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Pawn Shop tips

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jenderfazz, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. To all those guys that get great deals at pawn shops... any tips?

    There are tons of pawn shops in Montreal, and I've been to a few. Mostly cheap guitars and basses, often overpriced. I'm sure that there are some better shops somewhere, but I'd like to know which shops to visit. It seems many have smart owners who do research, and they often have nothing worth buying. With so many to choose from, which should I visit? What kinds of shops should I look out for?

    Also, when I get there and find something interesting, how should I go about buying it? Should I haggle a bit, and how should I do that? I may never be a Brad Johnson, but I'm hoping to get some good deals somewhere besides music stores, which often know what they're selling and charge accordingly.
  2. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    I don't bother looking for deals, after running into the same stuff that you have (used guitars priced almost at list :oops:), I know what I want, and buy it from a music shop or online. The pawn business is kind of slimey, I would call the owners swindlers and cheats before I'd call them smart :oops:.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    First and foremost, know what you're looking at. The typical person that gets screwed gets screwed because of ignorance. Do whatever research you need to do so you'll be ready if you find something.

    Stop by often.

    I just bought an 20GB iPod with accessories from a pawnshop, with a 7 day return policy. I've also found probably half of my stereo gear at pawnshops along with lots of other stuff, cheap DVDs and CDs, tools, things like that.

    My bargaining typically consists of "What's you best price on that?"

    Seriously. I don't get into a long drawn out negotiation over stuff. Give me a good price and I'll buy, don't and I won't. I have no problem walking away from stuff because I know what I'm willing to pay. I've also found that in most cases they come back with prices that are lower than what I would've paid.

    Want to screw yourself? Get hostile when they give what you consider a price you don't like... They love it when people whine about what they could get something for somewhere else:D

    Be in a position to buy when stuff pops up. A great deal is useless if you can't take advantage of it. You need to be able to make a quick decision on the spot otherwise you might lose out on what you're looking for.

    Contrary to popular relief, the internet has not killed great deals at pawnshops, nor have the Blue Books. There's still a lot of cool stuff that can come under their radar. In addition to the 20GB iPod, I got a Sony MD recorder and a Directed 350 5 channel car audio amp for ~$300 total just last week.

    Oh yeah...

    If you really want to assign a personality to pawnshops... it's probably best to stay away:D. The shops I deal with are on the up and up.
  4. That is exactly how it is.
  5. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I have tried, but have never been able to get that elusive "great deal" at a pawn shop. You rarely find decent instruments/equipment, and if you do- they price it out of sight. You have to wade through a sea of Lotus guitars and Gorilla amps. Still, I keep on the hunt!
  6. D.A.R.K.


    Aug 20, 2003
    my only input besides the wisdom already stated is the "well, on e-bay it's this much" or if selling, "on e-bay, it's this cheap"...if buying, remind them that you have cash, and they don't have to deal with shipping hassles and payment/return issues, and if selling, ask how long is left on the bidding and make sure they're quoting a finished auction, not a starting bid.
  7. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Whatever you do, stay away from that place next to Steve's Music (can't recall the name). He was asking 1000$ for a severly mutilated Rick 4001 (most harware had been replaced, paint almost completely gone, etc.). Jerk.
  8. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    Good advise given here.Know your stuff first and foremost.I have found that your mom and pop pawn shops are your best bet.The "value pawns" and the "cash America" etc. are all owned by conglomerates and they go by national averages for pricing.This method often does not work in small town U.S.A. (or canada- etc).Go often and see what is there and how long it sits.Look at the pawn tag, most pawnshops have a code on them that includes the amount of money that they have in the pawn.If you can figure this out, you have a better chance of bargaining.Someone mentioned that things come in under the radar.Great amps such as your old AMP's (predecessor of Daves Thunderfunk), were not around all that long and are not listed in some of the blue book bibles that are used.Sometimes you can steal one of these if you're lucky ( I got a 260 for 100 bucks because nobody knew).Today you gotta be good though, and you have to go alot because there are others doing the same thing.Good luck, and be patient, we all run into one of these deals once in a while, you just have to know it when you see it.
  9. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    Good advice jenderfazz, definetly stick to the ma and pa places. Stop in on a regular basis too. If your a regular you more likely to get the price down a bit. Every amp I have ever owned came from a pawn shop in my home town, and 1 bass. Just know what you want and know what you are willing to pay. I also make sure that my local guy know's what i'm looking for, so if somethin comes in he gives me a call. And i buy so often that I can know i can get at least 50, 100 if i'm lucky taken off the sticker price.
  10. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I just checked out my first pawn shop this past weekend and I just had to laugh at the prices they had on some crappy instruments and some computer systems!
  11. Mel Monihan

    Mel Monihan

    Mar 30, 2004
    Absolutely right DWbass.These days you can probably do much better at the guitar center or whichever music supercenter is in your area.Get a good repor with a specific sales guy and you can beat the pawnshops on new guitars and basses almost every day.Vintage gear is the only avenue where that won't work.
  12. Know what a sadosky is when you see one for a couple of hundred (cdn.) 4 hours away on a hockey tournement. and not figure it out months later on talkbass...

  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Yep, that's the stuff you "don't" buy.

  14. The best place to go nowadays are pawn shops in military towns. I used to get the best prices back in 1990-91 when I lived in Eastern NC. When the troops deploy, the prices magically drop.

    Works well with auto dealers too...

  15. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    A friend of mine bought a Yamaha BB1200 from a pawn shop for $250. Pretty good, especially with the nice case it was in. What really sweetened the deal was when I told him how much the Lane Poor someone had put in it was worth. He makes the hour drive every weekend now to see what some of those poor Navy guys had to hock.
  16. fresnorich


    Sep 17, 2003
    Fresno, CA
    Come back on a different day and ask a differnt saleperson the price.

    It worked for me. I was quoted "$350" for a Ampeg B-100r. I came back the next day and tried again: "$250". How about $225? Sold.
  17. Salut Jenderfazz,

    Most of the Pawn shops here in Montreal are a little shady. A good way to get deals is to make friends with the owners and let them know what you are looking for. There is a musician in town who gets sick deals on gear this way. We are talking Sadowsky NY bass for $400 (apparently the seller was a drug addict), vintage jazz basses etc. They don't even make it onto the showroom floor. Some of my friends who work in the retail shops do the same thing for trades. They buy them cash from the customer and sell them on ebay etc.
  18. ryanharry


    Dec 21, 2012
    What are looking for? Most pawn shops specialize in certain commodities...One might be great for shopping destination for guitars while other might be good for some other music instrument.

    The products available at pawn shops depends a lot on the popularity of the store. The stores having a good reputation attract more people to pawn. You can haggle at these stores if you want a good bargain. Since I am in Texas, I can't suggest you any good pawn store in Montreal. You will have to research a bit yourself! Best of Luck. :bassist:


    Broker at Cash Pawn
  19. sandmangeck


    Jul 2, 2007
    All of the great deals are gone where I've been. It was great ten years ago when the Internet didn't prevail.
  20. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    I've gotten good deals on guns. Made offers, and they accepted. I also bought a Sigma acoustic.
    Not a bad guitar, but had a large sticker on it and a broken saddle ($2 part plus a little work).
    Marked at $75, they accepted $50. Also found a vacuum pump in a pawn shop and they accepted
    $50 less than the marked price.

    You have to know what the item is worth. They usually know pretty well, and aren't
    going to go much below a fair price. If It's overpriced, they generally will come down
    to a fair price. But to go below that, it usually needs to be something that isn't selling
    quick enough. So if you stop in a shop regularly, you may notice if some bass isn't
    selling. That's one way you might get a good deal.

    If you make an offer, do it simply and confidently. Say it like you do it for a living.
    Say "would you take $250 for it?", in the same way that they would say "we are asking $300 for it".
    They may agree, they may offer something in between. Or they may say "no, we can't go any lower".
    And that is then pretty much where the price will be.