Does Guitar Center Buy Guitars? (Updated)

When we buy a guitar, we want it to be in our homes and a part of our lives for a long time, but sometimes – it’s time to let go. 

Does Guitar Center Buy Guitars

Nobody wants to leave their old guitar in the basement or get dusty in their bedroom, so one of the logical choices is to sell their guitar. 

When you think of selling your old guitar, you might have automatically thought about Guitar Center.

Guitar Center is a very popular store among musicians and guitar owners generally, so this makes perfect sense. 

But you might have thought – wait, does Guitar Center even buy guitars? Well, if you have asked yourself this question, you’re in the right place. 

This guide will examine Guitar Center’s operations. We’ll see if they buy guitars and if they do, is it worth you selling it? How would you do it? Are there any better options?

These questions and more are answered below!

What Is Guitar Center?

If you’ve never heard of Guitar Center, it’s probably best that we cover exactly who they are before we begin.

Guitar Center is a store that sells and buys guitar and music equipment. It’s a very popular store that allows you to visit one of their physical shops or you can do some of your shopping needs online. 

It’s popular for good reason. They have a lot of merchandise and they boast a great customer service, with plenty of stores across the US and Mexico. 

So, Does Guitar Center Buy Your Guitars?

They most certainly do. They will purchase pretty much all used and vintage guitar and music gear, so long as they’re working correctly. You can’t expect them to purchase a broken guitar though! 

Once you enter a Guitar Center and explain your desires to sell or trade in one of your guitars, a member of their team will take it for inspection and determine its functionality and price they will sell it for. 

Luckily – you won’t have to wait too long. They will do the appraisal, inspection and offer to you all on the same day and discuss your options with you.

There is no obligation to accept their offer if you feel it is a little below what you were expecting, so don’t panic about being out of pocket (or feel that you have to accept their offer!). 

Does Guitar Center Accept Trade-Ins?

Does Guitar Center Buy Guitars

This is another thing that Guitar Center absolutely does! But it is not just guitars that they accept trade-ins for. They will also trade in musical gear such as:

  • Bass guitars 
  • Amps
  • Drums
  • Keys and MIDI
  • Traditional and folk instruments 
  • Effect pedals 
  • DJ Gear
  • Recording gear
  • Live music equipment 
  • Others upon request and approval 

This is one of the major advantages that Guitar Center boasts. Imagine you’re planning a clear out of your home.

You’re tired of all of your old musical gear (that still works) simply cluttering up your home and you haven’t got the time or patience to wait to sell them somewhere like eBay. 

What do you do? Guitar Center! You can just pack up all of your things and take them down to have them examined and appraised with offers in a matter of minutes – and after that, you can take the money or their other offer and you’re done! 

What Do You Mean By Other Offer?

Guitar Center has a useful policy of trade-ins and sales.

You can either be offered cash (up to the value of $1000, otherwise they’ll have to write you out a check*), or they can give you store credit onto their prepaid Guitar Center card. 

There are of course advantages to accepting store credit rather than cash if you’re a keen musician.

They have plenty of items that are often difficult to find, and you may find that Guitar Center will offer you much more store credit than cash. 

After all, they are running a business! 

* Due to legal reasons, some Guitar Center stores cannot provide their customers with cash on the spot. These stores include Greensboro (North Carolina), Rockville (Maryland) and Saginaw (Michigan). 

How Does The Trade In Process Work?

It’s actually quite a simple process when you walk into one of their stores. The following steps will happen:

  • Make a trip with your equipment to your local Guitar Center. No booking or appointment is required to do this! 
  • Tell one of their friendly team what you would like to do.
  • They will take your equipment for appraisal by one of their specialist teams.
  • A member of their team will give you their offer of both store credit and cash/check.
  • You can accept their offer, decline their offer or negotiate with them for something you can both be happy with.
  • If you choose to accept their offer, your payment is given to you in cash ($1,000 or less) or check, unless you would like the store credit prepaid card.
  • If you choose to decline their offer, you simply take your equipment back home. No problem! 

Does Guitar Center Pay Good Money For Your Guitar?

Does Guitar Center Buy Guitars

There is no hard and fast rule for the amount that the store will pay for your gear, because everything is subject to their own checks.

However, if your equipment is in good working order and has no obvious damage, you can expect to see at least 50 to 60 per cent of the market value of the item. 

This is nothing to be sneezed at. It’s a decent amount of money when you consider the convenience of selling on the day and in minutes, along with getting rid of all of your old and unused musical gear. 

What you’ll need to bear in mind is that a specialist of their team will examine your item and give you a fair appraisal based on: 

  • The quality of the item 
  • The overall condition of the item 
  • The age of the item 
  • The popularity of the item 
  • The availability of the item 
  • Other factors subject to the item itself 

Before you walk into one of their stores, it’s best that you know exactly what your item is worth.

Not only will that help you know how much you should expect, but it will help you if you decide to haggle or negotiate with the amount you have been offered. 

Speaking of negotiating, typically – the store will not offer you more money for things like cases, boxes or additional accessories.

However, if you have these things and they are in great condition – it’s worth asking before they appraise the item, if they will offer you more money with these things as part of the package. 

It’s also worth knowing that vintage gear is always going to be worth more money and the appraisal will be a fair offer, but may be lower than what you can get in other places.

This service almost always tries to low-ball the offer to maximize profits, similar to that of a pawn shop.

That is why it is so crucial to know the market value of your items before you enter the store. The more you know, the better placed you’ll be to get the best price. 

Do I Have To Visit A Store Or Can I Sell My Guitar On Their Website?

Unfortunately, at this time – Guitar Center will only let you sell your items by visiting a physical store.

This is only because they’ll need to examine your items in person and it is not practical to send the items via post or via photograph for this to occur. 

Will Guitar Center Buy Damaged Or Broken Guitars?

Does Guitar Center Buy Guitars

Unlike some other stores and pawn shops, they do not accept broken or severely damaged items. They plan to resell your items and therefore, broken items are of no use to them. 

Some other stores will use the parts of broken or faulty equipment for other things – but Guitar Center will not do this.

So, if you were looking for something like this – you’d be better off looking elsewhere for your needs. 

The Pros And Cons Of Selling Your Guitar With Guitar Center

Probably the best way to analyze if it’s worth selling your guitar with the store is to look at pros and cons. We’ve made that easier for you below: 

The Pros Of Selling With Them 

We’ll start with the pros.

A Quick Sale 

Perhaps the best advantage of selling with them is that any and all of your items, assuming they’re in good condition, can be sold on the day as easy as pie.

There’s no need for an appointment, you simply walk in with your gear and get them appraised, agreed and sold – gone! 

Different Financial Options 

There are the options to be paid out in cash, check or store credit.

This can be a great option because some places will insist on a bank transfer or PayPal which can take some time. If you want the money quickly – this is the best way to do it. 

The Convenience 

Of course, like a convenience store – you may lose out a little on the price, but you gain for the simplicity and ease.

If you need something there and then, you have this option. Why bother waiting for something when you can have it now?

Great For Cheaper Items 

If you’re looking to get rid of a guitar that you know isn’t worth too much money, it’s probably better that you sell it in this format.

If you don’t, you may be waiting for a while if you planned to sell it via eBay or another avenue similar to this. 

The Cons Of Selling With Them

Does Guitar Center Buy Guitars

Now we move onto the downsides of selling with Guitar Center. 

You Won’t Get The Best Value 

You’re dealing with a buy and sell type business that wants to maximize its profits. Not only this, you’re receiving a convenience service – so you can’t expect to be given the full market value for your items.

As we mentioned earlier, you can probably expect between 50 and 60 per cent of the market value of your items.

This is not always ideal for people, but it’s one of those areas that you’ll need to weigh up. Do you want to get rid of your items quickly, or do you want to have the top price for them?

You Have To Visit Their Store

We all love doing things from home – but this service requires you to pick up your gear and physically take them to one of their stores.

While this might sound trivial, some of us don’t enjoy doing this and it can be a real grind if you don’t get the offer you were hoping for.

You’d have to clean up the item, take it to the store and then take it back again for it to be placed in the area you wanted it free from! 

They Do Not Accept Broken Or Faulty Items

It’s also not great that these stores do not take in any broken items or items that do not work correctly.

While you might be fully aware of your item not working, you might think it could be used for another item and you don’t want to throw it in the trash. 

So, if you’re hoping to recycle your item – this probably isn’t the best service for you! 

What You Should Do

Before you go to one of these stores, here are some tips to maximize your chances of getting what you want. 

  • Do your research: Knowing how much your item is worth online with its correct market value will put you in great stead for when they offer you their figure.
  • Clean up your items and make sure they’re working. Guitars should be tuned too. 
  • Take your accessories or extras with you and try to haggle for a better price. 
  • Be aware if they have anything in their stores that you might like to purchase. 
  • If you see something you like, consider accepting store credit 

What Are My Other Options?

If you do not like the offer they have provided, or your items cannot be sold because they are broken or faulty – you should consider these options:

  • Listing the item on eBay 
  • Attending a swap meet 
  • Visit a pawn shop 
  • Use Craig’s List 
  • Recycle your item with the correct service 

The Bottom Line

Guitar Center does indeed purchase guitars, but it might not be the best option for you. Before you do this, consider doing your research and explore other options and then make a judgment. 

Remember, it’s always going to be ultimately your decision whether you sell your item anyway. There is no obligation to do so, and there are plenty of options available to you. 

Good luck in your search!

Howard Matthews