Best Mysterious Pawned-Instrument Shop (2008)

Bargain Stop

It's called the BARGAIN STOP, but the bargains are few. For the most part the merch is obsolete, overpriced, and occasionally just off. $799 seems exorbitant for a pawned bass guitar, even if Jaco Pastorius sweated on it once, which is doubtful. Their new smaller digs on West 35th Street have slimmed their stock; gone are the Marshall stacks and electric pianos. Nevertheless, it takes three clerks to run the shop. You can still get a deal on a Casio keyboard, a mid-'80s drum machine, or a reel-to-reel cassette—perhaps the lo-fi aficionados keep them afloat. Or maybe that battered mandolin really is worth $549.

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