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Financial Jiu Jitsu will teach you how to gain leverage in the real world, step by step, until you are confident you no longer need more.

Mesa Stiletto Trident - Flipped

Mesa Stiletto Trident - Flipped

The Amp That Flips Itself

Few astute readers may have noticed that we have a "flip" section on this site. What is a flip, and why is it on a financial site? A flip is characterized by 3 things:

  1. Buying something on the cheap
  2. Fixing it or changing the venue of sale to obtain some advantage in the market
  3. Selling it and getting positive cash flow

Here at FJJ we have many hobbies. One of which is buying things at dirt cheap prices and selling them for a premium. This article will serve as an intro on how to flip and set the precedent for future articles. Without further adieu, I present you with the rare and lucrative self-flipping guitar amp!

As a guitar enthusiast and musician I frequently find myself with excess gear. To mitigate this issue I frequently sell gear that I do not like or have no further use for. Sometimes I like the gear just fine but sell it anyway. This enables me to purchase gear without feeling guilty, because I keep my inventory low and always sell for profit (or if I really got took, I break even.) This enables me to keep trying new gear and also imparts me with a tiny revenue stream.

An Ideal Scenario:

One perfect example of said revenue stream, and our first featured flip, is a Mesa Boogie Stiletto Trident head I recently bought. I snagged this 150 Watt beast off of Ebay in December 2015 because I knew I could flip it. Also prior to this amp I had not owned any Mesa products besides a cab, and I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. I stole it for 510$ + shipping. It came with a footswitch and a live-in flight case. What a deal.

Then the bad news: when the amp arrived on my doorstep, it was broken! The shipping company had dropped it so hard that it cracked the head shell even though it was packaged inside a box which was inside of a flight case. Good job guys!

El34 tubes with broken locating pins! bummer but they still worked.

El34 tubes with broken locating pins! bummer but they still worked.

Mesa Boogie Stiletto broken head case

Mesa Boogie Stiletto broken head case

Also when I started playing it, the presence knob on channel 1 didn't work! This thing needed some serious help.

The Damage Claim

Since I bought it through eBay, I wasn't concerned about a total loss. I knew the worst that could happen was I would have to return the amp to the seller for a refund. I would only be out the cost of shipping. So what I did was contact the seller who in turn opened up a damaged item claim with the carrier. Nobody is dumb enough to ship a guitar amp through any carrier nowadays without having full insurance.  This seller did in this instance. The claim went back and forth for a month or more, with me being asked for pictures and other documentation of the damage- which is one of the reasons why there are such good pics for this article.

To summarize the lengthy process, the shipping company refused my claim the first time under a technicality - saying that the box it was shipped in was not the right puncture strength rating. A rep for the company let me appeal the claim.  Basically the rep helped me out by saying that I was threatening to post the abusive treatment and mishandling of the case directly to my social network where I had a massive following. I would have never thought of this tactic, and of course I had no such following since this event occurred before the launch of FJJ. But it worked anyway! I think the technical term for this is called a bluff. The claim went through successfully and I got a check from the seller for $500! To top it off, I got to keep the amp!

So I did what any FJJ Master would do: I fixed everything wrong with it.

Potentiometer that was damaged. Easy fix just took a pair of pliers and bent the little tabs back into place to hold it tight! and it started working again perfectly.

Potentiometer that was damaged. Easy fix just took a pair of pliers and bent the little tabs back into place to hold it tight! and it started working again perfectly.

Also I glued and clamped the corner back together and put the tubes back in properly but without their locating pins. (Not too hard to do just pay attention!!!)

Stiletto Trident Head ready to go!

Stiletto Trident Head ready to go!

All I did then was list it on craigslist locally for 3-4 months. Got a bite for 800$ after a 15 minute demo at my house. Sweet!

To Summarize:

  • Bought amp on eBay auction for $510 +shipping ~$80
  • Carrier broke the case and tube bases, then paid me $500
  • I fixed the case with epoxy. Fixed tubes by leaving them in. Fixed potentiometer by taking it apart and putting it back together.
  • Sold it for $800 on Craigslist. 

Net = +$710

Not too shabby for a few hours!

Now, go to another financial website and see if they have a story like this. Go on and check. They won't. We here at FJJ are trying to give back by stimulating your imagination with new ideas of how to make and save money. Basically take any hobby you have and turn it into profit. You like cars? Buy them, drive them, fix them, sell them. Same with golf clubs, real estate, watches, you name it. The more versatile you are the better this is going to work. Some people may not be cut out for flipping for various reasons, to those guys I say keep coming back to our site we will have more ideas for you weekly. Now the obligatory eye candy:

Mesa Stiletto Trident chassis and PCB insides. I am pretty sure this is what meticulous means.

Mesa Stiletto Trident chassis and PCB insides. I am pretty sure this is what meticulous means.

150Watt Dual rectified tube head in all it's glory! That's a lot of glass

150Watt Dual rectified tube head in all it's glory! That's a lot of glass

Another MESA, what a Strategy I got!

Another MESA, what a Strategy I got!

Incoming!

Incoming!