A tangled (world wide) web we weave

By Jeff Linville - jlinville@civitasmedia.com

To paraphrase Walter Scott, Oh what a tangled (world wide) web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

The continued growth of the internet certainly has made it interesting to buy and sell goods.

If you do a lot (and I do mean a lot) of searching online, with patience, you can often come away with something of good value at a price you didn’t expect.

While you are doing all that searching, however, you will come across plenty of products that don’t live up to their pricing. Some are good products, just a little overpriced, while others need some fixing that wasn’t mentioned in the ad. And a few are just outright dishonest.

The good thing about doing a lot of research is that you quickly become educated on a particular item and aren’t likely to be fooled.

The bad news is that you could spend all your free time trying to become an expert on every consumer good on the planet.

And then, once you’ve purchased your coveted item, what do you do with all that knowledge?

Five years ago, I put in hours and hours of time online researching DSLR cameras. After much debate on the pros and cons of Nikon and Canon, I went with a Pentax K-5. As anyone knows who has visited my Facebook page, my sports photos were much enhanced after the purchase.

Over the past five years I have defended my camera choice to many snobs who think only Nikon and Canon are worthy of purchase. Yet despite my knowledge of cameras and my clear evidence in photos in the newspaper and online, I can’t think of a single person I have converted to Pentax.

With the camera in hand, next came searching for lenses that fit. And that returned me to the internet.

I soon discovered that camera lenses are not something you want to buy via computer. You need to pick them up, attach them to a camera and give a few test shots.

The same thing applies to my other hobby: guitars.

I’ve done some buying, selling and trading of gear over the past couple of years. It can be fun or it can be a pain in the rear.

Many of us have been fooled by an online ad.

The ad says 4×4 truck in good condition. When you get to the house, the underside and the fender wells are eaten up with rust.

Another time I checked out an off-road motorcycle. I discovered that the owner had been using the dirt bike in some local motocross races and had beaten the thing half to death on those big jumps.

My dad said that his brother and step-brother were stranded on a lake once when their fishing boat’s motor died. With no oars to use, his brother took the step-brother’s acoustic guitar and paddled them back to land. On Craigslist that guitar could still be called “like new,” I think.

Just this week I found a guitar strap listed for a whopping $85. The ad said it is the same strap that Jimi Hendrix used when playing at Woodstock in 1969.

Hmm, I can see that statement having two meanings. One, it means this is the exact same strap taken from Jimi, which would mean that $85 isn’t nearly enough of a price for something that iconic.

The Fender Strat Hendrix played at Woodstock was first sold during a Sotheby’s auction in 1990 for $334,620, according to The New York Times.

It was later said to be sold in a private sale to renowned Hendrix collector, Paul Allen of Microsoft (and the Seahawks and Trail Blazers for sports fans), for a reported $2 million.

The other option is that the strap is of a similar model as the one that Jimi wore.

In that case $85 is ridiculously high. I found the exact same model of strap online for $21.

One Facebook friend said that if I thought looking for music gear online was a challenge, just try finding a musician.

Mark Church, who can make a Telecaster shine, said he had a friend wanting to start a rock band. He was looking for a drummer to come to his house for some jam sessions.

A fellow responded, and they set up a time.

The guy showed up with an electronic drum set for the Rock Band videogame and wanted to know where the guitarist’s Xbox was.

Thanks, Craigslist.


By Jeff Linville


Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

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