where people have gotten up and danced. That really gives us inspiration. We tend to play and sing better too. Last night we played to an empty room. No one camme into the VFW’s event room. They all stayed in the bar area watching the hockey game. Our drummer was depressed. I laughed and said “Dude…we just got paid to practice our new songs”. It seems to be a new trend that no one wants to come out to see live bands anymore. Oh well. I’ll ride the train for as long as it goes.

I’m back

A few weeks back I got an email from an old girlfriend. She said her new boyfriend was wondering if I’d like to play bass in his band. At first I was going to say no. But I really couldn’t think of any reason I shouldn’t. So now I’m getting my chops together on bass. I’ve also switched to Epiphone Les Pauls. I’ll post some pics later.

And so it ends

I’m sitting here and realized I haven’t picked up my guitar in months. I only have one left. I’ve sold off the other guitars and amps. I think the thing that killed my interest in playing music was when my friend Larry asked me to sit in and play guitar with his Christian band. I’m not religious but I figured I’d sit in until he found a replacement. Larry’s constant frustration with not getting everything perfect began to tear the band apart. We did play one gig and the fact we only practiced once a week showed in our performance. It was filled with mistakes. Not long after our singer quit, quickly followed by the drummer. larry had a medical set back and I saw my chance to end my participation in the band. Since then I haven’t had any desire to play. Like I said I’ve sold my guitars and amps. So here ends my blog…and my guitar collecting. Bye!