Cowtown Guitars - Buyer Beware

RevWillie

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I have a feeling that that's what the appraisal was that came with the guitar that I purchased.

I just remembered - we've come full-circle: the Cowtown Tele had a Gruhn appraisal in the case! IIRC from about 2009, about 10% more than I paid for the guitar, and I believe done from photos and not in-hand. It was just 'case-candy' to me and inconsequential to the deal.

Look: I'm sure the 'appraisal from photos' thing comes with a massive disclaimer, and is suitable for insurance and not much else. I'd hope to not turn this into a Gruhn-bashing thread.

Any serious buyer or seller should try to do an in-hand inspection, preferably with 1 or more experts looking over their shoulders. The more pairs of eyes on it the better! Mistakes are still possible as my friends and I know.

When I bought this guitar I was promised a 24-hour inspection to return it if there was a problem with the guitar - I notified Jesse on the phone within 2 hours and reiterated the return the next day, but Cowtown answered me with silence and refused.
 

yeti

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No intend to bash Gruhn. I think thew biggest problem with these appraisals is that they are super easy to fake. If you're in the business of doing "drive-by appraisals" for quick cash then anybody can put a piece of paper with your name on it in the case to bolster any claim. Is that really Gruhn's letter head or just a print out of some email? If I state that Gruhn appraised my guitar then a email print out might appear legit if I say that I misplaced the paper copy.
 

pinefd

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I agree with the above two posts. I've had very limited internet access the last few days, and have only had my phone to use to post with, so I haven't been able to be as explicit as I wanted to be.

I'm sure that Gruhn does an excellent job of in-hand guitar assessments and appraisals. But again, his long distance appraisals are probably meant mostly for insurance purposes, and cannot be taken as gospel. As RevWillie said, you really need an in-hand inspection by an expert in order to really know what a particular guitar is. The appraisal I received with my '53 that I mentioned above, I'm sure was a real Gruhn appraisal, but done with very limited information. When I purchased the guitar, which was quite a few years ago, I had the guitar inspected by an expert before I bought it, and it was then that I realized that it was indeed a '53 versus a '55. As a result, I was able to get a pretty significant discount on the guitar from what the owner was asking.

Where those appraisals can be particularly risky and damaging is when someone does take them as gospel, and doesn't do their own homework beforehand...not the least of which is to get an expert to do an in-hand inspection.


Frank
 

Rodmac

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Yes if they can fake vintage Fenders, Marshall Plexi's etc then faking a Gruhn appraisal when selling a guitar or shifty dealer justifying an asking price is not out of the question.

Even the Marshall factory will appraise Vintage Marshalls for insurance purposes, those values are significantly higher. Have seen many sellers on ebay using them to price their amps for sale.

Faking a Gruhn Appraisal would be worthwhile in trying to achieve a higher price and make the instrument more saleable to the unsuspecting.
 

Greg's Guitars

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Big time bummer that it happened at all...Hope the OP gets the matter resolved...
 

fleahead

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OMG!!! What's wrong with this?LOLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Untitled-1_zpsc4boivzw.jpg
 

Jimmi

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Yes if they can fake vintage Fenders, Marshall Plexi's etc then faking a Gruhn appraisal when selling a guitar or shifty dealer justifying an asking price is not out of the question.

Even the Marshall factory will appraise Vintage Marshalls for insurance purposes, those values are significantly higher. Have seen many sellers on ebay using them to price their amps for sale.

Faking a Gruhn Appraisal would be worthwhile in trying to achieve a higher price and make the instrument more saleable to the unsuspecting.


I have been going into Gruhns since I was a teenager. I can tell you the assessments at that store may not be what it once was. This is partly due to George getting older and being less involved in day to day operations. Partly due to a brain drain from Carter's opening (Walter alone was a big loss). Partly due to the younger guys running the front end who may not know as much as they think they do. Additionally, as Rev Willie alluded to, electrics have never been George's chief interest....especially solid bodies.

Going one further, you have to be your own advocate on big purchases. If I were to buy a burst, I would have at least 2 independent guys do an in hand inspection before the sale was finalized regardless of what shop I was dealing with.

All that said, George was the leader in recognizing the value in these old instruments and was the first real store of its kind. From the back of his original van he basically launched an industry. For that he is due a ton of respect and some thank yous. Pity we have to get old.
 

pinefd

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^^^ Well said, Jimmi. :cheers:


Frank
 

Thunder Dump

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My experience with Cowtown Guitars:

Despite reading this thread, I found a guitar on GBase they had that was unique and something I was after. We did some back and forth on the price and they ended up selling it to me for about 18% less than the advertised price, including shipping. If I sent an email, I would get a response from someone's iPhone in usually a few hours. I called the shop on a Thursday and paid with a credit card--something I definitely made sure to do based on the horror stories here about wiring money, etc. I figured if something went south I would have the credit card company on my side.

The transaction goes through on the Thursday, and they tell me they will ship it out by Monday at the latest. I'm not sure why they couldn't ship it out Friday or Saturday, but whatever. I ask to have a tracking number sent as soon as it is shipped and they said they would.

Monday comes and goes and no tracking number. Tuesday comes and goes with no tracking number. I wait until Wednesday morning when they open and call the store to inquire. I'm told Jesse isn't around and neither is the sales manager, but they took a message. By Wednesday evening I hear nothing so I send another email inquiry. On Thursday morning I get an email saying the guy who is charge of shipping was out sick, but he was boxing up guitars currently and would get me a tracking number. Thursday comes to a close with no tracking number. I email again and ask for the tracking number. I call the store on Friday and ask for a tracking number and am told they will have to get back to me. I don't get a return call. On Saturday I call the store again and speak to someone at the store. I ask again for a tracking number and they say someone will have to get back to me. I tell the guy I don't believe the guitar is shipped, and if it is not shipped by close of business on Monday, I'm canceling the order and disputing the charge on the card. He says he'll pass along the message.

I hear nothing Saturday, Sunday or Monday. On Tuesday, I send an email saying I should have had a tracking number by the end of Monday business. I get a response back late in the day on Tuesday with a tracking number, which shows that it was shipped Monday night--one week later than they said they would ship it.

The guitar arrives a week later (I'm on the East Coast). The guitar was packed very carefully and expertly, and was exactly as described as on their site.

So on the plus side, they were reasonable on price negotiation and the guitar was legit and exact as described/pictured. On the negative side, they definitely play games with money and shipping and response times once you've paid. When we were negotiating price I was getting return emails in hours. After I paid, it could be a couple days before I would hear from them and often times I had to call or email more than once. If I hadn't been so persistent and annoying with the email and phone calls, I wonder how long it would have been before they actually shipped it. I don't think they were ever going to *not* ship it, but I have a theory on what they are doing: the guitar is *still* listed on GBase, even after shipping it several weeks ago. I think if they negotiate a lower price on a guitar than advertised, they keep it listed and hold onto the money for as long as they can. If someone else came along and offered to pay the advertised price, I bet they would sell it again, and then tell me they didn't realize it was already sold and refund my money, albeit as slowly as possible, thus giving them more money on the sale AND a several thousand dollar loan for a month or more interest free. Do that a few times and you can have a pretty good float for buying inventory.
 

Sct13

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I had to look it up ...but your right....

I played one of these not too long ago, it was pretty nice guitar..
 

Stinky Kitty

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I had to look it up ...but your right....

I played one of these not too long ago, it was pretty nice guitar..

Heck yea, they are killer guitars! A shop near me has a sweet cherry burst on consignment. About the same price range. So many guitars, so little time..
 

THDNUT

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It's an L5, not an L6-S..




Nope....nope....nope...Jesse's an expert and would never make a mistake like that.

Rick Harrison trusts Jesse's appraisals completely.



Geez, how could Cowtown be so wrong in their description?

:laugh2::laugh2::laugh2:
 

Dolebludger

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If you look at all the threads on this entire forum about problems with Cowtown Guitars (by both buyers and consignment sellers), it appears that the admin here should post up a general warning about them. There's too much smoke not to be a fire! And it makes me suspect Reverb for failure to ban them. Many honest stores sell via Reverb, and I'd think it would like to preserve its reputation.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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There's nothing like sh!tting the bed on the Internet for your business reputation, eh?
 

Dolebludger

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Thump,

I suppose not a good idea, but if you research the posts here, you will see nothing but problems with both buyers and consignment sellers with this establishment. Never personally dealt with them, and never will. Unless many posters here are making things up, it's not a very honest business.
 

RevWillie

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There's too much smoke not to be a fire! And it makes me suspect Reverb for failure to ban them. Many honest stores sell via Reverb, and I'd think it would like to preserve its reputation.

Unless they have been re-instated recently, Reverb banned Cowtown as a dealer last January.

GBase is well aware of the situation and is keeping an eye on them.
 

charlie chitlins

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Wait...are you guys saying that a huge guitar hock shop in LAS VEGAS might not be totally on the up-and-up?
Next you'll be telling me that they have legal prostitution there.
 

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