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Thread: Why do people do this?

  1. #1
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    Default Why do people do this?

    A guitar was posted in the classifieds today with the following words in the description:
    "We'll call the cosmetic condition excellent."

    The instrument has heavy pick rash, and an area of bare wood an inch or more square showing behind the pickguard. A link to more pictures shows significant belt buckle wear on the back and finish flaking off the neck heel.

    In short, the cosmetic condition is pretty darn rough. A child can see it.

    Why do people do this?

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    I'd hate to see their "pretty good, all things considered".
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    I seen that one. I flipped to another one right away.

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    A guitar was posted in the classifieds today with the following words in the description:
    "We'll call the cosmetic condition excellent."

    The instrument has heavy pick rash, and an area of bare wood an inch or more square showing behind the pickguard. A link to more pictures shows significant belt buckle wear on the back and finish flaking off the neck heel.

    In short, the cosmetic condition is pretty darn rough. A child can see it.

    Why do people do this?
    This is NOT a case of a seller misrepresenting condition. When you read the whole ad, you can see the joking “67 years of personality” that follows. Mandomutt is a straight shooter with colorful descriptions and good photographic depictions of good and bad aspects of instruments.
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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Many people pay extra for that "mojo". Much of the time when I go to any of the fancy vintage shops, the instruments with the worst finish have the highest price tags. I run from squeeky clean vintage instrumnets; often it is a sign that they did nothing to inspire anyone for a half century, but the ones that are well played had it going on.

    I saw the same ad and then spent the next couple of hours thinking about what I could sell in order to bring it home! Those "mystery spruce" 1953 Martins are great guitars....

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Well, if it was tongue in cheek, I didn't get through my thick skull.
    I do see this too often when it's not a joke, though.

    I'm not so fond of mojo myself. Sometimes it can be hard to keep some of those instruments running for any length of time. Fix one thing, and a couple of months later it needs something else.

    In the immortal words of the great Roseanne Roseanna-danna, "If it's not one thing, it's always something."

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    Registered User Buck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Many people pay extra for that "mojo". Much of the time when I go to any of the fancy vintage shops, the instruments with the worst finish have the highest price tags....
    I've never seen that, not compared to cleaner instruments of the same period. Certainly it's to be expected that a 1936 Martin D-18 with a good deal of play wear will have a much higher price tag than a 1956 Martin D-18 that's clean, but if the two guitars were both from 1936, the cleaner one will always be priced higher.



    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    I'm not so fond of mojo myself. Sometimes it can be hard to keep some of those instruments running for any length of time. Fix one thing, and a couple of months later it needs something else.
    There's no reason that should be the case. It's simple enough for a good vintage repairman to asses what needs to be addressed and get it corrected. My older instruments are no more troublesome than my new ones. They may need more attention when I get them, but after that I have little trouble at all.
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Why do people do this?
    For some, an evaluation of Excellent- has been used for an instrument with wear but no cracks (as the seller stresses “no cracks anywhere”) or repairs to same.
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    He also states plainly that he likes the guitar, so he thinks the mojo is excellent. I agree, though, had I not read the whole ad a couple of times, I’d have come away from it feeling the same way, as my initial reaction was, “that thing’s been beaten up through the years! Excellent?”

    I personally would have described it as “well worn but crack free.” In the spirit of full disclosure, I bought my Kelley A5 from Kevin, and he was good to deal with and honest throughout the process...
    Chuck

  14. #10

    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    My friend was a big eBay seller of vintage guitars and parts. He coined a new term for grading that was purposefully confusing, describing an item as being in "excellent vintage condition" -- the word "vintage" being used as a disclaimer of sorts, basically saying it is excellent for the age.....but NOT excellent in the sense that everybody else uses it! (he was wrong for doing that, IMHO..)

    People seem to forget that mint is mint, excellent is excellent, very good is very good, etc., regardless of the age. Some people think that a 100-year old instrument gets a pass due to the age.....it doesn't -- there is no "it is mint for the age" -- it is either mint or it isn't.

    I have sometimes described an instrument as being "very clean" or "I don't think you will find a nicer one" as a way of putting a positive spin on condition without going overboard....(and exaggerating!)

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Well, if you post good clear pics of the instrument, what verbiage you use to describe its condition is sorta beside the point. Your "excellent" may be my "God-awful, barely hanging together," but we're both trying to determine what a realistic price would be for the guitar depicted.

    We've spent many a lengthy thread arguing over "distressing," whether inflicted by time and usage, or by factory "aging" processes. Structural integrity is one thing, sound's another, cosmetics come in third in my book -- but not in everyone's. What-the-hell "mojo" is, is pretty subjective. To me, it's about as vague as "provenance" -- so Jimmy Fastfingers owned it in the '30's, so what?

    Each to his/her own taste. However much we critique, analyze, and second-guess the "overall market," it comes down to two persons: one buyer, one seller.
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post

    I saw the same ad and then spent the next couple of hours thinking about what I could sell in order to bring it home! Those "mystery spruce" 1953 Martins are great guitars....
    I saw the ad.

    James, tell me: Is that mystery spruce to you? What makes you think it´s mystery spruce?

    Why am I asking? The year (1953 or 1957) when "they" used "mystery spruce" natrually does not mean a guitar has it. You certainly took this into consideration. The color in the pictures did not help to determine whether the spruce is Sitka or other. Not being really savvy I saw pictures and heard about "medulary rays" etc. without really knowing what to make of it. I definately know the difference between Sitka and other spruce from looking at it (My Sitka Martin as opposed to my B&H). But how do you do it when you see a picture? Please enlighten me."
    Olaf

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Not James, but.....

    Martin started switching to Sitka spruce in 1945 because red spruce availability had essentially dried up. However, they were never quite satisfied with it, either for looks or tone, but the reason is not documented. The bought some non-Sitka spruce is the early 50's. Archival records indicate it was most likely red spruce from Vermont. CFM III indicated they bought Engelmann at the time. Regardless, it looks and sounds different, and was used mostly in 1953. Estimates are that up to 30% of the tops that year are non-Sitka, which is the term I use for it. However, the shop records give no indication what spruce was used on any particular guitar.

    Martin bought Vermont red spruce in the later 50's, as well as German spruce. This was used from 1957 to 1962, but the big difference is that it was documented this time, at least partially so. While it's not clearly identified in every case, much of the production from that period can be traced by serial number and have the top species verified as Sitka, German spruce, or red spruce.

    Regarding the guitar in the classified listing, I can't be certain (in my own mind) from those photos, but I don't see anything that screams Sitka. If the seller says it's non-Sitka, I'd take is word for it just for the sake of discussion. If buying it, I'd be a lot happier with it in hand. I've been mistaken - in both directions - just based on photos.
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    My question is, why does one think it is necessary to negatively comment on an instrument, that is not descripted to his/her liking? The D-18 is in excellent condition, considering the age. However, this is still our opinion, and how we have chosen to describe. I agree that it is not everyone's opinion. The description is not a misrepresentation, of the instrument. Anytime a buyer wants additional information, or photographs pertaining to specifics, we are happy to assist. Additionally, the instrument has quite the buyer attention, regardless of the description. The instrument sells itself.

    Our mission is to satisfy the musician, with the musical instrument. We are listening, and learning. We will continue to spread light, and kindness through musical instruments.

    Respectfully,
    Missy D.
    Mandomutt

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Way too much: "Mojo", "has seen a lot of love", "played in", "so much history", "if it could talk, it sure would have some stories!"

    OTOH: "Strings broken, not sure if it can be fixed", "Found under the bed, pretty dusty! Might need some clean-up", and the 'dreaded' "Case has ugly green lining. smells funny".

  22. #16
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    This thread reminds of just how much I miss Stan Jay, Mandolin Brother's wordsmith of the highest order. Always accurate, always descriptive-even-when-overdescriptive, often heart-warming, never a question of when his tongue was firmly-planted-in-cheek, and unfailingly entertaining.

    But hey, even Stan's eloquence, in the context of instrument salesmanship, was occasionally qustioned. Such is life.
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  24. #17

    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by amandokat View Post
    Additionally, the instrument has quite the buyer attention, regardless of the description. The instrument sells itself.
    Those are my thoughts exactly. Whenever I am trying to sell a Martin, Gibson, or Fender instrument -- the hard work has already been done for me by the companies reputations, advertising, and track record. In other words, everybody wants those brands!

    On a side note, my friend owns a small music store in a small town about an hour from the "big city." He was a Peavey and Washburn dealer and sold the various string brands and taught lessons. Well......he recently became a Fender dealer and his business has probably tripled, at least based on my observation of increased foot traffic. Nothing else has changed, no increased advertising or anything, he just now has a product that people want and they don't have to drive an hour to get it!

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by EdHanrahan View Post
    This thread reminds of just how much I miss Stan Jay, Mandolin Brother's wordsmith of the highest order. Always accurate, always descriptive-even-when-overdescriptive, often heart-warming, never a question of when his tongue was firmly-planted-in-cheek, and unfailingly entertaining.

    But hey, even Stan's eloquence, in the context of instrument salesmanship, was occasionally qustioned. Such is life.
    Stan was a true gem in the instrument sales world; I miss him too. I can remember first meeting him as a 15 year old with only a few hundred bucks in my pocket and he happily handed me a 1940s D'Angelico to check out. When I told him I didn't have enough for the $750 price tag (early 1980s prices!), he said, "No problem kid. Play it all you want; it's important to learn what the good ones are. Save up and you'll be back!" I did a lot of business with him over the years and was honored to let him guest write my column in Mandolin Magazine. We need more folks like him....

    Here is a much cleaner example of the same year Martin if you are bothered by "mojo":

    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/195...worth.1466654/
    Last edited by j. condino; Jun-09-2020 at 1:32am.

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck View Post
    Not James, but.....

    Martin started switching to Sitka spruce in 1945 because red spruce availability had essentially dried up. However, they were never quite satisfied with it, either for looks or tone, but the reason is not documented. The bought some non-Sitka spruce is the early 50's. Archival records indicate it was most likely red spruce from Vermont. CFM III indicated they bought Engelmann at the time. Regardless, it looks and sounds different, and was used mostly in 1953. Estimates are that up to 30% of the tops that year are non-Sitka, which is the term I use for it. However, the shop records give no indication what spruce was used on any particular guitar.

    Martin bought Vermont red spruce in the later 50's, as well as German spruce. This was used from 1957 to 1962, but the big difference is that it was documented this time, at least partially so. While it's not clearly identified in every case, much of the production from that period can be traced by serial number and have the top species verified as Sitka, German spruce, or red spruce.

    Regarding the guitar in the classified listing, I can't be certain (in my own mind) from those photos, but I don't see anything that screams Sitka. If the seller says it's non-Sitka, I'd take is word for it just for the sake of discussion. If buying it, I'd be a lot happier with it in hand. I've been mistaken - in both directions - just based on photos.
    Thanks for your opinion. I know of your posts at umgf (I´m no member there). I do know the Sitka/no Sitka/mystery spruce thoughts especially in 1953 and 1957, thanks in part to Willi Henkes and Rudie Blazer who genrously educated me some.

    Quote Originally Posted by amandokat View Post
    My question is, why does one think it is necessary to negatively comment on an instrument, that is not descripted to his/her liking? The D-18 is in excellent condition, considering the age. However, this is still our opinion, and how we have chosen to describe. I agree that it is not everyone's opinion. The description is not a misrepresentation, of the instrument. Anytime a buyer wants additional information, or photographs pertaining to specifics, we are happy to assist. Additionally, the instrument has quite the buyer attention, regardless of the description. The instrument sells itself.

    Our mission is to satisfy the musician, with the musical instrument. We are listening, and learning. We will continue to spread light, and kindness through musical instruments.

    Respectfully,
    Missy D.
    Mandomutt
    I am generally reading your ads on this site. I have never read any ad of yours that I thought was "weird", "strange", "fishy" or even remotely misrepresentative. I have found all of your ads descriptive and informative. I liked your categories of "Hoss", "Beast", "Beyond Beast" etc. though you seemed to have either dropped them or use them more infrequently these days.

    By the way, has the guitar sold yet?
    Olaf

  29. #20

    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Stan was a true gem in the instrument sales world; I miss him too. I can remember first meeting him as a 15 year old with only a few hundred bucks in my pocket and he happily handed me a 1940s D'Angelico to check out. When I told him I didn't have enough for the $750 price tag (early 1980s prices!), he said, "No problem kid. Play it all you want; it's important to learn what the good ones are. Save up and you'll be back!" I did a lot of business with him over the years.

    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/195...worth.1466654/
    I liked Stan.

    There are a list of things that irritate me when I look at for sale listings and they include:

    Calling an instrument MINT when it is clearly not. Worse still the term 'VINTAGE MINT' which is used as an excuse to call a used guitar with various wear, areas of damage and even changed parts 'MINT'.

    Saying how much they hate to let this one go.

    Saying this is the best one I've ever played.

    Saying buy a real piece of [INSERT MANUFACTURERS NAME HERE] history, when they are selling some random mass produced road beaten run of the mill instrument.

    There are many others . . . !

    I just want an honest description and clear photographs. That's all.

  30. #21

    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    I loved Stan's descriptions, all done in fun, of course, but OFTEN downplaying condition, I remember a certain $75K guitar (a lot of money, 25 years, ago!) that Stan described as having a nearly invisible repaired heel fissure..................almost as a afterthought, sure if you can afford a $75K guitar, you probably own a dictionary (pre-internet days) but I was somewhat taken back by how he glossed over it......

    At least he didn't say "find another one, I dare ya!" like some dealers do....................really makes ya wanna do business with them, huh?

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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    We appreciate your interest, and visiting of Mandomutt. The guitar is still available. It is a "Hoss". Mandolin Cafe listing #: 155764. We look forward to being of assistance, to you.

    Best regards,
    Missy D.
    Mandomutt

  32. #23
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    I have always had the opinion that top wear is almost never "pick wear". It is from fingernails, etc. (pinky and ring). I also don't call the elevated 'guard' on a mandolin a "pick-guard"...it is a finger-rest.
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    Default Re: Why do people do this?

    Yes I agree, why do people do this?

    Here’s the compete listing, https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/155764#155764

    I think what she means (and I could be wrong) is that this is a beautiful old guitar, and that it’s quite rare to see a beautiful old guitar.

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