August 6, 2005

Yard Sale Woes...

by Chris Randall

So, I learned a couple valuable lessons today. I was cruising the yard sales today, and came across a fellow selling a Farfisa Fast 3. Now, this isn't the Score Of The Century or anything, but I go to enough yard sales to know that you generally don't come across anything really cool often enough to truly make it worthwhile. I spent some time going over the instrument, which looked to be in good health. It was dirty, having apparently sat in this dude's garage for the better part of 30 years. But it seemed to be in excellent health otherwise. I asked him what he wanted for it, and he said $30. Now, I should have bought it on the spot, but I didn't have the cash on me, and I wanted to make sure it worked first.

So I trundled home, got the appropriate cables and a set of headphones, stopped at the ATM and got out the cash, then headed back to the yard sale, which was about 20 minutes from my house. I went over the instrument with a fine-toothed comb, and discovered that all the switches were dirty (as I imagined they would be) and a lot of the contacts in the keybed were sticking. But nothing that couldn't be fixed with relative ease. So I said "okay, here's your $30. Let's load it up."

The guy goes "well, here's the thing..." While I was gone, he spent some time searching on the 'bay and various other Interweb resources, and came across a reference to a Fast 3 that some fucking nipplehead on SonicState payed $500 for. So he decided his (which he bought new in 1965) was worth significantly more than $30. While that would certainly be true with an instrument in pristine perfect condition, this one most certainly was not. It was missing about half of the stand hardware (but inexplicably had the swell pedal), a couple knobs off the cover piece, and the top itself was loose due to missing screws, never mind the fucked up keybed and dirty switches.

So, I said I'd be willing to go to $40 or $50, but it simply wasn't worth any more than that. He decided that he wanted $150 for it and not a penny less. Now, Farfisas of any stripe, with one notable exception, are generally worth $150 to $300 in good shape. If this one could be described as that, I'd consider it, although I don't really want a Farfisa at all. But I was, like, "man, you're not gonna get that, I'm sorry to say. The only people that are gonna be interested in this instrument at all are people like me, and they're gonna know what it's worth." He was firm in his convictions, so I walked away.

So the things I learned are thus:

1) If you see something, and it's a killer price but you don't know if it works, buy it anyways. Worst case scenario, you'll be out a couple bucks.

2) When you're going to yard sales, make sure you take a couple quarter-inch cables and a set of headphones with you, if you want to test something out.




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