Fair price for a 2003 McSpadden

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
one week ago
95 posts

Depending on how the string slots have been cut and whether or not you can get the nut and bridge out cleanly without damage, you may be able to reuse the same nut and bridge by simply reversing them 180 degrees.  This will reverse the position of all the string slots, positioning the widest string slot farthest away from you and the narrowest string slot closest to you.

Of course, if the string slots have been modified for better intonation in one specific tuning (as is the case with most McSpadden dulcimers), it may not be possible to rotate the nut and bridge 180 degrees successfully.  

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
one week ago
1,639 posts

All it takes to "convert from right to left handed" is a new bridge, a new nut and a new set of strings.  They sell the micarta nut & bridge for $1 each, and strings for about $5 a set.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
one week ago
127 posts

Staylor, I'd advertise it here on FOTMD and ask $325.00 with the understanding you may need to negotiate down a bit. I think it is easily worth that amount. Many times McSpaddens sell more quickly than others and with Christmas approaching some dulcimer player here may be wanting his or her Santa to bring them a nice dulcimer. It may be one of those that takes a month or more to sell. Just be patient. If this does not bring success you always can see if the Dulcimer Shoppe in Mountain View will consign it for you. That is so nice of you to help out your friends. So many times nice dulcimers can be bought for almost nothing because people do not know their value. Then some sellers who don't know their value price them as if they are a Strativarius. Best wishes moving it for your friends.

Staylor
Staylor
@staylor
one week ago
5 posts

The dulcimer avoided the estate sale, and since I know a little about them and offered to help my friends learn its true value, I'm its current caretaker.  Which, of course, means I've spent less time lately playing guitar and banjo and more time playing this right-handed dulcimer left-handed.

Of course, it's beautiful and sounds great and I'm bonding with it.  I know it wouldn't cost much to convert it to left-handed, and--of course--I still don't really have the spare cash to give our friends what it's worth. They've been out of state and lovely wife will see what they want to do with it later this week. 

They could consign it to the music store in Mountain View, post it on this site or maybe make me a deal I can live with, guilt-free.

In the meantime, it's been a very pleasant addition to the music room in our house and, if nothing else, has confirmed that I really need to add a mountain dulcimer to our collection of stringed instruments!   Thank you all again for your help.

 

 

 

Staylor
Staylor
@staylor
4 weeks ago
5 posts

Banjimer, that last reply pretty much summed up my own thinking, but I wanted to confirm it with others.  Thanks. 

It's a great instrument looking for a buyer, and that probably won't happen at an estate sale. If I had some spare cash, I'd make it mine and have it converted to left-handed at the shop where it was built.  But I can't offer them a fair price right now, and I wouldn't risk any hard feelings in a valuable friendship over a business deal. .

I play guitar and dabble in mando, banjo, uke and a little dobro.  I've loved McSpadden dulcimers and enjoyed playing them on trips to Mountain View for many, many years but never owned one. 

Thanks for the great advice, which I'll share with the owners. 

 

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
4 weeks ago
95 posts

If you intend to sell it at an estate sale, you can expect to sell it at a price below the $250-$300 range.  This forum will bring your dulcimer to the attention of multiple dulcimer players of all levels.  These potential buyers will know that McSpadden sells their new dulcimers for about $500, and an offering price of $250-$300 would be a good price for an instrument in near mint condition. 

At an estate sale you are not likely to find a dulcimer player looking for a new instrument.  It gets back to the law of supply and demand.   An estate sale will be unlikely to bring the instrument to the attention of a knowledgeable person looking for a dulcimer.  For those buyers, it will be more of a curiosity than a musical instrument, thus decreasing its value in their eyes.  .

However, if you decide on the estate sale and it doesn't sell, you can always list it here with some pictures and pertinent information regarding its condition.  McSpadden dulcimers tend to sell relatively quickly on this forum when offered at a fair price.

Staylor
Staylor
@staylor
4 weeks ago
5 posts

Those are good questions about storage.  If they don't let it go through the estate sale this weekend, they might follow your suggestion about photos and offering it for sale on this forum...and I'll know some additional details to add!  Thanks so much. 

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
4 weeks ago
127 posts

I did not see your post before I entered my comments. If you like it and can get it at $250'ish I'd jump all over it.

Richard Streib
Richard Streib
@richard-streib
4 weeks ago
127 posts

I would concur with a price of $250 to $300 (as Banjimmer suggested) provided it is in good shape and your description suggests that it is. One factor a savvy buyer would want to know is how it has been cared for, particularly how it was stored. Was it in a rental storage unit without thermal control, in a damp basement, in an attic space? If you have that information, it may be helpful. Temperature and humidity excesses in either direction are not healthy for a fine musical instrument.

Would you want to post pictures here?

Had you considered asking your friends if you could advertise it for sale on this site? That may bring a better price than an estate sale.

Staylor
Staylor
@staylor
4 weeks ago
5 posts

Thank you both.  I'm not sure the young owner ever played it.  I can't find a mark or ding on it.  I've been visiting the Dulcimer Shoppe in Mountain View since the '70s and know their work....it looks like it just came out of the case for the first time ever, and it has one of the prettiest figured walnut tops I've ever seen from there.

Thanks for helping me and my friends. 

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
4 weeks ago
1,639 posts

The name on the label adds nothing to the value in this case...

Banjimer
Banjimer
@greg-gunner
4 weeks ago
95 posts

Used McSpadden dulcimers are not all that rare, but there is a regular market.  The obvious answer is that it is worth what someone is willing to pay.  I would give it a resale value of $250-$300 if it is in good shape and free of cracks or damage.  The case adds little to the value on the resale market.

Staylor
Staylor
@staylor
4 weeks ago
5 posts

I'll appreciate your advice on behalf of my friends, who have a McSpadden SW12WW (all-walnut, beautiful flame top) dulcimer built in December 2003 with George Looney's name on the label.  It's in a hardshell case with a McSpadden sticker and looks like it came straight out of the Dulcimer Shoppe in Mountain View.  I don't think their son ever really played it.

They've asked for help in determining its value, but I'm not finding records of sales for the same model in similar years online.  I believe a new one with similar specs + pro case would be around $680 or so, including sales tax, but prices were much lower in 2003.

If they let it go through an estate sale, it feels like they'll get only a fraction of its value.  If it were yours, what would you ask, or what's a reasonable price to request, please?  What other avenues would you try to get the most value for a really, beautiful instrument that needs a buyer?  

Thanks so much.  I'm enjoying this site and look forward to learning more about mountain dulcimers here.