People always ask me about how I find guitars and amps. The real answer is that I compulsively search local listings on every possible social media platform, and obviously on Craigslist. The most important thing to keep in mind when you contact someone who's selling an old guitar or amp is that they most likely have other stuff. This is a story about what happens when you ask, "Do you happen to have any more old instruments?" 

Whenever I'm planning to visit my hometown in the northwest corner of Georgia, I always check for gear within 100 miles. There isn't a ton to do in that neck of the woods, so the best way for me to enjoy it is to set a radius and start the hunt for gear. A while back, I noticed that there was a '50s Silvertone U1 listed in Rome, Georgia. That's only a half hour or so from my mom's house. So I figured that I'd better see if I could make a deal.

I typically find that it's best to talk to someone on the phone, if possible, so you can get a rapport going. I talked to a guy named Rob Broadway, and we met at his place of business in downtown Rome. He brought along the Silvertone, and I paid the agreed-upon price. We started talking about gear. It turns out that he was helping out his late friend's widow sell off his guitar collection, and this was the first piece hitting the market. I quickly told him that I was a guitar hoarder, and that I would be interested in whatever he came across. 

We kept in touch, and Rob would send me pictures as he came across more gear. I would help him figure out what he was looking at and tried to determine what the fair market value was. If there was something that I was interested in, he would just save it for me. This continued for a few weeks and the goods just kept building up. 

Once there was a truckload of stuff, Rob mentioned to me that he had a mid '60s Gibson Folksinger in his personal collection, and he was thinking of selling it. We added it to the bundle and decided it was time to meet up again. About a month after I bought that initial Silvertone U1, I met Rob back at the same place at 11am. I brought along my '60 Fender Jazzmaster as a show-and-tell (and so I could try out some of the amps with a reliable guitar). 

We chatted about gear, music, and then got down to business. Rob pulled out at least a dozen old amps, a '50s Gibson ES-225T, another Silvertone U1, a few Silvertone 1448s,  and the Gibson Folksinger. The guitars and amps had mostly been stored in a shed, so there were condition issues with absolutely everything except the Folksinger. I told Rob what I would pay for each item as I looked them over, and he made a list of those prices in his phone. At the end of the deal, we settled up, and I headed to my mom's house with a literal truckload of vintage guitars and amps. 

I sold off the Es-225T to Brandon McCoy, one of my childhood best friends and former bandmates. He had the guitar restored and still has it to this day. 

The Silverface Champ ended up going to a studio outside of Atlanta, and it's getting some good use. 

The neck on the Folksinger went for a neck reset to my boo Dylan Keel at Classic City Vintage Guitars, and that guitar will be staying with me. 

The rest of the amps are hanging out at my workshop, just waiting to be serviced. Most of them are moderately functional, but will need a once-over to really be played. 

I still talk to Rob about gear a few times a month, and he has helped me pick up at least 5 other things over the past year. (More on that later.) 

The moral of the story: Always ask if they have more stuff for sale. It doesn't always pan out, but if you can make a good contact with someone who knows players in the area, you are just going to keep finding good stuff. 

November 24, 2021 — Kyle Martin

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