McSpadden price check...please

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McSpadden price check...please

Postby mg » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:08 pm

I have an opportnity to purchase a 1990 McSpadden walnut tear drop dulcimer made by Tom Everett in excellent condition for $240 (including shipping).

Is this a great deal, fair deal or no deal?
Last edited by mg on Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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deal

Postby mike1952 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:34 am

mg,

If it's in mint condition- great deal
If it's in fair condition, dinged a bit but workable tuners, good sound-fair
If it's broken- no deal

MG
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Postby jakstall » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:27 am

This seems to be on the high side of what they go for on eBay. Of course, if this is from someone you know you will be able to inspect the dulcimer before buying and also won't have to pay shipping. Based on the eBay comparison, it seems like a reasonable, but probably not great buy if it is in good or better condition. McSpaddens are good instruments that are consistently well made and have a good low action. They do have a 28.5" (I think) VSL (distance from nut to bridge) which some folks consider long.

Some things you should be aware of in making your decision:
1) I assume we're talking about a standard McSpadden here.
2) The price of a new McSpadden walnut teardrop from McSpadden would be $340 for a flat peg head and $365 for a scroll peg head (plus shipping and any taxes, of course).
3) New McSpaddens (since about this time last year) are all solid wood. A 1990 model will have laminate back and sides with solid walnut top. It is a good walnut laminate that McSpadden used for years in order to get a more consistent tone, but you should know what you are getting.
4) If it is a scroll peghead the tuners on a 1990 model will be Grover Sta-Tite pegs which are a metal friction peg. Newer models would have a Planetary (geared) tuner with a 4:1 ratio. McSpadden will sell you a set of what they use now for $38. I strongly prefer a geared tuning peg. If it is a flat peghead there is no significant difference in the tuners. All of their flat heads have a sealed bear guitar type tuner which is probably a 14:1 or 12:1 gear ratio (I'm not sure). The gear ratio is how many times you turn the knob to turn the shaft one time. All friction tuners are a 1:1 ratio. The higher ratio gives more precision in tuning since you turn the knob more to get the same difference in tension.

An older instrument that has been played should have a more mature tone than a new one. As instruments are played and age the tone generally gets better (richer) up to a point. In my experience, this is generally less true on a laminate bodied instrument, but still true. On some instruments this can affect the price, but McSpaddens are common enough that the market does not seem to offer a premium for an older McSpadden dulcimer.

Good luck in evaluating this option.
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Postby CD » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:48 am

I would check with Jim Woods at McSpadden and see if that person who made it ever worked for McSpadden or if he built it at home from a kit.

As for price.jakstall is correct. I just saw one listed on Ebay for a starting price of $400.

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Postby mg » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:00 am

CD wrote:I would check with Jim Woods at McSpadden and see if that person who made it ever worked for McSpadden or if he built it at home from a kit.


I did just that. Tom Everett worked for McSpadden before Jim Woods was employed there. Jim gave me the green light on it...says it sounded like a very good deal.

The instrument appears to be in almost new condition.
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Postby dulcimerduo » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:03 am

Did you get that one?
Barbara
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Postby mg » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:10 am

dulcimerduo wrote:Did you get that one?
Barbara


I did...I couldn't handle waiting any longer and pulled the trigger this morning. :lol:
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Postby island-girl » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:11 am

WOOHOO MG,
WTG! you'll love it!
Della
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Postby mg » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:14 am

island-girl wrote:WOOHOO MG,
WTG! you'll love it!
Della


I know! I'm soooo stoked about it! 8)
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Postby jakstall » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:05 pm

Sounds like you'll be very happy with it. Congratulations and play it often.
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Postby kwl » Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:12 pm

Enjoy your "new-to-you" McSpadden. I'm sure it will provide with many year of playing pleasure.
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Postby MT Player » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:38 pm

Here's some info for what it's worth. I just got back from Yellowstone and one of our friends had recently purchased an MD at an estate sale in CA. It was a walnut McSpadden hourglass with a scroll head and was built by Tom Everett. I believe it was built in 1989. The MD was in excellent condition and came in a hard case. My friend paid $100. I got a chance to play the MD and in my humble opinion, my pal got a super bargain since the new ones are well over $300.
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