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Pawnshop Visit, Yet Again
We are going to the pawnshop to see about a string instrument rescue again
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cid
August 13, 2019 - 8:51 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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So, we are going to visit that pawnshop we go to for string instrument rescues. There was a violin there last time that was simply gorgeous, but had many issues. It is, or looks, fairly old. It has a beautiful color. The F hole had a poorly done repair, we will fix that, it has no strings, so I have no idea how it plays. The tuning pegs, if I remember correctly, turned pretty smoothly. I am not sure what the tailpiece was like exactly, but I think it will need replacing. In spite of this, the top bottom and sides were in really good condition. It showed its story, meaning, it was definitely used. 

We could not stop thinking about it. We have talked about it since we were there in May. Today, we go back and see if this lovely lady is still there. If she is, we will see if we can get it at a really good price. In spite of how intriguing she is, we are not going to over pay, given the work necessary on her, and the unknowns. If she is simply not playable, she will look lovely on the wall.

The 3/4 cello we purchased in May, maybe it was June, will go to my instructor. We are waiting in a new bridge, the ine it came with is backwards. Jer is going to fix that when the new bridge arrives. Then I will bring her in with a lesson for my instructor. He knows someone who would love it.

This will be a fun and interesting partial day.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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GregW
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August 13, 2019 - 9:36 am
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Might be a good one to experiment with.  Youve got me thinking a Saturday visiting pawn shops might be something to do.  If for no other reason than to get something to practice sound post adjjstments and such on.

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cid
August 13, 2019 - 9:53 am
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I am lucky in that the pawnshop is in the city of a well known university with a great music dept and local schools with an orchestra and/or band. 

Our local district is small and only has a small band. It is only an hour to the pawnshop, not to bad a drive. It is actually interesting in there. Have to be careful what you consider buying, though. Some items look better than they are.

 

 

L

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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starise
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August 13, 2019 - 11:23 am
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I have this ongoing  daydream sometimes of  stumbling on a very nice instrument at a yard sale or pawn shop. I'm certain it happens to other people. I'm the type though if I have a 50/50 chance I seem to always fall on the bad side of it. The reason I choose not to gamble. Still..... if the price was right I would be willing to fall on the bad side of that 50 again. I would tell myself I'll sell it if it isn't for me, but I never will, and it will lay somewhere gathering dust probably to be sold at an auction after I die.

It's a lot of fun to look though. I hope you find something you like there. In these parts it seems people tend more often to over value things. For a junky Squire beginner guitar they try to get a Gibson price....that kind of thing. I see that especially on Craig's list. I can generally buy new here in my area for not much more.

Speaking of Craig's list, there are lots of beginner violins. I might occasionally see something better, but as I say, it's priced accordingly. I am thinking about trying to sell a bunch of my stuff and just outright buy one from Fiddlerman. I would need to make room for it lol.

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Pete_Violin
Utah
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August 13, 2019 - 11:48 am
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@cid 

I would be interested to know what you look for as far as value and how you shop in a pawn shop for instruments.  

I have considered looking into some of these, but I am a bit cautious.  The reputation of pawn shops is that items are often overpriced for what the actual value is and the pawn shop owners do not always give you the true story.  I'd hate to pay $500 for an instrument that turns out to be worth only $100.

- Pete -

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cid
August 13, 2019 - 2:12 pm
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@Pete_Violin I don’t spend a lot. I bought a beautiful cello and gave it to my niece later. We were surprised it had geared pegs. Noticed at home. Wonderful sound and projection. Paid $125. They wanted $150. Husband offered $125. LOL There was nothing wrong with it.

A couple months ago we bought a 3/4 cello and viola for $200. I put new strings on the cello. We are waiting on a new bridge. The one on it was backwards. Until then, the strings are holding the soundpost in place. Sounds good for a student 3/4 with a backwards bridge. Bow is usable, but not good. I am giving it to my cello instructor after we put the new bridge on. The viola is 15” and sounds really good for a 15”. I play it on e in a while. Inlaid purfling. Nice finish. 

Ok, that said, when we go we are not expecting high quality instruments. This is not a chain pawnshop. Locally owned and run for that area. They actually have a luthier they use, when we don’t buy their instruments first! 

We look at what they have. They bring out a cart with all they have. We look at them. If they are the inexpensive lower end Celilio sort, we are not interested. I am just looking for better quality, good wood, etc. Need of new tailpieces, findgerboards, tuning pegs, etc are not an issue. What I look for is quality wood that is not cracking.  Of interested in those kind of repairs.

It is looks in overall good shape, we figure what we would have to put into it, minus strings because that is a revolving expense. Then we make an offer. They have always been accepted. Saves them having to spend the money, hope it sounds good afterwards, and then displaying and selling.

Based on what we would have to put into it, we make an off. Never much money. I have my instruments. These are just for distributing, except we kept the 15” viola. 

We did buy one we were considering the last time. Paid $50 for it. Good sound body. Needs pegs, tailpiece, soundpost (I think. Even if it has one, I doubt it would still be good. I am not positive it is full size. The chinrest looked smaller than mine. It isn’t for my use, so not an issue. The body itself, and neck, look pretty hood.

We don’t look for “great finds”, just rescue instruments for a home. It is fun.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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cid
August 13, 2019 - 2:23 pm
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@Pete_Violin Another place I got lucky was a music shop. Not one that sold string instruments. It was your typical guitar and drum store. They did, however, sell books for string instruments. It is in the same city as the pawnshop.

We went in looking for violin, viola and cello books. After we paid, the owner said, “You play cello, right?” I said, “I try”. He brought us to the back room. He had a trade in one taking up a lot of room. We paid $50 for it. Spent $200 having a shop fix it up. Put new strings on her. She is a keeper. It is my 1983 German made Andrew Schroetter cello. She is lovely and quite boisterous. I am never parting with my Ada. Might want to see if any music shops took any as trade, but violins would not be as much of a bother to them because they do not take up as much room. Just take condition and what has to be done i to consideration. For me, I am not looking because I need one. I don’t spend a lot of money. If it sounds good when we do what needs to be done, it is donated. I consider them rescues. With you, wanting to actually play it, be more careful.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Pete_Violin
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August 13, 2019 - 3:03 pm
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Thank you @cid 

Actually I would probably looking for a playable violin, at least at first.  Possibly a reasonably decent backup violin.

It sounds like I will have to do quite a bit of searching.  I would probably stay away from the $50 types unless it was a real bargain.  

Treasure hunting does sound like fun... and addictive!

- Pete -

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 17, 2019 - 11:36 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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It's obviously great to find deals and great instruments at pawn shops, eBay and such, however, exercise some caution. We have visited pawn shops, flea markets and have rarely purchased these instruments. We have people visit us with old found instruments as well. Our experience has been that the instruments offered are usually not worth much or require too much work to get them in great condition. Most often, the seller thinks it's worth a lot more. 😢
Obviously location, supply and demand, and your knowledge of the equipment and repair plays a huge role in this process. We have had many customers come in with instruments that they found somewhere be very disappointed when they realize what was required to get those instruments in a good playing condition.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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cid
August 17, 2019 - 12:42 pm
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@Fiddlerman  I totally agree. We don’t spend a lot. Would be too risky. My last purchase of the violin was not done thinking it would even be playable. It is just a lovely violin, with so much character. It kept calling to us for about a month after we saw it and decided against it, For $50, we bought her. That was probably the last one for a while. The other ones have been there for almost a year and not fixed. No new ones. It would have to be playable on the spot from now on. I won’t find one with the character of that last purchase. We were not worried about being playable with the $50 violin.

I have been extremely lucky. Definitely not going to find one of great value at a pawnshop. Most are beginner, at that. Fun looking throught them though. If it was in good shape or valuable, I would think they would be sold to or traded in at a music shop, sold on eBay, or whatever. Not for the piddlings you would get at a pawnshop.

I was lucky with my 2 cellos and viola and violin. But we were looking at them for a long time, too. Have not seen the quality of cello like “Pawnshop Cello” that I gave to my niece. That was a true find for $125. What a wonderful sounding cello. Even found out it had geared tuning pegs when we got her home, that turned ever so smoothly. Not going to happen again. Wonder how it ended out at a pawnshop. Given up for a guitar, maybe?

But, yea, you don’t want to spend a lot there for an instrument or expect to find a good one there. The fun is in the looking. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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