Trade #8: Fender SuperSonic amp head for Limited Edition Fender Custom ’68 Deluxe Reverb amp

My life has taken me to exotic places. I’ve waded through the bluest water off the Galapagos Islands. I’ve sipped yak butter tea in the Himalayas. I’ve ridden winding roads through the jungles of East Africa.

This trade brought me to the Denny’s out by the highway in Stockton.

So I can check that off the list now, too.

Dave (not his real name) contacted me weeks ago. He was very interested in that little amp head I’d received in a trade for the custom guitar I’d gotten for the bicycle I had. In fact, this trade originated back when I was still staying with friends, before I had a place of my own.

Dave got in touch via Craigslist and offered this beautiful electric blue amplifier. Bigger than the amp head I had, more powerful. It was nearly new, only played for about 10 hours he said, never gigged, only ever played in the house. There were some changes happening in the band he played in (they got a horn section!), and he needed a different amp setup to compete. He sent me photos. He sent me a few videos after I’d asked. He went above and beyond. Dave absolutely earned this trade.

As with any musical equipment I consider, my good friend Walker was an essential advisor in this trade. He told me exactly why I needed to trade for this amp. As you’ll see later, he was right.

Thing is, just as Dave and I had agreed to trade my amp head for his amp, our counties announced the shelter-in-place order. We were only to leave the house for essential or emergency things. Dave’s wife, reasonable woman that she is, gave him a lot of shit for considering making a drive to trade music equipment at a time like this.

Oh, and Dave lives in Ione, California. That’s a 220-mile round trip if we were to meet at either end.

“Stockton looks like it’s roughly halfway for both of us,” I told him in one of our exchanges. “Maybe we could meet there one day?”

“There’s a Denny’s where the highways meet,” he told me.

Done and done.

The weeks passed. We stayed in touch from time to time. I don’t know what changed or what he finally told his wife, but we agreed to meet at 9am on a Sunday in the Denny’s parking lot. We’d be in masks. We’d put the amps on the ground and walk away from them keeping safe distance. No funny business.

And… we did just that. Almost no words exchanged. I, in my mask and gloves, took the amp out of the trunk, sprayed and wiped it down with bleach, and set it down. We each walked to our left, I picked up the new amp, set it down by my car, wiped it down with bleach, and into the trunk it went.

“We should be quick,” he said during the exchange. “This is a bad area.”

And almost without another word, he was gone. I didn’t stay long; there was no Grand Slam to be had on this day.

And now Dave is happy and I have had more interest in this new amp than any other item I’ve posted for trade. Walker’s instincts were right. Guitars, amps, amp stacks, more guitars… I may be close to a trade already, and I’ve only had the thing online for a little over a week.

So, expect this one to go fast. I gained more than 30% in value in this trade, though I don’t expect to get near that much in the next one. I’ll be glad if I get $200-$300 in growth, but so far, the offers are coming to me and I’m in a good position to pick the one that feels best.

So, thanks Dave. Thanks, Walker. And thank you, too, Denny’s in Stockton, for helping to keep this weird wild project moving along. Cheers.

1984 Mercier Le Velo line:
Original item value: $200
Number of trades to date: 3
Latest trade: Fender SuperSonic amp head ($800) for Limited Edition Fender Custom ’68 Deluxe Reverb amp ($1050)
Total line value dollar increase: $850
Total line value percent increase: 425%