Friday, April 27, 2012

New amp day! And a little Ebay story.

A warning: this is the first of two more guitar-related posts coming up. (Yes, the Japan top 10 is still in the pipeline!)

I got my new amp!

Well, it's new to me anyway. It's a 2008 Fender Twin Reverb (as I previously hinted at buying), purchased on Ebay. The transaction ended up being a little painful as the seller obviously didn't know how to ship it and tried to add "packaging" costs onto the shipping charge after the auction had ended - essentially asking me to pay more than I had won the auction for. Not only against Ebay's TOS, but definitely shady if you ask me. This is definitely a heavy amp, but I ship stuff all the time, and I was able to look up the actual price to ship it through my UPS account, which was about $150 less than what he was asking me for. When I opened the box, I discovered why - he had asked the UPS Store to pack it for him rather than packing it himself, and they had used heavy blankets as packing material.

Basically, I was being asked to pay $150 for blankets, and the extra cost of shipping them - they weigh about 10 pounds by themselves! But I wasn't bidding on blankets; I was bidding on an amp, and he hadn't included the cost of blankets in his quoted shipping price. (Nor would I have bid on his auction if he had.)

We argued just a tiny bit but I ended up paying him what I had calculated the actual shipping cost as. It drives me a little crazy, though, that he never quite understood the issue - he thought I was taking $150 out of his pocket, and he's going to continue thinking that, that there's someone out there who stole $150 from him on his amp auction. That's going to kind of piss me off every time I look at this thing. He never understood that he was asking me to pay for his choice of using somebody else to pack the box for him, and long after he had entered the shipping price onto his auction page.

The amp itself is going to be great, but the seller also did not remove the tubes from it (as I asked) and now the reverb tube seems to be making noise, so I'll probably have to replace that. Blah! I made this (boring) video to ask about the reverb noise on a forum I read and that's the answer I got - feel free to tell me different if you know different:

I didn't record myself playing through it because I am frankly kind of embarrassed to do that when there are all these videos out there of random people playing like they're the second coming of Jimi Hendrix. People are going to laugh at me and my lack of skillz.

But the tone is amazing, and exactly what I wanted. I definitely can't overdrive it, I know that - in my house, I will mostly be playing with the volume set on 1. It's a loud amp. But it sounds great on 1, even though I'm not even stretching the legs on those 6L6 power tubes. I can use my Fender Blender clone for distortion (dialed back, it makes a great distortion instead of fuzz.) On a weekend day, maybe I'll get adventurous, shake the house, annoy the neighbors and crank it up to 2. I do still hope to play out someday, though, and then I can probably take it up to 3 or 4. Who wants to start a band??

(btw, there's a "this one goes to 11" joke in here somewhere, but I can't find it. I think on 11, though, this amp would probably wipe out half of the eastern seaboard.)

One thing I knew before buying it (and obviously, it was the reason for the shipping difficulty): this thing is heavy. I knew that fact but had to experience it before I really understood it. It's a backbreaker! You look at it and think "it's mostly hollow, and not really that big, how heavy could it be?" Then you try to pick it up and it's like "crack!" and just like that, your back is broken. So I'm writing this from my hospital bed...

Not really. But it's so heavy that I end up dragging it across the floor when I try to move it. First thing I did was put some heavy duty felt pads on the metal feet to move it easier without scratching the floor - I recommend this! It's like a piece of furniture. It is actually heavier than my couch. Maybe someday I'll get this ATA flight case so I can wheel it around with the top off.

Anyway, so yeah. Great amp, not a great buying experience. On the plus side, I did get it for $790, plus about $95 shipping. Compared to a new one, I saved about $400. Which seems about right.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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