View Full Version : My Rare Thrift Store Find

01-17-2017, 12:05 PM
Today has been a very wild ride.

A couple of days ago, my wife and I went to a thrift store in town. We were casually walking around when I spotted something I'd been looking for. A small-body acoustic guitar. To be specific, this was actually a classical guitar. I looked inside the guitar and glanced at the label, "Taurus", then at the price--roughly 11 dollars.

I was ecstatic. I told my wife I was getting it since I'd actually been wanting to get a piccolo guitar that costs around 100 dollars. I had effectively just saved 90 dollars since it's something I was going to get anyway. Plus it was in quite good condition aside from a couple of bumps and scratches.

Flash forward to today. As I left town to come to school for a couple of days, I remembered the brand of the guitar. Taurus. As well as the broken tuning key on the guitar head's left side. I browsed Amazon on the bus, looking for a replica of the keys on the guitar or an actual Taurus tuning key to replace it. I found a replica, but absolutely no references to the guitar brand itself. So I went to Google and Reddit.

I found nothing on Reddit, but on Google itself, I found very strange results. People lauding and praising the Taurus brand. They described in vivid detail its punchy melodic tone and bragged about its origins--the low-end student version of Ramirez classical guitars from Spain. The guitars in their images similar in size and color to my own The low-end student version that sounds just as great as Ramirez itself. As I scraped Google's results, I found to my absolute joy that these Taurus guitars were rare. Extremely rare. They were discontinued in the 1970's. I searched more and found old ebay and reverb (an instrument selling site) auctions where the Taurus guitars sold from between $100 (damaged nearly beyond repair) to a whopping $2,000.

As my professor continued her lecture, I texted my wife a list of close-up pictures I needed her to take of the guitar when she got home from work. I waited hours in glee--I was so excited to post the pictures to some cork-sniffing classical guitar aficionado subreddit or 90's era forum and ask them how much they think I could get for it on online auction.

I figured that barring any serious damage to the soundboard of the guitar, I could get at least $1000 with some high quality pictures, descriptive text, and careful packaging of the guitar prior to shipping.

I've never been this lucky before. $11 becomes $1000 with next to no effort.

My wife got home. She begins sending me pictures of the guitar. So far, aside from the fixable tuning key, the minor scratch & small bump, I see no damage. She sends me a beautiful picture of the rosette. In the background I see the old label on the interior of the guitar through the sound hole. It's out of focus, but I clearly see the word Taurus, just like I remembered. The next picture brings the label itself into focus, and with three words, my heart drops and I chuckle bitterly. Just below the flowing Taurus logo:"Made in China".

It sure was fun to dream though!

Note: this really happened today, for real.

01-17-2017, 01:53 PM
Nice, that's like those Antique Roadshow scenarios.

01-18-2017, 06:17 PM
Brands are almost a bait and switch now a days. You build a brand by making something good, you sell it as a loss-leader, then you sell the brand to China for big bucks (which is where you really make your money) and anyone expecting the promise of product you previously delivered finds crap arrives when they select your brand based upon previous reviews.

01-18-2017, 10:06 PM
I was all ready to excitedly congratulate you and then I got to the end of your post. =P I know nothing about guitars but I'm curious about the mystery now: Is your guitar a Washburn Taurus? From googling that seems likely.

Well, on the plus side, it's definitely worth more than you paid for it either way, and who'd quibble over such little details as how much more...

01-19-2017, 01:52 AM
I was all ready to excitedly congratulate you and then I got to the end of your post. =P I know nothing about guitars but I'm curious about the mystery now: Is your guitar a Washburn Taurus? From googling that seems likely.

No, if it were real, it'd be a Taurus made by Ramirez Guitars in the 60-70's. Like this one: http://www.oldschoolflamenco.com/comprar-y-vender-f22/1972-tuarus-luthier-edition-model-56-t408.html

And yeah, I'm still very happy with it! I definitely still got a great deal.

01-20-2017, 12:54 AM
Sometimes replicas are worth more (or are better) than their name implies. I have a Hondo and while it's just a copy of a copy, it's still super-good compared to other guitars in its price class. Very solid. Puts my original Affinity to shame - even though the Affinity is a licensed copy of a P-Bass and the Hondo was a Korean knock-off.

01-22-2017, 06:42 PM
I was thinking it might be one of these guitars: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washburn_Guitars - real brand name but non-rare non-Spanish. I just ran a search on "taurus guitar china" and turned up one review complaining that these guitars used to be great until they started making them in China, so that seems like it could fit with your label... Although from the pictures I saw, they were just putting "Washburn" on their guitars not "Taurus". Oh well, let's just call it a Chinese Taurus guitar.

01-23-2017, 05:19 AM
Lol yeah, something like that, I guess. Now that I'm home and can really take a close look at it I see that the wood itself is fine-grain composite wood covered in a veneer. It really is a very poorly made guitar with a (most likely) coincidental name.