Oct 12, 2011
Tips on how to score great gear on Craigslist
While we all know that Ebay is a great place to find used gear, there is a growing number of sellers that do not want to deal with the hassle of paying Ebay auction fees or creating an auction. This gives you a chance to find a vintage “diamond in the rough” ….. if you know how to find it.
Most people will now turn to Craigslist. It is one of the few places where it is still free to list your item. There are many amazing deals to be had, you just have to know how to look for them.
Now, before I give some tips, it is important that I note a few things here. Firstly, be very cautious when purchasing from craigslist if you are not meeting face to face. Most people on CL will not be willing to ship items, however, if you are able to sweet talk them into shipping it, you should consider using paypal rather than sending a money order. With paypal, you will at least still have some sort of buyer protection and mediation type services if they are needed. Many people have been burned by sending money orders and never receiving their item…. so, you have been warned.
Secondly, you are taking more of a risk buying something from CL without seeing it or testing it first. On Ebay, you are at least protected from things arriving DOA, not as described, etc. Keep in mind that you do not have that with Craigslist. Make sure that ask every question you need the answer to prior to sending any kind of payment. Always ask for extra pictures and make sure you save any correspondence with the seller.
And another thing I would like you all to keep in mind…. since you will have to ask a seller to possibly ship something to you AND to accept paypal, remember to be cordial. I have run into many sellers that were ok with shipping an item at first, but then changed their mind. Do not pester a seller…. you also have to remember that it is a bit of a risk for the seller as well. Most of the sellers I have dealt with on CL are very cool and gracious people, so I just want to remind you all to be sure to be a gracious buyer
Use Searchtempest to scour Craigslist
This is a site that I use all the time. Basically, this will allow you to search Craigslist in several different cities and states all at once. You are even able to search Canadian CL cities, however, keep in mind that it will be much more difficult to convince someone from Canada to ship something to you in the US.
The site gives you several options for your search. Firstly, you can search within a radius of 250 to 4,000 miles from your zip code.
You can also set other options, such as price point and to either only show listings with pictures or to just search CL titles only. Now, I never set a price point because God only knows some of the prices that sellers will list things at. I go on the assumption that even if someone lists the price too high, I can convince them to sell it to me for the price I want
Another great option this site gives you is the ability to also include Ebay and Amazon results in your search. This will basically make this site a one stop shop for your search. Here, you can also select cities or states that you specifically want to search or you can just throw caution to the wind and search Craigslist worldwide. Again, if you choose to do this option, I would be extremely cautious and prepare yourself for a bit of a headache. It is hard enough to get US sellers to ship things to you, so I can only imagine how difficult it would be to convince someone from another country to ship an item to you.
My last tip for this site is to pay very close attention to the keywords you are using for your search. Just like Ebay, the proper keywords will ensure that you find those hard to find listings for the item you really want. For example, if you are looking for a triangle muff, I would firstly suggest that you do not search for triangle muff. Being that it is CL, you will have many more sellers that are not aware of the gem they are selling. I would suggest typing in “Vintage Big Muff” for your search terms. This way, you are much more likely to land on someone selling a triangle muff or a ram’s head muff that perhaps is not aware of what it is and thus will not inflate the price to the astronomical rates you will find on Ebay.
Use this tool wisely my friends
Make this site part of your daily stops
I honestly can not remember just how I came across this little gem, but it has become a site that I visit on a daily basis.
This is a blog run by a man named Jim Christopher. What he does is cruise CL for vintage guitars (both acoustic and electric) and amplifiers. He then posts these finds on his blog with a link to the CL ad so that you can check it out for yourself.
In addition to CL finds, Jim will also make posts about some rather interesting items available on Ebay. From time to time, he will also make comments in regards to vintage guitar collecting or on prices of vintage gear. For example, the picture above was a rare Kay Swingmaster type guitar that sold for $1500 on Ebay. The thing I like about this is that it is another way for me to kind of gauge the prices of things in the vintage guitar market.
Now, Jim is a pretty avid collector of vintage guitars. For each CL or Ebay item that he posts about he also leaves a little paragraph or so explaining something about the item, usually pros and cons or a little history of the item. This makes for a more interesting read and gives the items a little more of a backstory.
Jim updates the site a few days a week. What is nice is that you will see things that perhaps you hadn’t considered or find out about some gear that you didn’t know about before. Another wicked way to feed your G.A.S!!
Set Up Google Alerts
A big tip of the hat to FBG family member Kenstee for suggesting this. If you are like me, there have definitely been times where you have just searched the internet for HOURS looking for a specific piece of vintage gear you want. In the back of your mind, you just know you are going to find the deal that no one else has been able to find…. so you look through 30 or 40 or 100 pages worth of Google search results to try and find it.
When you set up a Google alert, there is no need to spend hours doing that anymore. Let Google do the work for you. They are so easy to set up that it is ridiculous.
Firstly, you can select what kind of web pages you want Google to search. If you are searching for gear, then I would suggest you select Everything. You can then set up how often Google will search the web for your item. Personally, I would go with either “Once a day” or ”As it happens”. The “As it happens” option will basically just send you an alert as soon as something with your key words is posted to the net. Keep in mind, these are email alerts, so if you select “As it happens” and your keywords are quite popular, you will receive an email every time something is put online with your key words in it.
The Volume option allows you to either receive all search results or only the results which are closest to your key words. If you are unsure of just how exact your key words are for the search, then you may want to select all results.
Lastly, you can then select what email address you want google to send the results to.
Let’s say you are lucky enough to have Google find the item you have been looking for and now you want to turn off the alerts and stop Google from clogging up your inbox. It’s super easy…. just return to the same page you went to when you set up the alert and on the bottom right is a link for managing your alerts. Here, you will be able to just delete the alert and boom, done
Again, be sure to choose your key words carefully. Try and put yourself into the shoes of a seller and just how he or she may list their item for sale.
These are just a few of my suggestions to find your piece of dream gear. So, have fun searching and if any of you have any other sites that you use or any suggestions perhaps, please, by all means, share them in the comments section below.
As always, stay tuned my fuzz box fans!!!