A CraigsList Miracle

Okay. Maybe this tale doesn’t exactly fit into the miracle category. Not like when I survived acute viral encephalitis in the eighth grade without any ill effects after several days in a coma.

But it’s still pretty remarkable…

Some years ago I bought a “real” bass guitar. A Fender Precision, for readers who want precision about the details of the story. I loved it and thought I’d want to keep it forever.

Although I’d been a guitar player since I was a junior in high school, I started fooling around with bass probably around 1970.

I went through a series of cheap basses, but I only used them for home recording, and the ones I’d used were adequate. Sometimes I also played bass in church, and when I had the money to get the Fender, I did. Presumably the last bass I’d ever want or need.

About a year ago–I’m sure of the time because I was practicing the bass part for the Christmas musical and having to tote my heavy Fender back and forth between home and church–I decided it was time to buy a second bass. I settled on an Epiphone Viola, which was appreciably lighter than the Fender. I liked the sound so much I decided to use it at church and keep the Fender at home for practice.

What I didn’t pay that much attention to is the fact that the Fender is what’s called a “long-scale” bass and the Epiphone is a “short-scale.” That has to do with neck length, and that–of course–affects the width of the frets.

But this year the heaviness of the Fender–I’d developed muscle pains in my chest wall–and having to make mental adjustments in playing when switching between the two basses had really gotten to me in practicing for the Christmas musical. So I decided to sell the Fender and get another Epiphone.

I already knew that music stores don’t begin to pay as much for a used instrument as the owner thinks it’s worth, but Guitar Center would pay only $190 in order to sell it for $315. Hmm. Did I mention that the Epiphone I wanted was $350?

The family budget wasn’t set up to handle the difference, so I decided to try CraigsList. Since the guy who’d helped me at Guitar Center thought I could probably get $350 for it, that’s what I listed it for, although I would’ve been willing to compromise.

Within a day I had a serious nibble from someone who asked if I wanted cash only or whether I would consider a swap. I replied cash…unless he happened to have an Epiphone Viola bass to swap.

And would you believe he did? And he wanted the Fender because he was having problems going from a short-scale bass to a long-scale–the exact reverse of my problem.

He sent me pictures of his bass, and it appears to be in good condition. We’re supposed to be meeting this morning (the day I’m writing this, not the day it’ll be posted) to check out one another’s basses in person.

I’m trying not to get my hopes all the way up, but it’s not easy. After all, what are the chances two people would even potentially be able to make such a perfect swap? As far as I’m concerned, God had a lot to do with this happening. He knew what I needed before I even thought to ask Him for it. Thank You, Lord.

Have any stories about purchases or swaps you’ve made? How about leaving a comment?


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Best regards,

6 thoughts on “A CraigsList Miracle

  1. I’d call it the Craiglist Coincidence. Miracles are several orders of magnitude greater than what you mention. Or you could call it the Craiglist windfall. Something of that sort. But I get your enthusiasm. Very nice. I always thought the Höfner model 500/1 “violin” bass that Paul McCartney played was cool. But at about $750.00 that would be a miracle trade!


  2. Tom, when I bought that first Epiphone, the salesperson asked if I wouldn’t prefer to have a Hofner. Only $1200. Although that was far out of my range (and probably always will be), that wasn’t a bad price compared to that of many other bass guitars.

    Oh, and I don’t believe in coincidences. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that point. *G*


  3. Ok. I agree with you. Life is better that way. I was cruising the net and saw a Hofner for about 750. The same one that McCartney used in the early years. Of course, his was left -handed.


  4. Nope. I’m not a musician. It’s something that pains me to no end. I have put my kid into piano lessons and he loves it. I hear learning to play music at my age is like learning to speak a foreign language when you’re older . you never get rid of the accent. SO I just shuffle along and pine to myself about what might have been.


  5. That’s great about your son. If I’d been willing to take piano lessons, my parents would’ve paid for them. But I wanted to play guitar, and they thought that was just a passing fad for me, as so many other things in my young life had been. So I had to handle the seven lessons I took on my own before deciding I not only couldn’t afford more, but could probably figure out more of what I wanted from books. And so I did.

    Sometimes I wish I could take a few bass guitar lessons just to fill in the gaps. Or should I say to give me some ideas how to fill in gaps in the music? Right now we’re practicing for the Christmas musical at church, and I’m playing bass for that for the third or fourth year. I’m spending a LOT of time working with the CD made by professionals.

    So if I let myself, I could get really frustrated at the stuff a pro bass player can do. So, Tom, we can pine together for slightly different reasons.


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