How long should one wait before approaching the widow of a recently deceased friend, regarding buying his drum gear?

komodobob

DFO Master
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2005
Messages
3,843
Reaction score
411
Up front, let me say I am asking this question on behalf of a friend that lives in a nearby city.

So this drummer friend of his just passed away (the wake was the day before yesterday). Turns out the deceased was quite the Yamaha fanatic. Apparently he had a Recording Custom, Maple Custom, Oak Custom, as well as every signature snare Yamaha ever came out with, along with tons of hardware and all in exceptional condition.

This buddy of mine quite often would buy from or trade with him and during that time got to know his wife quite well. He really would like to talk to her about buying the Recording custom kit, but doesn't want to come off like he's some kind of vulture, swooping down to grab the guy's gear at a bargain basement price. He's actually prepared to pay a fair (market value) price, but doesn't want to approach her too soon.

I'm not quite sure what to tell him, so I'm after some sage advice from others that may have been in this situation before. At what point would it be appropriate for him to contact her, without coming off as heartless and tacky?
 

Johnny K

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2018
Messages
946
Reaction score
844
Location
Mid Atlantic, USA
I cant imagine any scenario that would be tactful, other than her approaching him at some point in the near or distant future wher she may ask him how to sell them. Those drums may represent a lot of memories and/or feelings of connectivity that may not be easy for her to let go of. Short answer, let it go.
 

Pounder

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
12,112
Reaction score
568
Location
Norman, OK
Never been in this situation but, as this other guy is the one who is planning to engage in the conversation with the widow, I imagine it is really HIS problem. It is an interesting issue and I would say that the tact with which he asks is ultimately more important than the timing is.

That being said, these sorts of things may or may not already be in motion. Again, I'm not an expert in it. There have been people I know of locally who passed on and I only found out by a close friend who was close enough to the surviving widow that he felt obligated to help her (with his honesty and lack of selfishness), with respect to the man who had passed away.
 

chillybase

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
214
Reaction score
107
Location
Roanoke, VA
Just keep your ear about it when she’s ready to let go of his drums.

My drummer and friend passed away and I ended up helping his widowed fiancé move stuff out of their house. I waited until she was ready to let go to buy a kit. That’s actually how I got into drumming.
 

Nacci

DFO Master
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
3,425
Reaction score
2,709
Location
Roxbury, NH.
I recently did this process for a Widow but she approached me. Having said that, if I knew the woman I would give her a week, stop by and see her, offer my condolences right off then simply say that I was offering my services to help her place there husbands drum gear if and when she decides to do so.

Simple and straight up. Then you just take your cues from her from there. Maybe she wants to discuss it right on the spot. Perhaps she’s says thank you and will let you know. Have a piece of paper with your name and number ready.

I didn’t read the other responses yet but I anticipate that there is plenty of advice like “Never” or “Show some tact” but here is the thing, most of our spouses would have no idea what to do with our gear or what any of it is worth and might be inclined to do something foolish like sell it for peanuts or give it to Goodwill.

If your friend is honorable then he is going into this looking to do her a service and a good turn by placing that gear in the right hands and putting some money in her pocket. There is nothing wrong with that in fact that is the best that any of us could hope for if it were our widow.
 
Last edited:

Mongrel

DFO Veteran
Joined
Oct 3, 2016
Messages
2,539
Reaction score
1,590
Location
South Jersey, USA
I recently did this process for a Widow but she approached me. Having said that, if I knew the woman I would give her a week, stop by and see her, offer my condolences right off then simply say that I was offering my services to help her place there husbands drum gear if and when she decides to do so.

Simple and straight up. Then you just take your cues from her from there. Maybe she wants to discuss it right on the spot. Perhaps she’s says thank you and will let you know. Have a piece of paper with your name and number ready.

I didn’t read the other responses yet but I anticipate that there is plenty of advice like “Never” or “Show some tact” but here is the thing, most of our spouses would have no idea what to do with our gear or what any of it is worth and might be inclined to do something foolish like sell it for peanuts or give it to Goodwill.

If your friend is honorable then he is going into this looking to do her a service and a good turn by placing that gear in the right hands and putting some money in her pocket. There is nothing wrong with that in fact that is the best that any of us could hope for if it were our widow.
I would double like this if I could Nacci...

And I agree-my wife and kids would not have the first clue what to do. In fact, we have had some conversation about it already. People they could trust to help, people I would like to see stuff "gifted" to, etc.

If the guy knows her and was in good standing with her husband, then I see no issue with waiting a week or two, stopping by and saying something to the effect of "when you are ready" or " if you need some help or guidance, here's my number." My wife would see that as a blessing if done with respect, and I certainly wouldn't have a problem with it from the other side as it were.

Better a friend than have some strangers "take if off your hands" type of thing.
 

vintagemore2000

DFO Star
Joined
Jan 11, 2010
Messages
7,867
Reaction score
538
Location
north carolina
Bob, I'm with most of the court here. Let the widow bring it up. My bass player died 6 months ago, he had a ton of gear, But his mother approached me to help sale his gear, I know this comments was no help. But let your bud sit back until the widows is ready to sale.
 

Radio King

DFO Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2011
Messages
2,900
Reaction score
1,984
Location
VA Beach
I recently did this process for a Widow but she approached me. Having said that, if I knew the woman I would give her a week, stop by and see her, offer my condolences right off then simply say that I was offering my services to help her place there husbands drum gear if and when she decides to do so.

Simple and straight up. Then you just take your cues from her from there. Maybe she wants to discuss it right on the spot. Perhaps she’s says thank you and will let you know. Have a piece of paper with your name and number ready.

I didn’t read the other responses yet but I anticipate that there is plenty of advice like “Never” or “Show some tact” but here is the thing, most of our spouses would have no idea what to do with our gear or what any of it is worth and might be inclined to do something foolish like sell it for peanuts or give it to Goodwill.

If your friend is honorable then he is going into this looking to do her a service and a good turn by placing that gear in the right hands and putting some money in her pocket. There is nothing wrong with that in fact that is the best that any of us could hope for if it were our widow.
I agree with Nacci. His suggestions are spot on. She'll likely want to sell off the gear once things settle down, and will be looking to someone to help assure she won't get ripped off. I can't imagine she'll want to keep a bunch of drums and move them around to new properties down the road. If I passed suddenly, I know my wife would want to sell my drum gear, and I've already told her who to go to locally. It's understood that they'll be of no use to her, and she would likely appreciate the money they'd bring.
 

swarfrat

tympanus laqueus XV
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Messages
5,776
Reaction score
963
It might also help if, given the opportunity, you simply tell her fair prices and only a small portion of the gear finds its way to your house.

Unless it's the dude in Roanoke, VA with the 27 piece mid-line kit and you feel like you should buy it from her because nobody else will.
 

mattmalloy66

Very well Known Member
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2012
Messages
668
Reaction score
85
Location
New Hampshire
I did find myself in this situation just 3 years ago. I waited 6 months after his passing, and did not approach her as a buyer. I asked her if she needed any help in determining the value of his drums and cymbals.
She did, and she trusted my opinion.
She had already been given lowball offers on his professional equipment.
I knew she was selling the house and moving into a smaller space.
She was surprised to find that his vintage Rogers kit was worth more than a much newer kit he had.
I simply told her my opinion of the value of everything, and suggested that because her grandson was learning to play drums, that the Rogers kit be kept in the family.
If he didn't want the Rogers drums, she now had a fair idea of what they were worth, and that I would be interested in them.
 
Last edited:

cworrick

The BIG Bunny on the block
Joined
Sep 19, 2005
Messages
7,543
Reaction score
1,510
Location
Northeast Indiana
I think Nacci hit it spot on.

There's no good time to do this, but about a week sounds good. You mentioned in that time that he got to know the wife pretty well too. I think since she is familiar with him it wouldn't be out of line for him to offer to help her out with all the drum gear she probably has no idea about. Just be sure he emphasizes that he's there to help when SHE is ready.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
20,079
Reaction score
2,453
Location
Illinois
I was in this situation a few years ago when my former teacher passed away. We had been good friends later in life and I helped his widow with the funeral arrangements. After the funeral I told her that if she needed help with anything at all and specifically whenever she was ready to part with his musical equipment. To my surprise she replied " well that's all yours now, he wanted you to have it". I was stunned as some of this equipment had played a vital role in my own development as a drummer and I had hoped to be able to buy some of it but never expected that to happen. There were four drum sets involved. I did pass one along to their grand nephew who, although just a little kid, had expressed an interest in playing drums. The rest I will keep and cherish in his memory and she knows that and is quite happy about it.

Getting back to the question here I think I'd wait a respectable amount of time then offer to help her sell the drums when she's ready and also offhandly mention you might have an interest in some of it yourself and see where it goes from there. It's a tough spot to be in and I sort of surprised myself when I asked about Tom's drums but it just felt right to do at that moment.

I had a friend who had a 56 Chevy convertible he was restoring. He was killed in a car crash and I always wondered about approaching the family about the car in the hopes of completing the restoration ( it was in pretty sorry shape but enough there to be worth fixing). I could never bring myself to ask about it though. Years later I asked his brother whatever happened to the car and he told me that about a year later a total stranger bought it for very little. I mentioned that I had thought about asking about it and he told me that he really wished I had done so because they would have much rather seen it go to someone who had known Rick. Cest la vie....
 

What It Is

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2015
Messages
507
Reaction score
238
Location
Illinois
Nacci for the win and the right way to handle this delicate situation. If there is already an established relationship between the families, then this will take care of itself correctly over time. Makes me think about all my stuff and where it would go? It would be wise to establish a trust and be sure to allocate equipment of value to friends or family in case of sudden passing. Depending on what one has, sure would release a burden to know that a school, church, relatives or friends would benefit from cool drum stuff.
 

drummer5359

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Messages
1,685
Reaction score
758
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I've given a lot of thought to this subject, and have been through this more than once.

I've seen this situation handled with tact, and thoughtfulness on one occasion. Twice I've witnessed "friends" take advantage of a widow. If he has a history of buying and selling with his friend, and had gotten to know his wife, there is a good chance that she will reach out to him. Personally, I would not make the first move.

Having seen this movie before, I've taken steps to make sure that my wife would not be taken advantage of. I have two close friends whom I trust to help my wife if or when this situation arises. I'll explain.

I have a lot of music gear, a good bit of it is valuable. This includes a brand new Gretsch USA Custom shell bank, a DW Collector's Series shell bank, a Gretsch round badge kit, and three less valuable vintage kits. My snare drum collection is also fairly substantial, with over thirty pieces from Ludwig, Gretsch, DW, Slingerland, and others. I have full setups of Zildjian "A"s, "K"s, K Customs, and K Contantinoples, over forty cymbals in all. As a bassist I currently own seven American Fender basses, one vintage Music Man Stingray, and three late model Rickenbackers. Two Ampeg tube bass rigs, an American Telecaster, and a couple of Fender tube guitar amps are also in the mix. Add to this two complete digital PA setups and a lot of LED lighting. I gave a partial list to illustrate how daunting a task that unloading all of this would be for my widow.

I've asked two trusted gear head friends to help her if the need arises. They are both honorable, honest guys who care about Jackie and I. Both of the are knowledgeable regarding gear, and I believe that they would treat her right. My bride knows both of them well, trusts them, and knows my wishes.

Each year for insurance purposes I go through my records deleting items I've sold over the past year and adding in the pieces that I've acquired. I record serial numbers and list reasonable replacement values. I try hard not to mark them too high or too low. I turned my latest list into my insurance company the other day. I estimated the cost of replacement using used prices to total $42,000. My wife knows the value of my gear, I don't have to hide any of it. These lists would be helpful for my friends as well, giving them a guideline.

I think that this is an important topic and each of us owes it to our heirs to make the process as painless as possible in advance, so that no one will have to ask for advice on line.
 

Tama CW

DFO Veteran
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
2,291
Reaction score
1,445
Location
SE Connecticut
Nacci is on the right track. Most owners aren't as detailed drummer5359. As a rule, most people don't plan too well in the event they pass unexpectedly . And having seen nice collections of everything from coins, antiques, musical instruments get gobbled up by dealers, flippers, and even friends for pennies on the dollar....you don't want that to happen to someone you know. At least let them know you will be there for expert advice if needed. And they most likely will need it. You can even stipulate that you refuse to buy anything but will be happy to advise them, help construct ads, and where to possibly market items if they don't have heirs/buyers lined up. If you do wait until you're formally contacted, the odds will favor others who aren't so "proper" and mention something first. In some cases, by not stepping forward, the current owner may assume you are simply not interested. I do find it interesting how many such valuable collectibles end up with the wrong people, at way too little cost. Seems to be the way of the world.
 


Top