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View Full Version : My most interesting music instruemnt acquisition ever.



dawhealer
06-20-2011, 04:12 PM
Okay, so I started learning guitar when I got my first real guitar for my birthday in 1959. I think I was born into a love affair with stringed and fretted instruments. Had the plastic toy guitars/ukuleles, and even a plastic fiddle (with frets!) that could actually be played with a bow (geez my parents were patient folks) from the time I could walk up until '59. In '57 I literally started lobbying my parents for a "real" instrument until they caved and bought me a Sears Silvertone guitar in '59.

After that I only had one uke and that was a Silvertone with a plastic fretboard. I wasn't impressed with it and tossed it. Didn't take ukes seriously until just a few months ago.

I already had my father-in-law's Silvertone soprano (better than the Silvertone I had earlier; real fretboard and real frets) and did some upgrading on it. Then I got a Lanakai concert size uke. Then my wife got interested in learning to play. She liked the concert size better than the soprano. I also like the concert size better. Dilemma.

So I started looking on Craig's list and found a guy selling a Mitchell MU-100 with a nice gig bag. After doing a little research I realized that this uke can be a mixed bag, but the thing that intrigued me was the ad. It had been up for over a month. Not surprising, considering. The seller wanted to sell the uke or trade it. But here's the stipulation of the trade: "The only material I would be potentially interested in trading is hand gun equipment or guns."

Now, in the last fifty-two years I've bought and sold a lot of guitars, but never had a deal come up like that.

Soooo, I just happened to have a .357 Magnum revolver that had been gathering dust for the last 20-some-odd years. I was once an MP in what now seems like a former life and had amassed quite an arsenal which I never really needed and now feel the need to unload. Not exactly beating a sword into a plowshare, but I figured, "What the heck?"

So I'm one weapon down and one uke up and the richer for it. The Mitchell isn't a bad uke for an all laminate. It sounds surprisingly good for a laminate. Intonation is accurate. The fret ends were sharp but it only took me a little while to dress them. I'm not a luthier, but a friend who passed on a few years ago and who was taught me a lot about doing my own setups and adjustments. There was an entirely unnecessary shim under the saddle which I removed when I replaced the strings.

Not many places other than Texas will you find someone who wants to trade a uke for a gun. "Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me/Other times I can barely see/Lately it occurs to me/What a long strange trip it's been."

Woo hoo! I'm having a blast. Wish I'd discovered "real" ukuleles fifty years ago, but better late than never.

ksiegel
06-20-2011, 04:24 PM
Interesting. My .357 has a legal market value much higher than any of my ukuleles. And that's in New York.

Even one of the .22LR revolvers would go for more than I paid for the Epi Les Paul uke.

Are firearm prices in Texas that depressed?

-Kurt

Pippin
06-20-2011, 09:33 PM
"Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me/Other times I can barely see/Lately it occurs to me/What a long strange trip it's been."

Nice Grateful Dead reference. With your Mitchell Uke, now you're truckin' (but don't cash in your chips just yet).

Enjoy the uke.

dawhealer
06-21-2011, 01:30 AM
Interesting. My .357 has a legal market value much higher than any of my ukuleles. And that's in New York.

Even one of the .22LR revolvers would go for more than I paid for the Epi Les Paul uke.

Are firearm prices in Texas that depressed?

-Kurt

Firearms prices in Texas aren't that depressed, I just didn't want the .357 any more and welcomed the chance to trade it for something I'd get some use from. I'm a small guy and the .357 is too much firepower for me. I'd fired 75 rounds through it on the range and my wrist hurt for almost a week afterwards. Wished I'd never bought it, stashed it away in a closet in '92 and had pretty much forgotten I had it. This way, the guy I traded it to and I are both happy.

About a year ago I bought a 2006 Martin DM with a Fishman Natural II pickup for $435. That's significantly lower than the market value for that guitar. The guy who had it had been trying to sell it for over a month and the market was slow. He knew he was selling below market value, but wanted to be rid of the guitar and was tired of trying to sell it. I'd been looking for a DM for a couple of years. We both went away pleased.

Sometimes it's what it's worth to the individual.

dawhealer
06-21-2011, 01:36 AM
Hey, Pippin, I'm a Deadhead; I admit it. Got their first album in '67 when I was a 16-year-old kid living in the South Panhandle Plains of Texas. I was hooked. I'll be 60 in less than a week and have no intention of cashing in my chips any time in the near future. I'm having too much fun.

ichadwick
06-21-2011, 02:13 AM
Guns for ukes? Geez, here in Canada we can barely exchange hockey sticks for ukes. I might trade one for a Rototiller or a snowblower, of course. Gardening and snowblowing being major Canadian outdoor activities. Well, lawnmowing too, but we don't have any grass at home, just garden, so I gave my old mower away. Hmmm. Should have tried to trade it for a uke...

ksiegel
06-21-2011, 08:57 AM
I don't have any intention of selling or trading any of mine, even if I haven't had a chance to go to a range in years. They are all cased, locked up, and stored separate from ammo - some I don't even have ammo for. The grand majority of my firearms were gifts from an elderly relative, never fired. One is in showcase condition, and a collector's item- I call it the "Cowboy Gun".

The sentimental value is one thing; the other is not wanting the firearms to get into the wrong hands. I spent over 25 years working in EMS, and have dealt with my share of terminal velocity lead poisoning cases, both self-inflicted and otherwise. I have no desire to have any more encounters with, or have any part in contributing to such incidents, even if it is just by selling a firearm to someone who has it stolen and then used maliciously.

I'd also have to think hard about trading my mantis tiller or weedeater for a uke....

dawhealer
06-26-2011, 10:46 PM
I don't have any intention of selling or trading any of mine, even if I haven't had a chance to go to a range in years. They are all cased, locked up, and stored separate from ammo - some I don't even have ammo for. The grand majority of my firearms were gifts from an elderly relative, never fired. One is in showcase condition, and a collector's item- I call it the "Cowboy Gun".

The sentimental value is one thing; the other is not wanting the firearms to get into the wrong hands. I spent over 25 years working in EMS, and have dealt with my share of terminal velocity lead poisoning cases, both self-inflicted and otherwise. I have no desire to have any more encounters with, or have any part in contributing to such incidents, even if it is just by selling a firearm to someone who has it stolen and then used maliciously.

I'd also have to think hard about trading my mantis tiller or weedeater for a uke....

I understand your concern about a weapon getting into the wrong hands. Didn't mean to give the impression I just traded it off frivolously. I was an MP and I've seen my share of "terminal velocity lead poisoning" as you put it. I "interviewed" the young man who wanted to make the trade at length. He didn't have any trouble with me making a copy of his driver's license and recording his name and address or with him signing a receipt attesting to the trade. He invited me and my wife to the church where he plays guitar with the praise team (Jewish, not interested, but it was a nice gesture on his part). I'm pretty confident he's not going to be robbing any liquor stores or letting the gun fall into the wrong hands. I used to go to gun shows and buy, sell, and trade guns every couple of months. Stopped because of the very concerns you mention and the lack of monitoring at these functions.

Like yours, most of my firearms are inherited, some are classics and none are for sale. I bought the .357 when I was an MP and it was strictly for utilitarian, military-related purposes. My father was a skeet shooter (his Model 12 Winchester is one of the guns I inherited) and he started my firearms safety training when I was 5-years old. I've been around firearms all my life (actually did some competitive shooting when I was younger). I have a couple of .22 handguns for protection in my home but have never had to use them and hope I never will. I haven't carried a weapon since I got out of the military.

If I'd thought there was any danger that the guy I traded the gun to was careless or a wack job, I wouldn't have made the trade.

Kem
06-27-2011, 03:20 AM
I do have a uke made out of wood that was apparently originally meant as gun stock. I regard its eventual fate as the best possible outcome.

dawhealer
06-27-2011, 06:53 AM
I do have a uke made out of wood that was apparently originally meant as gun stock. I regard its eventual fate as the best possible outcome.

Agreed on that assessment. :agree:

dianalele
06-27-2011, 07:41 AM
Hahaha I think that is hilarious. I have never heard of anyone trading a gun for a ukulele. Man, that ukulele really comes with a story now. Enjoy it and welcome to the world of addictively happy strumming!

Wesley S
06-27-2011, 07:57 AM
It gives a whole new meaning to "firing off a few riffs".

ksiegel
06-27-2011, 12:40 PM
I understand your concern about a weapon getting into the wrong hands. Didn't mean to give the impression I just traded it off frivolously.

Sorry - I wasn't questioning your trade or motive, merely stating why I'll hang on to mine.

I do, however, appreciate the care in which you vetted the trade. That shows real integrity.

I'd have the same response being invited to play at a praise group, and for the identical reason. Not that I have a problem playing Gospel music, I just won't do it to encourage anyone. (g)

-Kurt