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Thread: Nothing is guaranteed...

  1. #1
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Nothing is guaranteed...

    So.. I've been posting about my various projects..... juck guitars, budget build amps needing cabs and such, trying to finish off a the last of them. But here's the real deal. I had an "Enzo" moment 2 Saturdays ago. Started out as a usual big outdoor gig. I was 62 still trying to act 30. Loaded my gear in the truck by myself. Got a large coffee and a machacha burrito. Drove an hour to the gig. Unloaded in 100+ degree heat on a stage over my head. Sorted out the generator problems. Played 2 hours out of 4 sets. Then had a serious heart attack on stage. A very lucky series of events saved my life. The casino we were at had their own paramedics and ambulance. I was only 8 miles from a major hospital. Despite that the main artery for half my heart was 100% blocked. 2 other arteries almost as bad. The Nursing floor at the ICU was calling me “The Cat” because I surely must have 9 lives. The bikers saved me at the gig. A monster with arms bigger than my waist was a first responder. He had his buddies throw their vests over my windshield to shade me while they worked. I've always had good look with bikers. It was a rough week in the hospital. 3 stints. 2 separate surgeries.

    My point is I had NO IDEA I even had severe heart disease. I had a recent full physical. Even a stress ekg. All normal.

    It will be 3 months before I really know how much heart damage I have. But I'm facing downsizing a lot of stuff: A full professional bench in the garage packed with test equipment. A dozen amps vintage and modern, a dozen guitars vintage and modern, and 3 or 4 projects in various stages of completion.

    I had planned on scaling down and retiring to Kauai over the next couple of years… but I hit the damn wall. Probably will be unloading a lot of stuff when I can. My band got a sub for the next 3 months and expect me back… but I think I'm done.

    So for all of you weekend warriors in your 60s… Always remember that nothing in life is guaranteed…. But I was having a hell of a great time when I dropped!

    Cheers
    Rockin’ Ronnie E
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    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    So.. I've been posting about my various projects..... jack guitars, budget build amps needing cabs and such, trying to finish off a the last of them. But here's the real deal. I had an "Enzo" moment 2 Saturdays ago. Started out as a usual big outdoor gig. I was 62 still trying to act 30. Loaded my gear in the truck by myself. Got a large coffee and a machacha burrito. Drove an hour to the gig. Unloaded in 100+ degree heat on a stage over my head. Sorted out the generator problems. Played 2 hours out of 4 sets. Then had a serious heart attack on stage. A very lucky series of events saved my life. The casino we were at had their own paramedics and ambulance. I was only 8 miles from a major hospital. Despite that the main artery for half my heart was 100% blocked. 2 other arteries almost as bad. The Nursing floor at the ICU was calling me “The Cat” because I surely must have 9 lives. The bikers saved me at the gig. A monster with arms bigger than my waist was a first responder. He had his buddies throw their vests over my windshield to shade me while they worked. I've always had good look with bikers. It was a rough week in the hospital. 3 stints.

    My point is I had NO IDEA I even had severe heart disease. I had a recent full physical. Even a stress ekg. All normal.

    It will be 3 months before I really know how much heart damage I have. But I'm facing downsizing a lot of stuff: A full professional bench in the garage packed with test equipment. A dozen amps vintage and modern, a dozen guitars vintage and modern, and 3 or 4 projects in various stages of completion.

    I had planned on scaling down and retiring to Kauai over the next couple of years… but I hit the damn wall. Probably will be unloading a lot of stuff when I can. My band got a sub for the next 3 months and expect me back… but I think I'm done.

    So for all of you weekend warriors in your 60s… Always remember that nothing in life is guaranteed…. But I was having a hell of a great time when I dropped!

    Cheers
    Rockin’ Ronnie E
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    I wish you well.
    You gonna change your handle now? Calling olddawg The Cat.

    nosaj
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    It was that "Oh my god, I am mortal" moment. Do what they tell you and get yourself better man. The food menu in the hospital heart floor is the worst.

    you tell yourself you are going to work until you drop. And then you drop...
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  4. #4
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    It's taken me 62 years to break 150lbs! That cardiac diet in hospital will kill you with disgust. I'm hoping for a "good" recovery. But I fear the "load my truck at 6:30 pm, hit the stage at 8:30 or 9:00, play 4 sets, and be home at 3:30 am" days are behind me. And it's fun to say I have a 1963 Tremelux with 2 original cabs and other stuff. But what do I need it for? My wife and kid just think it's an ugly old thing taking up space. Years of stuff. PAs, boards, racks. Plus the Dobros, banjos, and acoustics. Somehow they managed not to lose the slide that was in my pocket for the past 30 years. And yeah. They are making a "Cat" T shirt, lol. That's how much they want me back.

  5. #5
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Ronnie I hope that things go well for you and you experience a full recovery.

    As I'm getting older I'm beginning to realize that I don't want to live on a remote peaceful place in the country, I'd rather be in a city where I'm 8 miles from a heart center, because as we get older everyone gets heart disease and everything is fine ... until the shit hits the fan.

    The exact same thing happened to a friend of mine -- he was in his 60s, thin and healthy as a buck with no previous signs of heart disease. He took on a big tree job in his yard after a storm and all the exertion over several days caused him to have a major heart attack in the artery they call "the widowmaker." Now he's getting by with only 1/3 of the heart muscle he had previously. He's been forced into retirement.

    I think it was the several days of strenuous exertion that tipped the scales for him. As we get older most of us like to continue to think we'll be fine doing work that should really be done by guys in their 30s, and when we push ourselves we get into trouble. For me the hardest part is to admit that there are some jobs that I could do, but I'm better off passing onto someone else.

    I hope that everything works out for you.
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  6. #6
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Ronnie I hope that things go well for you and you experience a full recovery.

    As I'm getting older I'm beginning to realize that I don't want to live on a remote peaceful place in the country, I'd rather be in a city where I'm 8 miles from a heart center, because as we get older everyone gets heart disease and everything is fine ... until the shit hits the fan.

    The exact same thing happened to a friend of mine -- he was in his 60s, thin and healthy as a buck with no previous signs of heart disease. He took on a big tree job in his yard after a storm and all the exertion over several days caused him to have a major heart attack in the artery they call "the widowmaker." Now he's getting by with only 1/3 of the heart muscle he had previously. He's been forced into retirement.

    I think it was the several days of strenuous exertion that tipped the scales for him. As we get older most of us like to continue to think we'll be fine doing work that should really be done by guys in their 30s, and when we push ourselves we get into trouble. For me the hardest part is to admit that there are some jobs that I could do, but I'm better off passing onto someone else.

    I hope that everything works out for you.
    Thanks... I was blowing harp, playing slide guitar with the harp, and singing "Roadhouse Blues" in front of hundreds of mostly bikers in 100+ heat when I dropped. What could go wrong right? BUT the cardiologist said I was a walking time bomb and it could have happened at any time. If I was on a plane or a driving I would be dead. The heat stress probably triggered the event, but the underlying disease was still there. I'm pissed my doctors never picked it up. I was told that isn't uncommon. I'm going to slow down. You can't live your life in fear. Hopefully I recover enough to still go to idyllic place I've worked my whole life to retire too. If not, oh well.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    How about New Tricks.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Dobros, banjos, and bears, oh my. My pals at Elderly Instruments would probably like to see you.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

  9. #9
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    To hell with Elderly. I've always lusted for a Tremolux. I call dibbs if Ron decides to sell!

    Ron, you can't be serious about letting that go, can you? IMO you need to come to your senses... that's a keeper.

    "You can have my Tremolux when you pry it from my cold dead hands."
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

  10. #10
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    To hell with Elderly. I've always lusted for a Tremolux. I call dibbs if Ron decides to sell!

    Ron, you can't be serious about letting that go, can you? IMO you need to come to your senses... that's a keeper.

    "You can have my Tremolux when you pry it from my cold dead hands."
    I used Enzo's advice a while back and called Elderly to identify my (supposedly) prototype GK55 Les Paul with an active Moog board. I have no use for it. It's just really rare. I have a couple of old (ish) Les Paul's. One a Thin line Custom in Champagne finish. I have a real Dano 1959 DC Short Horn in black that I've owned since 1980 and used to play slide on. The Tremolux was a gift from a friend after a studio robbery 35 years ago. It's bone stock except for the power tubes. Honestly, it has a great tremolo but has never been a practical amp for me. There's a Silvertone 1484 with cab. A 1960 Ampeg Rocket. I have a full gigable bass rig. For years I never knew what style of music I would be playing in 6 months so I kept the gear. I got deals I could not pass up. I fixed things and traded. Beaters I use in the clubs. I think when I'm better I may follow Enzo's lead and just have a Craig's List Music Store for a couple of months. Even my bench in the garage is a real lab grade bench in perfect condition I got from Qualcomm surplus. 100mh dual Channel scope time expandable. An old HP 200 signal generator. Literally a lifetime of stuff from being a tech and a musician. I'll post an inventory when I'm ready to thin the herd.
    Last edited by olddawg; 09-10-2017 at 06:25 AM.
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  11. #11
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Glad you survived
    As you said: "walking time bomb and it could have happened at any time" indeed
    Juan Manuel Fahey

  12. #12
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    For me there came a moment when I realized to myself "I am not doing this any more". And I started finding homes for stuff.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

  13. #13
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    For me there came a moment when I realized to myself "I am not doing this any more". And I started finding homes for stuff.
    Thanks Enzo. You always have wise advice. I may be ready to show up where I'm going like Arthur Dent in "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy." With only a robe, a bath towel, and a cheese (if I still can have cheese) sandwich. The big house in which all this stuff is at will be going too. But that was already in the cards.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I'm not a player, I am a bench jockey. I needed to close my shop, but I miss it. I miss having my bench to sit at. It was action central, it was my home page, so to speak. I am sure when you set up your rig, get the pedals set, and you can stand there and feel at home. At my bench, I was in my place. After 40 plus years of that seat, I miss it. I know I can never go back, but that doesn;t change the feeling. I hope your adjustment is easier.


    Then there is the whole tool thing. After accumulating tools for the last 60 years or so, I have to force myself to look at a tool and say "I don't need this any more. I live in an old folks home, I don't need a torque wrench." I still have three guitars, but...
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  15. #15
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    I was a tech, a touring musician, had my own sound company, a field engineer, and for a while a HS teacher. Lol. Full circle as a semi retired club musician with a professional wife in biotech and a daughter graduating NYU next Spring on the Deans List. BSRN. I have 3 degrees. I always tell people that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. I spent 20 years on the bench more or less. I totally know what you mean. Tools? I even have my fathers tools... and Sony eccentricity gauges, tentolometers, even tape tension gauges for RRs. Been sitting a while. Maybe while I'm setting around I'll finally fix my Teac 3340s and convert all of the old tapes people have been asking about. Also have a stack of half track masters. It's all dust eventually. It all has to go eventually. Even we have to go eventually. And a lot of our treasures are rubbish to the next generation. Hopefully I can avoid the old folks home for a while. Btw.. my wife was born and raised in the inner city Detroit. She smiles when I say the best tech I know is from MI.

  16. #16
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    So can we call you Ronnie now that you've signed your actual name to a post or do we still have to refer to your SN ? Really sorry to hear about your trouble. I'm seeing this sort of thing (or worse) more and more among friends and family as I get older. I guess I only have a little to share or relate since everyone's experience with matters like these is their own and can't rightly be compared to others. But for my part...

    When I look at the picture in post #1 I see a man in love with the craft. I hope as you move in a new direction you decide to keep your favorite amp and guitar regardless of size, weight or sold value. The stuff can always be parked at home and the value of two collectibles probably won't break a retirement. Maybe get a little 15W amp and start or join a low activity local band wherever you land. I've seen this work for others who seem more genuinely happy and whole for it. JM2C

    And by all means, no matter how much you downsize or how much less time you spend on the bench, keep contributing here
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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Chuck, comes a time you start to read the obits in the paper. Then comes the time you start to see people you know there. Or knew.

    Speaking of dad's tools, I was just looking through some yesterday. My dads auger brace and a bunch of bits for it. A collection of block planes from tiny to largish. I have his old small Utica dikes, they still cut fine and are way older than I am. My sister has his work bench.
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    Glad you made it Ronnie, that was cutting it way too close! Having dealt with four aneurysms (AAA, two Iliac and one Popliteal), two major surgeries and a repair procedure in between in the last two years I can absolutely relate to realizing it's time to cut back on some of my "young man" activities. As I sit here on the couch recovering from the last surgery chomping at the bit to go back to work I also know I have to take it slow and easy. At 54 I should be in better shape but genetics have not been kind to me over the last twenty years. Like you I am recovering and can still play music, but it's also been a re-evaluation of life priorities. No more hoisting my bass equipment around like I used to.
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    He's like a new set of strings... he just needs to be stretched a bit.

  19. #19
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    > And a lot of our treasures are rubbish to the next generation.

    That's what worries me most. I have some things that have appreciated as a result of the vintage craze to become quite valuable, as well as a few custom shop instruments that were expensive to buy. Unfortunately nobody in my family understands them. They know that my stuff is worth more than they understand. I keep hearing someone say to me, "You really need to write down what everything is worth in case something happens."

    After thinking about that, I've realized that if I'm not there to oversee the liquidation of my stuff, then most of my stuff is going to be given away for pennies on the dollar, just because the people who will be selling it will have no idea what it's worth. I really need to go through the collection and itemize what I paid for it and what I think it's worth now, just so that my stuff doesn't get given away for a song when something bad finally happens.

    The other risk of having a hoard of gear is that it might not be worth anything to the next generation. Young guitar players don't even know who our guitar heroes are. Things that our generation perceives as valuable may not be valued by the next generation, so their value might actually diminish. In some respects maybe selling things off now isn't such a bad idea.

    For these reasons I've done a major about-face with my gear collection. I'm no longer buying expensive guitars and expensive amps. I won't own a boutique pedal. I'm no longer buying American Fenders and Gibsons. Instead I'm buying high quality Indonesian and Korean guitars and Chinese amps that clone classic circuits, or just building my own amps. And I'm getting out of everything that I own that is vintage. Period.

    Why? Just because there's too much value tied up in this stuff right now, and that money may not be there in the future if/when peoples' desires change. Add in the fact that we are now living in the golden age of cheap guitars and amps, where it's possible to buy a really decent foreign-made guitar or amp for peanuts, and there's a strong argument to be made for not holding vintage pieces as we get older.

    If everything goes according to my plan, I'm going to liberate a vast collection of vintage gear, convert it all into cash, spend most of it on loose women and booze, and maybe waste the rest. Hopefully I'll die playing an Indonesian Strat into a Chinese Bugera amp and all of the vintage Fender, Gibson, Ampeg and Marshall products will be long gone.
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  20. #20
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    As an example of my rationale for getting rid of my expensive gear: I bought my second Indonesian G&L Tele today. > link <

    This is my 3rd Indonesian G&L. With guitars of this quality at this price, I can't justify buying American Fenders any more, so I'm starting to thin the herd.

    When something bad finally happens to me, I won't really care that I left a few Indonesian guitars behind.
    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

  21. #21
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    One can create an inventory listing with hoped for values, but I think the real key is to arrange for a real executor, and have instructions in your will. I would never expect my wife to have the remotest clue as the the value of my music stuff, so I left a couple names for her to contact. They are people and places I already rely on for offing my stuff.
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  22. #22
    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    If whomever you choose for executor is not already a an expert on assessing vintage gear, they will certainly appreciate having the list of items with their valuation. Come to think of it, I'm sure my homeowner's agent would appreciate such a list (items, photos, serial numbers, current value) if I needed to report a - God forbid - robbery. I think a list is a good first step.
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  23. #23
    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    And Ronnie, I feel for you. I had a Quadruple bypass 17 years ago, and while the heart attack caused some permanent heart tissue damage, it's been something I can live with (like I have a choice!). And getting older is just part of the process. However your health shakes out at the end of your recovery, please realize that us old guys aren't meant to do the same stuff as the 30 year olds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conner View Post
    If it still won't get loud enough, it's probably broken.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    My dad had a stamp collection valued at about $200,000. I was his executor. I know little about stamps, but he left me the names of two dealers in New York that he trusted. Sure enough they gave comparable estimated values on the estate and suggested the best way to liquidate the asset for value. I have left for my wife two names of people I trust to know how to liquidate my professional assets.

    us old guys aren't meant to do the same stuff as the 30 year olds.
    We're just supposed to wish we could.
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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Oh my!!! Thank God you survived, olddawg! I, too, wish you a full and quick recovery. Don't take this wrong, I'm indeed glad you survived. But, I've often asked myself how I'd want to go. Being on stage doing what I love is at the top of the list.
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    WOW! I'm glad to hear that you were in a position to get help right away, and survive. I'm 62 also, and have enjoyed pretty good health all my life. I sometimes worry that my first sign of ill health will be what suddenly takes me out.

  27. #27
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    Glad to hear the odds were with you that day.
    Hope you have a speedy recovery.
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  28. #28
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    > And a lot of our treasures are rubbish to the next generation.

    That's what worries me most. I have some things that have appreciated as a result of the vintage craze to become quite valuable, as well as a few custom shop instruments that were expensive to buy. Unfortunately nobody in my family understands them. They know that my stuff is worth more than they understand. I keep hearing someone say to me, "You really need to write down what everything is worth in case something happens."

    After thinking about that, I've realized that if I'm not there to oversee the liquidation of my stuff, then most of my stuff is going to be given away for pennies on the dollar, just because the people who will be selling it will have no idea what it's worth. I really need to go through the collection and itemize what I paid for it and what I think it's worth now, just so that my stuff doesn't get given away for a song when something bad finally happens.

    The other risk of having a hoard of gear is that it might not be worth anything to the next generation. Young guitar players don't even know who our guitar heroes are. Things that our generation perceives as valuable may not be valued by the next generation, so their value might actually diminish. In some respects maybe selling things off now isn't such a bad idea.

    For these reasons I've done a major about-face with my gear collection. I'm no longer buying expensive guitars and expensive amps. I won't own a boutique pedal. I'm no longer buying American Fenders and Gibsons. Instead I'm buying high quality Indonesian and Korean guitars and Chinese amps that clone classic circuits, or just building my own amps. And I'm getting out of everything that I own that is vintage. Period.

    Why? Just because there's too much value tied up in this stuff right now, and that money may not be there in the future if/when peoples' desires change. Add in the fact that we are now living in the golden age of cheap guitars and amps, where it's possible to buy a really decent foreign-made guitar or amp for peanuts, and there's a strong argument to be made for not holding vintage pieces as we get older.

    If everything goes according to my plan, I'm going to liberate a vast collection of vintage gear, convert it all into cash, spend most of it on loose women and booze, and maybe waste the rest. Hopefully I'll die playing an Indonesian Strat into a Chinese Bugera amp and all of the vintage Fender, Gibson, Ampeg and Marshall products will be long gone.
    That's pretty much the plan when I'm sufficiently recovered as well. For years my go to rig has been a Buger V22, a pedal board (home made), An Epiphone LP Standard (although it an at least 30 year old Japanese), A Squier Strat (also 80s Japanese with a Gibson scale and a pickup change of course), and a Jay Tursner Electric Resonator guitar. Every one I picked up used for less than $150 at the time. They spoke to me. I kept them. The vintage (and heavy) stuff I keep at home. I don't wany it stolen which has happened to me a lot. So what is it at home? Art? Yeah time to unload stuff.

  29. #29
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    And... my humble thanks to everyone who has expressed their support on this board. I may not know anyone personally, but you rarely see such a group of kind, kindred spirits.

  30. #30
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    spend most of it on loose women and booze, and maybe waste the rest.
    This should be on the Humor thread. I think it paraphrases a famous quote, but I can't recall which one just now. In the same vein as "I quit drinkin' once. Hardest day of my life."

    As to having a hoard of valuable stuff, vintage, exclusive, boutique or otherwise, I actually agree with you. With one caveat. If you have, say a 1960 LP and, oh, say a 65 Deluxe Reverb and they happen to be your very favorite pieces for musical and quality aesthetics, rather than vintage collectability, then keep them till you're gone. They're special in their own way, and sure that may change and some day they won't be. So what.?. They're yours and you love them. Keep them.

    My gear collection has rarely had anything "special" in the roster. I've mostly bought used, affordable gear tested first hand and all I can say about that is, I know it when I play it. And I've had some outstanding sounding and playable gear. Pieces other musicians have wanted because of their eminent usefulness and musicality. But nothing that has ever tethered me to an obligatory relationship with my gears monetary value. I'd bet this represents the bulk of most of our members gear collections. But if I had a 1960 strat or a 64 Super Reverb that I loved to use I would keep it forever.

    Perhaps my most "collectible" piece right now is a 1985 Yamaha SBG1300TS. They have a sort of cult following and are rare. It's worth about a grand. So I won't be trying to rescue it from a burning house. Hell, the nine or so amps I've built people cost more and are more exclusive and special than anything I own. Even my personal hand built amps are comparatively unadorned or otherwise prototype-y in some ugly way.
    J M Fahey likes this.
    "The man is an incompetent waste of human flesh. He should donate his organs now to someone who might actually make good use of them." The Dude re: maybe I shouldn't say, but his name rhymes with Trump

    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

  31. #31
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    All is not lost... not yet anyway. I managed to play one set last Saturday night to a packed house. I'm not quite ready for the marathon yet. I had to turn down a crazy Halloween party for UMFI in 2 weeks. But hoping to be back on step by December. I'm extremely lucky. Still planning on dumping most of my gear in the near future... when I can lift it!
    bob p, Dave H, John_H and 2 others like this.

  32. #32
    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Apparently, recovery is going well. That's good news. Just don't overdo it.
    “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

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