Scattered here on this board and across other SM sites are a few comments from those who bid and won or bid and “lost” on this past weekend’s Becker Auction. I’d love to hear from all of you and gather your comments here.
It would also be interesting to hear from those who just observed — either in person, or via the live-stream.
I was at the live auction for most of the time, and what I missed in person I was streaming at my hotel room. Matt, I think, was there 100% of the time; would we possibly expect otherwise from First Lieutenant Atticus Matticus, Director Of Operations, Technology, Motivation, and All-Around Righteous Action?
I have plenty of observations of the action, both the substance (items, bidders, prices) and the process (the mechanisms and the social psychology of the event were fascinating), and I’m betting Matt and you do too. Collecting reports here from all sides of the event would be pretty interesting, and would be a place for questions and answers (or hypotheses) about this mysterious and brutal ritual.
[In my dreams, it's also a place where I finally respond to the worst of the know-it-all know-nothings. ooooo, so tempting...and it would be so satisfying...!]
I'd also love to hear about fans who managed to snag something; it's been great to read, for instance, that one of you got a blue Hahn...and that a musician friend got the dreamy White J-style Sadowsky bass. So wonderful to learn that some of our lovelies haven't disappeared into the far nowhere after all.
Are you game? If you’ve posted your experience elsewhere, can we convince you to drop a line or two here as well? And I promise lurkers will be gently welcomed, with our gratitude.
I’ll start off with with a couple of mine, in no particular order:
[These edited out. Reason: excessive MeMeMe!]
So in short 🤣— let's hear from those who snagged something ..what did you get, and did you get it at your price? …was your guitar well set-up?…what about those who missed out on something?…what was the bidding experience like? … did you go too high or stop too soon?…did you learn something about ‘human nature’ or the ‘engines of commerce’ or ‘modes of production’ lol or whatever?…oh it’s just endless.
I would certainly be willing to share on that basis. They all have previously been in Julien's online listings, so this may be easier, they are still visible, in possibly better quality. For example, here is a link to one of them.
The best way to find them is to google the lot number,
eg. walter becker julien's lyrics lot 61
Then you get a direct link to the auction page and can move to the next or previous lots.
One that I am pleased to own is lot 48, which is actually the mastering notes for Aja, ready for the cutting room, in Donald Fagen's hand.
Even nicer, in a way, is a track listing for The Royal Scam, lot 69, in Walter's hand that shows the preferred mixes for compiling the album.
As this is a part of what I do as a process in my own recording, they are great pieces to own.
Let me know if you need any stuff!
That's probably a good and timely idea, I have previously gone down that specific route with little response, although Julien's were good enough to give me some access to other unsold lots after my request, and I bought some. Which was really great actually. They are an excellent company to do business with. I will try again.
Being stuck at home, staying safe, not playing shows, lets my mind wander down such avenues of possibility! Thanks.
A happy and healthy 2021 to everyone, and while I'm sorting out the few bits and pieces from the Karen Stanley/Walter Becker Julien's auction that I was lucky enough to get (WB lyrics, track lists, stuff) I thought I'd drop in a thought that I REALLY should have kept bidding on those lyrics for Haitian Divorce. Hmm, Does anyone out there know who got them? I'd be very interested in correcting my mistake, re-writing the past, and buying them. Or trading them. Anything that works.
D-Mod, your room looks in much better shape than mine, and some NICE stuff there BTW, my room is now officially out of control. In a good way.
I think those guitars of Walter's at Julien's auction are going to be out of my range. And that will largely be due to the fact that I already spent my money on the ones I have here. How many guitars does a person need? This is the forum that may go a long way to answering that question. At least I play ALL of mine. I think that, possibly, auction fever takes a long, long time to subside. I know I'll still be looking around even in a year. For now, I thought it appropriate to include a family snapshot of my mixed bunch. The common denominator is that they are all really great & useful instruments, so hats off to WB for seeking them out in the first place, he certainly knew his guitars. BTW in the photo, I haven't added camouflage spots to the Frye and the B-Way, it's just reflections of the pattern on my studio rug.
L-R Frye Model One, Bigsby prototype, O'Dell Blondie, B-Way, Headless Baritone.
Oh my goodness! I had received a Julien's alert and had not checked it out! Thank you! I'll be across the street checking them out for a while.
Continuing WB items on Auction:
Julien's auction of WB items in Nov and Dec of 2019 offered all the instruments in Walter's possession at the time of his death.
From time to time, you'll see one or a couple WB guitars for auction there even today; apparently,(I THINK), these may be returns, or aborted deals or non-payments from 2019 ....and so those items go back into the auction pool
NiteBob tells me today that there are " 2 Monty guitars and an odd bass in a current Julien's auction."
Just went there myself -- and in fact, there are several high value (imho) items under a Becker search:
Some of you may wanna take a peek!
I'm intrigued to know what the longer reply may have been! I must say I do like this site, full of like-minded people who like good music.
I had previously read that Fretboard Journal article, and happily just read it again. I do trawl google looking for this exact kind of thing, and there isn't enough, to be honest. There are plenty of links to "experts" who can show you how to play just about any song the wrong way, or try to tell you how something was written, when they mean arranged or recorded. I have a filter for that.
What I find, in decades of playing, recording and listening, is that my brain becomes more attuned to fine detail in sound, probably at the same rate as my ears physically deteriorate. But its a great excuse for me getting more guitars, if nothing else. Maybe amps too.
I think it would be impolite for me not to post pictures of my auction items, so I plan to do that soon. And I should have bought a Hahn. I really should. Auction remorse.
I just came across this thread. Great stories. I bought 3 guitars in the auction; The red B-Way (which was onstage at the Beacon when I was there in 2015), an O'Dell Blondie Tele clone, and the headless baritone guitar. I'm pleased to say all are being used in my recordings, and the B-Way has been on stage. I was actually on stage playing when I bought it, honestly. My phone was right there near me and in the middle of an old Drifters song I pulled the trigger. Since then I've bought 2 more guitars from that sale on the secondary market, A Bigsby BY-50 (I think) which is fabulous, and a Frye Model 1 in black, also fabulous. All now in England, all getting played by a musician who has been a fan since Can't Buy A Thrill came out. That's five down, six hundred and four to go. It's an inspiration.
Back in November I was lucky enough to win lot #411, a beautiful blonde Jazz-style bass without any manufacturer’s markings. I’m a HUGE fan, obviously, and would really like to know if there’s any story behind the bass or maybe even who sold it to Walter. Actually, I bet it’s older than I am….....The only clue I’ve got are the letters “JJ” written on the outside of the case along with “Acme Jazz.” The neck seems really amazing and sturdy, but off in comparison to the rest of the guitar. Maybe he had the intention of using the neck on a different axe? I may never know…but I hope to find out. I reached out to Julien’s months ago, no luck.
Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
I saw the “Josie” Tele by Sadowsky in the online catalogue and how it appeared in bad shape. I thought I might be able to snag it with my $2800 budget. I watched some of Friday’s auction on my laptop to get a feel of how it worked. On Saturday I eagerly placed some bids on the Josie guitar and some pedal boards. When the guitar came up I had my finger hovering with the cursor over the bid button. Suddenly the bids rolled in and I barely got my cursor away without accidentally bidding $20,000! I was blown away by the prices for the pedal boards, too.
Well I already had the fever for a Tele type, being mostly an archtop guy, but always hearing how Tele’s made great jazz guitars. I looked ahead in the catalogue and saw a NoCaster Tele type made by 30th Street Guitars in NYC. I bid on it and got it at my budget. Boy did I hit the jackpot. It plays like butter. There is a date in the neck pocket indicating it was built in 1988. Walter definitely loved this guitar, too. There is quite a bit of fret wear, the volume pot is worn out, and there is a sticker on the headstock, “10’s”, that I presume was put there by his guitar tech. The headstock has two scorch marks along each side of the 6th string tuner where Walter slid his Camel regulars under the string. There definitely was some WB mojo flowing through this piece of wood. I tried emailing 30th Street Guitars asking if they could tell me anything about the guitar and got a terse response that seems very NYC… “Without the guitar in hand, I don't really recall. Built a lot of guitars for Walter over the years. He was a regular customer.”
I have played guitar for 55 years and have a small collection of player’s guitars. WB’s guitar will join the group comprised of a Mortoro guitar that was George Benson’s, Billy Bean’s ES-175, and Tommy Tedesco’s ES-175.
Still flushed with WB vibes, I also picked up a couple of Greer Amps pedals from the WB Estate on-line only auction on Dec. 9! I’m eagerly waiting for those to arrive.
It's really great to see that you were able to pick up that beautiful Hahn Tele at the auction, and for a price that was within your budget.. All of the Hahn guitars are very well regarded, for their high quality of craftsmanship, excellent playability, and their superior intonation.. Plus, you just can't beat a Tele for versatility and that great Rock and Roll sound ! It has made this entire auction process so much easier when knowing the guitars and other instruments have gone to musicians and the people who have always loved and respected Walter and his dedication to creating fine music.. Congratulations on your new guitar my friend.. I'm wishing you many years of playing satisfaction with this Beautiful Hahn guitar.. It's really nice ! ! Lary
I won this awesome Hahn 1229 - great instrument! I'm a PRS guy, but this is now one of my prized guitars. I managed to get this at what I feel was a great price (near list price), even without the WB provenance. I didn't have a Tele, so this is one of WB's guitar's that was on my list and I'm glad it didn't get bid into the stratosphere :). The neck needed an adjustment, but my luthier set it up perfectly - he was excited to work on it too!.
I feel honored to be able to own and play this instrument.