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,
Roger

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