The Never-Sellers: Gear You Just Can't Let Go Of

Posted on 29 March 2017

Like just about any gear head out there, I love to buy/sell/trade (heavy emphasis on the trade) gear all the time. Most of my guitars don't last more than a year in my house. Not because I don't like them, but because there's this little high you get off of the new gear and exploring new tones. So at night while my wife and kids have been out for well over an hour, I sit with a tiny glow looking back at me while I'm looking at Gear Talk Classifieds, and of course craigslist for the next "gear high."

But occasionally there are pieces of gear that make the cut. Maybe because its that dream guitar or amp you've finally scored. Maybe its because you got such a good deal on it that it just doesn't make sense to get rid of it. For me, there are three pieces that have stayed with me for about 16 years. 

Sovtek Mig100
This 100 watt beast has seen some things. in 2001, I went to Oklahoma State University to study Graphic Design. My room mate and I got eye rolls as we wheeled in our giant amps and cabs into our tiny dorm room. Our RA quickly learned that we played and told us his brother was selling some gear. So we hurried over to his dorm to see what he had. He pulls open the sliding door of his closet to reveal an Ampeg 4x10 cab with the Russian tone monster sitting on top. After cranking it to 11, we put our faces back on and asked how much. He thought for a second and said that $250 takes the whole thing. My buddies quickly declined being on strict diets of ramen and peanut butter but I told him I'd find the money. I've had the amp ever since, recorded and played TONS of shows with it. It has survived hours of power chords with punk bands, sloppily tapped tempos as I simultaneously discovered The Appleseed Cast and delay pedals and even my dog peeing directly on the transformer. I've taken out two of the power tubes to tame it down but it still roars. This amp is definitely a "never-seller."

62 Reissue Mexi Strat
This was my first single coil guitar. Purchased at Guitar Center somewhere in 2001. I went in the store wanting to walk out with the Tom Delonge signature model but not long after I picked it up, an employee walked over to me and with a turned up nose looked at me and said "What are you doing?" He took the Delong strat from my hands and put this one in them instead. Right away I loved it. I've played tons of gigs with it and have loved how its aged. I cut my teeth in the music scene with this thing. There are dents and dings in it that I can specifically remember what I was doing when it happened. A few years back I took some sand paper to it to fake some relic on the arm rest but you can see in the pic how the tuners have started to age on their own. The pickups have been swapped for the pickups from the 50s Squire Classic Vibe. Bluesy and punchy and surprisingly better than a lot of other Mexi and even American Strats I've played in the past. After swapping the pickups, the tone knobs quit working. Probably from overheating the pots but now I kinda love it. Its this simple, bare bones thing that I can just plug in and play. It's hasn't been my main go to guitar in a while but this one will be around even after I'm not with my kids.

Vox AD212 Cab
In 2002, after seeing some of my favorite bands on tour ditching the half stacks in favor of smaller cabs, I started looking to do the same. This was a short run cab that Guitar Center was selling but I didn't have the money to pay full ticket price. I ended up finding this one on Ebay for around $200 because the owner spilled candle wax on the grill. He meticulously cleaned it up and I can only see the stain if the light is just right. I love the tone I get from the celestion Neo dog speakers. The magnets are very light and have saved my back over the years.


So there you have it. What gear have you guys keep around or what you want to pass on to other members of your family?


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  • Jeff Kellogg: April 02, 2017

    Ihave a Fender Dual Showman that I got at a pawnshop in 79 or so. I got a Heil 4-12 angled top cabinet at the same time. I have had the amp modified with a gain/distortion added to the reverb/tremlo channel that also has a master volume. Channel 1 is original and untouched giving the clean/sparkling tone of a vintage FENDER TWIN,the 2nd channel will provide the reverb/tremlo tones of Dick Dale and the 50s-60s surf music. The mods in the 2nd channel allow you to get the high gain tone of the 80s -90s and a very British/Marshall type tone making this old girl a very versatile amp. While researching this amp on the Fender forum I found out that the TFL Designation on the amp’s model number is assumed to mean "TOO FUCKING LOUD " and I find that to be a very accurate description of the amp’s power and capability as she GETS LOUD. The master on the 2nd channel allows for a decent amount of saturated tone at lower volume but sounds best cranked up to a healthy SPL level.
    My go to favorite fiddle is a 80s Kramer Focus 6000 equipped with a Floyd Rose. Hendrix and Van Halen influence for sure,with a touch of Beck,Trower,Rhodes. My #2 is my new Tony Iommi SG, love the tone of the signature Iommi pickups. I recently purchased a FRX TREMLO from Floyd Rose and after installing one on one of my customers Epi Les Paul, the SG my be moving up to #1 .The FRX TREMLO is awesome and an excellent bolt-on upgrade that’s really a fairly simple install where you only drill 2 small holes near the truss rod cover for the locking nut, no routing of the body.
    Other vintage gear that will never leave is a rack mount ChandlerTUBEDRIVER and an original ProCo RAT that live in my well populated pedalboard that includes 3 Strymon effects as well.
    Finally last year I was fortunate enough to find and buy a 1928 Epiphone Recording B guitar that was partially restored which when I finish will be hopefully in my family for many generations.
    Play on ,LOUD AND PROUD

  • Kenny Kaufman: March 30, 2017

    My ’66 Rick 360/12 that I bought in a pawn shop back in 1985 for $200.

  • Kevin Murphy: March 30, 2017
    have a TS-9 I saved from a junk box in my bands practice room it wasn’t working till I re soldered and re epoxied the ground screw and put on a new battery clip it’s my goto OD even though I’ve used about a dozen others it still has that special tone
  • Matt Lane: March 30, 2017

    I have a Taylor W-55e 12 grafted walnut 12 string that was a gift from Bob Taylor himself. They Taylors are good friends of ours and I used to work for Taylor while I was in college. I had always wanted a 12 string but didn’t ever want to spend money on one because it’s a lot of money for a very niche sound. In 2004, I went back to the Taylor shop and I’m looking at this 12 string and Bob tells me I should buy it. I promised my wife I wouldn’t buy anything and I told him that. He then picked it up, handed it to me, and gave me a hug. It’s the most amazing 12 string I’ve ever played. The walnut is so balanced and it pushes volume just enough to be loud and balanced but never overpowering.

    I also have an 1987 Fender Start Plus that was my dream guitar in high school. I had a poster of it on my wall in my room. I was just starting to play and I didn’t think I’d ever have one because it was so expensive for me at the time. Fast forward many years and a friend of mine was a huge guitar collector. He had something like 40 guitars. He passed away from complications from leukemia and his wife called me over one day. He had wanted me to have a guitar of his. I had seen most of his guitars but she pulled this Lake Placid Blue Strat Plus out and gave it to me. I’d never seen this guitar and didn’t know he had it. He had no idea that this was my dream guitar but he wanted me to have this one. He was the original owner from 1987, the guitar’s first year in production. It still had the plastic coating on the backplate. I will NEVER part with this. It sounds amazing, plays like a dream, and has more sentiment to me than almost anything else.

    I have many other guitars, electrics and acoustics, that I won’t part with. For many reasons. I’ve let a few go that I regret and I don’t like that feeling. My wife has told me I’m not allowed to get rid of any more guitars. She’s a good woman!

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