Out here in Los Angeles, we definitely have the greatest yard sales on the planet. Case in point: This weekend famed guitarist Joe Bonamassa decided to have a yard sale in North Hollywood at the Third Encore music facility, and if you’re a musician, you’ve probably heard about it. Where else can you browse through a room filled with guitars, amps, effects pedals, and all other accoutrement? Only here in Los Angeles can something as innocuous as a yard sale take on such bizarre and freakishly cool proportions.
The Third Encore compound is a small collection of buildings nestled right beside the approach end of the runway at Burbank airport, so it’s well suited for what it does. Nobody will ever complain about the noise of the bands rehearsing because every sixty seconds or so a Southwest flight screams right past the north end of the compound just before touchdown. The Rolling Stones have been known to use this facility because they rehearse so loud, nobody will hear them.
Once a year, Joe Bonamassa rents out one of the studios here to sell off his huge collection of equipment. Can someone collect that many guitars and amps that they need to sell it off at an annual sale? “Not really, my father owned all this equipment because he owned a music store in Utica, NY. He recently passed away and left me all the equipment, so I need the space,” says Bonamassa. “It’s kind of like Guitar Center except without Stairway to Heaven,” quipped Joe to a potential customer.
You’d never see this kind of brisk business at your local yard sale, but then you’d also never see a collection of the prototypical groupie-looking women, guitar players, and civilians all wanting a selfie or an autograph with Joe. Why not hold a sale like this closer to Sunset Blvd, I asked. “Well, I live very close to here, I’ve been living out here for years and it’s just convenient for me.” And this is why our yard sales are the best yard sales on the planet. If you live in any other city, I’m sure you have some explanation. But out here, we have legendary guitarists standing around haggling prices with buyers, then autographing the item.
And speaking of haggling, I overheard Joe discussing prices with a potential seller. It seems he’s not just selling, he’s looking to pick up a deal here and there, and never one to miss an opportunity, I asked, “Joe, would you be interested in purchasing my axe. It’s a 1971 Les Paul Custom, triple pickups, ebony fretboard, serial numbers, the whole deal.” Joe paused for a second, and replied, “Not old enough man. I won’t buy anything newer than 1961, sorry.” I guess I’ll just hang onto it for another decade then.
The sale continues tomorrow if there’s any gear left. More information can be found at www.joebonamassa.com