Never buy an amp from a pawn shop!

Trout

Tele-Holic
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May 12, 2010
Posts
528
Location
Tropic, UT
If you read enough threads on the popular guitar and gear forums, you are no doubt aware of the fact (anything found on the internet is fact) that pawn shops are seedy establishments, operated by shady characters who exploit the desperate and the stupid, and who stock their stores with overpriced junk.

I view the internet every day, and I avoid pawn shops like the plague, except on Saturdays, when my will power is diminished. I always follow the advice of experts, who write that pawn shops are not worth one's time, and are very risky to do business with.

On Saturday, I accidentally went to my favorite pawn shop. Before entering, I always look around, you know, to see if anyone I know is watching me go inside. It's as if I were walking into one of those shops that sell the magical bedtime toys, and the movies that feature people with names like Angel and Jenna.

As expected, there were piles of overpriced junk. I quickly spotted a trio of items that I had some interest in. My plan was to get a bundle price, then sell two of the three items for profit and get the third item free. Sort of my own version of buy two and get one free.

The combined asking price of the items totaled $905. I acted all cool and collected as I asked for the combo price. I offered $600 for the junky trio. I totally expected him to laugh in my face, but he said that he'd see if he could make it happen. I knew he was totally bull shipping me and just playing around. He wasn't the manager or anything, so he said he had to do some research and make a call... you know, just like when the used car salesman says he's "talking to the sales manager", but you know he just left you in the room while he went for a ride to get a pack of smokes.

As I mentioned, I keep up to date on internet pop culture, so I know how these things work. He came back and countered me at $635. WTF. I was insulted. Now I knew for sure that he thought he had me on the line and was reeling me in. I was so flippin' mad that I left the store. I should have listened to the experts, but I didn't, and now he was stringing me along.

After I left, all mad and disappointed, I went back, because I didn't have anything better to do, and the guy had totally beguiled me with his smile and his friendly disposition. I plopped down my hard earned cash for a Vox AC15C1, a Marshall JCM 2000 combo, and an Epiphone Dot Studio. I knew from what I read on the internet that I was getting ripped off, but I couldn't help it. As I mentioned, pawn shops prey on the stupid.

I took my loot home to check it all out. I did a quick refurbish on the Epi and strung it up with new 10's. The neck is perfect and (after a setup) it plays like butter. Dang. I'm only going to be able to double my money on this one. Total junk.

After wiping the toe jam off the Vox, it looked like new. Total disappointment. I expected damage and major issues. I got it at a pawn shop, after all. After it's all done, I'll only be + $150 on this piece.

The whole point of the buy 2 get 1 free was the Marshall. I've learned that things don't sound the same in the shop as they do in the bedroom or on the stage. This was no exception. This crapper has 2 channels, and one is labeled "Clean". I dimed the gain on the "Clean" side and dimed the master and ripped off a few cords with a humbucker guitar. Clean my ash. This thing sounded like a gat dang Van Halen concert, all brown and crunchy and stuff. I should have expected this sort of result from a pawn shop experience.

I really should have listened to the collective wisdom of the internet. I am so ashamed, and so sorry. Whatever you do, don't ever buy an amp from a pawn shop.

Disclaimer: There's a small to large chance that this piece of literary work contains cynicism and sarcasm. However, the experience was real, and the new Marshall is real (as are the Vox and the Epi) ;)
 

dsutton24

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 29, 2010
Posts
10,797
Location
Illinois
Pawn shops aren't what they once were. Ebay has ruined them, all that overpriced crap that is priced higher than new. I've only managed to score five guitars and more tools than I could possibly carry all at once over the past year. Anybody buying from pawn shops is just preying on the unfortunate among us.

Bastards.
 

wildkat-bob

Tele-Afflicted
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May 14, 2013
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Beside a Mountain
I got ripped off in a pawn shop once. They were asking $75.00 for a 15 year old Marshall MG30CD with the footswitch, I managed to get him down to $60.00, I knew I was still getting ripped off. About a month later I saw a Marshall MG15CD selling for $150.00 0n EBay without the footswitch. Now I know I got royally ripped off!!! If I would have just waited a month I would have got the 15 watt amp from an honest EBay seller, one day I will learn my lesson.
 

mojosman

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 23, 2013
Posts
308
Location
New England
Congrats!! Around here I've not had your luck. I find mostly entry level off shore made guitars in pawn shops. Well, except one. There is one that is owned by a working musician. He has everything from Chinese made to vintage Gibson. The problem is, he knows what his stuff is worth. There are no steals going out his door. He will sell them in ways beyond the shop, and isn't hurting for money. So, I go to his shop for the conversation. I've never bought from him. I've haggled, but I've never been able to get to a price I like.
 

DavidM1

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Apr 12, 2014
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Tasmania
Ha. I think the internet is right about pawn shops at least 2/3 of the time.

My strat came from a Texas pawn shop and it is not only fabulous but it was silly cheap. The other pawn shops I called into were as disappointing as you'd expect. I've never bothered with Australian pawn shops.
 

Stubee

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
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Mid-Michigan
You shoulda come here and asked all kinds of questions about the gear before you bought it. Then you shoulda brought it home, noticed a tiny flaw like a fingerprint or something on the gear & start doubting your buying decision so start asking more questions. Then you take your gear back to the shop, ask for your $ back and start all over again.

You just don't know how to get a deal!
 

Trout

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Posts
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Location
Tropic, UT
You shoulda come here and asked all kinds of questions about the gear before you bought it. Then you shoulda brought it home, noticed a tiny flaw like a fingerprint or something on the gear & start doubting your buying decision so start asking more questions. Then you take your gear back to the shop, ask for your $ back and start all over again.

You just don't know how to get a deal!

This is an excellent point. Now I feel even more stupid. Maybe I can ask some questions after the fact. You know, the buyers remorse sort of questions... Should I keep the Vox or the Marshall? My playing style is mostly Chicago Blues, but sometimes I like to do San Diego blues, or Salt Lake City blues. I love the G chord, but sometimes I play C, so I need a versatile amp, but it needs to be small, like Norah Jones' P15R, but I really like the output of the Twin Reverb. Did Norah do the LED mod to her Pathfinder? What was the best selling solid state amp of all time? Did it make the top 100 poll? If I get a EL84 amp, can I convert it to use 6L6 tubes? Does the Vox grill cloth make my cowboy boots look too pointy? Should I just get a refund? Thanks in advance.
 

old goat

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Donner Lake
I got a 64 strat all original and a 65 BF Tremolux for $250 combined from a pawn shop in cleveland. Of course it was 1969. Still my main guitar and main amp. Still some original tubes working. I have changed the strings a couple of times.
 

985plowboy

Poster Extraordinaire
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Feb 5, 2012
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O.K., you lured me in with the perspective angle. Funny.
I've bought over a dozen guitars in roughly as many years from pawn shop. It is however, a hit and miss scenario. The majority of the time there is nothing I'm interested in. Occasionally, they'll have something I like but it will be overpriced.
If you go in armed with knowledge, patience, and cash, good deals on decent gear can be found. However, as always, caveat emptor.
 

bigben55

Friend of Leo's
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May 19, 2010
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Cincinnati, OH
The desireable Boss pedals can be had for cheap at pawn shops. Bought a Japanese Boss CE-2 last year for $50, ebayed it for $120
 

Coach56

One of the Boys
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I think you got really lucky, I assume there are no lice or dead cats in the amps!

What really tweaked my interest is this talk of magical bedtime toys, are we talking light sabers here?

-H
 

goonie

Friend of Leo's
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Dec 20, 2011
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Australia
I've never bothered with Australian pawn shops.

That's because they're not worth bothering with. Most of them are part of Cash Convertors now. The guitars are either cheap new junk or Epiphones and MIM Fenders at 20% off their new price. The thing I don't get about these bargain pawn shops in the US is, don't they have the internet?
 

joeford

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Apr 17, 2013
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st. louis, illinois
I think you got really lucky, I assume there are no lice or dead cats in the amps!

What really tweaked my interest is this talk of magical bedtime toys, are we talking light sabers here?

-H

at those prices, you can afford a couple trash bags and lice shampoo! holy crap!

i'm one of the many internet pawnshop haters. i still check them out all the time... but i've never scored like that! congrats!
 

bluesoddity

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Posts
18
Location
Boston
Boston 's pawn and used record stores have all but gone. I used to make the weekly pilgrimage to Harvard and Porter Square to check out Cambridge Music's supply of used Strats and Les Pauls then swing through Stereo Jack's and dig through their jazz acetates. No more. EBay has set the price, I can't tell you how many times someone has said "well it's going for $$$ on Ebay." Just like hdtv and cell phones, you have to adapt to the culture of the future. Suck balls.
 

Abu Twangy

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Mar 16, 2012
Posts
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Location
Philly
One of the local pawn shops sold me a 2013 '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue for $550. I was really there to heft an old Super Reverb until my back hurt really bad so I wouldn't buy anything.

I told the owner that the originals listed at under $300 new, therefore this "replica" should only cost $150. The previous owner of the DRRI had taken out the power tubes and replaced them with some Tung Sols. If I hadn't been driven to desperation by the lack of overpriced Crate and Line 6 amps I would have passed it by.
 




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