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DrumBob 08-14-2019 08:35 AM

Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
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I'm just curious if anyone here has had dealings with Chris at Hawthorn Drum Shop in Pittsburgh. His prices on MIJ stuff seem pretty high. I was interested in the green agate Stewart set he currently has for sale, but he's looking for what I feel are big dollars for a set that has severe fading on the top of the bass drum, trashed BD hoops and a few other minor issues. He also has a cool orange tiger set for a lot of money with snare drum included. We emailed back and forth, and he asked me to make an offer on the green set, but I didn't, because I felt my offer would be so low, I'd insult him. To me, this green set should be $400-450, plus shipping. I can always fix the faded finish (with a green Sharpie, of course), and repaint the BD rims. Chris said the price is based on rarity of the finish. I do like the sizes: 13/16/22.

Has anyone worked with Chris and what were your experiences? He seems like a nice guy, but I'd like some feedback.

TheElectricCompany 08-14-2019 09:15 AM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
I've only interacted online through email and social media, never purchased anything, but he and his staff have always been accommodating and informed. I agree that $600 does seem high on that kit. I don't think any kind of MIJ kit should command that kind of premium, no matter the story.

levelpebble 08-14-2019 09:36 AM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
I've talked to him directly at the Delaware Drum Show the past couple of years. Very polite, engaging, and upfront for all I could assess. I would have no qualms doing business with him. But keep in mind, he needs to make a profit. "Make an offer" are the words a buyer wants to hear, in my opinion.

jdz 08-14-2019 09:38 AM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
Just remember this kit is made of ply wood. A stewart is the first kit I owned when I was in second grade. By the time I sold it 7 yrs later, the rack tom was warping and had a "flat" side.

idrum4fun 08-14-2019 10:02 AM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
I'm going to weigh in on Chris and his offerings at Hawthorne Drum Shop. Please understand that this is only my opinion on what he sells and in no way attacking his good character.

I've seen the vast majority of items for sale by Chris, on eBay, for a very long time now and sometimes marvel at the collection of drums being offered. As I look closer, I usually see that almost everything offered has lots of cosmetic issues, such as scratches, scuffs, missing paint, worn areas, weathering, bent badges, separating wrap seams, rust, etc. Basically, everything is being offered on an "as-is" condition. That's fine, and I have no problem with that. My issue is that I've always maintained that, except in very rare cases, condition is everything and price needs to reflect this.

His pricing on MIJ kits is high, but so are many other MIJ drums I see listed on eBay, Reverb, CL, etc. As a business, and not an individual, I do understand why his prices are higher. I also see that most of what is being offered also has a "Make Offer" option. Since I've never purchased from Chris, I don't know how much leeway he offers.

Getting back to the OP's issue with price of the Stewart kit, based on rarity of finish, sure it's a rare finish, but there is also fading on the bass drum and other cosmetic and physical issues. I do read that most of these issues seem to be addressed in the description. Still, the bottom line is that the kit is still way over-priced for Buy It Now. The wrap should, at most, add maybe $75 more to the NORMAL price of a similar MIJ kit. Tack on an additional $25 if the bass drum hoops had the original matching inlay. I just don't think that this green sparkle inlay is original.

I will say that I agree with the OP's estimate of $400-$450, which is more than fair.

Finally, I wanted to state again that I've no doubt that Chris is a good guy and just trying to make a living selling some cool vintage drums. If I did see something he offered that I wanted, I would certainly have no issues with making an offer based on my years of experience with fair value. The worst he could do is reject the offer!

Well, thanks for starting this thread and letting me vent on current MIJ and USA prices, which have really skyrocketed recently...and the biggest issue as to why I've stopped collecting!


markrocks68 08-14-2019 10:23 AM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
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I recently bought from Chris for the first time and had an excellent transaction and I paid what I think is an excellent price for the cleanest nicest duco kit I've ever seen. He provided all the pics I asked for (A LOT!) and packed this baby great and it made it to CA no issues so I would buy from him again. Many interactions with him on FB & website too. All good. The guy is trying to make a living selling vintage drums and I would never attempt that for obvious reasons so I applaud him for doing so. I got me a real beauty from him and now OFF the bucket list!

idrum4fun 08-14-2019 11:24 AM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
Hi Mark!

Wow, that kit is a real beauty! Thanks for letting us know about your transaction with Chris.


deansdrums59 08-14-2019 11:59 AM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
DrumBob, I come from the straight shooter school of "if you don't ask, you don't know." The guys comment Chris is approachable--so respect that with telling him up front that you have no intention of offending him, but here's my price based on what I feel the drums are worth to me. Then wait for a reply. d.

JimmySticks 08-14-2019 12:24 PM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
I could be mistaken, but I think the Stewart brand carries a little bit more cache in the MIJ drum world than many of the other countless MIJ brand names out there. They seem to be the pricier, or always near the top of asking prices. Not sure why that is, as they all seem to be about the same.

Also, if a seller makes you feel comfortable, than that is worth a premium of sorts as well. I paid just a bit more than I wanted for my MIJ kit, but the seller was cool and made me feel comfortable, so for me, the little extra was worth it, and in the end Im very satisfied. You might be able to cut a decent deal yet.

idrum4fun 08-14-2019 01:17 PM

Re: Opinions: Hawthorne Drum Shop
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The "Stewart" badge should, IMHO, make little difference in carrying "a little bit more cache"! They were made by Star, as evidenced by the "World's Supreme Quality" on the badge. The major builders were Pearl and Star and both were turning out comparable kits. I just don't see how a "Stewart" set is going to justify more money. Regardless of origin of manufacture, the biggest selling points are condition and a more rare wrap. While the majority of 60's MIJ stencil kits came in standard sparkle wraps, there were also some really cool pearls, agates and satin flames offered. Finding them in great condition is a real bonus...and raises the price!

Finally, I completely agree with the statement that "if a seller makes you feel comfortable, than that is worth a premium of sorts as well". But, how much more?!!


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