Gearphoria Volume 7 Number 3

Happy New Gear? Don’t forget about the used market when looking for new inspiration A STRANGE holiday cocktail of animal adoptions and new gear aspirations took over most of my social media feeds in the days lead- ing up to Christmas and New Years. The adoption plea was one targeted at parents looking to surprise a youngster with a puppy or kitten under the tree on December 25th, while the gear desires were stressed mostly by rehearsal room denizens still on the unrelenting hunt for “that sound”. It was the random yet repeated mix of these two things that got me to thinking about all of those guitars that are just hanging in pawn shops from Bangor, Maine to San Diego, California, still look- ing for their “forever home”. Just how many do you think are out there? Allow me to try and answer that question through a highly un- scientific experiment using Google search and light math. Roughly 150,000 people call McAllen, TX, home. According to Google Maps, there are about 20 pawn shops in the area. I person- ally have rarely walked into a pawn shop without seeing at least three guitars hanging there, but let’s use two for argument’s sake. That is 40 used guitars in an area that is home to 150,000. Now, Miami is home to around six million. If you use the 0.00013333 pawn shop per person established by the South Texas example, that will get you to around 800 pawn shops… or going further, about 1,600 guitars. Of course, the Miami pawn shop count is closer to 80 or so, but you get the sense that applying some sensible, simple esti- mates, will lead you to an unmistak- able truth: There are a ton of used guitars out there. Now there are dregs, but I myself have pulled a 1996 Ibanez Talman out of a local shop near Houston for about $200. So bargains and brands coexist. If you happen to live in Texas or Florida, the good news is that your states’ run number one and two in the total number of pawn shops. Your chances of coming across something remarkable is pretty good. Vermont? Not so lucky. New is always nice, but when you are in the market for another guitar in 2019, don’t forget about those instruments that are hang- ing in your local pawn or resale shop. With a little TLC, someone’s discarded closet-dweller could be- come your new number one. G GEARPHORIA JAN/FEB 2019 17

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