Shopping can be fun but sometimes you can accumulate too much music gear. There, I said it. A person can have too many guitars.
Guitar Center purchases used guitars and a lot of other gear at their stores. But there are some pros and cons for the seller so you will have to determine whether quick cash and convenience or getting top dollar for your instrument is more important.
Guitar Center actually offers a lot of used gear both in their stores and via their website. And it is a pretty cool system because you can have instruments shipped to your local store for purchase. Even if Guitar Center isn’t your first choice for shopping there are still plenty of positive aspects.
But we’re talking about selling gear today, not accumulating more, so let’s check out how you can get in on the action and make some money.
Does Guitar Center take used guitars?
Guitar Center will definitely buy used instruments from you with one big asterisk. The gear you sell has to be in good working order.
I don’t mean a guitar has to be set up perfectly but if something like the controls or input jack is bad then you are out of luck. They don’t buy “fixer-uppers” as they are referred to in the housing market.
So before you load up a bunch of guitars to sell, plug them in and make sure they at least work in each pickup position, etc., because GC will check those things before they complete the buy.
Also, it is really in your best interest to clean your gear before you take it to sell. It’s likely it will be classified as being in nicer condition and it’s just better and more hygienic for everyone.
And then there are probably times when they just won’t buy something that is going to be on a case-by-case basis.
I suspect all of the prices for buying and selling models in each “condition” are provided to the stores in a database so if you have a real oddball instrument that isn’t worth much they may not want to bother researching it.
Does Guitar Center pay cash for used guitars?
Most Guitar Centers will offer you cash for up to $1000 when you sell gear to them. Of course, this may not always be the case if they are running low on cash or something but you will get the dividend in either a check or prepaid Visa card.
There are three exceptions for receiving cash in Greensboro, North Carolina, Rockville, Maryland, and Saginaw, Michigan, where they are not legally able to offer cash to sellers.
But for the most part, you can take in your gear and get paid the same day.
That’s a pretty good deal when the timing is important.
Is it a good idea to trade in at Guitar Center?
Most shops that buy and sell will offer you a little incentive to try to keep you from walking out the door with your new cash; this means you can get more in trade credit than cash (via discount) at Guitar Center.
If you choose to get trade credit you can get 10% off of new gear up to $500 (so $5000 total purchase).
There are a lot of exclusions to consider and this discount is not for clearance/discounted, used, promotions, tax/shipping, etc. It can also not be used for repair services or lessons.
It basically only applies to buying a new piece of gear for the sticker price advertised and items from a lot of companies are excluded so make sure to ask carefully before you do it.
In fact, I’m beginning to suspect it is mostly applicable to products from Guitar Center’s own brands.
Still, I think it is a pretty fair bargain; 10% off can be a big deal especially if you are buying an expensive item.
This is great if you want to upgrade your equipment or turn several of your cheaper guitars into one premium instrument.
Reasons to sell your guitar at Guitar Center
Let’s start with the simplest reason to sell to Guitar Center first. Going to a music store is a lot more fun than going to a post office or FedEx location, right?
If you need to pick up some strings or fretboard conditioner you can at least see what they will offer you for your used gear while you’re there.
And you don’t have to accept it if you don’t like the price.
But the biggest two reasons have to do with convenience. First, you don’t have to deal with listing an item online and then shipping it and possibly wasting more time with an insurance claim if the item is damaged in transit.
Second, you can get paid in one day so if you need money quickly it is a great option.
Other advantages are for cheaper guitars that may not be worth shipping or if you have a lot of gear to sell and want to take care of it all at the same time.
So I believe there are definitely some scenarios where selling to Guitar Center just makes sense.
Reasons not to sell your guitar at Guitar Center
So there is really only one major drawback to selling your guitar to a shop such as Guitar Center.
You’re probably not going to get as much money for your gear as you would like.
Just like most items at a mini-mart cost more than at a grocery store you have to pay for the convenience factor.
So that is a personal choice that you have to make for any instrument that you decide to sell. Which is worth more: your time or your money?
Places where you can get better deals for your guitar
There are plenty of other options to sell gear to shops such as pawn shops, independent music shops, or Music Go Round stores.
But if you are intent on wringing every penny out of your used guitar and time isn’t an issue then of course you are better off selling directly.
However, if you list your item on most online platforms you are going to pay a fee to the website and maybe some fees for the money transfer as well.
So a great place to start is offering your gear to your friends or even putting up an advert at a local music club that has a bulletin board for such things.
And there are some online options that are free too.
Craigslist is another classic and free/cheap option that you can use with a little caution.
Don’t just be a smart shopper; be a smart seller too.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.