How to Sell Your Used Band Instrument

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“We had a small shop on Nolensville Road,” Charlie recalls. “One day I decided to sell all my music gear and Jim wanted to sell his stuff too. So we set up a sale on a Sunday and ran an ad in the paper. At the end of the day we had a room full of sawdust and about 10,000 bucks. So we decided to get rid of the sawdust.”

It seems that we all end up with instruments that are no longer in use, but don’t know what to do with them. As a local music store, it is probably one of the most-asked questions. “What should I do with this?”

This is a very valid question and I will address pros and cons of both sides of this coin:

Selling to a Music Store

  • Cash now – no waiting
  • Music stores might make you an offer and be able to give you a check right then!
  • They will give you an idea of the value as well as the price they can offer you
  • This means the store will not be able to offer you the same amount you could ask if you sell privately

Selling Privately (online or otherwise)

  • You will definitely be able to make the most money selling your instrument on your own
  • Advertising and waiting
  • The downside is you will have to list it, answer any inquiries, and wait for someone to be interested

Determining Price

  • An easy way to come up with a good selling price is to have it evaluated by a music store – most music stores will evaluate for free
  • If you don’t want to drive to a store, a good rule of thumb is half of the price you can get a new instrument of the same brand and model, then skim off the price for any cosmetic wear/damage
  • Unfortunately with this step, it doesn’t matter what you paid. It only matters what another person could walk into a music store and buy at that time
  • Google (or even EBay) is a good source to look at other instruments of the same brand and model to see what others are listing. This will likely be the most you could expect out of your instrument.

Sale or Purchase of Used Musical Instruments Through a Pawnshop

There comes a moment in every person’s life when he becomes convinced that with the right instrument and, perhaps, some practice, he is destined to become the next great musical leader of his generation. If you never believed that you had the strength to become the next Bob Dylan, Eddie Van Halen or, dare I say it, Taylor Swift, then you probably have no idea why pawnshops are filled with so many dearly loved musical instruments. You see, those of us who had this dream strive for it with everything we have. And usually all we have is a little money, a dream and the ability to keep the rhythm over and over again.

This means two things.

  1. You spend all the money you have on a new tool at an inflated price with all the accessories. You are doing this for a long time, and it would be wisest to invest in a first-class musical instrument. Little do you know that by “long-distance travel” you mean the next three months until you realize that your real passion is base jumping.
  2. You are a little smarter than you are #1, and you understand that buying a used tool is a reasonable choice for a beginner. Buying a used tool will help you determine what brand and style of tool you really want, and how committed you really are to your new craft.

While we can’t say we weren’t blinded by the bright lights of Scenario 1, scenario 2 is clearly the best choice. Be that as it may, both scenarios create the supply and demand underlying why so many used musical instruments are bought, sold and mortgaged.

If you were thinking about selling a keyboard that your child swore he would practice every day, but which he hadn’t touched for three years, consider selling to a local pawnbroker. Since used tools tend to disappear from the shelves quickly, your local pawnshop will most likely be interested in making you an offer. People often try to sell tools on sites like Craigslist, only to discover that the process of handling an unregulated transaction is more hassle than the tool itself is worth.

Selling to your local pawnshop will not only make it easier, but also save you from the frustration associated with cheap offers. It is true that you should still expect negotiations with a pawnshop, but they will be straightforward and offer you a fair price, taking into account their profit margin.

Also, at the end of the interaction, you walk away with cash in hand, while on Craigslist you may find yourself messaging people for days before even making an appointment… where you may or may not still make a sale.

On the other hand, if your 5th grader wants to join a school band and is sure that nothing but the sweet sound of an alto saxophone awaits him in the future, please visit a local pawnshop. You are in debt to yourself and your pension fund.

Some pawnshops specialize in certain items, such as weapons, ammunition, or electronics. However, you can usually find used tools in most of any pawn shops. Before you hit the road, call local stores and ask about their current inventory. If you find a store with a tool that matches what you’re looking for, be sure to do some research before heading to the store. eBay is a great place to find price ranges for various used tools.

If you’ve finally given up on your dream of having Jon Bon Jovi’s hair and voice, that’s fine. You are not alone, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. Do yourself a favor, bring that dusty guitar and get some money. If you are on the other side of the equation and dream of quitting your job as a mid-level accountant, aiming to become the new drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, buy yourself a used drum kit and a few lessons before taking your 2 weeks.

Online Buy and Sell Used Music Gear

Online sales of musical instruments increased significantly in early 2020 due to current events related to COVID-19. Music gives us a great opportunity to disconnect from reality for a while. It’s also a great time to hone your musical skills.

Maybe you have an old keyboard lying around somewhere that you haven’t touched for years, or you can’t wait to learn how to use FL Studio to record a few bars.

While some may want to revive their love of playing an instrument, others may want to make a quick buck on something they no longer need. So, what is the best way to do with a purchase or equipment? There are many websites where you can buy or sell used music equipment, so let’s see what works best for you.

Key Attributes of a Legitimate Purchase and Sale Site

Trust is a Key Factor

If you want to spend a decent amount of money on a tool, wouldn’t you like to take a look at a real image of what you’re buying? Be careful when you come across generic stock images, especially for used goods. Often an item will sell for less than usual, and you may see a particular item appear in more than one ad, especially on eBay.

You have to look for real, authentic photos of what you’re buying, and the same thing happens if you’re selling. Not only will you generate more interest in the product you are selling, but you will also provide an additional level of confidence for the customer, because you know exactly what they are getting.

Pricing and Commission Considerations

If you feel like you’ve just won gold in a deal that seems too good to be true, be careful. One way to avoid potential fraud is to contact the seller and let him know if he has such an opportunity.

Do not rush to make a purchase, because there may be a reason why the product is sold as cheap as it is, and it may well be printed in small print. Also, get ready for an additional shipping cost, depending on the item you are shipping.

For example, if you want to send a guitar, expect to pay somewhere from $85 to $100, minimum. Other goods, such as guitar strings, will be sold much cheaper. Some websites allow local shipping, so check out sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist if you want to avoid shipping fees.

The Process of Buying and Selling


Bidding: Websites will use an auction style where those who are interested in a particular product will eventually have to offer the highest price to win. There will be indicated the date and time of the end of the auction. Be careful, as often people bid at the very last second to win the auction.

Direct Purchase Online: You can purchase the product directly when it says “Add to cart” or “Buy now”. You will still have to pay for shipping (in most cases), but the item officially belongs to you for purchase.

Local pickup / cash: As you will see below, some sites offer local pickup, which means that you can meet with the seller directly to purchase the goods. If you want to personally verify the authenticity, this option will work well when it comes to buying used gear.

Some websites make it easier to view information about the seller. On eBay, for example, there is a seller’s rating, the number of goods sold, the types of payments accepted and much more — all this is presented to the buyer in one place.


Most websites charge you for selling your tool. Reverb is a profitable website for selling gear, and they only charge you 3.5 percent on all transactions.

For the most part, you won’t be able to leave without paying some kind of commission, whether it’s a shipping fee or a transaction, unless you can sell the item on a site like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. These sites give you the opportunity to meet the buyer in person. If all else fails, you’ll have to pay shipping and transaction fees.

Best Sites to Buying/Selling Music Gear

1. Reverb

If you’re looking for a website that makes it easy and provides the best deals without having to search all day and night for them, Reverb is your best bet. They have a handful of different sections, such as deals and steals, price drops, newest listings, and more. Reverb has a massive collection of electric, bass, and acoustic guitars. They also have a variety of microphones, keyboards, folk instruments such as ukuleles, mandolins, and banjos, plus music software.

How Does Pricing Work?

Reverb allows you to message the seller, see how many items they have sold, and where they are located. When it comes to making purchases, you don’t have to bid on the item, you can buy it on the spot. A nice feature that Reverb includes is giving you the option to make an offer to the seller. For example, you can find the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII keyboard controller, which we listed as our best for the price midi, for $108 used, and you’re given the option to make an offer. What could be better!

What Can You Sell?

You can list as many items as you would like on Reverb, and their selling fee is a mere 3.5%. Reverb makes it easy to describe the product you’re selling, the condition it’s in, upload pictures of the product, etc.

You can negotiate shipping as a part of the offer process on Reverb, or, you can also list the item for local pickup. Reverb also includes a shipping guide on their website to help you ship certain items. This is extremely helpful if this is your first time selling.

Should You Trust Them?

Totally. Reverb is basically eBay for instruments and more. With the option to make offers and have your purchase shipped within 72 hours, Reverb is highly recommended for finding a great product and a great deal.

2. Sweetwater

What’s great about Sweetwater is that they have a local listing section, where you can put in your zip code, and different local listings will show up on the page, allowing you to go to the seller directly for purchase.

How Does Pricing Work?

In most cases, you won’t automatically purchase the item you’re looking for. After you find a product you’re interested in, you have to contact the seller, which sends an email to the seller. After they have reviewed your email, you can deal with payment and delivery options. Sweetwater is not involved in any payments or disputes between the buyer and seller.

Should You Trust Them?

Yes, but with caution. If you’re looking to buy on Sweetwater, it’s advised that you utilize the local listing function. That way, you can meet in person and see the product up close and personal before you make your decision. Otherwise, you will have to deal with purchasing your product fully online or over the phone with the seller.

3. Music Go Round

Contrary to the other stores listed so far, Music Go Round is a national chain, and their locations are owned independently. They sell only used items, so don’t expect any new products from their website. The good news is that they test every item in-store when it’s brought in for inspection, as well as before it’s sent to their new owner in the mail.

How Does Pricing Work?

Considering the products listed on the website are also sold in their stores, you run into the chance that an item is purchased in the store before it can be removed from the website. In this case, the customer making the purchase online will fully be refunded. You can also pick up the item in the store if it’s located close to home. Shipping costs range between $30-$200, but price may vary depending on your location.

Should You Trust Them!

Absolutely! You can always contact the store and ask more questions in regards to the product you’re interested in purchasing.

4. Ebay

Home to millions of products, eBay is a great website to find used gear. After creating an account, you’re free to start shopping, but the majority of products on eBay use a bidding system to win the product you’re interested in.

How Does Pricing Work?

The pricing of products will vary. In fact, some people will have an item set at an extremely low price, one that might have you take a double-take, but the listing ends in seven days. People do this to create a bidding war, and hopefully, get a pretty penny for what they were initially selling for next to nothing. Some products are offered with a Buy it Now option, meaning the product is yours, and there’s no need to bid on it.

Should You Trust Them?

Well… that’s your call. Ebay is definitely a trustworthy site, and there are plenty of legitimate vendors out there that have sold thousands of products and have great reviews. But, you get what you pay for. Make sure you’re making a purchase from someone with a good rating, at least a 95 percent or above, make sure they have sold plenty of items, and be sure to take a look at their most recent reviews from customers.

5. Musician’s Friend

There’s plenty to find when it comes to Musician’s Friend. With a variety of helpful categories like open box, refurbished, clearance and even the stupid deal of the day, you’re bound to find the product you’ve been looking for.

How Does Pricing Work?

Musician’s Friend offers price matching, which is something we’ve yet to see from a used music gear site. They will match any verified price from an authorized dealer up to 45 days after your purchase. They also have free shipping on the majority of their items, which is hard to find anywhere else.

Should You Trust Them?

Without a doubt. They offer a 2-year warranty on guitars and basses. They also give you up to 45 days to return your product if you aren’t happy with your purchase.

6. Amazon

Amazon is a staple of society and you can find countless deals on their website. Third party companies have the ability to create profiles and sell products through Amazon, whether the product is brand new or used.

How Does Pricing Work?

Amazon cannot account for the policies of every vendor they have. That being said, Amazon helps you find the best deals possible with their different search modes.

What Can You Sell?

Generally the only constraints on selling used items on Amazon is no used clothing or footwear. However, music equipment has no limit. If you are looking to create your own products, there are some limitations to what all can be sold through Amazon. But again, music equipment generally will not fall into the limitations that they have.

Should You Trust Them

If there is one thing Amazon cares about, it is the customer. Whether you order through Amazon itself or a third party vendor, you have protection for timely delivery and protection for your items. Any and all issues must be brought to the initial seller first, but there is the A to Z Guarantee from Amazon that puts certain measures in place that can help you get a full refund.

7. The Music Zoo

What Can You Sell?

This site is geared towards selling guitars only. Unfortunately you won’t be able to sell anything else, so if you have a guitar to sell, this site is worthy of checking out.

If you’re from the New York area, you’re lucky enough to go check out their Guitar Shop in Long Island, otherwise, any guitars you’re looking to sell can be done through their site.

You can also trade in a guitar or consign one as well. After filling out some basic information in regards to the guitar you’re looking to sell, you’ll be well on your way towards making a sale.

Can You Trust Them?

Sure! The Music Zoo is a great place to buy or sell guitars. You have the physical store to contact if you have any questions, and they make it as simple as possible for you to make a sale.

8. Facebook Marketplace

What Can You Sell?

Virtually anything you want to get rid of. Facebook Marketplace is a great way to sell instruments locally. The process is rather simple for uploading your items you’re interested in selling.

What’s great about Marketplace is you won’t have to pay any sort of fees, and you can meet up with the buyer in person. As long as you have a Facebook Profile, you’re free to sell as much as you please.

Can You Trust Them?

Sure, but still be careful. It’s advised to meet people in a public place. If you’re comfortable with them coming to your home that’s fine, but it’s up to you. If you place a listing up on Marketplace, you can expect to get some bites within just a few days.


By now, you have plenty of reliable options for buying or selling used musical instruments. You should also have a better understanding of the delivery process of the item you want to sell. If you are still a little hesitant about making a purchase, contact the supplier or do some research on the project.

Spend this time learning to play a new instrument, or earn some money by getting rid of an old drum kit gathering dust in the basement. It only takes a few minutes to get started. If you set a high but fair price for a good tool, don’t let Internet users bring down the price!!!

FAQ for Selling Used Band Instruments

What is the difference between a used and new band instrument?

There are some key differences between a used and new band instrument. The most obvious difference is the cost. A new band instrument will cost you more than a used one, but there are other differences that you should consider before buying a new one.

A new instrument will come with warranty, which means that it is covered for any defects in workmanship or materials for up to a certain period of time. A used instrument may not have this protection, so it’s important to make sure that the seller is reputable and has good reviews online.

A used instrument may also be missing parts or accessories that are included with a brand-new one such as extra strings or picks.

What are some good types of band instruments to buy used?

There are a lot of instruments to choose from when buying used. But before you start looking, there are some questions you should ask yourself.

  • What is your budget?
  • What size of band do you play in?
  • How much experience do you have with music?

How can I buy a used band instrument?

Buying a used instrument is a good option for people who want to save money. However, it is important to know how to buy a used instrument.

One of the ways you can find a used band instrument is by searching for one on websites like eBay or Craigslist. You should also ask your friends and family if they have any instruments they don’t need anymore that they would be willing to sell you.

How do I sell my used band instrument?

Selling your used band instrument is one of the most common questions that musicians get. Here are some tips to help you sell your instrument.

  • Make sure that it is in good condition and doesn’t have any damage.
  • Get a price list from the music store
  • Find people who would be interested in buying your instrument
  • Set up an appointment with a music store to sell your instrument

What are the benefits of selling used band instruments online?

Band instruments are expensive and most people cannot afford to buy them. However, it is possible to sell used band instruments online and make a profit. There are many benefits of selling used band instruments online like saving money, getting a better instrument, and the convenience of buying from an online store.

The advantages of buying used band instruments on the internet include:

  • Saving money – Buying second-hand can save up to 90% in some cases.
  • Getting a better instrument – You can get a new instrument without having to pay for shipping or wait for the item to be delivered by mail.
  • The convenience of buying from an online store – You can buy from anywhere in the world with no hassle involved in shipping or waiting for your item to arrive.

What are some companies that sell used band instruments online?

There are many companies that sell used instruments online. Some of the most popular include Reverb, Musician’s Friend, and Musician’s Go Round.

What are the risks of selling a used band instrument?

The risks of buying a used instrument are many. It is important to know what you are getting into before you buy a used instrument.

Some of the risks include:

  • Getting a fake or low quality product
  • Getting robbed by the seller
  • Receiving an instrument that has not been properly cared for and could be unsafe to play

What are the best ways to sell a used band instrument?

This is a question that many musicians have been asking themselves. There are different approaches to selling a used band instrument, but in the end, it all comes down to trustworthiness.

The best way to sell a used band instrument is by taking good care of it and getting it in good condition. This means keeping the case clean and dust-free and looking for any damages or imperfections that might exist on the instrument itself.

The first step towards selling your used band instrument is by putting it up for sale online. A lot of online platforms will allow you to list your item for free so you can get an idea of how much interest there is in your item and if people are willing to pay what you’re asking for it. The second step would be reaching out to local music stores who might rate and redeem from you a used band instrument.

How much should I charge for my used band instrument?

If you are thinking of selling your used band instrument, the price you can ask for it is dependent on the condition.

The price of a used band instrument depends on its condition. If the instrument is in good condition, it will be worth more than if it is in bad condition. The price also depends on how long ago the owner stopped using it and how much they played with it.

A new instrument will cost from $399 to $1000 depending on its size and quality. A used one will cost from $100 to $800 depending on its size and quality.

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