Gear For Nothing and a Happy Wife

A few years ago I was given a very nice rack guitar amplifier system by a friend. It was a great gift, and my friend told me, "Use it, sell it, whatever! Be blessed!" You can read more about that over HERE. There was a Marshall JMP-1 preamp and a Tubeworks MV-962 power amp, some processing, a MIDI foot controller, two large, ugly, black SKB four-unit road rack cases (22"x16"x10"), all the cords and power supplies necessary to make it work, and an even bigger, rather odd road box to carry the foot controller and cords and impedementia. I played with it a bit and then set it aside, entertaining the idea that I might find a use for it as a rig for a regular venue. Now, the truth is that I ran out of space in my guitar room and stacked the three road cases against a wall in our upstairs hallway. It was a classless storage solution.

Ten years later and thirty years into ownership of our home, my lovely wife and I have been trying to simplify and declutter. That means moving a few items to a storage shed and getting rid of anything that doesn't have a good place to live in the home. As it turns out, my lovely, patient wife has long wanted to eliminate my ugly, black road cases in the hallway. As in, she really badly wanted them to go. Time for the old heave-ho! But how to easily pull it off and make it meaningful?

Due to the complexity of the rig, a Reverb online store wasn't a good option for me. Even though it would probably yield the most money, I would need to split up the components and sell them individually. Shipping would be a headache. But thank goodness there was another solution for me: I have a Music Go Round® used music gear store in my area.

Music Go Round (MRG) buys and sells used gear. There is very little new gear in the store, mostly accessories and strings, so they stock their store by buying used gear from musicians in their area. Now, inventory at MGR is much like that of a pawn shop: what is on the floor at any given moment is all that is available. You have to watch the inventory and strike when something you want shows up. Admittedly, the prices they will pay for trade aren't quite as good as those offered by Guitar Center. They offer fifty percent of their retail price, but they will literally take just about everything that works.

MGR is a chain, so they have software that allows them to quickly whistle up a rough estimate of what they will pay. The process is: give a rough estimate, evaluate for seviceability, and then offer a revised, final estimate. The evaluation takes the most time because they do put electronic great through its paces, making sure it all works. If it tests out they revise the estimate ot reflect any wear and tear. Once you've got the revised estimate you can choose to receive your disbursement as a check or a store credit. The store credit option offers about twenty percent more money than the cash (check) price and never expires. So, before I went to the store I watched their inventory and waited until there were a couple of items I wanted. Then I loaded up my road cases and shuffled down to MGR. It was a busy Saturday at the store. They fellows who work there told me that the recession has caused many people to try to turn their old gear into cash, and that was obvious to me as they stroked checks. I saw one drummer bring in his kit's extensive mounting frame and all hardware, another drummer bring in a cymbal and one accessory, and a kid bring in a no-name Telecaster husk, all while my gear was being processed. The store offered a really nice initial estimate and then carefully broke down the racks and began evaluated each piece. The process was complicated by the large number of customers coming in the door and needing to be served. For instance, I got to watch a family with a young, petite, bass-playing gal come in and buy an Ampeg amp for her. I pointed them to a Tal Wilkenfeld video for inspiration. I also helped pass the time by trying out the items I was interested in. It allowed me to get lost a little in playing.

Once the store staff finished my gear evaluation, they came back to me with their revised offer. They were unable to take the Marshall preamp because the master volume control knob was frozen at full volume. They couldn't take the Tubeworks amp because when they fired it up, one of the channels was putting out crunchy noises. They didn't want the odd road case because it was, well... a wierd, mackie-up affair. I coudn't blame them. That reduced things to about one-half of the initial estimate. To tell the truth, I really had be reticent to let the Marshall JMP-1* go for some reason. I could think of uses for the Tubeworks amp if I fixed it, so I cheerfully tucked it and the JMP-1 into the odd road case to take home. In the end, the store's final offer was enough to take care of my purchase desires for the day when I applied it to a store credit. I was able to snap up a couple of pedals that I've long wanted with store credit left over.

What was I looking at? The first new pedal is a JHS Bonsai drive pedal in its original box. The Bonsai offers nine different versions of the classic Ibanez Tube Screamer, reproduced exactly down to the component level. More, HERE. The second is an MXR Carbon Copy Delay, the most popular analog delay out there. My salesman threw in a 9v daisy chain power cord at no charge. I ended up with the pedals I wanted to play with but there was another little secret: Music Go Round gives you reward points for every dollar's worth of gear you either buy or trade in. Those points convert to coupons for dollars off. I was able to use some of my points and apply my store credit to purchase the pedals but was left with a balance that I can apply forward to my next purchase. More fun in the future.

The final result was that I was able to convert THREE big ugly road cases in the hall into one big ugly box to go to the storage shed and two tiny stomp boxes that were whisked into my guitar room. My wife was quite pleased with the elimination of two big ugly boxes boxes from the hallway and with the exchange. So, it is indeed, "happy wife, happy life," with some fun new gear to boot. And, thanks to my friend, I truly am blessed.

* The next day I popped the top off the Marshall JMP-1 and worried the volume control enough to free it up. Voile'!