Sometimes it’s better to not buy a guitar…
That seems totally obvious, right? There are plenty of guitars we see in poor condition, with non-original hacked parts, or overpriced. Those are easy decisions. It’s a simple “don’t buy”. This is a short story about a vintage Gibson Hummingbird that played great, was in nice shape and was priced right. So what was the problem?
Well, the person selling it had his eye on a new guitar. We all know what that’s like – acquiring a soulful tone machine that ignites our creative powers. He needed to sell that Hummingbird for this new guitar. I asked him about his Hummingbird, how he got it, and how long he had it. He told me he had it for as long as he was married (15 years). He had it before he was married, actually, and courted his wife with it. He traveled with the guitar, and went on mission trips and lead church worship with it. He was given the guitar by a woman in his church who had it for 35 years. He said he hated to see it go, but it was time for a new guitar.
I listened to the many details of his story illustrating how this Gibson Hummingbird was woven into the fabric of his life, and in fact, his soul. It got to a natural transition in the conversation and I paused. I said (let’s call him Tom), “Tom, I am not going to buy your guitar” he asked why not…and I said, “Because you’re not going to sell it”. I went on to replay his own story and explained that this guitar was part of his life and he would always regret selling it. I told him I thought he should be patient and save up for his new guitar and keep this one. He was surprised by my reaction, but we kept talking. In the end, he greatly appreciated our discussion and decided to keep it.
I think he will be glad in years to come that he held on to that guitar. Sometimes you have to know when a guitar is more than an investment or an instrument. Sometimes a guitar is part of our lives. That’s what makes them special. I have a couple of guitars that are like that. And while I don’t hold them so tightly I could never sell them under any condition, I would not sell them unless the situation was rather serious.
They have a story…and part of that story is our own. Sometimes, you gotta know when to hold em’