Here we are and the summer Ohio Guitar Show in Columbus Ohio has come and gone. I think this show is the largest in Ohio and some of the surrounding states. The largest that is within a comfortable driving distance for me anyway. As usual the summer show was smaller in attendance and sellers. There are two shows a year, June and January, check the web for more information. Now let me state that I have absolutely NO stake in this show. I am just another Joe to walk in and either laugh or drool at the items for sale.
Did I say, "laugh and drool"? Yes, I did. That's normal for any type of show where buyers and sellers get together that are interested in the same type of items. There will always be sellers that are "Honest as the day is long" and the opposite, the liars and sharks. There will be items for sale that are the type that dreams are made of. Others are fakes or "creatively priced" and that always makes me wonder where the sellers mind is at and how they function on a day to day basis but isn't that the world of buying and selling? Anything from the price of a stick if gum to billion dollar corporation transactions. Buy low, sell high, right? Personally I fall into the "buy high, sell low" population. I "think" I want to be the other type but I find it tough to do. I always feel guilty for some reason when I make a profit and that is not the way to become a giant success. Hey, wait a second, I thought this was a blog about guitars and not some basic rant using third grade philosophical concepts. You are absolutely correct and I thank you for getting me back on the right track.
These shows offer you and I the opportunity to see fantastic gear, either vintage or extraordinary new items. The chance to see items for sale and compare similar ones for prices and condition. Like any "show" that is dedicated to one collectable or another (gun, boat, doll shows) the real value is chatting with the vendors and other attendees and doing something else that in real life I would never do. That is making my ears as big as possible and sticking my nose right into another conversation and never say a word. Just listen to learn. You don't have to interrupt or insert yourself or opinions. Just listen to learn. I will admit sometimes I feel just a little, well, guilty but for the most part this type of behavior is an accepted part of shows like these. I have heard big time dealers buy incredible gear for pennies on the dollar from uneducated sellers. I have listen to conversations between knowledgable dealers or participants and have learned more then I could imagine. I've listened to buyers or sellers make incredibly offensive offers trying to low or high ball each other and the comedy that follows is quite entertaining.
One of my favorites is when I see a really cool piece of gear, that I know nothing about, and find someone that seems knowledgable really giving it a good going over. Then I find that I can just kind of get their confidence as "consumer conspirators" and they will tell me all kinds of cool information like what is "correct" or original or what has been altered that will drastically increase or decrease the value of the item. It is really nice to just find a plain friendly seller that is a pleasure to talk to and will point out items that I may have missed. These can be guitar or amp I had not seen to lessons on how to spot counterfeit guitars. Then there is an item that you may have a true interest in and find that the longer the conversation goes the more you learn that makes it even more attractive or find out that the item is a dolled up hag that you should politely walk away from.
These shows can also be a great place to pick up the weird or that crazy little item that you can't find anywhere else. Stuff that you have been searching for or you find that you just gotta have it. Knobs for a guitar or amp, used locking strap buttons, covers for pickups or some type of bizarre instrument that finds its way home just because it looked cool. You can also be taught a lesson, the hard way. Yep, buy it in a frenzy, take it home, do some more detailed research or tear it apart and learn…un-ohh….bad decision. Learn and grow, learn and grow, learn and grow.
So next time a show comes to a place near you take the time and go. It's a great way to spend a day and maybe a little moolah. Trust me. I'm a teacher.
by Robert Gundry