Pawn shop guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by the beep, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. the beep

    the beep Member

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    I've begun paying attention to the pawn shops since moving to Texas for 2 reasons. 1, they're everywhere here and 2, because of the tv show "Pawn Stars".

    It seems like most of the guitars are older off-brand models but I'm wondering if you have seen or scored good one's cheap in these stores?

    I picked up a new condition solid top chinese takamine cutaway for $120 that really sounds great. They were about $400 new.

    I have yet to see a glp, am strat, prs or anything of that quality.
    Maybe in some other part of the country?
     
  2. Zingeroo

    Zingeroo Member

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    I think when the pawn shops come across anything of quality, they turn it around on ebay or they have buddies in the vintage guitar shops ... they won't bother selling it in their own stores when they can make more elsewhere. I've seen a few decent pedals, nothing really vintage ... in the 80s I found a 70s MXR Phase 45 in a pawn shop, though. I don't think it was considered "vintage" at the time.
     
  3. ef_in_fla

    ef_in_fla Member

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    You need to find shops in the better parts of town, they will have significantly better guitars (other stuff too). Bargains are out there on the oddball stuff, but if the shop manager knows how to use Google you will see a lot of them overpriced.
     
  4. FlyingDutchman

    FlyingDutchman Member

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    Of the three local pawnshops in town, one of em has a decent selection of guitars once in awhile. Nothing great but some MIK Jacksons and Ibanez's usually are hanging around in there..
     
  5. chrisrocksusa

    chrisrocksusa Member

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    i've never seen a decent guitar in a pawn shop. i did once see a good amp, but just the one time.

    usually people w decent gear are smart enough to sell on CL or ebay if they're in a bind. a pawnshop will rape you on the price.
     
  6. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Member

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    What city in Texas did you move to?
     
  7. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    My first LP was purchased at a Texas pawn shop.
    1985 was the year and the year of the LP was a 1971 Standard Gold Top. Yes, the Standard was available via special order then.

    Had to put it on layaway. Final price was $450.
    I sold it in '95 while I was playing in Germany. I broke the headstock in '87 and had it repaired.

    Sold it for $1200.

    Here is the only pic I have left. The pic was taken in '89.

    Also bought the '89 Standard in '89 at the same pawn shop.
    Paid $495.

    The Charvel was bought brand new in '86 and I beat it to death. Had a Kahler originally and a single coil in the neck and no pickguard.

    BTW, pawn shops pretty much suck now for good guitars.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. the beep

    the beep Member

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    I see your point however, they're designed for people looking for quick money. Someone needs to make the rent so they'll pawn a prs planning to pick it back up later but can't afford to.

    I wonder if they have the expensive stuff in a back room available on request?
     
  9. the beep

    the beep Member

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    Kingwood. It's in the forest ne of Houston.
     
  10. mrfender

    mrfender Gold Supporting Member

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    I bought a Charvel San Dimas custom shop guitar with a rising sun paint job at a pawn shop back in the 90's. Only thing is it had a different no name neck so it was selling for $100. It turns out it used to belong to the repair guy at my local music store and he had kept the original neck before selling the guitar to a friend. He sold me the neck for $50 as a favor. I don't know the values of 80's San Dimas custom shop Charvel's but I'm sure it's worth more then $150!
     
  11. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    I have seen a lot of fantastic guitars in pawn shops.
    Sadly, it would seem most pawn shops use the net in order to price their instruments and I suspect know little about instruments, and simply price them based on their best knowledge of how to do net research on them.
    Which I also suspect often doesn't include searching production dates along with model numbers.
    So when you do see a real gem in a pawn shop whoever sets the pricing , in my estimation, often thinks they have the winning lottery ticket and the guitar hangs there for years having gotten many sincere but insufficient offers.
     
  12. the beep

    the beep Member

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    Wow! That's a cool 80's look :) http://guitarhakase.com/img/charvel-san-dimas.jpg
     
  13. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Member

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    The deals are still there and I still pick them up. I've got to personally know 4 owners of area pawnshops.This has allowed me access to the back rooms to hand pick stuff as it's coming out or pick stuff that may be lost very soon. It takes years to have a personal rapport with these guys in order to get the inside track on the killer deals. Here's some of the stuff I've scored in last 5-6 years.



    Tube Amps:

    '75 Fender Champ ($85)
    '93 Marshall JCM 900 Dual Reverb High Gain 2x12 combo( $400 )
    '08 Hughes & Kettner Triamp MK II ($250)

    Solid State Amps:
    '85 Gallien - Krueger ML 250 ($175)
    '88 Gallien - Krueger Backline 100 ($125)


    Bass Amps:
    '08 Roland Cube 100 combo ($99)

    Guitars:

    '72 Electra 2244 "Lawsuit" LP Custom copy ($250)
    '75 Electra MPC X-310 Black LP copy ($250)
    '74 National LP Copy ($69)
    '77 Westbury Performer SG copy ($40)
    '77 Electra MPC X-310 Red LP copy ($250)
    '97 Aria Pro II (Johnny Smith) Sunburst Archtop (250)
    '02 Paul Reed Smith Tremonti SE Platinum ($150)
    '07 Gibson Black Explorer ($550)



    Classical and Acoustic Guitars:

    '01 Takamine CD-132SC Classical/Electric w/DSP ($225)
    '03 Alvarez Yairi DY-40 acoustic/electric ($225)
    '08 Boulder Creek Solitaire ECR1-B acoustic/elec.($250)

    Basses:
    '74 Fender Am. Jazz Bass Sunburst/Maple Neck ($64.64)
    '75 Ventura "Lawsuit" Jazz Bass Sunburst/R.W. neck ($165)
    '79 Fender Am. Precision Bass Black/Maple Neck ($250)
    '79 Fender Am. Precision Bass Natural/Maple neck ($180)
    '85 Kramer Striker 700STB Fluorescent Pink ($129)
    '89 Fender Am."Longhorn" Jazz Bass Silver Metallic ($315)
    '09 Hohner B2B Headless Bass ($58)

    Pedals:

    Boss DC-3 Chorus ($30)
    Boss HR-2 Harmonist ($20)
    Boss Dm-3 Analog Delay ($20)
    Arion SCH-1 Chorus ($15)
    Ross Black R-30 Compressor ($20)



    Multi FX Processors:

    Line 6 Pod X3 LIve ($115)
    Digitech Vocalist Live 4 (new in box) $200


    Studio Mics:

    Sennheiser 441 Dynamic ($30)
    Shure Beta 87-A ($75)
    EV N/D 767a($25)
    Audix OM-7 ($25)
    Audix OM-5 ($30)
    Audix Fusion 7 Series Drum Pkg. (7 mics) ($100)
    Beyerdynamic M 201 TG Dynamic Directional ($29)
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  14. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    Texsunburst59 has the inside track. That makes a huge difference - a local friend picked up a mid-50s Esquire (with issues) for $50, and a '57 Strat here locally because of he knew the staff well. For the rest of us without the connections, there's still the occasional find to be had.

    Most of the time, the shops research their goods very well. I see more price tags with manufacturer's list prices than anything else. They're counting on folks to walk in and buy something without knowing better. The chain stores (like EZPawn, Top Dollar, etc) have policies about not adjusting prices for a period of time after the gear hits the floor. You can't haggle with them at all until it's been 30+ days, usually. They also have the ability to rotate the mechandise around to other stores all over the region. I've seen several instances where the same gear shows up in 3 of the local shops. If you can find a good private shop, you'll have the best chance of finding a diamond in the rough.

    I frequent our local shops (with my 10 year old son, who's also got the bug). 95% of the time, you find junk. They do occasionally have some good medium to high end gear, but unfortunately, they also know what it's worth. Sometimes you happen upon a lucky find. Over the past 5 years:

    '96 Les Paul Standard $400 - they thought it was fake (it wasn't). Happened by the shop within an hour of it hitting the floor.

    '61 Guild Starfire $1200 - not a stellar deal, but a stellar guitar. Funny thing was that it was sitting out amongst the junk, while the fake Ibanez Jem was behind glass :)

    Kinscherff custom dreadnought - worth $4500 at the time, bought it for $200 (had to haggle them down from $250)

    I've found a few good pedals for decent prices along the way, too.

    They're there - you just have to be persistent.

    (Also found a couple of good deals on the local Craigslist - waiting for my '55 Martin D18 to come back from a neck reset)

    Happy Hunting!!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  15. the beep

    the beep Member

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    How often to check back with a shop? Every week? Does their stock rotate out that fast?
     
  16. ajchance

    ajchance Member

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    If I remember correctly, the shop has to give the customer 90 days to return and retrieve their pawned merchandise. The merchandise is constantly rotating. I frequently ask about what's coming out soon, but rarely get any useful info.

    I typically make it a habit to swing by a shop if it's near me while I'm out doing errands. My son has taken to asking for pawn shop detours anytime we're out, as well. I probably hit 1-2 shops/week.

    You're in a pretty affluent area of the state, so you should have a better chance than other poorer areas. That holds true here in Waco. The shops that are near colleges are also good to frequent, especially around the beginning and ends of semesters, when budgets get tight.
     
  17. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

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    Florida (the "down on their luck" capital of the world) used to be great for this. I know guys who would spend their days cruising a circuit of pawn shops looking for the "less fortunate" unloading stuff from their cars. I scored a set of 40's Radio King drums from a guy dejectedly hauling them back out of a Mars music store after being offered $50 by the store. He was plenty pleased to accept the $250 I gave him.


    The "pawn shop score" is a thing of the past, save for a few exceptions.
     
  18. SackvilleDan

    SackvilleDan Member

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    I found a MIJ Geddy Lee Jazz Bass in a pawn shop here last week, for $410... I made a lowball offer and he told me to come back in two weeks and we'd talk if it was still there... I can't tell anyone where it is because I want it in two weeks!
     
  19. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    The best guitar Ive ever seen at the three pawn shops I used to frequent was an ebony epi les paul with a bolt on neck...I didnt like the way it felt or played...it was $100...i passed
     
  20. germs

    germs Member

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    if you know what to look for, the deals are still out there.

    pawn shops have been in steady decline since ebay. it doesn't take too much to inflate a price these days. i've even seen some shops advertising on CL, and then start switching the same gear over to "around the house" shots a few weeks later.

    BUT, i think these guys have it all wrong. you need to hit the poorer sections of town. that's where you're more likely to find the diamonds in the rough. i don't think you're any more likely to find vintage guitars hanging on walls or such, but you'll find that the situations where people need cash-in-hand are much more available.

    most of the guitars i've purchased need some TLC out of pawn. but you'll find some good stuff - just not at every shop, every day you go.

    speaking of cash-in-hand, money talks. bring green. don't show up with a lowball strategy and try to pay with your debit card. they don't like that too much...

    EDIT - yes, i've picked up quite a few guitars from pawn shops. most i kept for a while and flipped. some i still have. amps and pedals too. there's quite a lot of crap out there, like older import knock-offs - but there's some good deals if you STOP looking for that $500 PRS/Gibson etc.
     

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