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Dweezil Zappa Introduces Online Guitar Registry

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,941
A noble pursuit but really causes more problems than not. Say someone registers their guitar, then sells it but doesn't note that fact in the registry. Then the buyer tries to sell it but it comes up as another person's guitar. Now that person has to take the steps of proving its his. It's just not possible to administer properly.
 

danelectro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,091
About 15 years ago Ed King (Lynyrd Skynyrd) was browsing through a book titled Beauty of the Burst at the Dallas guitar show when he recognized his 1959 Sunburst Les Paul which had been stolen from his home. He contacted the author of the book and learned that the current owner was Dirk Ziff of Ziff Publishing. Both parties lawyered up and in the end Ed King got his guitar back. It doesn't matter that Dirk purchased the guitar legitimately. It was stolen from Ed King who was its rightful owner and thus Dirk had to hand it over and was out the money. Back then it was a $20,000 guitar. In today's market its $250,000+. Dirk has 30 of his 'bursts documented with photos and serial numbers in the book for everyone to see. I understand that he now has well over a hundred 'bursts in his collection and you can bet that with the exception of his close associates, nobody will ever see those guitars again.

Unless you have documentation proving the ownership and legal sale of your guitar going all the way back to the day it was new, it would be a bad idea to register your guitar. I have about a dozen vintage guitars that are 40-60 years old and with the exception of one, I don't have a clue as to their history or how many times they may have changed hands over the years. Who knows, one could possibly have been stolen decades ago and and if I post it out there for the world to see a previous owner could potentially claim ownership of it. It doesn't matter that I bought it legitimately, if they have proof that it was stolen 30 years ago, it could be seized by the authorities.

Dweezel has good intentions in creating a website where you can claim ownership of your guitars, however unless you know the full history of your instrument, it could be a website for other people to claim ownership of your guitar. Like he said, one of Frank's goldtops was stolen 40 years ago and they're still looking for it. Its highly unlikely that its still in the thieves hands and its most likely sitting in someone's collection who doesn't have a clue as to its history.
 

Guitar Josh

Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,941
Danelectro said it better than I did and I fully agree with his post.
 

bluzkat

Member
Messages
255
So... you guys wouldn't want the guitars to go back to their proper owners if you found one in your collection?

I guess you don't know what it feels like to have a guitar stolen.


:cool:
 

jimshine

Member
Messages
1,594
All I see is this place will build a database of guitars that they can make money off of down the road.
 

jpage

Senior Member
Messages
9,249
So... you guys wouldn't want the guitars to go back to their proper owners if you found one in your collection?

I guess you don't know what it feels like to have a guitar stolen.


:cool:
Which is exactly what would happen to you if a guitar from your collection that you pucrchased legitimately is seized by the authorities.

:nuts
 

monty

Member
Messages
22,541
I think it is a great idea. If you are nervous, just put in guitars you bought new.
 

straycat113

Member
Messages
2,926
Good thread and everyone has valid points! About 80% of my guitars through the last 30+ years have been bought used and I do everything imaginably possible to make sure everything is correct - but you can never be 100% sure on a guitar with no papers. Even if someone has High School band photos from 30 years ago. One of my best friends owns a family owned guitar store here in NY that is going on 80 years in business and I would spend a few days every week just hanging out with him and you can imagine the guitars that show up daily off the streets for sale. Now everyone has their own morals and you know the likely hood of a crack head walking in with a 4K guitar- the odds are almost certain it has been clipped and for guys that own stores this is a daily occurrence. Also don't throw out an answer like "just hold it and call the police" as no one has the legal right to just speculate, as when you ask where did you get the guitar you will often get the answer it was my Fathers, Uncle's or Neighbors.

This is why when a stolen guitar thread pops up I tell guys to go straight to the Pawn Shops besides the other usual locals like CL, Ebay, and Guitar Stores. But Pawn Shops usually don't care where the guitar came from and just will not ask. Also most owners are more guitar savy than GC employees! But the point I am trying to emphasize is if your ax has been stolen don't walk in asking them if they have (exact model and year guitar) or if anyone brought one in because they are going to tell you no! Just like in the Dirk Ziff story they know they are going to be out the money so the top shelf gear goes in the back or sometimes home. You have to walk in like you are interested in buying and then strike up a conversation and then ask if they have any better models in the store instead of the crap up front. I have had three friends get their ax back this way.

bluzcat- I think most of the board does not want a stolen guitar in their rack. But keeping it real some guys here buy very expensive guitars and I think it would be hard for anyone who laid out 30K-50K or maybe even more for a guitar to just ring the owner if they found it was stolen and present them with the guitar and be out all that money which is not fair to them. Again it is a moral issue, but if someone bough a guitar that they thought was totally on the up and up that winds up being stolen they are in a catch 22. I am sure most guys would like to contact the original owner and say give me what I paid and I will bring you your ax, but know the odds are close to 90% he will be met by the police and be out whatever the guitar cost. A good example of something like this would be the lawsuit Ronnie Montrose brought against Gary Moore claiming he was in possesion of Montrose's stolen 59 Burst. Come to think of it I wonder what happened since they both passed away in like a year of each other?
 

bluzkat

Member
Messages
255
bluzcat- I think most of the board does not want a stolen guitar in their rack. But keeping it real some guys here buy very expensive guitars and I think it would be hard for anyone who laid out 30K-50K or maybe even more for a guitar to just ring the owner if they found it was stolen and present them with the guitar and be out all that money which is not fair to them. Again it is a moral issue, but if someone bough a guitar that they thought was totally on the up and up that winds up being stolen they are in a catch 22. I am sure most guys would like to contact the original owner and say give me what I paid and I will bring you your ax, but know the odds are close to 90% he will be met by the police and be out whatever the guitar cost. A good example of something like this would be the lawsuit Ronnie Montrose brought against Gary Moore claiming he was in possesion of Montrose's stolen 59 Burst. Come to think of it I wonder what happened since they both passed away in like a year of each other?
I'm not buying it, legally (no, I'm not a lawyer) it comes down to buyer beware. If a guitar is purchased and is proven to be stolen it needs to go back to the original owner.

If someone called me and said they wanted me to pay them for the return of my stolen equipment, they would probably be in for a big surprise... a welcoming committee from the local sheriff's department.

I use to buy a lot of used equipment back in the '60s and '70s and you can usually tell when the deal is 'squirrelly'. Now whether you complete the deal or not is a decision you have to make on your own.

I'm not making any moral decisions here, that's not me. All I'm saying if you have something that belongs to someone else, regardless of you buying it 'legally'... it needs to go back to the rightful owner. :hide

[/rant]

I had equipment stolen from me over 40 years ago and it still hurts to think about it.

:cool:
 

rabbuhl

Member
Messages
2,879
If the registry just tracks stolen guitars then you could check a guitar's status before buying it which is a good idea.

If every guitar that is bought or sold is registered and the entries are public everyone would know all of the guitars you own which is probably not a good idea.
 

CyberFerret

Member
Messages
10,036
Hmm... I am getting a DNS fault when trying to visit that site... Offline already?

A guitar registry is a two edged sword. Perhaps they could have the site ONLY list guitars that have been stolen so that it can become a first point of search for anyone buying a guitar.

What about people who don't remove a listing when the guitar is found/recovered? Perhaps a small fine for people who don't take their listing down when it is no longer relevant? Might go towards funding the site?
 

rabbuhl

Member
Messages
2,879
There is already a site for registering stolen guitars.
http://www.stolenguitarregistry.com/

Maybe they want to register guitars like the Department of Motor vehicles registers cars?

It seems smarter to register you guitar with the manufacturer and they should keep track of registered owners.

Dweezil, what is your plan with this site (if you are a TGP member)?
 
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danelectro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,091
So... you guys wouldn't want the guitars to go back to their proper owners if you found one in your collection?

I guess you don't know what it feels like to have a guitar stolen.


:cool:
Sure I think it would be wonderful for anyone who has had a guitar stolen to get it back. On the other hand, I've paid thousands of dollars to perfectly legitimate sellers for vintage guitars that are in my collection and I don't feel compelled to post photos and serial numbers of every one of them in hopes that I can find someone who may have had one stolen from them decades ago just so that I can hand it over to them at my loss. Call me selfish or ignorant, but that's the way I feel.




.
 
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Gary Ladd

Illegitimi non carborundum
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,694
As a person that has been victimized by thievery, I applaud Dweezil's idea/efforts :aok

Stolen property is stolen property ~ Caveat emptor!

P.S. If an extensive online record of ownership existed for guitars, that would no doubt increase the arrest/conviction of scumbags many fold...
 

straycat113

Member
Messages
2,926
bluzkat-"If someone called me and said they wanted me to pay them for the return of my stolen property-they would probably be in for a big surprise... A welcoming committee from the local Sheriffs Department" that is my point exactly!

Now I have never been in this predicament but if someone laid out some serious scratch (lets say 30K)for a vintage ax and sold off mostly every guitar they had to raise the money on what they thought was a legit deal and for arguments sake found out a few years later the guitar was stolen, are they just going to hand the guitar over? By the way Kings Burst was purchased in 1988 for $9,500 at Voltage guitars in Hollywood.

Now I am just trying to set a realistic situation and of course it is easy to sit at a keyboard and write of course I would. I dont think Dirk Ziff is a bad guy (I dont know him so I cant pass judgement) and 20K to him would of probably of felt like $20 to most of us(he is worth over 4 Billion). But he did not feel like he did anything wrong and I would not be shocked if his lawyer fees were more than he originally paid for the guitar by the time he went to court. Well I found a very interesting article on the whole situation from 1997 that explains the whole story- very good read- http://weeklywire.com/ww/09-02-97/nash_music-industry.html
 

Chad

Member
Messages
845
Which is exactly what would happen to you if a guitar from your collection that you pucrchased legitimately is seized by the authorities.

:nuts
Very true.

Having a #1 favorite guitar stolen would suck.

Having a #1 favorite guitar that was purchased legitimately turn out to be stolen, then returned to the original owner.....that would suck too. There would be some moral good feelings from it going back to the original owner, but you just lost your #1 favorite guitar.

Also, the "original" owner better be darn sure the history was solid prior to their ownership. Especially if a high profile guitar. Regarding the Dirk Ziff/Ed King guitar, what if somebody had come out of the woodwork (after Ed repossessed) and claimed they originally bought it new and it was stolen? Then it could have been pulled out of Ed King's hands....legally.

Theft sucks.
 

EADGBE

Senior Member
Messages
12,341
I'd turn a guitar over to its rightful owner if they could prove it was stolen from them. But I didn't steal any of the guitars I own. And I would never steal any. But I wish there was a way to make the stores or people I've bought from pay some of the costs if it was proven any of the guitars I own were stolen. By the way the most I've ever paid for a guitar is about $500. So it's not like I'd take a huge financial hit. It's more of a sentimental attachment.
 

Mickey Shane

apolitical
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,485
I'm going to register my 14 Stringed instruments. I'm not very good at keeping documentation, so maybe they can help me with that.

I doubt that I have a stolen axe. Bought new, or 2nd hand mostly.
 




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