Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Act Paul Westerberg Model PW580

Well this is an interesting one and just by the title, it probably got a few scoffs. But I'm telling you, this was/is a great guitar and fun and cheap if you can find one. The word seems to be out on these finally, and they are becoming harder and harder to get. I had heard about them from a guy I sort of knew who worked in A&R for First Act. But, like most everyone else, I thought there is no way First Act is going to be making a guitar that I would be interested in, no matter what. They are known for their less expensive starter instruments at Walmart and Target, etc.

The story I have read is that Paul Westerberg (The Replacements), was on tour a few years ago and was wandering around a Walmart or similar big box store. He came across a First Act guitar and decided to buy it and try it out. He played it at sound check and liked the way it played. So...he started using it every night in his set. First Act heard about this and offered to make a "Paul Westerberg" model for him. And this guitar is the result. Well guess what? It's got a really great sound and it plays pretty well. Maybe somewhat one dimensional, but a great addition to your sound if you play more than one guitar. It's a little bit Telecaster-ish, but with one pickup that looks cheap but sounds pretty unique.

I found this one at the Oceanside Swap Meet in Oceanside, CA for $35. I was trying to get the lady down to $30, and she told me okay because she was just selling stuff to buy food for her kids. And I don't think she was joking. So I went ahead and gave her the $35 because I started feeling bad. The guitar was had no case and they obviously didn't know much about guitars in their family, so I was surprised to notice that it was in pretty good shape overall. There was one pretty noticeable scratch on the pickguard, but otherwise pretty good. I got it home, plugged it in, and bingo! Great sound. A little bit twangy, but with some bite. Good Replacements sounding jangle punk pop sound. I hung onto it for awhile and, at one point, it was my only electric guitar. But recently I have found out that I have developed severe asthma, and my singing voice is being affected by the medicine I now take. So, I went on a kick and sold my electric gear thinking I wouldn't need it any more. That didn't last too long. I tried to sell it on Craigslist, but just didn't find any takers. Finally I broke down and put it on Ebay and sold it for about $125 I think. I even included a First Act gig bag I just happened to own for some reason, so someone got a pretty good deal on a great little guitar.

If you happen to come across one of these for any kind of decent price, BUY IT. I promise you that, as long as it's set up okay, you'll be happy to have this gem. I have seen a few people get custom pickguards made for it because they didn't like the plaid version that comes stock with this guitar, but I figured this is one to keep stock for future value purposes. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for another one.

Note: I just checked Ebay after posting this story, and the prices on these have really jumped. As recently as a year or so ago you could get one for just over $100. Now they are consistently up in the $225-250 range. That's still a good price for a good guitar, so don't let the "First Act" name throw you.