Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fender Telecaster - Inca Silver

I used to be in a band called how tricky we were with the "dot" between the two words, absolutely insuring that no promoter would ever spell it correctly? We rented a rehearsal space at one of those big rehearsal complexes and in the lobby area there was a small guitar shop. How convenient! The guy always had some really cool stuff for sale and rumor had it that his partner in the shop was the guitar tech for Stone Temple Pilots. This seemed to be true because they used to rehearse at this complex back before they hit the big time.

One evening I was hanging out and wandered into the store. He had just put a 1966 (more on that later) Inca Silver Telecaster on the wall. I don't remember how much it was at the time...maybe $800 or $900, but it seemed like a really decent deal for a a custom color Tele, just one year into the whole CBS thing. I ended up buying the guitar and really loved it. It was my main guitar for a few years and it sounded fantastic.

Unfortunately, it was a casualty to my inability to keep my finances straight at the time and I had to sell it and downgrade Teles. I took it into a local shop to see what the guy would give me for it. If you are old enough to remember life before eBay and Craig's List, this was a painful process. Inevitably the shop owner would give you some super lame, lowball price for your guitar and you'd cry about it and possibly call him names. He'd say, "Well, you can always put an ad in the Pennysaver and try to sell it there." Then you'd realize that he was were screwed and you'd take his crap offer and slink out of the store.

Well, that's exactly what happened to me except that it gets worse.

Being that the guitar was actually a decent year and color and all that, he was pretty interested. He made his lowball offer, I cried, he made me an offer that included another guitar from him and some cash, and we said "deal." Then he said he'd better crack it open and double check the neck dates and confirm he was getting what I said it was. That's when we discovered that it wasn't a 1966 at all. It was a 1968 neck with a later body that wasn't an original paint job. Fortunately for me, the neck alone was still worth what I had paid for it a few years prior and I sheepishly walked out of the store with my new, lesser guitar and not nearly as much money as I was thinking I would have.

Final note to the story: A few years down the road, we found out that the guy who sold me the guitar originally had been caught in some sort of sting operation. He had been taking in people's guitars at another location for repairs and then fixing them and selling them at the rehearsal place under a different name. Rat bastard.

5-19-08 Update to the final note: I received this note from a reader from San Diego who knew of the guitar store in question. Here's what he adds:

I was reading your latest blog about the silver Tele today. That guy that had the shop down at Soundtrax [rehearsal studio] was in fact a guitar tech for Dean DeLeo. His name was Eric and he was a pretty flaky-sketchy guy and seemed to really like drugs; he blew his nose a lot. Nobody seemed to know his real last name but he went by Eric Christian. He always had old amps and cabinets and I remember a few guitars lying around, but not many. I had heard that Dean was part owner of the shop and its contents. However, I never had a problem with him and over the years he repaired my stuff several times; guitars, amp, pedals. He would even add mods to my wah pedals, all for really discounted prices and sometimes for free. One time I needed my Small Stone fixed and Dean, who happened to be there, offered to bring in some of his Small Stone pedals for parts. I thought that was pretty cool, a millionaire rock-star offering me parts if I needed them. He was a pretty down-to-earth guy. But I digress…. After Soundtrax closed down, Eric moved over to Jeff’s Guitars on Convoy, but that didn’t last too long. I don’t know what happened, but Jeff didn’t speak very highly of him after that.

I think a few months after that is when he opened up his own place on Adam’s Ave. It might have been called Adams Ave. Guitars? His prices went up, he was never around or was hard to get a hold of, and had weird people hanging out. There was just something different about him. He seemed more sketchy than usual; drugs probably. Sometimes you would go down and the place would just be closed for no reason. I took my guitar there once to be fixed and after that I stopped going. I didn’t like the vibe in there. I went by there a few years ago and saw that he had closed up. I’m guessing that’s because of that sting you mentioned.

Also: again I seem to have misplaced a few of my old guitar photos, so the photos of this guitar are not my actual old guitar, though it's pretty much the spittin' image of mine.

AWESOME UPDATE: I finally found a photo of this actual guitar. Here is a photo of my friend and Northern California legend Greg E. Noll playing the guitar. It's the only shot I can find. Man, it brings back memories.


Anonymous said...

Funny how some people's memory work, but swirl this around your thoughtless empty head and see if any of this sparks up that dim bulb of yours. I was interested in the same guitar but passed due to a quick peak under the hood AND I'm not a gullible dipshit. The speedfreak with the "runny nose" you bought the guitar from was Dave Cox, who screwed alot of people but ended up paying for it with prison time for grand larceny, and laundering, in connection with a pawn shop owner in P.B. (across from the Wherehouse Records). A short while later, Pete Manning (Soundtrax Owner), asked Eric if he'd be interested in setting up a little repair/string shop to help the needy musicians, when just after moving in, Eric was hired by STP to tour and record which is why he was often gone but, when in town (he and Dean) spent most of their time hangin' and helping out anyone who needed it, rarely charging but for parts. In fact, while out on tour he himself got robbed BIGTIME for over $25,000 worth of guitars by somebody on the inside which he never recovered. I only saw him here and there after that and know he tried another shop on Adams Av. and always offered me a beer whenever I stopped in. I can't speak for him (Eric), much more than that but will add, I HAVE been and it seems often still get burned by mostly all (that includes Repair Zone, that Jeff Schneider dude twice and others), repair/luthier guys in S.D. It's either that or some guy telling me 3 months...blah, blah...
After only last week asking my friend what happened to that Eric guy...when last night I stumble across this blog thing and for the first time I felt compelled to blog back knowing some of the "behind the music" about him (Eric), who helped me at least 15 different times, always saying "no worries", when asked about cost.
It seems "The One That Got Away" for me was the last good tech guy in town who you and your "kinda...but not sure" memory had no problem pushing under the bus just to tell your fucked up "one that gotta way" story! Even if I didn't know the truth in "your story", you're a FUCKIN' helpless pussy if you need your mommy to take off 5 little screws to you prevent you from getting bamboozled on a used guitar purchase! DUHHH!! Take some fuckin' responsibility for your own ignorance! DUMB JACKASS!!

Jaimie Muehlhausen said...

Great comment, JACKASS. Unfortunately you can't fuckin' read. I didn't throw the good guy under the bus. I thought I pretty obviously pointed the blame at the guy who went to prison. I'm sorry we can't all be as brilliant as you, but unfortunately at the time I was trusting of humans enough to believe that if the guy who owns the guitar store says it's a certain thing, it is. Shit happens and you learn from it.

As for local repairs, I have used Fred at the Repair a few times over the years and had perfect results. Put this in YOUR thoughtless, empty head: you sound like an ass. Maybe you treated the local repair guys like you sound in your blog comments and they just didn't give a shit about you.

Anonymous said...

Fred: Worst set up in town. Have used Eric without incident for years and confirm everything the other guy that defended him said above. Like all good techs, he is a little strange though. Eric once showed me some photos of the stuff he got stolen... easily worth 100k today.

Anonymous said...

Loved Eric... still think about him from time to time. That dude would do whatever you needed done. I wish I knew how to get ahold of him. I heard he moved back to KY or something after Adams Ave guitars.