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Thread: The Demise of Pawn Shop viability

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    The Demise of Pawn Shop viability

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    Anyone still looking through pawn shops?
    I keep trying, but most of the time, I can go to Sam Ash or Guitar Center and buy used gear for just as cheap if not cheaper.
    I've (over the years) bought many a nice piece of gear at an incredible price from pawn shops, but recently, they're just not useful. I suppose if I had some other need near one and just stopped in to see, it's alright, but the last 50+ times I've been in one have been a waste of time.
    Last good pawn paw was in 2005 when I got my Michael Kelly Dragonfly and my Yamaha FG335 at $300 for the pair. Considering the bass was worth twice that, I was pretty pleased. Saw a nice pedal board for $150 at a shop in Florida on vacation several years ago that had a couple nice pedals I knew were worth more than the asking price, but I didn't have the money to buy, nor the inclination to (couldn't very well drive back to Florida to return it if they were wonk...)
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    the only pawn shop I used to browse in was near my home in San Diego and it was way overpriced compared to fleabay...mind you the area was kinda hipster and the vinyl shops were also stupidly overpriced

    Ive been stung a couple of times on ebay recently so Ive kinda stopped doing that and CL seems like a death wish in Philly so I only really use Amazon now
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    I don't think I even live near (within a 20 minute drive) to any pawn shops anymore and I don't think there is a large enough concentration of musician types here to even justify looking. With that being said, when I lived in Houston I had more luck looking at the used gear at GC than I did at any of the pawn shops I ever visited. Anything gear related, with the exception of home audio equipment, found at a pawn shop there was either overpriced or just cheap junk gear anyway. I think I quit going to them after pawning a 12 string acoustic with a severely warped top and neck when nobody else would take it off my hands. The guys at the counter don't exactly know what to look at, apparently, so I don't exactly trust the quality of pawn shop gear. Not that the same isn't true for some big box music stores though...
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    Ebay is my "pawnshop" right now. We've got a couple near my place, but I've never been inside them. I've got a friend who bought a really nice Yamaha something acoustic guitar from the one down the road from me for like fifty bucks, but I've not had any personal experience buying musical gear.

    I used to browse antique stores for old tools and the like (I'm a blacksmith as a secondary hobby), and most of the time, the dealers charge more for a crappy rusty hammer, than a brand new one of the same quality from Home Depot. From what you're saying, Broken, musical gear tends to be the same.
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    There is a pawn shop here that overpriced everything they sell, but sometimes they screw up when they don't know what the value is of what they have. I went there a few months ago and was looking at some used mics. ALL of them seemed way over priced. Then I noticed a sure SM57. It was obviously very old, and it had the logo "unidyme" on it. I asked them "how much for this mic?".
    He said "25 bucks".
    I said "I'll give you 20 bucks cash, out the door price, if you guanantee it works."
    done deal.
    I later found out, here on the mic forum, that it's from the very first run of 57s...a museum piece!

    pawn shop deals are still out there
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    It's kinda sad. I know of one pawn shop within a 20 mile radius of me. I visited once to find a small selection of low end gear in various stages of disrepair. Didn't used to be that way. The first electric guitar that I ever owned came from a pawn shop when I was a junior in high school. It was a no-name guitar, probably made in Japan during that era, but made well. I loved it. We won't go into how many years ago that was. I wish I had bought that nearly-new Peavey T-40 bass that was hanging on the wall next to it!

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    I have a hard time cashing in on someone else's broken dream. Or stolen shit.

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    I still browse sometimes in one not too far from me.

    Despite all the things mentioned above, the people running this one don't seem to have cottoned onto how easy it is to check prices etc so there are still occasional bargains on more specialist stuff.

    For example, I got a couple of SM58s there (in good condition and I checked they're not knock offs) for $15 each a few months back. Right now they've got an Allen and Heath Zed 12FX mixer dirt cheap--far less money than the rubbish DJ mixer sitting beside it. I don't need another mixer, but if it's still there on payday...

    They also have a 30 day return policy if things don't work.

    On the other hand, anything remotely main stream and flashy is way over priced.

    So, yeah, I still check the place out when I pass by.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Blue Lou View Post
    I have a hard time cashing in on someone else's broken dream. Or stolen shit.
    I don't think pawn shops were necessarily about that, back in the day before the internet, craigslist, ebay. People pawned stuff for all kinds of reasons. Stolen stuff might show up, but that wasn't most of it.

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    Broken dreams maybe, but the ones around here are pretty tightly regulated and checked in terms of stolen goods.
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.
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