View Full Version : Used Instrument Grading Schemes

Uncle Leroy
11-17-2011, 12:33 AM
Hi all,
I have really been biting my tongue on this one forever, I can't stand it anymore and need to make some sense of it. When perusing used instruments on the internet, some of my favorite shops, very well known ones I might add, grade their used ukes in some crazy ways. Here is an example, " Excellent condition except for two open back cracks" or "lifting bridge". You get the picture.
Why don't these shops, who have highly regarded repair departments simply fix this instruments before listing them for sale? I just don't get it. How many of you really think an instrument can be in excellent condition with two open back cracks? Thanks for letting me rant.

11-17-2011, 12:38 AM
Yes, that's always amused me, not only instrument shops who really, really should know better but folks on places like ebaby who don't really know anything about what they're selling and always "upgrade". This is particularly common in the folks who sell ukes as an antique to put on the shelf for viewing rather than players. I've sent gently worded notes to a few of them and generally get no response (just the egregious cases, like where someone is claiming that a Martin is a 20's uke when it's most likely 50's or later), which leads me to suspect that they know and don't care. But music shops, yes that's inexcusable, but on the other hand they're giving you a clear message about their service and judgement aren't they <g>.

11-17-2011, 03:01 AM
Well, they did say "Excellent EXCEPT FOR", up there.

11-17-2011, 03:09 AM
Part of the problem for shops is that if they fix them then they will charge more. Its always best to have your own grading system and trust your own judgment.

Pukulele Pete
11-17-2011, 03:14 AM
Acouple years ago I bought a vintage Martin Style 1 off Ebay for 6 or 7 hundred dollars. The seller was a music store and the owner of the store wrote for different magazines as the vintage expert. The description said " no cracks and in original condition" . When I got it I scoped it out and the bridge was broken off and reglued so badly you could see daylight underneath and brown glue . I still get angry thinking about it. I returned it and got MOST of my money back. This guy is a self proclaimed expert on vintage instruments. I had to argue
with him before getting most of my money back , it ended up costing me about a hundred bucks. Terrible experience , but I got my $ back . Buyers beware.

11-17-2011, 04:20 AM
Also, perhaps some Ukes are being sold in many shops on consignment, which means the shop doesn't own the instrument to repair it. Only the owner can. So they just offer the instrument as it is on behalf of the seller?... Aloha ~JD

Dan Uke
11-17-2011, 06:41 AM
Certain shops have so many instruments coming and going, they don't have the time or resource to fix all of them. They also know that there are buyers, who can fix it or have their own luthier do the work, so looking for a "bargain". I don't know anything about fixing instruments but know a little about golf equipment so always looking at the used stuff. Finally, I bet the shops would fix it if the value will go up significantly vs. the cost of repair.

11-17-2011, 07:11 AM
Ah, good old Elderly. "Excellent condition except for broken bridge, multiple cracks, missing tuners, and fire damage."

Those of us with a marketing background recognize this. It's called BS.

mr moonlight
11-17-2011, 07:40 AM
Part of the problem for shops is that if they fix them then they will charge more. Its always best to have your own grading system and trust your own judgment.
Yup. Often times you make more or the same amount of money by selling an instrument without doing any work on it vs. having it repaired properly. If you have a lot of instruments to repair you can actually lose a lot.

Uke that you paid $400 for but can sell for $600 as is, or fix it up for $200 and sell for $800. Profit is the same unless you have more expensive Uke needing the same amount of time and cash to repair. In that case, you lose cash by fixing the cheaper uke.

11-17-2011, 08:28 AM
I also "don't get" Elderly's grading system. I would definitely not accuse them of publishing "BS" because they do disclose everything in the rest of their ad copy. They do not seem to be trying to mislead buyers at all. But their ratings still don't make sense to me.

11-17-2011, 08:48 AM
Sorry, that was a bit of hyperbole. It's not BS, but it is deceptive. I'm assuming they do it to try and get better Internet search results.