The Pawn Shop...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Spidey2112, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    The short time I've been a participant on TalkBass, I haven't seen any posts regarding the treasures one might find while perusing their local pawn shop. I recently took a trip to visit Uncle Sam's Pawn Shop, located at the corner of 5th and Main (where else?) In Columbus, Ohio.


    They boast over 15,000 square feet of merchandise, so possibly so. My purpose was to see if they had any high-end basses for sale at the time of my visit. Of course, I saw plenty of lower end basses ($150-$250, price negotiable, I'm sure).

    I did come across this...



    ... a 5 string R bass, serial number 572101. Asking price of $2500. It had definitely seen some action, as it had more dings in it than Rosie O'Donnell's rear. I'm not a 5 string player,and it showed after I plugged it in, but it was still a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

    The sad thing was coming up empty handed, after researching any and all information regarding this work of art! I personally think Reynaldo needs to upgrade his website, as both e-mail and fill-in-forms returned errors. It's possible he may no longer be in New York, but may have returned to his native Puerto Rico.

    If any of you have had a pawn shop experience, please share.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  2. In the days before the internet, Ebay, Craigslist, Reverb, one could on occasion come across some good deals at pawn shops. I still stick my head into a pawn shop from time to time, but really finding "deals" doesn't seem to happen as much.
    hrodbert696 and SirMjac28 like this.
  3. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I think one of the salesman said that the high-end instruments eventually make their presence known on E-bay, keeping their pawn shop viable in an online dominated market. I'm thinking the low-end items would possibly make good projects, also...

    ... what really caught my eye was the Elvis parlor lamp, with optional hula skirt.
    drummer5359 likes this.
  4. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I still make the rounds every few months looking for precision measuring tools, old fishing reels, and whatever else I might be able to get a deal on. I used to do it more often, but the internet has pretty much killed it for musical equipment, power tools and the like, but it's still fun to kill a day looking. It's a rare day I don't come home with something and so far I've been able to make a little off those things so it's all good and somewhat of a productive time suck.

    Oh and BTW, I've recently run across a deal on a bunch of McCormick and other assorted old liquor decanters. I've got a few Elvis and Eleanor Roosevelt with the seal still intact and a fair number of assorted other brands like Jim Beam wildlife art series, some ducks, political themes, and even a Santa. It wouldn't be too tough to make a lamp out of the Elvis or Eleanor decanters, or any of them for that matter. Wifey and I have actually been talking about doing exactly that.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  5. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    I have a cousin who has told me some mind blowing stories about the deals he scored on vintage gear in the pre-internet days. My fave was the one where he walked into a pawn shop and spotted a 60s era Hofner Beatle bass. When he asked the shop owner about it, his response was "oh...that old thing. If you buy the case, I'll give you the bass." $50 later, he walked out with the Hofner.

    Those days are undoubtedly over.
    hrodbert696 and Spidey2112 like this.
  6. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    I can do better than that.
    A buddy of mine had someone walk into his store with a box which contained a 1959 Flying V (needing work mind you, but still) He got it for $500, put about $1000 into it (parts were hard to find) and sold I for $50,000 (that's back when they were still "cheap").
    A month later a guy (different one I assume) walked in with a 58 bassman and asked for a MIM strat in exchange - needless to say he got the strat.
    IGotGas, hrodbert696 and Spidey2112 like this.
  7. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Yeah, unfortunately... I'm sure Einstein would have to alter a few equations now that both value and worth move at the speed of light...
  8. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Sweet! Great stories!
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I haven't seen anything in pawn shops but Rogues and Affinities, and Crate or similar amps in a long time.
    bolophonic and Spidey2112 like this.
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, the days of sweet pawn shop deals are over. Part of it is alternative internet shopping, part of it is that the pawn shop owners have the internet too so they're not inclined to give you a deal better than what you would find online. Sometimes, if anything, they want way more than the thing is worth. I can think of at least a couple of times I've found used guitars in pawn shops listed for the same price as new or not more than 10% less. For instance, one had an Agile AL-2000 with P-90s in it, a guitar that Rondo Music sells new for $225. They wanted $199 for it. What's the point?
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  11. BassUrges


    Mar 14, 2016
    In the past month I picked up an 91 MIA strat in excellent condition for $385 and a Bassman 100 combo (modern SS, not tube or vintage) for $100.

    Posted threads on both.

    Most places have nothing but cheap stuff, so they don't recognize a gem. There's a shop downtown that specializes in music that has a lot of high end stuff, but their prices reflect their knowledge.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  12. I agree hrodbert.

    A couple of years ago I was traveling back and forth between Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Richmond Virginia often to take care of my elderly in-laws. If the weather was nice I would take various routes to make it interesting and avoid DC. On one of those routes I would pass a place on US-522 in Virginia that was a Pawn shop/Antique dealer/music store. "Bob's?"

    They would have "great" deals. I remember a used Ibanez SR190 priced at $299, only a $100 more than new. Another one of their "special" deals was a Peavey TNT bass amp from the late 1980s that they only wanted $499 for. The entire place was priced that way. The gear was dust covered for some reason.

    Every once in a while you might find something decent priced fairly in a pawn shop, but these days you are more likely to find things with "optimistic" prices in my opinion.

    The days of great deals in pawn shops is long gone.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  13. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    It seems like your best bet at finding fantastic used music gear deals nowadays is garage/yard sales. It's usually people just looking to unload stuff without researching what the stuff is really worth.

    Even then, you have to be extremely lucky, or do a ton of consistent searching, to find amazing deals. And you have to get out there early!
  14. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I haven't seen a decent guitar or bass in a pawn shop in years.
    DWBass and Gravedigger Dav like this.
  15. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    sometimes you can find stuff in the desert for a pretty good price, but you have to really like metal looking 80s equipment though:)
  16. tgriley62


    Jan 25, 2011
    S.E. Mo
    It is hit or miss. I picked up my '89 Foundation for $150 with case & a '07 Squire Pbass for $95. But, as others have said, most want almost what new item would cost
  17. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Here's what scouring pawn shops back in the pre internet days would get you. This place started as a little tiny place with a handful of stuff, but it grew as the owner had a friend who went out on a regular basis and hit pawnshops throughout the region and grabbed up the gems the shop owners were unaware they had.

    repoman likes this.
  18. The key with pawn shops is making good with the salesman. I was in a shop one time and made friends talking to the guy about his band who is seen play out a few times and music in general. Upon mentioning how badly I needed a new amp to be able to keep up in my band, he offered to sell me an Ampeg half stack for 500$ when it was marked at 1000$. Didn't have the money at the time but still was pretty cool.
  19. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    I love talking pawn shop. That's where I found my #1 bass; my 1987 G&L L-2000.

    The funny story of how I got it:

    The night before, I went to a pawn shop and saw a lovely Acoustic AE-40; unlined fretless ABG. It sounded and played good for the low price. I decided not to get it that night.

    Overnight, GAS hit me hard. I had to have that bass. When I went back for it, it was gone. In my sadness, I had decided to roam around and check out other shops.

    Eventually, I get to a shop and I see the bass separated from the other low-end instruments. Listed at $799, I thought "I wonder how much lower I can haggle for?".

    I played the bass through an amp I had actually just acquired minutes ago (remember, I was on a hunt for a good deal since missing out on the ABG). The L-2000 sounded great and played great, with only a single mod: a Detuner.

    When asked for best price, the salesman said "How about $475?". I almost dropped dead. For an American G&L in as good a shape as it was, that was a steal. Over the next few hours, I proceeded to sell everything I could, including many childhood favorite videogames to fund my next acquisition.

    Eventually, I got the scratch together and took it home. To this day, it's my #1.

  20. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Hypocognitive

    Apr 23, 2014
    U-BOX has paid dividends for this little black duck. Something like this'll only set you back US $600 odd - It's graded at (A), so it'll be virtually unblemished - straight out of the fujigen factory, with an OHC. Hold me back ! :hyper: I really love these basses :thumbsup:

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
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