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Thread: Buying on the rebound and gambling

  1. #1

    Default Buying on the rebound and gambling

    On our way home my son and I spent a night at a casino resort in Reno. I related to him the science of gambling as an addiction including the fact that the shot of pleasure one gets in anticipating the win is not totally offset by the loss. Like a drug addict the gambling addict values the transitory high over the long-term consequences.

    I've been pondering addictive behavior as it pertains to buying musical equipment. Even with photos and videos every remote purchase is a gamble. I few weeks ago I spent $1400 on a purchase that was disappointing. I had built up the mandolin in my mind, effectively rounding up each uncertainty, despite my resolve to be objective. Having returned the instrument and recovered the $1400, less return shipping, I have bought three on the rebound for a total of $1000.

    In the first two cases, a century old banjo mandolin for $300 and an obscure Ike Bacon F5 for $500 I did set a hard limit on what I would spend given the uncertainties. But it was beauty that drove me, the ornamentation on the Banjo Mando and the walnut flame on the Bacon as well as a reasonable expectation of quality.
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    The last, a 1945 340 Levin for $200 was based on the positive reviews of Levins...

    and quite possibly on the remaining hole due to the reality of my first purchase falling so short of my anticipation.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  2. #2

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    I have a friend who just loves buying gear. He'll show up with a boutique amplifier that is the greatest thing ever, then not two months later another. Big dollar pedals come and go. He has to be losing money, but it is money he has to lose. Meanwhile he has yet to spend more than $2k on an acoustic instrument. Different strokes......no harm, no foul. Give yourself as much pleasure as you can afford.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  3. #3
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Collecting within one's means I find relatively wholesome. "Churning" through an accumulation, replacing the last "flavor of the month" with something else, just because it's new and different, I find dumb. And wastefully expensive.

    But the gods haven't yet given me power to control the stupid actions of others -- and they better not, or a bunch of politicians, and you know who I mean, are gonna get controlled out the wazoo. I'll have little time or energy left to regulate mandolin purchasers.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  4. #4

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    I'm addicted to all things music. So naturally I'm compelled to buy instruments (just bought one five minutes ago on ebay - not something I need, but useful in my work). I've had both successes and failures "gambling" on the bay; I've found it's the perfect mechanism to assuage both the GASser impulse as well as the "gambler." It can certainly enable unhealthy tendencies.

    However, I live in rural conditions and rely on ebay to acquire my instruments - a few months ago I took a chance on a hardingfele, and it was a bit of a story getting to me. Amazingly, the delicate instrument arrived in perfect condition and I couldn't ask for more.

    I would avoid acquiring a bunch of entry-level stuff though (many of basically the same item), as mentioned on an adjacent thread. There's no dearth of "eye candy" to entertain one's pocketbook. It does require some experience to attain the wherewithal to buy online.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    It seems like you probably don't live anywhere near dealers that have good selection of instruments, so if it takes a few hour road trip to try out enough different mandolins to satisfy your curiosity, we MAS people say that's ok, most non players would say WOT? are you in need of stabilization? or something like that.
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, JBovier A5
    Yamaha piano, clarinet, violin
    some really really loud banjos and dobros (Oops large body resonator/Resophonic square neck lap-steel-style guitars)

    Shopping/monitoring prices: Yamaha brass and woodwinds

  6. #6

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Collecting within one's means I find relatively wholesome. "Churning" through an accumulation, replacing the last "flavor of the month" with something else, just because it's new and different, I find dumb. And wastefully expensive.

    But the gods haven't yet given me power to control the stupid actions of others -- and they better not, or a bunch of politicians, and you know who I mean, are gonna get controlled out the wazoo. I'll have little time or energy left to regulate mandolin purchasers.
    While I share your viewpoint, I wouldn't be quite as harsh in my criticism. If one has the warewithall to squander their money in a nondestructive manner, I'm not going to judge. Amp makers and music store owners count on such to survive. I had a friend with a Harley who spent $5000 on upgrades that I honestly could not see the difference, but they gave him satisfaction. If people were judicious with their money, the economy would collapse. Plus I see the real enjoyment buying gear gives him. I have a friend who likes to go to Vegas and play in a $500 buy in poker tournament. He knows he is going to loose that money, but is really excited to be alive the next day to play some more. He gets $500 in enjoyment doing this.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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  8. #7
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Well, using the term "squander" is judging, at least a bit. Unless there's some actual improvement -- as estimated by an unbiased observer -- I think spending for the sake of spending, just because the money's available to do it, is, IMHO, dumb. Not that I'd try to stop someone from doing it; and, when shown that person's latest acquisition, I'll say, "Wow, that's a nice mandolin!" But the mandolin that was replaced was also a nice mandolin, and this new one's not really better, just different.

    Buying musical instruments, upgrading motorcycles, even non-compulsive gambling -- nothing inherently destructive about any of them, as long as the kids have shoes and the mortgage's paid. There may be wiser ways to allocate discretionary cash; building up a retirement fund, e.g., or saving for Junior's college costs. But it's a free country, as we're constantly lectured.

    Even after recent downsizing, I still have a stash of over 60 musical instruments, so I'm clearly a "glass house dweller," and should avoid chucking rocks. My excuse is that I bought all of them (pretty much) with money I made playing music, so my gigging was an avocation that more than paid for itself, and generated enough surplus to acquire some really neat and unusual mandolins, guitars, banjos, ukes, concertinas, yada yada. But I plead "guilty" to buying instruments I didn't need, just wanted. What I didn't do, is "churn" through my collection, discarding ones that really suited my situation, for others which just happened to be new. And now, I've traded in some really nice guitars and mandolins, to get a couple Larson-made instruments -- both of which I'm gigging with, not worshipping in their glass cases. And I had plenty in my "music fund" to underwrite a couple of ridiculously costly dental implants! Now there's a discretionary expenditure with a real bite to it...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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  10. #8
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    I guess my philosophy about this is only tempered by the budget... If you want to buy a musical instrument, buy because it speaks to you, not because you expect to get your money out of it; over the years your instruments will pay for themselves in the enjoyment that you get from them. For most of us who love music, this is largely an affair of the heart, not the wallet.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MKLFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)

    [About how I tune my mandolins]

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  12. #9

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    For the record I do play every mandolin I can get my hands on, particularly when I have a little extra time on a Seattle trip. (two hours away)

    It's not that I'm out of control. As a retired CPA I'm relatively careful and frugal. The $1400 mandolin was bought on trial with the ability to return for any reason. I'm spending money on enjoyment and education and 90% of what I buy I can sell for the same amount.

    Rather I'm examining my own motivations in order to ensure that I make good spending decisions. Any pattern of behavior which parallels drug addiction is one to which I want to pay extra attention. Frankly I DO enjoy buying musical equipment a little too much, thus this reflection.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  13. #10

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Collecting within one's means I find relatively wholesome. "Churning" through an accumulation, replacing the last "flavor of the month" with something else, just because it's new and different, I find dumb. And wastefully expensive.

    But the gods haven't yet given me power to control the stupid actions of others -- and they better not, or a bunch of politicians, and you know who I mean, are gonna get controlled out the wazoo. I'll have little time or energy left to regulate mandolin purchasers.
    Why would you want to control the actions of others? I get it... not the point you were trying to make. I just tend to roll with the "leave me be and I'll leave you be" philosophy. Not exactly en vogue in our present day society.

    Regarding an endless parade of various instruments coming and going... I struggle with that. But I consider any losses just the cost of getting to enjoy great gear. I don't keep stuff around that no longer inspires me. It gets sold/traded for gear that will. It's all just "stuff" to me and in the end I get truly attached to very little of it. I enjoy it all for a time. But as I lay on my death bed, not a single one will matter to me. Just my relationships.

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  15. #11

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    An interesting post that requires each individual to be retrospective in the way they value their hobby and financial situation. MAS can have a powerful hold on me. I’ve made some mistakes that I have regretted, such as selling instruments to pay for others. In the end I wished I had kept what I had. Seems like at times my identity is wrapped up in my hobby. I would not trade my love for playing and really value instruments. Sometimes I often convince myself it is a once in a life time opportunity or if i buy a more expensive model I will be a better player. I mostly purchase from online dealers. I will say for me it is like gambling and I start becoming obsessed with the deal. I often justify my behavior by telling myself I have the extra cash and really don’t spend money on other things. I have to try to keep things in perspective, be thankful for the instruments I own. It is easy it get carried away with any hobby and you learn as you go. Hopefully I am better for it and have learn somethings about my foibles.

  16. #12

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    I bought my 1913 A 1 purely because I love old things in general, my house is 100 years old, and instruments in particular. I don't play it a whole lot, but at least one or two times a week. The pleasure it gives me to own it is enough justification, just as someone might collect old pistols never to shoot them. Self delusion can be a troublesome trait. I'm pretty aware of my own motivations when it comes to buying instruments. I just like them and I don't like to sell them. But when I start thinking about getting an F style Silverangel, then selling off my A style as redundant, I give myself a slap in the face, think don't kid yourself, you won't sell the A, then plan to keep both.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  17. #13

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    I really admire those who buy a single instrument and play it for years, decades. I have about eight drum sets and I need to sell at least six. My two acoustic guitars and two electric guitars are OK, I just need to not buy any more. I have no sound musical reason to go beyond my first mandolin. Partly it's my obsession with understanding EVERYTHING which makes me want to experience multiple instruments. The banjo mandolin is a special case because I can take it apart and "fiddle" with it like a drum. I've having fun... BUT taking my eyes off becoming the best player I can be.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  18. #14
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by Red_Label View Post
    Why would you want to control the actions of others?...
    'Twas said in jest. Sorta the "if I were king" trope. Everyone can, and will, do whatever he/she wants. Including me...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  19. #15

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg P. Stone View Post
    I have no sound musical reason...
    1. Music itself is an irrational pursuit (one reason why we should do it)

    2. Drummers are a lost cause in this respect; your house must be filled with percussion implements

    2. Banjoists, too - banjers are the "tinkerer's dream" instrument

    I fully get what you mean; I've basically pursued every style of music I've had access to.

    However, if you really want discipline, get an upright bass and play with everyone - with but one instrument (that kept it at bay for a while, for me..); seriously, it's a very good way to immerse yourself in music instead of gear/GAS.

  20. #16
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    ...
    However, if you really want discipline, get an upright bass and play with everyone - with but one instrument (that kept it at bay for a while, for me..); seriously, it's a very good way to immerse yourself in music instead of gear/GAS.
    Hmmm, I haven't experienced the "instead of gear/GAS" part of that with my double bass...


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    Actually my double bass is the first instrument I got into gear/GAS seriously with... I do get the music immersion thought, though.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MKLFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)

    [About how I tune my mandolins]

  21. #17

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    'Twas said in jest. Sorta the "if I were king" trope. Everyone can, and will, do whatever he/she wants. Including me...
    I hear ya. I just felt the urge to do some soapboxing.

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  23. #18

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    While playing rhythm guitar three decades ago I filled in for the bassist and had a blast. When I moved here in 2008 my neighbor ( former monk) was a drummer who had studied with some of the jazz greats in the 60's. He wanted to get together a blues trio and I said, "I'll play bass". However it never came together and I still have the electric bass and amp. If I come across a doghouse bass at the right price I'll get it. I've played drums with all the bands I've played with since.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Oscar Schmidt banjo mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

  24. #19

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Hmmm, I haven't experienced the "instead of gear/GAS" part of that with my double bass...
    I've heard of folks having dBAS, but I've never been compelled to possess more than one at a time, although I did have two for a couple of years...just cuz. I think I've only owned 4 in my lifetime, which is fewer than any other instrument type - including pedal steels, harps, hammered dulcimers... (except for hdgfl, of which I have but one currently, and two ouds...*and only one wood flute, and one guzheng...but I could certainly envision having more if I played more..)

    **FWIW, nah I only had 3 p steels I guess...who cares, it's all just gas..
    Last edited by catmandu2; May-22-2019 at 12:12pm.

  25. #20

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Don't know why I relegated it so..? I love these tools. Really what tool is better? I've had the good fortune to have had my life filled with it. My joy of music has never waned; can provide ecstasy and inspiration at will. What better heuristic?

  26. #21

    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Promotes mental health and well being, exercises the brain like nothing else can, and is the best boredom fighter I've yet found.

    Worth it I'd say. But do try to find a space where you're not tormenting others.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  27. #22
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    So you made a bad purchase and then returned it and got your money back, then bought three other instruments and saved $400. You've still got that $400 to spend.

  28. #23
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    such horse-trading does provide stories of our journeys. I have no problem collecting stories!

    The experiences of various ownerships also provides some context of fellowship. I have some experiences with Ellis, Gilchrist, Phoenix, etc. In some ways I think I share those experiences with folks on this site - folks I've never really met.

    In my fantasy mind, I'd still love a Heiden, Gibson Sam Bush, Henderson (we'll see. . .) and a few others. I don't want these instruments 'cause they'll be, "Better," they'll just be more experiences. And, unlikely to be realized.

    There was a time when Hans Brentrup got a fair bit of press. He was making mandolins and guitars and the work seemed very genuine. I'd just never played one. I saw a listing on an oval hole hybrid a-model and bought it on instinct. My first Brentrup. Didn't like it at all! Yes, I sold it and the buyer was happy. I didn't lose money, but I did suffer in time and expectation. It's been a few cycles of that and I figure I just need to be happy, play what I have and chill out!

    That's where I am now. . . and a few years older - ha!

    f-d
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

  29. #24
    My Florida is scooped pheffernan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    There was a time when Hans Brentrup got a fair bit of press. He was making mandolins and guitars and the work seemed very genuine. I'd just never played one. I saw a listing on an oval hole hybrid a-model and bought it on instinct. My first Brentrup.
    Reunited and it feels so good? https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/139309#139309
    1924 Gibson A Snakehead
    2005 National RM-1
    2007 Hester A5
    2009 Passernig A5
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  30. #25
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying on the rebound and gambling

    Quote Originally Posted by pheffernan View Post
    Reunited and it feels so good? https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/139309#139309
    That's it!

    f-d

    p.s., to add, I've learned I don't like the elevated fretboard oval hole, hybrids. I'm conditioned to my A3, I guess. . .
    ˇpapá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

    '20 A3, '30 L-1, '97 914, 2012 Cohen A5, 2012 Muth A5, '14 OM28A

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