Thursday, April 7, 2016

Taylor 214CE Custom Tony Hawk

My son is going on a trip to England with his soccer club. That's really all you need to know about this post. I'm sure many of you have been in this position...just about the time you think to yourself, "Okay, from now on I don't sell any of my guitars...I only add to the collection," something comes up and everything is negotiable.

I've known about this trip for about 6 months and I've been paying for it a little at a time, but it became obvious I was going to need some big chunks of cash to get this thing done. I won't lie...I'm going on the trip with him and his club, so I benefit from this as well. And it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip for a kid who lives and breathes soccer the way my son does...and hey, I get to go to Liverpool and maybe even see where the Beatles played their first gigs. But you hate to have to sell a guitar or two to make it happen.

It really came down to "which guitar that I swore I would never sell am I going to sell?" I have a couple that are simply Do Not Touch. I'm lucky to have them. But this one was a keeper for a whole different reason...I actually worked with the design team at Taylor and helped design this guitar. I designed four custom guitars (I have since designed a few more), for a charity auction to benefit the Tony Hawk Foundation. It was when Taylor was first developing their latest technology to print full color graphics onto a guitar top and they hadn't had the opportunity to do something as wild as using Tony Hawk skateboard graphics in full color. The guitars came out great, we raised a lot of money for the Foundation, and when it was all done, the guys at Taylor surprised me with this guitar. They had made one extra of this design to say thank you. Holy cow, who gets to own a guitar that they had a hand in designing? Not too many people, other than when you go directly through a luthier and spec some things out, or work with someone like the Fender Custom Shop to craft your perfect Tele. But to actually create the graphics and have a custom guitar built by the custom crew at Taylor is an honor. This is a guitar I should hang on to forever...right?

And then England. Something's got to give. And, unfortunately, it's this guitar. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't really using it to play live. And I am actually a believer in owning guitars that you use. You don't have to necessarily play them every day, but this one was literally hanging on the wall in my office, looking pretty, but never getting played. It deserves better. It's a great sounding guitar, I might add. It's a Taylor 214CE, which means it is a cutaway with electronics. The guys at Taylor picked out a stunning walnut veneer for the back and sides. Above and beyond the stock wood for this model. I never really plugged it in, so I don't know how the electronics sounded live. And then the topper...not only is it a Tony Hawk custom model, but I had Tony Hawk himself hand sign the headstock of the guitar. I know that some "autographed" guitars are kind of cheesy or sometimes they even ruin a good guitar. I see stuff on Craigslist sometimes listed as Fender Stratocaster signed by Brett Michaels and Flock of Seagulls and I think, "I wonder if you could just wipe those names off and fix the guitar?" But when you have a special, custom Tony Hawk model guitar, 1 of only 2 made, having it signed by the man himself only seems to make sense. Especially since it's on the headstock where it doesn't get in the way of arms or hands that would smear the signature. It's appropriate.

I reluctantly put the guitar up for sale on the Ebay and, first time around, got no response. I lowered the price a little and got quite a few people "watching" the auction. As the last day of the auction arrived, I started getting messages from someone who had questions. A lot of questions. One at a time. I was trying to get them answered in time for the end of the auction, as it was winding down quickly. I noticed that the person asking the questions was local, so I made sure he could pick it up locally and avoid shipping charges. All seemed to be on track and then...the auction ended with no bids. Huh?

I messaged the guy back one last time..."No bid? What's up?" He had just missed getting his bid in before it ended. Since he was local, we ended up working out a deal that would have been the auction price minus the fees. Win win. I delivered the guitar later that evening and saw that it was going to a good home. A real guitar lover. And it was local. I could always track it back down somehow if I really had to. And that's the story of how a guitar that you never thought you'd sell ends up in someone else's collection. Never look back, right?