Is Guitar Center Used Gear Legit for Guitars?

A lot of people can’t always afford to buy a brand new guitar and sometimes it’s perfectly reasonable, considering you can get the same guitar slightly used for much cheaper. 

This is where stores like Guitar Center can be a great resource but are they trustworthy?

In short, yes, Guitar Center is a reputable and trustworthy retailer when it comes to buying used gear. They’ve been around for a long time and they also won’t buy items that aren’t in good enough condition to resell.

They have however been known to sell some of these used items as new, leaving buyers with scratched or tarnished guitars that they paid full price for. 

Equally tarnishing their reputation in this aspect. But let’s get into it a little deeper

Is Guitar Center Used Gear a good place to buy and sell guitars?

Well, let’s start with the first question: 

Is Guitar Center Used Gear a good place to buy guitars?

That may depend on who you ask because experiences vary. Some people may recount a horrible experience with them while others recommend Guitar Center highly. 

But when it comes to facts, most of the time you can get a good guitar in the Used Gear section.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure that though:

  • Inspect the guitar yourself
  • Ask them to let you play it first before you buy it
  • Check how it feels to hold and play the guitar before you decide whether you want it or not
  • Know what it’s actually worth on the open market because they might have a markup on it that’s beyond reasonable

At the end of the day, Guitar Center is a business and it would be poor business practice to scam people, that’s not to say that their employees don’t try their luck. 

Being that they’re a business, they’re in it to make a profit, so they might hike the price on a guitar that’s not worth what they’re selling it for.

With that in mind, you do get the comfort of physically getting to test out before you buy, but if you know your stuff, you can usually bring it up and try to haggle them down a bit. 

We actually have a good article on haggling, you can see it here:

Second Question: 

Is Guitar Center Used Gear a good place to sell guitars?

Guitar Center usually offers up to 60% of the market value for used guitars. 

This may not be as much as if you sold it online, but it’s pretty reasonable considering how simple and quick it is to sell. 

You can just walk in and have your Guitar evaluated and they’ll make you an offer.

Some things will contribute to a better offer and most of it is down to cleaning and caring for your guitar before you take it in to be evaluated.

Guitar Center will pay up to $1000 for used gear. If it’s more than that, then you can get the rest in trade-in value. 

However, some sources state that you can get a cheque if the value of your guitar passes $1000.

Can you get good deals on guitars from Guitar Center Used Gear?

You can. But you should always be informed about what you’re buying. 

My best advice to you if you want to get a good deal going to Guitar Center is to go in, have a look at something you want and then look up the specific model and make of that guitar so you know its worth. 

That way you can make sure that you won’t get sold something overpriced. 

Sometimes you might even strike gold and find something priced way below its worth by an employee that just doesn’t know what they have.

That actually happened to me with one of my first guitars, they were selling a $1000 guitar second-hand for $150.

Is Guitar Center Used Gear a safe place to buy and sell guitars?

Considering that they’re a widely known retailer and considering that they have been around for a long time, it would seem obvious that they would want to be a safe place to buy and sell.

While you may not get a great deal as far as selling goes, you’re pretty guaranteed that you won’t be getting scammed

The closest thing to a scam that could happen would be buying a guitar without fully inspecting it and only noticing a key flaw after. 

The same applies to having a guitar to sell. You’re not going to get robbed or scammed, but in order to prevent underselling, you should know what it is that you have and what it’s worth before you head in to make a sale.

Does Guitar Center Used Gear offer buyers and sellers protection?

In a sense, they do. They have return policies that allow you to return your gear within a period and get a full refund. 

This excludes shipping fees and handling charges and comes with the condition that it’s returned in its original condition.

This offers some protection because if you’re unhappy with what you ordered or if you bought a guitar and found that you didn’t like it, you can at least return it. 

The return period goes up to a maximum of 45 days and allows for returns made for any reason, not just defects.

I would say the difficult part of returning something would be if it konked out on you within those 45 days because it’s difficult to prove that sort of thing. 

In that sense, no store provides that much security, as far as I know.

At the very least, you’re assured that you aren’t being scammed at a Guitar Center and buying what you think is a Gibson, only to discover it’s a Sanchez or something. 

And since it’s a physical retailer, you won’t have to worry about ordering and not receiving your purchased item.

Alternatives to Guitar Center Used Gear for buying and selling guitars

I’ve written an in-depth article on a couple of other alternatives, so I’ll list them here in short:

  • Sweetwater
  • Reddit
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • OfferUp
  • The Gear Page
  • eBay
  • Craigslist

There are also brick-and-mortar alternatives:

  • Music Go Round
  • 5Miles
  • Fender Musical Instruments
  • Sam Ash Musical Equipment

It’s important to remember that these alternatives are noted because the key to getting a good deal is to look around and have options. You don’t want to just walk into the first place you go and sell your guitar.

It can also be said that it doesn’t always matter where you sell but how you sell- in this case, it’s not so. Some retailers will give you a better deal than others and some are more open to bargaining than others, so look around before you decide.