Friday, February 28, 2014

There's no excuse at all for buying student cymbals any more

Unless you just live for peeling away factory packaging, or have some kind of sick virginity fetish. Following up on my previous piece on this subject— to get good, cheap cymbals now, all you have to do is just hold out your hands and wait for the the low-hanging fruit to plop into them. This is what many older used Sabian AAs—not cracked or otherwise damaged, nor even all that dirty— are selling for these days:

And then I just stopped looking. There were many more that were under $100, and many more than that under ~$130, which I would've considered to be a nice bargain a few years ago. Same goes for late-60's-mid-80's A. Zildjians; for $72 I just picked up an early 80s 20" Deep Ride which looks like it could've been sitting on the rack in a music store for the past 30 years. They're cheap as dirt. This is just as sellers of the contemporary Paiste equivalent— the pre-serial 602 line— have gone out of their minds in the opposite direction, tacking on at least $100 to the selling price of the ubiquitous 20" Medium Rides, and basically doubling the price of everything else. Then there's this sleazebag:

Back in 1959 PAISTE launched a series of cymbals that was destined to change the world and to become one of the world's most revered cymbals in the history of cymbal making.... 
This one was produced between 1959 and 1966 Its beautiful, pristine, and always controlled musical tone was adopted by well-known drummers and percussionists including none other than Joe Morell, Art Blakey, Paul Motian, Ndugu Chancler, Jon Hiseman, Charlie Watts and a host more! For your consideration, a '50' year old +, vintage, pre-serial, PAISTE Formula 602, 22" MEDIUM RIDE! This "Pretty-Paleolithic-Piece-of-PAISTE-Perfection" is one of the 'Holy Grail' of rides. This cymbal has absolutely unbelievable balance, with excellent stick definition and the perfect amount of wash & volume!This is a very old Paiste cymbal made in Switzerland during the pre-serial number era (1959-1966), and it has been kept in its original condition; that is to say, never cleaned. 
Considered by some to be the "holy grail" of cymbals, these original Paiste cymbals have a unique sound that have not been matched, even with the re-installment of the Formula
Highly collectable and fairly rare …get yours ...

“Considered by some” indeed; the guy (user name soundinvestmentsusa, located in New Jersey) is asking $1850 for a disgusting-looking 22" 602 Medium Ride from around 1970. Considered by everyone but the aforementioned some to be worth around $180. It's a good cymbal, and maybe you could get up to around $250 for a really nice one. The second-most insane psychotic selling one of these is asking a full $1100 less than this guy— still an outrageous gouging.

Anyhow, if you want to take advantage of this upside-down price bubble, my previous advice is basically sound: get thee on eBay, look for 1960's-80's A. Zildjians or Sabian AAs up for no-reserve auction (rather than Buy-It-Now), and be very patient in holding out for your dream price. Anything under $100 is still a score, as far as I'm concerned, and you may be able to do much better than that. Restrict yourself to normal cymbals— New Beat hihats (or Sabian Regular hihats), thin or medium thin crashes, medium rides. Some sort-of unpopular models may be extra cheap— Quick Beat hihats, Ping rides, Mini-Cup rides— as well as some heavier cymbals— Medium crashes and Rock rides. Cracks/dents = bad; do not buy. Keyholing = doesn't matter. Dirt = doesn't matter.

While it's possible prices may rebound into a more normal range, I would not plan on buying low and selling high and making a killing. And if you want to preserve this buyer's market, be chivalrous in your bidding— don't drive prices up trying to outbid people. There are plenty of other similar cymbals out there. Let the other guy get a great deal once in awhile.

1 comment:

sublicon said...

I checked out that guy's store. The one thing I need to say for that dude, despite the delusional price point, is that he's extremely thorough with the photos he takes.... tons of hi-def close up photos at all the scuffs that could be worrisome, as well as the manufacturer details.

I've bought a couple used-ish cymbals on eBay, no insane bargains, just looking to shave $100 or so off of full price - and usually the photos leave much to be desired. You want to feel at ease when making an eBay purchase, especially when you can't jam on it and try it out.

Anyway, not disagreeing... just a bit impressed with the guy's attention to detail in showing off the product he's selling.