Sometimes you get what you pay for. And sometimes you get even luckier. I saw this guitar advertised on Craig’s List for $100. I had heard that George Gruhn, quite possibly the leading expert on guitars in the world, had done a few deals over the years to design guitars for various companies including Guild and Hohner. Hohner is known for their lower end guitars and I was a little skeptical upon seeing the ad for this one. However, at the time I had decided I needed a “campfire guitar” as I had been lucky enough to acquire some really nice acoustics, but that left me with the dilemma of what to take over to someone’s house for a cookout or to the beach or camping. Not gonna take the brazilian Franks to the Indian Princesses camp out.
I emailed the person selling the guitar and then never heard anything back. My theory about Craig’s List is that the flakiest people on the planet sell their stuff on there. They don’t answer emails, they flake on appointments with no warning. It’s usually a disaster. Literally about a month later I got an email from a girl saying she had just checked her email and wanted to know if I still wanted the guitar. Really? You listed something on Craig’s List for sale and then didn’t check email for a month? I was wary but I made an appointment to go check out the guitar. It was quite a hike to get there and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I went up to the door and rang the doorbell. I was expecting a girl and what I hear next sounded like a drunk old dude. “WHOOIZIT?” Uh, the guy who is here to see the guitar? “The guitar?” Yep, the guitar. “Yer here to see the guitar? YES, THE GUITAR. “okaycomeonin.”
He points me in the direction of the guitar and explains that his 16-year old daughter owns it, but she went to dinner. Of course she did. She made an appointment and then she went to dinner. I check out the guitar while step-dad explains that he works on a boat and is gone for months at a time. He looks like he’s been drinking for months at a time. The guitar seems nice...very simple but nicely made. And it’s in PERFECT condition. I comment on this and he said that she bought the guitar four years ago and then put it in the closet and never played it. An actual closet classic. I tell him I’ll take it and he says, “Okay, that’s $200!” I said no, it was only $100. He busts out with a huge “I’M JUST FUCKIN’ WITH YA!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA.” Holy shit, just get me out of here.
I give him the $100 and hope to just get out the door. He continues to ramble about what a good deal I just got as I politely close the screen door behind myself. I get home and realize that I did just get a smokin’ deal. I hung on to the guitar for a couple of months and kept pulling it out and playing it a little. A really nice guitar, especially for a C-note. In fact, it was such a sweet little guitar that I couldn’t bring myself to take it to a campfire! I made the decision that someone else should own this guitar that will appreciate it and take care of it. I post it back on Craig’s List for $200, which is still a good deal, but also makes me a little profit. A guy (and his girlfriend) answers my ad, comes to my office to pick it up, and we started talking. His girlfriend looks REALLY familiar, but she’s 20 and I’m 47 and they live 50 miles away...surely I don’t know her. He asks what kind of music I play and, when I mention my band’s name, his girlfriend’s eyes light up. She says “I’ve seen you play before...more than once!” Turns out she works with one of our singers, and to make a long story short, ended up singing in her wedding a couple of months later accompanied by her boyfriend on the Gruhn Hohner guitar. At the wedding he told me that he actually prefers the Gruhn to his $2000 Taylor.