Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Guyatone Bass 1966
Here's a really interesting one...it's a 1966 Guyatone Bass and I have no idea what model it is. But it's wacky and weird and really cool all at the same time. I found this for a whopping $40 at the Oceanside Swap Meet and left the parking lot feeling like the cat that ate the canary. Going to swap meets and garage sales and thrift stores hoping to find a gem is a LOT more about perseverance than anything else. I have been lucky enough to find some really cool items at these places, but more often than not I come home empty handed. But on those rare occasions that you do score big, you just can't help but feel like it's all worthwhile.
When I got this bass home I started trying to figure out what it was. There was no logo on the headstock, though later I noticed that there is the very faint mark left of a large "G" which can be found on old Guyatones. There are a lot of similar instruments to the Guyatones (though not this one) with a large "K" for Kent that look like the same art department made the logos. There was a sticker on the back of the dong-shaped headstock that just said, "Electric Bass No. 99-9920." It was actually in very good condition except for one area on the side that had lost a fair amount of finish. Otherwise it seemed good (more on that later). I took a bunch of photos and sent them to Mike Robinson over at My Rare Guitars. Mike is also the creative genius behind Eastwood Guitars and just happens to be an all-around nice guy. Mike knows a lot about these weird old guitars and has a lot of them for sale...be sure to click the first link and check out his archives of '60s and '70s oddballs.
Mike wrote back to inform me that from the looks of the inlays on the neck, and from his past experience with another similar instrument, he thought it was a Guyatone. It was only at that point that I recognized the faint outline of the G logo and confirmed that Mike was dead on. With this new knowledge at hand, I snapped a few more photos of the weird headstock, the odd bridge with actual cotton-like padding and a large screw holding things in place, and I listed it on eBay.
This thing was heavy, awkward to play, and although it was a great find, it was never something I was seriously going to keep for long. It was really more of a money maker.
To cut to the chase, the bass sold for a couple of hundred bucks (or somewhere in there...I don't remember exactly) and I shipped it out. Everything seemed to be in order. After about a week I got a not very nice email from the guy that bought it. He was really pissed off that "I had ripped him off...the neck was warped and bowed and the instrument was useless." I was really taken aback. I know a little something about guitars, but I would never claim to be anything close to a guitar tech or an expert of any kind. However I really think I would have noticed a warped and twisted neck. Since the bass was long gone and I couldn't inspect it myself, I just had to take the guy's word for it that I had made a colossal mistake and sold a faulty instrument. I don't remember the exact details, but I think we came to an agreement about how much I needed to refund him to make it worthwhile for him to try to get it fixed. Hopefully he ended up being happy about it...I really don't want anyone feeling ripped off from an eBay transaction. I know how I have felt about certain guitars that didn't meet my expectations.
Now to the question I ask myself about each and every instrument...would I want it back. I'll keep it short: no! Hell no, in fact. Heavy, uncomfortable, not great sounding, difficult to change strings, penis shaped headstock...need I go on? I think not.