150 guitars in a DAY

I’ll say we are jealous, but then Maui is not Austin.


This piece from the Austin Chronicle is one of the longest features about a pawnshop we’ve ever read, but the CashAmerica (formerly and famously Doc Holliday’s) shop on South Lamar is a different kind of cat. Austin’s huge music scene supports a huge instrument market:

If pawnshops hold rock & roll together, then the vast CashAmerica on South Lamar is what longtime employee Ian Doherty calls, “The big bottle of wood glue that holds all the broken guitars together. We make it happen for all the musicians who are struggling to get where they’re going. Even the really big-shot guys still have bills coming up.”

Maui’s music scene, while vibrant, is nowhere near as big as Austin’s where hundreds, if not thousands of bands play at SXSW, and the South Lamar shop claims to have sold 150 guitars on opening day one year.



It is not made clear whether 150 bands showed up without guitars, or 150 kids were so inspired by the groove that they went right down and got their starter axes at CashAmerica.

Kamaaina Loan And Cash For Gold will not sell 150 guitars in a day. The two photographs show about two-thirds of our display inventory at 96 N. Market this morning. We like to think that our prices are as good as the musicians enjoy in Austin, and we can confirm that our pawnshop (96 N. Market, a few steps down the street from the guitars) has helped many a Maui musician between gigs pay the rent.

And here’s a pro trick you may not know. Quite a few musicians going on tour pawn their spare instruments. We store them in our bonded, insured warehouse. When the tour is over, the players reclaim their stuff, which is a lot safer way of ensuring their gear than leaving it behind and asking a friend to look after it.


#mauimusic #mauiguitar #mauipawn #mauiloan


New but old pawn shop guitar treasures

OK, we love this essay  by Jol Dantzig at, but nowhere does he tell what the prices of these “pawn  shop treasures” have gotten  to. Just that they are up.

Music to our ears.

The times are certainly a-changin’, with inexpensive department store guitars of the ’60s (like this vintage Danelectro) becoming highly collectible.

The times are certainly a-changin’, with inexpensive department store guitars of the ’60s (like this vintage Danelectro) becoming highly collectible.

The headline is:

Esoterica Electrica: Pawnshop Plywood Chic Comes of Age

It’s all about the collectibility — and even musical desirability — of cheap guitars from Sears and similar places. Dantzig says:

Additionally, economics have been shifting the landscape around us. The handmade, classic instruments made from old-growth woods have been steadily climbing in price since the 1970s, and modern recreations aren’t inexpensive either. It’s difficult to find a 1950s or ’60s instrument for a working musician’s wage unless you turn to student guitars from the likes of Silvertone, Harmony, and Kay. But wait, you say they’re making those guitars again? The “mystery wood” warriors of yesteryear have increased in value to the point where new production is viable.

Well, we learn something new everyday. Until reading this, our pawnbrokers would not have considered a ’60s-era Silvertone electric,  but now we know better. If you have one, we’ll make an offer and try to find it a good home with some impecunious bluesman or -woman.

#maui #maui music

One place pawnshops get respect

Pawnbrokers — including Kamaaina Loan blog — often lament that the image of pawnshops with the public is generally low. But there’s one place where we rank high. In fact, as far as we know, the highly-regarded Fender company is the only business that uses “pawnshop” as part of its branding.

Fender has just announced an addition to its fairly new Pawn Shop Special series, a small amp called the Ramparte that

looks the part of the perfect pawnshop prize.

Who knows how many now-famous musicians would never have been heard of if they hadn’t scored cheap used amps and guitars and mixing boards from a pawn shop when they were starting out poor, hungry and working gigs for free? Many, we think.

Tools 086

Maui, whose tourist business supports a high concentration of talented players, is awash with quality instruments (and some of middling goodness), and there are always a few in our retail store at 98 North Market Street.

There are even more in the warehouse, but most of those you’ll never see in the store. They go back to the owners, who have pawned them. Not because they needed money but because they are off on a tour or for a recording date — as the pros so often are — and the akamai ones have figured out that it’s a whole lot cheaper and safer to pawn their instruments with us than to put them in storage.

Our bonded and insured warehouse is climate-c0ntrolled.

The musicians may have come on this cool trick on their own, or they may have learned it from Jerry Clower’s Uncle Versie Ledbetter.

Bruce Guerin memorial

Friends of Bruce Guerin gathered Sunday at Cary & Eddie’s Hideaway for a memorial to the pianist, who was an advertisement for being cheerful and staying active.

Nobody who knew Bruce ever remembered him being anything but upbeat. A few weeks ago, he was hauling concrete blocks to build a patio. Not bad for a man of 93, said his son Mark.

Bruce played piano professionally for more than 70 years.

His folks were in the movie business in Hollywood, which got Bruce roles in silent movies as a tot. He enlisted in the Army before Pearl Harbor and played in Hawaii for the USO Orchestra.

After the war, he played for top acts on the Mainland before moving to Hawaii in 1969. He played at the Hyatt for 12 years and at many other venues. Until a year ago, he was entertaining moviegoers before the Wednesday showings at the MACC.