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Thursday, December 14 2023
What to Watch Out for if Purchasing a Musical Instrument From a Pawn Shop


Thinking about purchasing a musical instrument from a local ​pawnshop? At Cash Express, we have people coming in regularly seeking a good instrument at a reasonable price. When you shop, there are things to watch out for so you can make the best deal possible. 


  • Wear and tear: You want intact parts and functionality. Inspect the piece for signs of poor maintenance or damage. Cracks, dents, warps, sticking keys, dirt, grime, and loose strings can all prove problematic. They may require further maintenance outside the store to resolve. 

  • Rusting: If the instrument you’re considering has metal components (like woodwinds), inspect for signs of corrosion. Such parts reveal either poor maintenance or exposure to harsh (or damp) conditions and may affect the instrument's performance and longevity.

  • Branding: There are certain high-value instruments, so of course, you’ll come across counterfeit ones. See if the instrument has any history (proof of provenance) or a maker's mark. If you have a specific item in mind, research it beforehand. If you’re at the store and unsure, ask if you can bring in an expert for inspection.

  • Market Value: We have a gallery of products you can look at before coming to the store. Our pricing for instruments depends on the brand, age, rarity, and condition. You can compare prices online to see if you’re being offered a reasonable deal. If not, negotiate.

  • Smells: Nasty smells may indicate mold or mildew, either of which can damage an instrument. 

  • Store Returns: Does the pawnshop have a policy about returning something within a set amount of time should you discover a big problem? This protects you from having to spend large sums on repairs.

  • Legal Ownership: Ask for the original pawn ticket (or bill of sale). This proves the shop legally owns the piece, meaning it has the right to sell it.

  • Personal Assessment: Not all instruments are for all people. A violin, for example, may feel great for one player while someone else isn’t so thrilled. A lot of this is personal taste and an understanding of sound quality. Also, sound can indicate a problem, like buzzing.

Your evaluation is essential. If the piece needs considerable restoration, that’s a point for negotiation (what will you have to pay for repair after purchase?).

By the way, if you have any items you want to pawn (sell), you can use that value toward your purchase. Start there so you know how much you have in ready cash. 

About Cash Express

In the pawnshop industry, reputation matters. The positive feedback we consistently get from our customers is one of the reasons we’re the #1 pawnshop in the Philadelphia region. When you come to our shop, you can expect friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to answer your questions. More importantly, we strive for satisfaction. There is no hurry to jump into a purchase if you’re uncertain. 

There are three ways you can get in touch with us for further information:

Phone: (215) 922-1560


Online Contact Form

Posted by: AT 04:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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Cash Express  • Philadelphia Pawn Shop

731 Chestnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19106 -  (215) 922-1560