Bluegrass Music Musical Instruments

Yes, It Is Time To Sell Some Music Stuff

Yes, I have to face the facts. In my 20s, 30s, and even into my 40s, I was obsessed with making music. Thus, my house was full of musical instruments and recording equipment. At one time, I had about 30 guitars and basses, along with a few mandolins, a banjo, and a dobro. The fiddle came later, after the guitar count went down by way of selling, trading, and theft.

Look, I’m 57 now, a diabetic, overweight, a bit arthritic, and my knees aren’t in the best of shape. I don’t see myself hitting the stage of some dive bar banging my Stratocaster through my Twin Reverb amp playing with others who are in the same questionable shape, to an audience that would rather drink than listen to us. While my listening tastes have not changed much over the past 40 years, my playing tastes have dwindled considerably.

It hit me a few days ago. My blog last week talked about the baritone guitar that I built from an old Fender Squier Telecaster. I pulled the guitar out of the closet and plucked around on it for a few minutes. I realized that I am never going to play it again other than what I was doing then and there. Why should I have this thing gather even more dust when I’m now trying to clean out my house for sale as well as take a load off of my mind?

I looked around the house at other equipment that I have. Lots of vintage recording equipment. I’ll never use it again, as I have no desire to be in a rock band nor record one. Everyone is going digital anyway, and I use a small digital 4-track for my demos. At the time I bought it, the Tascam 238 8-track Syncaset was the go-to recorder for making decent band demos. I also have a Fostex 12-channel mixer and patch cords galore. Maybe someone out the is interested in that vintage stuff.

A couple of amplifiers that I have are worth something. The already-mentioned Fender Twin Reverb from the mid-70s is still sought after by guitar tone freaks, as well as a super-vintage Ampeg V4 head. I got them both at reasonable prices, so I should be able to make some money getting rid of them.

I also have a few old Kustom roll-n-tuck amps and speaker cabinets from the late 60s. I was totally into the Kustom stuff years ago. I sold a few things off, but it’s time to rid myself of the rest.

I’ve been only playing bluegrass these past few years, and even then, mostly songwriting. I ‘ve jammed a few times with others, but I have lost interest in being in an actual bluegrass band. As a songwriter, I am interested in hearing my work performed. However, most bluegrass musicians tend to want to just play the same 20 standard songs.

I have a lot of acoustic instruments, especially guitars. I have bought a few of them to do lutherie work on, and will probably sell them off much later in time. I do want to keep some PA equipment, at least a small set-up and some microphones, just in case I get called to do a sound job or plan to do a show. And I have always been and still am a vintage microphone collector, so the ones that I have will be sticking around for a while.

It will take some time to sort through the stuff, and it will be hard parting with some of it, but it is time for this to happen. I may do a spring garage sale, who knows? I do know that it is a crap shoot running ads on Craigslist. I am currently selling a student violin that I repaired for $70, and one person offered me $20. Heck, I invested more than that in repair parts! I have had some good luck with CL, but also some idiots wasting my time (the same violin, one woman wanted to buy it for her kid, and as I was driving in the snow to meet up with her, she texted me to say she changed her mind).

I’ll have to self-appraise the stuff before I sell it, and that will take time as well. If you do check out the Detroit Craigslist site and see someone selling in the “Dearborn/Hamtramck” area, most likely it is me. Hey, if you are interested, contact me and perhaps we can work something out. I’m actually selling a lot of non-musical stuff as well.

Chew on it and comment.

Music Industry

More on Peavey and the Music Business

I’m not a television watcher. Other than the news occasionally, Jeopardy, and a few shows on the History Channel, I rarely have the thing on. I would rather read or practice one of my musical instruments.

So it came as a surprise to me when, doing some research on Peavey guitars (see last week’s blog), I came upon some information on the company that had me taken aback. It seems that the company was highlighted on an episode of the reality show Undercover Boss a few years ago, and what is worse, had some bad fallout prior to the finished production airing on TV.

It seems that the COO of the company (Courtland Gray) went undercover at Peavey Electronics to see what was happening with quality control. During the show, Gray learned that one employee had numerous bills to pay due to cutbacks, and another was turning in his two-week notice for better employment. At the end, Gray was able to give the first some financial assistance, and convince the second to stay with Peavey. Happy ending?

Not really. After the filming but before the airing, Peavey announced that it would be closing the factory that these two employees worked at, screwing them and others royally. The second employee got transferred to another facility, but he was pissed to say the least. The first lost her job entirely. Now this was all back in 2014. I can only hope that the both of them found better opportunities. A number of YouTube channels are showing this episode, so just Google “Peavey Undercover Boss.” Here is Casino Guitars talking about the situation:

Peavey was not alone during the past decade of music instrument soap opera drama. In 2018, Gibson (home of the Les Paul guitar and Bill Monroe’s F5 mandolin) filed for bankruptcy protection. The company has proceeded on, but news like that does not just get pushed under the rug.

So many companies have gone overseas for operations to save costs, with varying amounts of success (Fender = big rewards!, Peavey = way too late for the bus). Also, think about the music stores that have had varying amounts of success. Mars went belly up (again, see my previous blog on that company), Guitar Center keeps surviving despite multiple bankruptcies and legal woes, yet Sweetwater proved to be one of the most successful businesses out there, not just of music businesses, but of ALL businesses, during this last year with the pandemic.

With the interest in learning musical instruments while stuck at home this past year, one can see that an online music store would be successful. The downside was that in-store shopping was temporarily halted, and many stores, especially independents, are starving or closed altogether. As I stated in last week’s blog, prices for used equipment has also skyrocketed, I guess due to a renewed interest in musical instruments.

As for Peavey and its history, it makes me sad. Hartley Peavey started this company to bring affordable, durable products into the hands of blue-collar musicians. Between overseas competition, a drop in quality, and a change in the taste of musicians, it has become nearly a joke of what it once was. I still swear by those old bass guitars and the durable amps, but I know of so many people who look down on that equipment as lame.

What about the rise in learning a musical instrument? It is great to see, but will it last long-term? Everyone is stuck in the house, and after getting burned out on TV and video games, some people want to be educated, even if it means learning a guitar or some other instrument. Heck, I am sure that other hobbies are booming just as much. But what about a year from now, when it is expected that there will be a full return to going out, attending shows and restaurants, and not having to be forced to stay at home? I do see a small benefit for those of us who are passionate about the music. There will be a lot of guitars, basses, banjos, mandolins, fiddles, and keyboards for sale on the cheap.

Chew on it and comment.