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Trade Your Damaged Gold Or Jewelry For Something New

While the image we have of gold jewelry is that it reinforces a special, sentimental representation of a strong bond between the person giving and the person receiving it, it’s often the case that the meaning of the jewelry is lessened after some time has passed. One of the easiest ways for this to happen is for one to misplace a part of the jewelry (such as a single earring), or damage the jewelry to a point where it no longer makes sense to wear it (such as a gold necklace that has broken in half). These gold jewelry odds and ends tend to stay in everyone’s jewelry boxes forever, corroding or gathering dust. After all, they’re broken and worthless, but at least they still have sentimental value right? But what if the broken bits weren’t worthless?

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Why Are We So In Love With The Electric Guitar?

22236157942_de80d856af_mBaseball, apple pie, and ‘57 Chevys are American icons that are ingrained into

our culture. That is a simple fact that no one can debate, but not far behind on that list is the electric guitar. America has a love affair with the electric guitar and all things rock’n’roll. But why?

The electric guitar’s origin is the subject of debate, but there are examples of solidbody guitars from as far back as the early 1930s. Les Paul came up with his first electric guitar, dubbed “The Log”, in 1940. This was the beginning, and his creation of an “electrified” solid body guitar, along with his prominence in the music industry, paved the way for what was to come.

America’s, and subsequently the world’s, infatuation with the electric guitar began in the 1950’s when images of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens came flickering into the living rooms of impressionable youth on their families’ black and white televisions. The electric guitar had arrived. Moreover, rock’n’roll had arrived, and nothing has been the same since. Kids all over the United States, and soon the world, would be asking their parents for electric guitars. Allowances would be saved, lawns would be mowed, and papers would get thrown all in the name of rock music. In 1957, the retail price of a new Fender Stratocaster, just like the one Buddy Holly played on tv, was $275.00. That was A LOT of money then, and so what happened? The market responded and within a few years every major department store had their own brand of electric guitar, so parents everywhere could give their kids that little slice of rock’n’roll on a budget. The Silvertone, Harmony, and Kay guitar brands were born. These, among others, would be found under Christmas trees for years to come.

But why do we “love” the electric guitar? What is it that ignited that passion and turned it into the icon it is now? Well….it is a lot of things. The U.S. was just coming off of WWII, and the youth were ready for a change. Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Little Richard came on the scene and were putting out something that the kids were latching onto by the thousands. The door for rock’n’ roll was opened and more artists were walking through it every day, and much like the pied piper, the kids were following. Everything about it…..the beat….the sense of abandonment and “danger”…….the rebellion. The kids wanted it, and the electric guitar was a way to get it. They could make it their own, and all they had to do to get it was order it out of the Sears catalog.

From there, the sky was the limit. The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin took the electric guitar to another level. Muddy Waters went electric, and to everyone’s  shock, so did Bob Dylan. The Byrds turned the electric guitar into a thing of beauty, while Pete Townsend turned the guitar into a weapon. All of these different artists were making groundbreaking music in one of the most vital times in modern history and they all had one common denominator: the electric guitar.

I try to remember this now when I sell a family their kid’s first electric guitar. I have even tried to explain it to parents, about how their son or daughter is looking for something that is theirs, and theirs alone. I tell them that their kids are going to start locking themselves in their rooms, playing their guitar for hours, and turning their music up too loud. I also tell them that it is going to be okay. A fourteen year old kid can take a Fender Strat into the bedroom, turn the amp on, and feel like he or

she is on top of the world. It’s not that different than burning down the highway on a motorcycle or hitting a home-run. Turning up the volume and hitting a power chord can be a sublime moment when nothing else exists. You can forget your homework or your mortgage,  and for a few minutes, you can go “somewhere else”. As long as people get this feeling from the electric guitar, it will remain relevant, no matter what shape or form modern music may take. And that is why the electric guitar is an icon.

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Step by Step Guide to Dealing with Pawn Shops


I Need Some Money! What Do I Do?…
A Step By Step Guide To Dealing With Pawn Shops 

We all find ourselves a little short on cash from time to time, but many people don’t consider pawn shops as a solution to their financial problems. Here are some pointers to walk you through your first pawn transaction.

There are a lot of unknowns: 

How does one go about getting money from a pawn shop?
How much can I get?
How does the process work?
Am I going to get taken advantage of?

Don’t let these questions scare you away from a pawn shop! 

1. Pawn shops make collateral loans.

What does this mean? It means pawn shops loan money based on the value of an item. You don’t have to have a priceless collectible to get a loan. Gold and silver jewelry, diamonds, musical instruments, and firearms are all commonly pawned items. Electronics such as smartphones, gaming systems, and computers are also items of value that can be used to obtain a loan.

2. How much can I get?

Now that you have decided on an item (or items) to get a loan on, the question of value comes into play. A basic rule of thumb for “everyday” items such as computers, smartphones, or tools is that a pawn shop is going to loan between 25 to 30 percent of the new retail value. While this seems low, consider that the item is now a “used” item and the shop has to assess a value based upon the ability to recover the funds in the event that loan is not repaid. Items such as quality musical instruments and firearms can command a higher percentage and garner higher loans. Jewelry is in a category of its own, and since the majority of its value is based on the weight, it makes it harder to have a good idea of the value before you go into a pawn shop. Your best bet is to go to a reputable shop with a longstanding history.

The best way to get the loan you need for the AMOUNT you need is to develop a relationship with a pawn shop. If a shop sees that you have a history of getting loans and repaying them, they are going to have the confidence to bump up the loan amounts and give you the money you need.

3. How does the process work?

Once the loan amount is agreed upon, it is simply a matter of a couple of minutes of paperwork and you are on your way. Pawn regulations vary from state to state, but in Texas, the pawn loan is good for one calendar month, with an additional grace period of thirty days, with the option to extend your loan out as long as you need to repay it, as long as the monthly interest is satisfied. You need valid state or government issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID, or a US Passport to obtain a loan. The interest assessed for the loan is regulated by the state, and is the same for all pawn shops. The ticket you sign and receive a copy of outlines and serves as a claim ticket for the item. If you are physically unable to come back, anyone that is 18 years of age can retrieve your item, as long as they provide the original ticket and have valid ID. Lost your ticket? Don’t worry… the original loan recipient can always reclaim the item with valid ID. As you can see, the process is simple and hassle free. Additionally, should you default on your loan, everything about your loan is confidential and has absolutely no negative impact on your credit score.

4. Am I going to get taken advantage of?

There has been a long-standing stigma about pawn shops that they are only going to “rip you off”. As with any industry, there are probably some unscrupulous businesses out there. The best way to protect yourself is to go to an established pawn shop that looks like they have a steady stream of customers. A business can’t stay open very long taking advantage of people, and with yelp, google reviews, and facebook, it is pretty easy to investigate the reputation of a business. Remember, the pawn industry is highly regulated, with strict rules put in place to make sure that the customer is protected.

Hopefully, this simple outline of what to do and what to expect has helped to “de­mystify” the pawn process for you, and the next time you find yourself in need of little extra cash to bridge the gap, don’t hesitate to take your items of value to your nearest reputable pawn shop.

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Pawn Shop Guitars: How To Get A Good Deal

Purchasing a guitar from a pawn shop can seem like a daunting task. The large variety in style, vintage, and displayed prices might prove especially confusing to someone who is used to buying their instruments brand new or made to order. How can you make sure that you get the best deal for you when you purchase that pawn shop guitar? Here are some tips.

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Top 5 Tips for Troubleshooting On Stage


So, you started a band, practiced non-stop, got a set together, and booked a show. You’ve got your guitar, your amp, your pedalboard, and you’re all loaded in on the stage. You start, and it’s going great! Everyone’s digging your sound and really getting into it, when all of a sudden, something happens. Your whole rig sounds wrong (or there’s no sound at all!). Panic sets in. “What do I do?” you think to yourself. Well, don’t worry.  Today we have five tips to help you get everything up and running, and get your set rolling once again. 

(Note: If any of these tips gets you back to normal (or semi-normal) sounds, just keep playing. The audience would likely prefer the music to continue without your $450 transparent overdrive than for you to stop playing entirely. Just remember: The Show Must Go On.)

1) Take a Deep Breath!

You may scoff at something so simple in such a stressful moment, but really. Take a deep breath. Studies have long shown that deep breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing) invokes what is known as the “relaxation response”, which can combat anxiety, reduce stress and increase focus. And you could really use all of those things right about now. So, take a deep breath, in through the nose, letting your abdomen expand fully. Then, slowly breathe out through the mouth. Feel better? Good. Let’s fix this problem.

2) Listen.

In order to properly (and quickly) diagnose what’s going on with your rig, it’s important to take a moment (possibly while taking a deep breath) to listen. If there’s no sound coming from your amp, it should be fairly obvious. But, if your guitar sounds distorted (well, more distorted than normal), there’s a few things that could be wrong. A fizzy distortion at the beginning of the note’s attack could indicate one of your preamp tubes is microphonic. If you have an amp with channel switching, try seeing if you can make it through the set on a different channel. A constant, static-y distortion could indicate one of your speakers are blown. If you’re using a cabinet or combo with multiple speakers, see if you can move the microphone on your amp (if there is one) to a working speaker. If they’re all shot, try your best to trudge through the show. If there’s no sound, well…

3) Is it plugged in? 

Most of the problems that happen onstage are due to an oft-overlooked component of the guitar rig: the cable. So, quickly, take a look at your points of contact. Is the guitar plugged in? Are you plugged in to the pedalboard? Is the cable to the amp plugged in? This may seem silly, but if you can check these things in a timely manner, you will quickly solve 75% of the problems you run into on stage. If you turn on your tuner, and it works, you know that your guitar, your cable to the board, and whatever may be in front of your tuner is working. I keep my tuner at the end of the pedalboard for this reason. Feel free to wiggle any cable. If moving the cable elicits a sound, then that cable may be intermittent, . See if you can get by with fewer pedals. Finishing the show with just a tuner and your amp is better than nothing. Finally, plug straight into your amp with a cable you know works. If there’s still no sound, well…

4) Check your amp.

Go over to your amp. Is it on? If it’s turned off, check if the power is still plugged in. If it is, a fuse may have blown, and you might have to skip to step five if you didn’t bring spare fuses. Have any of the knobs been moved? Everyone’s a critic, make sure nobody just turned you down. Is the amp hot to the touch? Is there smoke, or a peculiar smell? Did someone just yell “Your amp is on fire!” (this has happened to the author). If so, you may have an overheating amp. Turn it off (ASAP!), and let it cool down. To be safe, again, skip to step five. Now would be the time to let the bass player try out his stand-up routine. (Note: only let that happen if all else has failed. Nobody really wants to hear those jokes.)

5) Bring a backup (or be nice to the other bands!).

This may truly be the most important step out of all of them. The Boy Scouts really had it right with their motto: “Be Prepared”. Always try to bring backup cables, a backup guitar, and if you can, a backup amp. If your band is going on tour, you should likely leave home with two backup amps, a spare instrument for everyone (well, not the drummer), and lots and lots of strings, picks and cables. This way, when all else fails, you can run and grab your backup. Leave figuring things out further until after the set. If you’re caught without a backup, you can (politely) ask another band to lend you an instrument or amp to finish your set. If you treat your gear with respect, others will take notice, and feel more secure lending something to you. Put simply, if you just smashed your guitar, don’t expect anyone to lend you theirs. This is one of many reasons it pays to show up on time, watch the other bands on your bill, and ultimately, to be a nice person to others.

After all is said and done, if you need to pick up a new cable, grab that backup you now know you desperately need, or to just commiserate with someone who understands what you just went through, come by McBride Music and Pawn.  We’ve got an experienced sales staff that can guide you to what you need most.

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Why You Should Check Your Local Pawn Shop for New and Used Items

If you’re looking to buy, there are so many options these days for buying both new and used. From chains like Wal-Mart and Guitar Center, to private sellers using sites like Kijiji, Ebay, and Cowboom. But the option that should be top of mind when you’re looking to buy anything is your local pawn shop, whether you visit the shop online or in person. Here are some reasons why:

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Collectors Should Check Pawn Shops Too

Being a collector of any sort has never been easier. If you’re missing something special for your collection, the Internet provides easy, direct access to more resellers, liquidators, and other collectors than ever before. Still, online or off,  real collectors should always check with pawn shops first. Here are some reasons why:

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Gear Corner: The Sunn Beta Amplifier


In today’s Gear Corner, we’re going to discuss a unique specimen of solid state amplification: the Sunn Beta series.

Background on Sunn Amplification:

Sunn was a brand with a fairly long and interesting history, but today let’s focus on the late 70’s. In 1979, after moving all forms of production back to the original factory in Tualatin, Oregon, the Hartzell corporation-owned Sunn decided to announce a new line of amps to meet the needs of the musician of the 80’s. The company had long been building mostly solid state amplifiers, and they never had the same success with guitar players as they had with bass players. This new line would be light, easy to use, and involve channel switching and more of an emphasis on the distorted sounds made so popular in the 70s. The flagship of this line would be the Beta, and today we will discuss some notable users, interesting techincal aspects, and the various models within this line of amps.


The Full Line – The Various Amps in the Sunn Beta Series


The Beta series was rolled out with quite a few options for the guitar (or bass) player in 1979. Sunn featured heads, and what they referred to as “Self-Contained Amps”, commonly known as combos. There were two main amps in the Beta series, the Beta Lead and Beta Bass. Although the Lead was marketed to guitar players specifically, the only difference between the Lead and Bass is the lack of reverb on the Beta Bass. Which, considering the reverb on these amps is nothing spectacular, this means that any guitar player looking for the Beta sound can easily acquire a Beta Bass instead of waiting around for the (now more expensive) Beta Lead. Sunn also offered the Beta Power +, a combo amp that contained the power section of the Beta series. This way, if you needed more volume, but didn’t want to worry about a complicated mutli-amp set up, you could simply run several Power + combos via the preamp of your Beta!  Sunn also introduced the Alpha series along with the Beta, which featured the Alpha 112, a 1×12” combo amp that was simply one channel from the Beta. But, the Alpha also featured a parametric Mid control, allowing the user to shift the center frequency of the midrange control. Along with the Alpha 112, the Alpha series included the Alpha Slave, which was essentially the same unit as the Beta Power +, but in a headshell form for those using separate cabinets. On top of all of these elaborate choices, there was the Sunn PL-20, a rack mounted unit that was the preamp from the Beta Lead without any power amp. This allows users (such as Buzz Osbourne, who uses two of these in his live rig currently) to use a larger power amp, and to mount all of these components in a more road-ready rack setup. Altogether, Sunn really offered a huge amount of amplifier options in the Beta line.


A Look Inside – Technical Info on the Sunn Beta


The Beta series took advantage of many advancements in solid state technology in 1979, and also utilized a lot of very interesting ideas to create an amp with a  truly unique sound. Featured prominently on the front of the amp is the label “DIGITAL C-MOS TECHNOLOGY”. Aside from probably sounding fairly futuristic at the time, this C-MOS technology plays a huge part in the overall sound of the Beta. C-MOS chips are constructed from a combination of MOSFETs to create logic gates. They’re not intended for audio use, but it can be used as a linear Integrated Chip in order to provide amplification. And when they distort, they provide soft clipping, much like in tube amps. They can also be found in many great pedals, including the Way Huge Red Llama and the Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes Overdrive. The EQ in the Beta is also unlike most amps. On the surface, it appears fairly normal, a 3 band Bass-Mid-Treble EQ. But, each control is actually an active boost control (centered at 20-400 Hz, 400-1400 Hz and 1400-20,000 Hz respectively) that goes from “Off” (no boost) to roughly 30 dB of boost. Couple this with a very powerful 100W solid state power amp (don’t roll your eyes, this amp is LOUD!), and you get the aggressive and powerful sound of the Beta.


Notable Users of the Sunn Beta:


Although the Sunn Beta series was not an initial success, these amps have found quite the cult following in recent years. Throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s (after the Sunn brand was sold to Fender to serve as their PA equipment wing), many prominent musicians made use of the Beta. Buzz Osborne of the Melvins has been a prominent user of the Beta from early in his career, and this inspired Kurt Cobain to use a Beta Lead throughout “Bleach” era Nirvana. Adam Jones from Tool used one alongside his Marshall 1959 Super Lead and his Diezel VH4. Another prominent Marshall user, Slash, once stated that the Beta was his “first decent amp”. And in recent years, bands such as Red Fang (who used Beta Leads for every instrument, including bass), No Age, and Tenement have made prominent use of the Sunn Beta.


Interested in buying, selling or trading a vintage piece of equipment such as the Sunn Beta? At McBride Music and Pawn, we actively purchase and supply fine vintage and used musical equipment to not only the Denton, TX area, but across the entire world via our eBay and Reverb storefronts.

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Pawning Electronics: 4 Tips on Getting the Best Deal



One of the more common categories pawned are electronics. If you’re looking into pawning something, chances are it falls in this category. If so, here are 4 tips to get the best value out of your electronics pawn loan.

1. Pawn items in good condition

The desirability of an item is significantly affected by its condition. Dropped your tablet and cracked the screen? Be sure to get it fixed first or pawn another item. Is it missing parts, or does it have a glitch causing it to malfunction? An item in excellent condition, with all its parts, is likely to be an asset to the pawn shop and will get you a much more agreeable deal.

If you have the original box, go ahead and bring your item in that. If you bring a TV, be sure to also bring the remote. Bringing a laptop? Charge it beforehand and be sure to bring the charger. This is important not just for the item’s value, but also because having a power source is necessary so that your broker can test the item and assess what condition it’s in.

2. Don’t Bring Unaccepted Items

Often, there are certain things pawn shops don’t accept. This can be due to a combination of factors, such as how commonly (and easily) some items are stolen, or other factors that might create liability. At McBride’s, for example, we do not accept cell phones or car audio equipment. Be sure to do your homework ahead of time when deciding what to bring to your pawn shop.

3. Know what items go for more

Being aware of the market value of one item versus another will help you narrow down what the best candidates are to bring into the shop. This, in turn, will help you get a head start on finding a better deal instead of simply learning by trial and error. A resource like this one can be a good starting point.

4. Be willing to negotiate

A pawn agreement is a kind of partnership between you and the pawnbroker, which means that it’s important to find a deal that makes you both happy. This means you may need to go back and forth a few times until you reach an offer that satisfies both parties. Don’t be afraid to do this — a pawnbroker expects this, and it’s actually part of winning your business. You’re more likely to come back to a shop that you feel treated you fairly, so don’t be afraid to haggle a little. (We’d rather have you recommend us to others and come back yourself than have it be a one-time affair.)


In short, be sure to know your items before you bring them in. This will allow you to spend your valuable time more efficiently, and your pawn shop will appreciate that you’re a customer that brings good-quality items to the table. This all goes toward a better deal for all involved.

We hope you’ll come in and see us soon!

Image Credit: Pixabay.com
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