Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Instrument Sales on thesession.org

From a recent comment (and many more that preceded it), it seems that many people are annoyed by all the instrument for sale threads that occur in these forums. So I thought I would take a poll:

1. Have you ever bought or sold an instrument from someone that you found out about through these forums?
2. If you answered yes, was it a negative or positive experience? And if so, why?
3. Do you find the for sale threads to be annoying? And if so, why?

For myself, I don’t mind people selling things here, as long as it is a traditional instrument and a private transaction. It’s not like we’re bombarded with advertisements for music stores or anything (although, we had an instance of that recently). Like people always point out, you can tell what the topic of the thread is from the title, and there’s nothing that says that you need to read the thread! I don’t see that it’s necessarily cluttering up the discussion board (not NEARLY as many threads as the "Tune ID" queries, for instance - not that I have a problem with those threads either).

Besides, we’re a community that is firmly entrenched in a niche style of music which has instruments that are fairly specific to the music we play in a lot of cases. So it makes sense to be able to offer instruments for sale here, because it gets the word out directly to the niche. Often times, people will be instructed to try selling on Chiff & Fipple, Banjo Hangout, Uilleann Obsession, or other more directly related niche websites, which is good advice but it still does no harm to list stuff here… In fact, several times it has been suggested to Jeremy to make instrument sales a section of this site.

My answer to the poll:

1. Yes
2. I sold one bouzouki because of having listed it on thesession. But most importantly to me, my everyday banjo is one that I acquired through a forum post here. It’s a very rare banjo, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And it’s not like I can just find another one. I have yet to see one listed for sale anywhere in the world other than the one I bought. So I am indebted to thesession.org for giving me that opportunity!
3. No

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

No problems. Would rather see a separate section for tune id, but not a biggie.

Just an observation: I always think it’s sad when someone sells because they "need the money." Instruments seldom command a price that brings in very much. I wonder if the sellers end up regreting the decision later.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. N/A
2. N/A
3. Only bothers me if somebody is obviously running a business/side business and they frequently post their items here. If they also contribute in other ways, I’m less inclined to be critical.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. Have you ever bought or sold an instrument from someone that you found out about through these forums?

No

2. If you answered yes, was it a negative or positive experience? And if so, why?

N/A

3. Do you find the for sale threads to be annoying? And if so, why?

No they are not annoying. It is a different matter if its a malicious company that spams them. I am even ok with a company that makes an instrument and posts like 1 post saying they take orders/started just to inform. (I.e a big name that had so many orders they stopped taking them and informs he/she takes orders again).

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. No
2. N/A
3. Not annoying, useful in fact.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Thanks for the responses so far! Seems like everybody is kind of like me, in that we don’t mind the threads, but don’t want them being commercial… And maybe I’m an anomaly for having actually bought something due to a thread…

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

"Everybody is kind of like me…"

You had 4 responses.

I haven’t bought an instrument through this site. I find the adverts to be very annoying. There may be a view that all sales would be honest and fair because we all like the same sort of music: I don’t agree.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I have both bought and sold through this forum. I find it very helpful. I do not find it annoying. What I find annoying is people who object to others who might buy and sell as fellow musicians. If the title of the thread indicates "For Sale…." how much trouble is it just to skip over it? It’s hardly an "advert."
As Toby Belch said, "Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

No, NA, no, for all the reasons listed above

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I only have two comments. Reverend Pete you are one of my favourite people on this forum. We don’t always see eye to eye on everything.

Ben

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. No
2. N/A
3. I don’t find it annoying when the posts are identified with a FS: prefix so they can be skipped, and as long as the percentage for-sale posts remains about the same, which is fairly low compared to other more informative or interesting posts. We’re a niche musical community and it’s a way to support that community, again as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the site.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1) Yes
2) Positive (I think, was a long time ago, don’t remember it being a problem)
3) Not annoying if prefixed with FS:

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. No
2. N/A
3. I’m looking for flutes. I appreciate the notices. Using a subject prefix FS: clearly marks them.

Chiff & Fipple has a Used Instruments Exchange section. It’s really good and useful. I think The Session should have a dedicated section similar to that.

Instruments for sale is one of the main reasons I come here. I also find notifications of CD’s very good.

We recently had some posts that were clearly deliberately misleading commercial posts. Now that behaviour I dislike intensely, but these were dealt with promptly by the moderator.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Misleading/commercial/spam posts are dealt with promptly only if you notify Jeremy of them. Provide the thread number as well.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I find the For Sale posts the opposite of annoying, they are often entertaining and sometimes educational.

I searched ‘For Sale‘ in Discussions and this was the top hit: https://thesession.org/discussions/30544
(For Sale: Shaky Egg)

Oh and I’ve not bought or sold here.

Jon

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. No
2. n/a
3. No, they don’t annoy me. Most of the FS threads don’t get any replies, so I’m always intrigued when ones do and am more likely to click on them then.
I’ve only seen one spam thread in the past 8 months that I’ve been on here more. It was dealt with promptly.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

What Whimbrel wrote..!!

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. No
2. n/a
3. No, not annoying

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Hello there Reverend

Interesting discussion, no matter how members might interpret the subject

There are a few points however which I believe need to be put on the table, so to speak.

You mentioned that you don’t mind ‘a private transaction’.

That’s fine maybe.

What doesn’t fit that category is that the member selling the Olwell Bamboo Flute isn’t doing it privately

There have been 39 discussions (personally I would deem them advertisements) in 2 years, linked to eBay or other multi viewer sites.
Do you seriously consider them to be ‘private transactions’?
I don’t know a lot about eBay, but it seems that bidding takes place. The seller is given marks for trustworthiness.
That seems as public a market as going to a specialist period musical instrument auction.

So, that raises the question as to why the recent trading house was banned?
There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two.

39 instruments, mainly antique flutes, sounds very like a specialist business to me, irrespective of whether or not it might interest members here, because it certainly isn’t private, and 39 in 2 years? That’s some turnover, call it 20 a year, so that’s just under 2 a month using simple calculations.

If I have misunderstood your post please forgive my lack of knowledge.

In the Bamboo flute ‘sale’ there was a pertinent question asked, relating to how much the sales person had originally paid for it.

My thoughts are that this particular seller is exploiting this board just the same as the recently banned house.

Notwithstanding, then the ‘advertisements’ should be placed in a F/S or Auction House section.

All the best
Brian x

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

39 is a lot of flutes, but perhaps the seller is a collector.
If people truly think someone is a spammer here, it’s probably best to message Jeremy about your concerns rather than discuss about it on a thread, because the poster could very well be genuine.
True, in this case, for this thread, the seller has not yet answered the question about how much they paid for this particular flute. But they might just not have had a chance to come back here yet.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. No, though I did make further enquiries about an instrument advertised here. In the end, did not buy it, for reasons unrelated to the instrument or seller.
2. N/A
3. Doesn’t really annoy me, but I often think that the sellers might fare better on sites specifically related to their particular type of instrument, some of which have been mentioned above. But perhaps advertising here is just part of a multi-pronged attack?

What does surprise me is how many would-be sellers give little or no indication of their location: or if they do, it’s a town that exists by the same name in several different continents! As discussed on other threads, it’s always desirable to be able to view and try out any instrument you are thinking of purchasing, or at the very least, get a trusted musician friend to try it out for you. Ideally one wants to avoid shipping and customs charges by buying locally, but for the right instrument……?

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. No
2. N/A
3. No. Echoing what others say: i. ‘for sale’ notices only make up a small percentage of the total threads on this forum; ii. you can skip over them if they don’t interest you.

This seems like a fairly good place to reach the target customer base for instruments connected with traditional music. There might be a better hit rate from instrument-specific or location-specific boards but posting here *in addition* to those other places can only serve to increase the potential catchment. If this forum were swamped by ‘for sale’ notices, to the point where they outnumbered genuine discussion threads, then I think there would be call for a separate board specifically for selling (and perhaps also ‘wanted’ ads); but as it is, I can’s see a problem.

I agree with trish santer that being clear about location is an essential detail that is often omitted - not only in ‘for sale’ posts, but in queries about buying instruments, tuition, sessions etc. "The East" is not enough ;-) But that’s a separate issue…

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

OK, I will backtrack my statement of "everybody" and make it "almost everybody" ;-)

It’s an interesting distinction to be made between a private sale and a commercial sale, Brian. And Tootin’-Twang certainly lists a lot of flutes for sale. So that’s an interesting twist on it. They have also participated in other discussions, but looking back at their history, it hasn’t been that much participation compared to the 39 for sale threads.

But even if this is all through some commercial enterprise, it could be that they actually have the noble idea of trying to get good instruments into the hands of people that would benefit from them, instead of it just being about the almighty dollar… So I don’t know that it’s all that bad. I "collect" banjos, mostly to have decent banjos for new students, and it’s true, I don’t generally offer them for sale on this site. But I have also sold a few banjos by reading the threads where people are looking for banjo buying advice…

All I’m saying is that we’re a community. There’s a lot of variety in our community, as well as a lot of disagreement. But we need each other, otherwise we’re all sitting in the middle of a bog somewhere playing the twiddly bits by ourselves. So I was just curious why some people get so worked up over threads about instruments for sale, instead of just being happy that this site still has activity in the discussion forums.

And Ben, I always enjoy our interaction on this site, *especially* when we don’t agree! Because I like learning other people’s perspectives on things!

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Hello again Reverend

Thank you for reading and getting the gist of my observations.

As a traditional musician myself, I couldn’t agree more that this is a board which would appreciate appropriate instruments, so I hope that is relative to your survey.

How the seller is classed, and whosoever be allowed that privilege, I suppose is in line with other observations.

Thank you again for responding.

And, I suppose maybe the most important thing, let’s get on with playing our beautiful music!

All the best

Brian x

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Thank you, Pete. Sorry to be so limited in my response. I appreciate your willingness to learn from different perspectives. It is a good virtue to have.

Ben

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

No, no and not really. Like others have said, I don’t find it annoying, but wonder if it should have its own sub-listing on the sight. Discussions means talk about topics relating to traditional music, not about selling instruments and equipment. Usually I just skip the thread of "For Sales".

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Yes, I have bought an instrument …. not off this forum, C&F, before they had the separate folder. I have certainly been interested in several instruments posted here.

Yes, transaction went just fine, except Paypal exploited me on the exchange and I will never touch them again.

No; I fact I quite like the sale posts. I only look if I am interested. It becomes pretty obvious who is a bad actor, and they can be banned…. I’m thinking of a person who used to get on maker’s lists (mostly pipes I think), and then immediately sell the instruments on. I seem to remember some people having issues with him. Haven’t seen them around for a while. The ‘normal’ posts, even by collectors who may sell multiple instruments over time, are not an issue at all to me. Lots of us live in places where there is not much access to these instruments. But a separate section would make sense to me.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

No particular objection although I find the "fly by night" posters a little irritating.
Of course, it’s a similar issue when strangers post information re gigs, tours, new albums, or seek information for surveys, academic theses and so on.

All of these things are fine, in my opinion, if it is done or requested by a regular or established member. Otherwise, I tend to treat such posts with caution.
Of course, these posters are actually members(of a sort) here as they wouldn’t be allowed to post but many have just signed up with their own agenda.

It’s often been suggested here that we should think of the discussions and activity here as just like an interaction between our friends in the pub, cafe, or local community.
So, if a friend or someone we knew had an instrument for sale, that’s fine. However, it’s a different story if some shifty unknown character wandered into the bar and offered to sell an instrument etc. And so on.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

@ Don’t quite understand that Johnny.
Many people may feel they only want to share occasionally when they have a real need.

It seems strange when people who make frequent posts complain about someone only making a single post.

There are over 120,000 members here so if everyone posted as much as the most prolific members it would be insane.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

"… it’s a different story if some shifty unknown character wandered into the bar and offered to sell an instrument ."

Well, maybe. I remember one such character lurking in a pub in Worthing, Sussex, where my band of the time had a residency in the early ’80s; in the break he called me over to a corner to look at a flute he’d brought in. To cut a long story short, I bought the flute and the deal turned out to be an introduction to a friendship with Paul Davis - top-notch player /repairer / dealer who lived a few doors down from the pub at the time and who had supplied flutes to Paddy Carty and Cathal McConnell. Sometimes you just can’t tell.

As to the subject of this thread - most contributors don’t seem to object to sale notices from site members. Might post an FS myself in due course. I have this Dominic Allen 8-key Pratten model …

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Peter,
I’m not necessarily complaining about those who post infrequently. Newbies and occasional visitors to the site will come here for a variety of reasons.

However, it is only natural that we are more likely to trust people whom we have got to know over a period of time. Of course, that’s not always a guarantee either and I’m sure we could all tell a story of when we have had our "fingers burned" when dealing with people whom we might have considered to be friends.

Likewise, as Bazza has commented, you can be pleasantly surprised the other way around too. I’m also sure that the majority of people are decent enough too and as the old saying goes "A stranger is just another friend that you haven’t met!"

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

@ Johnny Jay,
Ok, no worries. Just wanted to emphasise that not everybody is looking to use the site as a virtual social gathering (though nothing wrong with that as it seems to have facilitated many real world meetings).

Considering the potentially large numbers of readers its a powerful tool for someone just looking to do something like make a call for players in a sparsely populated area, or yes, do some academic research. As long as the subject title is clear can easily be ignored if it’s not of interest.

Cheers
Peter

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. Yes
2. Positive
3. No

I was reluctant to sign up for an account just to sell something, as I can see why people would object to that, but have been a regular reader for years without contributing (been tempted to sign up to comment at various times, but someone or other always ends up expressing my viewpoint better than I would have).
But got another member to post a video / thread with the instrument, and some asked why I couldn’t answer stuff myself, so I went and signed up.
Worked great for me (and hopefully the buyer), due to it being a niche instrument. Would probably have tried to sell through the classifieds on mandolin cafe if I was on that side of the atlantic, but not so many over here.
I realise as Allan said, that just because someone sells something on here doesn’t necessarily mean you can trust them, but after having had some bad experiences with gumtree and ebay (where in some cases it has been obvious the prospective buyer has never heard of the instrument and is just trying a scam), it was good to know that at least it was guaranteed to be someone who was interested in traditional music, and who knew others on the scene, and wasn’t totally anonymous, and know that if they were at all concerned, there were others on here with whom they could confirm that I really was a musician and not a scammer.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Wait til you have one you want to sell and your change your chune alright. Didn’t know it was such a bother to you.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1. NO
2. N/A
3. No. The adverts are generally helpful and informative. I have purchased a flute listed on eBay and Adverts.ie by Irish (Roscommon) seller.

In the main, I’d expect FS notices are helpful for buyers and sellers, and provide the wider community with some indication of prices for used instruments.

I think any genuine FS should include (a) an asking price, (b) a link to photos and/or video/recording of the instrument for sale and (c) relevant information about condition of the instrument. If seller hasn’t all of this ready to go then don’t post until you’re ready.

As to whether traders/collectors/"professional sellers" should be allowed (basically eBay listings)… I think this is where members are concerned. But the bottom line should be whether a seller is genuine and making honest description of goods offered for sale. If so, then a niche specialist seller might be offering a useful service to the community.

While the idea of having a F/S discussion group/board separate to regular discussions might seem attractive - the number of such listings really suggests that a lot of effort would make little difference. For now, the number of F/S listings doesn’t seem to be a problem

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

1…never bought or sold, but have both sent and received books and a couple of CD’s.

2…very positive. I was able to learn and share and have others share with me. Is that not what this is all about?

3…not at all annoying.

Could the rub be that we all need to have a reliable (though not infallible) filter for what’s posted like we do in other areas of our lives? I skip over much here and take with skepticism some of what is posted as one person’s opinion just like I hope you take my postings as only my opinion. I have learned much from the thoughts of many of you.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I put a few tenor banjos on to the Forum when I first joined, and fairly quickly sold a Clifford Essex Paragon, and another member had a "sale or return " arrangement on a Iucci Sinfonnico no 2, but it wasn’t for her, so was returned, and money refunded without problem.
The items were advertised because I had too many banjos, and play very little now, but the members who responded knew what they were after, and it was good to deal with fellow enthusiasts ( I could have sold the Paragon a few times over ! )
So I think it works well for private individuals who have a few instruments to sell - the right market.

ps I still have the Iucci, and a mint Deering GDL Ltd Tenor ( Burr Walnut ) which I have not advertised anywhere else, if anyone is interested
Tony Jeffries

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I have bought instruments from members of this site and I have been very pleased with them. I always read the for sale ads, even when they are for instruments I don’t play. I just like musical instruments, and I like to have a look. The other thing for me is that there are often instruments for sale from other parts of the world that are not so easy to find here in Australia. So I have no objections to these for sale postings, but I find it annoying and puzzling when people post complaints about them.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Gobby, you summed up the purpose of this thread perfectly in your last sentence.

Take care.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

At least if we get the same complaints in the future we can then simply refer the complainant to this survey. I think the results of it are clear.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Agreed. I usually read them whether I play the instrument or not, as well. Just because I learn more about some other instruments. Thanks for all the responses

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

My tuppence; I think members posting for-sale items for their own instruments is one thing. I think someone who is clearly engaged in dealing in instruments, as the prolific flute-seller is, is another. It’s hardly the end of the world but if there were multiple people doing it, this place would be a lot less usable.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

This website came about at a pivotal time for certain things coming together.
It’s interesting how two sites in particular each had to consider how to deal with members
selling instruments early on; Chiff & Fipple being the other trad music website.

I doubt Dale Wisely or Jeremy Keith initially put much thought into how to address forum posts about instrument sales in the beginning. Of course it was going to happen. Musicians obviously acquire &
exchange instruments and music gear.

But these guys were building their online gig in an early, nascent, virtual trad community. They weren’t putting the classified section front & center. Inevitably though it caught each of these young webmasters’ attention.
What followed were two distinctly divergent directions. For thesession.org F.S. posts were considered the same as any other. On C&F an elaborate structure emerged. i.e. - an extensive outline for where & how to post
not only instrument sales but also a provision for commercial posts (which are not banned), currently a separate section for used instrument sales, but also a provision to post a link to the sale post in another forum, etc….

My point is both of these systems function for each of these communities, each is very different from the other, the web is full of options, members bounce between them, everyone on this thread/survey has something that annoys them & the devil is in the details.

Thank you, Pete. Quite the poll!

Ben

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I have one thing to add about my own purchasing experiences. I have only ever traded with people who I knew to be established members of this site. I doubt that I would buy off anybody who only posted for the sake of flogging something. That’s what e-bay is for.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Gobby, I’m happy this thread reflects such strong support for the sense of community on the forum.
However your post seems to imply longtime members are more trustworthy than newer members.
My experience is markedly different in some cases. This community is very connected but it’s not
a picture of perfection by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I can see Gobby’s point, especially for sales involving post / paypal. People on the session might have varying degrees of trustworthiness, but if someone has spent years passionately arguing about session etiquette, dots vs ears, appropriateness of certain instruments in sessions etc, at least it can be more or less guaranteed they’re not just some paypal fraudster or seller of a broken instrument who will proceed to disappear off the face of the earth. Or if they are, it’s a very long con!

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

@ Ben, I wouldn’t really argue with you on that. I have always felt a sense of community since becoming a member here, and sure our community it’s not a picture of perfection, but then what community ever is? I have had many enjoyable encounters on these discussion pages and also crossed swords with a few people. Still, I hold no grudges, and unlike somebody who posts for the first time to sell something, or unlike somebody who only ever posts sales adds, I can’t think of many (if any) of those in our established ‘community’ that I have ever crossed swords with that I wouldn’t trust in a sale. The last member I bought something from (3 whistles) had, in my opinion, already established himself on here as a nice guy. It worked out well.

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

I agree about trusting "regulars" here more than an infrequent or sales-only member. It’s just human nature to feel more comfortable dealing with someone you’ve seen around the block for a while. One might also assume that the seller values thesession.org as a resource and wants to continue posting here, so they probably wouldn’t jeopardize their access by ripping off another member in an instrument sale.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Funny how I was intending to emphasise the positive encounters I have with newer members which I felt they were open with me, I felt them to be as trustworthy as the old guard (if not more so). I’m not implying a distrust of longtime members. Though I do have great appreciation for some in our community who I knew from when they first contributed here they were "keepers". But sometimes they were expected to pass mustard with the some ‘bearers of the tradition’.

Cheers!

Posted by .

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Oh dear! Just advertised a 900 euro trad flute for only 100, because I hope a young person will…. ofr their techer willll……. I did for my fiddle players.That;s why - fiddle, not flute.

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Well I’m a total con-artist, and my plan to punt you dodgy flutes and whistles has truly been rumbled.

Farewell thesession- you’ve been a cruel but rewarding mistress :’)

Re: Instrument Sales on thesession.org

Yes, I bought a flute
No problems whatsoever. Actually, it was a pleasant experience.
I have no issue with the buying and selling of traditional instruments.
Lowhistle