Trade #20: 2004 Gretsch Brian Setzer for 2018 Warwick GPS StarBass

2018 Warwick GPS StarBass hollowbody

This was another game of patience-and-pounce.

Interest in the very beautiful and pretty sought-after Gretsch Setzer model ebbed and flowed. It was partially due to Craigslist’s machines. I can never tell when one of my posts is going to be algorithmically flagged for removal, and they don’t tell you when it’s happened, nor do they tell you why. You have to guess. There are some things that can make it more likely, basically anything that makes your post look like spam. Lots of caps-lock yelling would do it, certain keywords (example: I was trying to hype the desktop computer I have for trade by saying it’d be great for that WFH life — bad idea), that kinda stuff. But sometimes it really does seem arbitrary, and for some reason the Gretsch ad would sometimes stay up for a few days, and other times it’d be down literally within minutes, with barely any text changes.

Thankfully (or, maybe, terribly), Facebook’s computerized watchdogs are far less discerning, and pretty much any ad I put up stays up there. That was good for this one. Last night Raphael (not his real name) found the ad, contacted me, and got right into it:

Hi Collin, is this still available? Trade for a 3,200$ Warwick 2019 bass

This was an offer on a guitar I’d listed at $2,400, so, yeah. I was interested.

He sent photos, I did some research, it looked promising.

I didn’t want to give him time to second guess himself, so I was down to meet up as soon as he was free. Today he was, but he was working. I’d have to come to him, in Sunnyvale.

Not the farthest I’d gone for a trade (shoutout to that Denny’s in Stockton!). But it was an hour’s drive. He offered to cover gas, and actually paid quite handsomely. It was generous and it sold me.

I got my work done early and was on my way. I drove through the smokey haze wearing an N95 alone in my two-seater Alfa Romeo (my life right now is VERY weird) with the Gretsch riding shotgun, because the little sportscar’s trunk is too small for a full size guitar. That car is so impractical for me but it sure is fun to drive. (Potential trade on the horizon for that, too, so stay tuned.)

I showed up in Raphael’s idyllic Sunnyvale suburb, between the park and the church and the school (…really), and we met on the lush green coiffed sidewalk, masked up and distanced. He opened up the soft case and there must have been hearts over my eyes.

Gorgeous. I looked for the few little details that helped me to distinguish the $3,000 model from the $1,000 ones, found them, and I was on my way. He even threw in some extra strings, and had stashed the gas money in the case ahead of time. Good guy. The meeting took maybe 4 minutes before we agreed not to shake hands and went our separate ways.

I do wish my good friend Emma, who is also the bassist in my band, were in town right now. She’s on what I hope is an amazing backpacking trip (and ideally not a scary smokey one). I’d love for her to get to play a $3k+ bass, and I’d love to hear how she’d make it sound. Alas, I’ve already gotten 3 offers on it in an hour, so I’m not sure how long this will last. But if it’s still here when she gets back, then you’re all in for a treat.

1984 Mercier Le Velo line:
Original item value:
Number of trades to date: 9
Latest trade:
Gretsch G6120SSU Brian Setzer signature ($2400) for 2018 Warwick GPS StarBass hollowbody ($3200)
Total line value dollar increase:
Total line value percent increase:

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