Trade #16: 2017 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top Tribute for 2017 Gibson Firebird T

Confession: I’m not actually sure that my previous guitar trade was a successful trade upward.

I kept getting messages telling me that my listing price for the 2017 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top Tribute was too high, that it was more appropriate for a Gold Top guitar, not a Gold Top Tribute (I’m learning that these nuances matter, a lot, to the tune of hundreds of dollars). Some messengers were kind and polite about it; others less so. Still, I think the Carvin-for-Gibson trade was a good one, not least because it’s brought me here:

Will (not his real name) wrote me around 5:30pm yesterday inquiring about the Gold Top Tribute. He asked if I’d be interested in a same-year Gibson Firebird T. After a little research it looks like these models, in very good or excellent condition, can regularly go for $1,700+. Some have gone for more than $2k. Given that I may have overestimated the value of the Gold Top, this was a good deal for me if the guitar he’s offering is in good shape.

He sent a photo. It looked gorgeous.

I did a little more research, though. That same year, Gibson released a Firebird T Studio, which sells for (you guessed it) hundreds less than the original Firebird T. I asked him which it was.

“The Studio has humbuckers and a different fretboard. This has some nice mini buckers specific to the Firebird T. Nice and hot.”

Confirmed. It was a T. Thanks Will.

I wanted to make the trade that day if I could. It’s been several times that I’ve agreed to make a trade one evening and the next day the person backs out. That’s their prerogative, of course, we’re all allowed to change our minds. But I’m learning to try to embrace enthusiasm when it’s present. (As I’m writing this, I just sent a text to someone who emailed me an hour ago about the motorcycle I have for sale/trade. Strike while iron is hot.)

Will was coming from San Ramon but happy to meet me on my side of the Bay. He had band practice but could get here afterward, around 9ish. Too late?

I said it was fine. Problem is that I don’t want Craigslist or Facebook randos to know my address or see my house. I’ve already dealt with enough unstable people through this project (well, one, but that was plenty) that I’m doing what I can to protect myself. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about the measures I’m taking…

Anyway, I asked him if he’d meet me at a nearby park, and he agreed, but the more I thought about it, the less comfortable I was with that. Me, alone, with a $1500 guitar, in an unlit park… I didn’t like it. He seemed to sense my unease over text, and offered to meet me somewhere else. I suggested an intersection, one about a block from my house (but he doesn’t know that), and it was a deal.

He showed up about 45 minutes later in his truck with his girlfriend by his side. She was awesome, a real trip. We had the two guitars rested on the truck’s tailgate and we were inspecting them. “Is this how guys trade guitars?” she asked. “Girls trade makeup swatches and it’s like, it’s a whole thing.”

Will was super chill. He was really excited to trade away a guitar that mostly sat in his closet for something he would play. He loves Les Pauls, and wanted to start gigging again (but how? Where? I’m confounded), but this Firebird was too nice for him to bring out to shows. I told him about my trade project and he and his girlfriend seemed to love the idea. They wished me well and told me they hope the guitar might turn into a car one day.

Me too 🙂

Personal note: I expect I’m one trade away in this line from having achieved a 10x value multiplication. This line began with a $200 bicycle. This whole thing is nuts.

1984 Mercier Le Velo line:
Original item value:
Number of trades to date:
Latest trade:
2017 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top Tribute ($1550) for 2017 Gibson Firebird T ($1950)
Total line value dollar increase:
Total line value percent increase:

Comments are closed.