If you have decided to sell one of your guitars you have to accept the fact that you probably won’t get what you paid for it. Or will you?
It depends on whether you’re a smart shopper or not and whether you bought the instrument new or used. If you got the guitar secondhand there’s a chance you may get more than you spent.
Nothing is more important than patience if you want to maximize your profit from selling a guitar. But selling locally, avoiding fees, and presenting the instrument in the best condition possible will make a big difference. And you can list your guitar for a premium price; it’s all about finding the right buyer.
Buying guitars as investments is smart but it’s not really fun. You should play instruments that you enjoy, not because they will retain their value.
So we will cover which guitars will likely sell for more but try to focus on what you can do to increase your profit no matter what instrument you plan on selling.
Factors that influence the price of a used guitar
Obviously, the condition of a used musical instrument is going to trump most other factors. But almost equally important is brand power and recognition.
Guitars that hold their value well are often Fender, Gibson, Martin, and Taylor. You may think those companies are overrated and overpriced but that’s just the way it is, even if you have a guitar that plays and sounds better.
Another factor to consider is the rarity of the instrument, for example, limited edition, special run, rare colors or finishes, etc.
Musical trends also drive prices. If a player or band gets popular and uses a certain brand or model of guitar the demand will go up. This one can be hard to predict but it can make a big difference.
Just think about how many Gibsons were sold because of Guns N’ Roses’ Slash or how many Fenders were sold because of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.
Most of these issues so far are exterior forces; let’s move on to what you actually have control over.
8 tips for selling your guitar for more
1. You should sell directly to a buyer whenever possible.
Selling to any middleman business will destroy any profit that you hoped to make.
If you have ever seen people sell guitars on the TV show Pawn Stars then you know what I’m talking about.
2. Sell locally if you can
Especially if you are dealing with a high-end guitar.
Shipping an instrument means a portion of the buyer’s money that they are willing to spend is going to the shipping company and not you.
And for an expensive guitar, you will have to include more charges for shipping insurance.
If the guitar does get damaged in shipping you may not even get the full amount back (reimbursement for repairs).
3. Sell on free platforms
There are obvious advantages to using some of the bigger online platforms to sell your gear but how much are you willing to lose in fees?
I suggest first trying sites that do not charge any fees or if you do decide to list your guitar on the big sites, also list it on the free sites and maybe you will get lucky.
Just remember to cancel all of the leftover listings when it sells.
4. Make your listing look professional
Make professional listings that reflect the value of your instrument.
Give all of the details that you think people will want to know and include plenty of great well-lit photos.
If your guitar has a special finish or limited-edition color that makes it special, be sure to mention it. And respond quickly if a potential buyer contacts you for more information.
5. Give your guitar a spa day
Do any work you can to increase the appearance and playability quality of your guitar. Clean and polish all of the body, headstock, pickups, input jack, controls, etc.
With a rosewood or ebony fretboard you can beautify it by using oil or fretboard conditioner (clean any dirt buildup off as well).
Put on new strings, preferably the gauge that the guitar was designed for.
For premium instruments, you may want to pay someone to set it up professionally.
These are all great selling points that you should mention in your listing and they will make a difference in the photos as well.
6. Patience is key
Be patient in order to get the most money from the sale.
Don’t try to undercut other sellers or they may just lower their prices again.
And if someone else sells their guitar first, just consider it one less competitor. If your asking price is fair, a buyer should eventually come knocking.
7. Upload a demo on YouTube
You can demo the guitar on YouTube.
I realize this one takes a lot of effort and some computer skills that not everyone has, but I think it can help you to get a better price.
It gives people the chance to see and hear the instrument at the same time and that has a great appeal.
You could link your sale listing to the video or if you have a popular enough Youtube channel you can mention that the guitar is for sale at whatever website.
The channel Trogly’s Guitar Show channel does this method and he sells used guitars for premium prices.
8. Catch opportunities
Be an opportunist jackal.
This one is probably ethically debatable but a lot of people do it so let’s discuss it.
Now I don’t really care much for signature guitars but a lot of people do.
I also don’t think that popular signature guitars are necessarily worth more in most cases, but there is one big exception.
When Eddie Van Halen passed away recently the used guitar market exploded with Van Halen guitars selling for huge amounts of money.
I’m obviously not saying you should buy a signature guitar and wait for the person to die, but if you have a signature guitar and the prices are up that is the time to sell.
And on a positive note, you may actually make someone really happy to be able to get an instrument like their favorite musician played.
Should you list your guitar at a higher price so buyers haggle?
If you want to list your guitar at a higher than suggested price and then accept offers I think it is a decent strategy.
Someone may buy it at the listed price or if they make you an acceptable offer and you agree, they will be happy that they got a deal and you will still make a nice profit.
Just don’t get too greedy!
How to avoid bringing down your price?
Any time or money you invest in getting your instrument ready for sale is value that you’ve added to the guitar. So if someone offers you an amount that you don’t feel reimburses you for your work then you can emphasize your investment.
Whether you want to offer a smaller discount is up to you but don’t sell yourself short. Wait for someone who appreciates the extra effort that you made.
Best places to sell your guitar
For maximum profit, you should start with options that don’t charge fees. You can use Facebook, or Craigslist.
If you don’t see any action after a few months then you can consider popular sites with fees like eBay and Reverb but you may want to adjust your price accordingly.
Just remember: good things come to those who wait.
If you want to expand on this, take a look at the following article:
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.