A short story to start it all off.
Back in late September my rhythm guitarist for my FF cover band showed up to practice with a lightly beat up 93 Les Paul Custom (Gibson) that the neck had almost been completely broken out of the pocket. It could still be strung and played, but it was in bad shape. His story was he received the guitar as a loaner from a friend who got it from his uncle when he passed away. Seemed to me to be a believable enough story, so I offered to fix the guitar. A little titebond and some clamps later, and it was solid and setup great. I told him to offer a good price and try and buy it.
A few days later, it gets interesting. He comes back and tells me his friend can't sell it to him because he stole it. From Bobby Ingram, at a Molly Hatchet concert @ Chiggerfest (Central Illinois yearly deal). WTF?! The neck got broken after the little f#$% rolled down a hill running away from the stage with it.
So this puts me in a really bad situation. This is a Felony 2 in Illinois. I told him he had two options. 1. Contact Molly Hatchet's management and attempt to return the guitar. 2. Contact the Sheriff's office and turn the guitar and his friend in. No attempt to return the stolen item in Il = Theft. If he didn't he was just as liable. But, then, he does the dumbest thing I can think of. He gives it to another friend who promptly starts playing it live at shows. So, I call the police and turn them all in. I am not risking getting caught up in that. I have a career and a life I have worked very hard to build. I get a call from Bobby Ingram thanking me up and down for doing the right thing and getting his guitar returned (he does have it back in his possession, I have seen recent photos on his FB feed of him playing it). Never the less, I am forced to Lawyer up (@2K$, cause you just can't trust the police these days). My guitarist gets arrested and they pull me in for questioning. In order to pay for my lawyer, I had to sell my favorite guitar. A 2003 PRS Cu22 10top Whale Blue. I did not get in any trouble over the deal, but my guitarist (who is no longer my friend) and his buddy both get charged with Felony 2 theft. And convicted.
Well, today, I got my baby back! Picked it up this evening. Below is an older photo of it (photobucket account locked, new photo coming soon). I am so f'ing happy. I was so angry the day I sold it, and have been seething on it since. Would I do it again in the future, yes in a heartbeat. I was raised by a former Marine Drill Instructor and Boy Scout that taught me to always do the right thing, no matter what. This is also the reason I have not been on the board for a while. The last 5-6 months have been pretty out of hand. But, it seems as though things are finally calming down now. The whole ordeal also got me to move back home to Chitown, which turned out pretty well too.