There are some things in life that you just can’t pass up. About a week ago, my friend Jeff Aragaki of Aracom Amps mentioned people finding great vintage gear in pawn shops. I kind of stored that tidbit away for future reference, mainly because there aren’t any pawn shops really close to where I live. But today, I happened to park in front of a pawn shop (I work about 20 miles from where I live), and after lunch, on a whim, decided to go in. This was a little pawn shop that mostly specialized in jewelry, but they had a number of amps and guitars as well.
I wasn’t overwhelmed by the selection of gear; mostly no-name brands that I had never heard of, and as far amps were concerned, cheapo solid-state practice amps. But tucked in behind some guitars was a Fernandes Strat-copy that caught my eye. It had a nice, white finish with a maple neck (I LOVE maple necks), and it was obviously well-used from where I could see it. The shop owner walked up, and I asked to inspect the guitar. I was really impressed by the workmanship. I had heard of Fernandes guitars being very high-quality for a great price, but upon seeing the workmanship up close for the first time, I was very impressed. And even though this guitar was well-used, I could tell it was taken care of because of only minor scratches and dings on the body.
The tag on the guitar said it was for sale for $115 (sorry… if you came from the gear page, I mistakenly listed it at $125), and I asked if she’d take $100 including tax, and she agreed. Unfortunately, they didn’t take plastic in any form, so I had to decline on the guitar. But that was a good thing because it gave me some time to do some research. From what I could glean, this Strat-copy is a late-80′s (’86 and later) model of this guitar. What’s ultra-cool about this one is that it’s pure white. Almost all the pictures I saw today of late-80′s Fernandes Strat-copies were either tobacco burst or a solid that was other than white. This made the guitar a bit more unique. This was confirmed by a former Fernandes endorser that I hooked up with on The Gear Page.
In any case, I got this guitar for a steal!!! I’m going to fix it up, swap out pickups, give it a good cleaning and setup. Don’t know if I’m going to keep it, but no matter. It was a great deal!
So if you have a chance, take a peak into a pawn shop sometime. Oh wait! Another place you could look is at estate sales. A few years ago, I met an older gentleman and acoustic guitarist who SCORED a 1940′s Martin for a couple of hundred bucks at an estate sale, and had it appraised at around forty-grand! Amazing! Talk about a steal!