Let's See/Hear those epic garage sale finds!


Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
Harlow, Essex, UK
Around me, it seems people working the garage sales, thrift shops seem to know what they have. I never see anything decent out and if I do, it has a high price tag on it. I can never figure out how people come across the 'fortune' finds. Guess its all timing, right place at the right time. Im at the wrong place wrong time, musta got lost.
Same here, I don’t think we have the direct equivalent of thrift shops, unless they’re what we refer to as charity shops. Those seem to have an expert in most fields, including music. Took in a Washburn bass once. Happy to donate to a good cause. It disappeared out back in no time, so far as I know never to reappear in the retail front of house area.
Mind you, I have a problem with charity shops. More than happy to donate but, should I buy from them and contribute further to the cause or, does doing so deprive someone who couldn’t otherwise afford the item?


Puck of Paradox
Jul 10, 2011
The Shack, Nova Scotia
Was down in So Cal, helping dad clean out the garage right before they were moving to an assisted living place. Pulled a little chipboard guitar case I off the highest shelf and asked what was in it. He thought it was empty, but it didn’t feel empty. Was a 1951 Gibson LG2 he forgot he had (we’re a Martin family). Got it for nothing, just had to buy a case to bring it home. DCCA6E0E-9691-4459-9875-62D700548C58.jpeg

Engine Swap

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 23, 2019
Was diving down Cicero Ave. and spotted an amp at a garage sale. $50 and it has Fender/Eminence speakers. They threw in an original pressing of Rock n Roll Animal as a bonus. Came with the original cover as well.



New Member!
Aug 26, 2016
San Francisco
I know some of y’all around here don’t like to read long stories, so here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

I got this at a garage sale for $1.00
It’s been through some journeys, but a couple of years ago I got it back up and running, and now my daughter and I fight over it.

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Here’s the longer version for the more literate amongst us:

Great story, Red. I feel the vibe of that archtop. I snatched an old Kay pawn shop special from my older bro long ago, and in the process of “making it cooler” I destroyed any collector’s value it had.


Strat-Talk Member
Jul 15, 2012
eau claire, wi
1991 - A Air Force buddy wants to trade a Marshall Lead 12 for a boogie board(stationed in FL) so I go over and he’s got this weird amp head in a home-made cabinet. What’s that? Vox AC30. If you ever want to sell it…. 6 months later he’s going to buy a house. $100. Still got it. Complete restoration. Proper cabinet and Celestion Blues. It’s a 63.
1992 - Tweed Princeton in the local classified paper for $75. The guy cut the baffle and put an 8 ohm Celestion in it and thought it was broken. Worth $300 at the time.
1993 - Just missed a Fender guitar and amp, $500 ad in the same paper. They came into the repair shop I hung out at. 65 Deluxe Reverb that needed to be wiped down and a 65 Jazzmaster with a dead front pickup. Worth $3000 at the time. That one still hurts.
2007 - Wander into the local pawn shop and there’s a 62 Bandmaster for $275. I talked them down to $250 because the output transformer was loose. Worth $600 at the time after I pulled the 6 Telefunken 12AX7s out of it and replaced them with USA scrounged tubes.
2010 - Probably the best score for me. eBay 1964 Vibroverb chassis and nothing else. $1300. I find a cab, source a 15 inch JBL, reverb tank, etc. Loved the amp. Had $1800 in it and at the time all original was $4k. I stick it out there for $3200 with a nobody’s gonna buy it for that attitude. It sold in 3 weeks.
2012 - Ad on Craigslist for a Fender Pro amp, needs work, $400. Message the guy and drive the 1.5 hours to get there after work. Check it out and it looks good. He says it makes funny noises and he doesn’t want to deal with it. Powers on and makes noise, so I buy it. Service it clean pots and sockets, retention and change filter caps. Sold it for $1200.
2020 - Same pawn shop as Bandmaster. Walked in and hanging on the wall was a 1983 Dean Elite in Brazilian Burst. A bit banged up but about the right wear for the age. Original to the frets, but missing knobs. $220, but under $200 after the 15% discount they were offering on instruments at the time. Still got it. I hardly play it, but I’ll never get another for that price.
Still some scores out there occasionally. Gotta keep your eyes open. Lost quite a few. An 80 Rickenbacker 360/12, 2 hours away for $350 in 1994. Sold it out from under me in transit.
Won a 1966 Rickenbacker 366 on eBay 2016 for $2100. The guy refused to ship it after I paid him and refunded. Still never owned a Ric 12. Passed on a Tweed Tremolux for $2500 because I was out of work at the time and I already have a Harvard. Scratch built one instead for a $1k. Walnut cab, Mercury transformers, Weber alnico. Sounds great, but that original tweed amp was worth $4k. Could go on, but you get the picture. Good times.


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Dr. Stratster
Oct 16, 2018
Well, I think everybody knows the story of my Classical Guitar already. Basically the short story is the luthier who built it had it listed on another guitar forum for over two years. Price started at between 3K and 4K, I can’t remember now.

But I watched it for 2 years as he lowered the price a little every month. By the end of the 24th month of me watching, and our frequent conversations about the guitar, I bought it for 900 bucks shipped (he’s in Japan but the guitar came from Oakland where he was letting a conservatory student use it) in a nice case.

All he needed was money for a plane ticket round trip from Japan to San Fran and back. This guitar is the reason I sold my two Ramirez Classicals. His guitar ruined them for me.

This is it…


New Member!
May 20, 2021
Found this Fender Coronado XII several years ago by the rubbish bins driving home from night shift.
just keep it in a gig bag while i decide what to do with it . Bridge missing. It must have been left outside by the general condition. It would make good Relic wall art


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Apr 10, 2022
Found this Fender Coronado XII several years ago by the rubbish bins driving home from night shift.
just keep it in a gig bag while i decide what to do with it . Bridge missing. It must have been left outside by the general condition. It would make good Relic wall art
I want it. 😭


Strat-Talk Member
May 30, 2021
Zurich, Switzerland
I'm a sucker for a good story about "found a '56 strat in a garbage pile",etc.. Let me hear em!
This wasn't a garage sale, but... Around 2010, I was going to Guitar Center to get a Made in Mexico Tele for my nephew. This boy in his late teens is walking across the parking lot with a Tobacco Sunburst Fender Jaguar in his hands, no case. I rolled down my window and asked him, "Are you selling that Jaguar?"
He tells me yes.
"Would you take $250?"
"Yeah, I guess. I don't know."
I didn't have the money with me, but I tried to work out taking him to the bank. I got to looking at it and it was vintage for sure. I told him he could probably get much more if he took it in and had them appraise it. Well... it was a 1967 model in great condition, and they gave him $1,800. Three weeks later it was on the wall for $3,500. They now go for $6.5k and up.

I could kick myself in the a$$ for being such a nice guy. It looked like the kid was doing drugs and he needed some money. I should have got him in the car, went to the bank and gave him up to $450. It was like God was dropping it in my lap. I thought I was helping the little guy by getting him some more money, but I would guess he blew right through that $1,8000. I was also feeling guilty because I had so much gear already, but that would have been like having some good stock. It's the kind of gear that makes money over time.
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Strat-Talk Member
May 30, 2021
Zurich, Switzerland
Another true story. I used to go surfing with a friend of mine. He had a Fender Jazz bass under his bed - I think it was a 1973, blonde, as in no paint. He also had a silver face 100 watt Bassman with the speaker cabinet in his garage. He never played this gear. It looked brand new. I think his brother gave it to him before he moved out of the house. Every time I would pick him up to go surfing or to get high, I would ask him, "Hey, Beat. When are you gonna' sell me that bass and amp?"
After literally 3 1/2 years of trying, one day he asked me, "How much would you give me?" I told him $350. He said ok. This was in the late '80's to 1991. Now, that bass is worth over $4k. I traded the bass for a Cannondale road bike, with a guy I played with who was a friend of mine. He needed a bass to play in the band. I made him sign a contract that he would have to sell it back to me if I asked for it, so he spent a lot of money on upgrades to keep me from doing that. Then he would tell me how much it cost. "Hey, I bought a gold pickguard. You wouldn't believe. It was $200!" And he really did. He replaced the pickups, the tuning keys and I think he had it painted. He told me that he had over $2k in the bass the last time we talked about it.

But I played that bassman for years on regional in Texas / Louisiana, and state wide tours in Texas, sometimes in front of thousands of people, one show with 8,000 people, a captive audience. And we had to crank pretty loud when we were playing in prisons. My shirt and pants would flap from the wind the speakers were pushing. I didn't use that cab for those shows. I used a 4x12 Marshall with Vintage 30's. But that Bassman cabinet was interesting. It had a woody sound, and the speakers were set at 45 degree angles (I think) in all directions, so the sound was everywhere. It sounded out of control to me, and i was worried that if we moved it too much, it would fall apart. It didn't seem nearly as well built as the Marshall. I didn't use it much, but sometimes I would pull out a MusicMan HD 120 head and run both the Bassman and the Musicman together on different sides of the stage. the sound was enormous.

The Bassman head is the one that got away for me, or one of them anyway. That was a keeper, a fine amp. I have a Z-Lux now among another Fender and a Marshall Studio Jube, but that Bassman - I have memories that I'll never forget playing with that. They should re-issue them as hand wired 50 watt blackface reissues.

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