How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

Thinking of finally selling that guitar sitting in the corner? Maybe you or someone else bought it, but for some reason, it didn’t gel with you.

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

Perhaps you outgrew that instrument and bought a better-quality one? Whatever the reason you might have, you’ve not decided that it’s time to get rid of your old six-string.

It doesn’t even have to be a six-string – guitars come in all shapes and sizes, no judgment here!

You’re probably wondering how you should approach this whole process. You want to do it right, after all. Guitars are not cheap, and as such, you want everything to go smoothly.

Everyone involved needs to be happy, and that includes you and the buyer. Lucky for you, by the end of this post, you should know everything you need in order to sell your old instrument. 

Selling your guitar is not as easy as it may seem at first glance. There are lots of things that you need to consider before actually beginning the process.

With so many options available in today’s market, there is no shortage of choices for potential customers.

Here, we’re going to go through the process from start to finish. This includes preparing your old guitar for sale, how to actually sell it, and shipping!

Bear in mind, some details might be different depending on where you’re from, but the general rule should be the same wherever you are! Now,  onto the good stuff.

Are You Sure You Want To Sell It?

This isn’t meant to put doubt in your mind, you just need to be sure! There’s no point in keeping something just for the sake of keeping it, but you also don’t want to regret your decision.

Before you do anything else, you need to be sure that you want to sell it. There will be people out there who will want it, and you can’t just take it back if you change your mind!

This decision is completely up to you, and no one else should influence your decision. Make the right one for you!

Preparing The Guitar To Be Sold

If you’re still reading this, you’ve probably decided that you do want to sell your guitar. That’s great, but now the work starts. There are a couple of things you should do before you get ahead of yourself.

In order to actually sell your instrument, there are a specific set of rules to follow. These rules will help you a lot – and you’d be surprised by how quickly your guitar could get snapped up.  

Do Your Research

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

The first thing you need to do is research. Every guitar will have its own nuances, and it’s your job to find out everything you can.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve had it for ten years or ten minutes – do the research. You might find out a lot more than you were bargaining for!

If you can prove that you know everything there is to know about the instrument, you can convey that information in a way that’ll help you get it sold.

Not only that, but you don’t want to come across as being some schmuck that doesn’t know what they’re talking about – you need to be trustworthy!

Showing that you know a lot about the things you’re selling is a great way to do exactly that.

While doing your research, you also need to find out how much your guitar is worth.

Instead of thinking of how much you paid for it, take a look at sites where others might be selling the same guitar.

Head on over to Reverb, eBay, or even Amazon! There, see if you can find another seller with a guitar like yours, and see how much they want for it.

This is a great way to determine how much you should be asking for your own instrument. 

You can bump up the price a little if your guitar has barely been used, too. Naturally, the wear or use of the instrument can decrease its value, but not by too much!

If you know that you’ve only used the guitar a couple of times, you have every right to add to the asking price.

Just be careful with this, since buyers will likely be naturally attracted to the cheaper prices. Don’t go too high!

Cleaning

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

Next, you will need to get your guitar looking as good as new. If you’ve barely used it, this won’t be hard.

However, if you’ve had it for a couple of years, and it has been well-loved, you could have your work cut out for you.

Clean your instrument as well as you can, and make sure to keep all the parts clean. Some guitars will require a bit more effort, but most instruments shouldn’t be difficult to clean.

If you really want to give your guitar an extra boost, though, you can invest in a cleaning kit.

A few drops of water mixed with a small amount of cleaner (like Simple Green) can get rid of any stains on your instrument.

Be careful when using these, however; too much water can cause damage to any wood. Use them sparingly and test them out on something else first!

You should also clean the guitar’s case and get it looking brand new again. The case should be getting sold with the instrument!

Make sure you clean it thoroughly, so you can remove any dirt or residue from it.

Wipe everything down inside and outside, and then put it back together. No one wants to buy a guitar that looks dirty or broken.

Photographs

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

The most important thing you can do when selling anything is to take good photographs.

To do this, natural lighting is king. It might sound fun to use LED lights or some other cool lighting effect but don’t.

Natural light gives the most honest photos, and honesty is key. If you use another lighting, it could have an effect on the color, and it could even look washed out.

Stick to natural lighting and get those crisp, clean images that you would want to see. 

You don’t need to do anything too interesting with your angles. Just take pictures that show potential buyers exactly what they would be getting.

You shouldn’t be trying to trick anyone, because that will come back to bite you. Be as honest as possible, and don’t try to hide anything.

Use photographs that tell the whole story, but still try to make it appealing to the eye.

Keep An Eye Out For Inquiries 

When you’ve posted your guitar for sale, you will need to watch out for messages and inquiries.

Without a doubt, people will have questions, and it’s up to you to answer them.

This is also a reason why you should know everything there is to know about your instrument. You never know who is going to ask what questions. 

When questions do come through, you need to be on the ball. You want to sell this thing after all, right? The more helpful and timely you are, the more likely you are to get a sale.

No one wants to sit around waiting for a seller to get back to them. Be attentive from the moment your guitar goes live and be there to answer any and all queries.

You have no idea how much the person at the other end of the line will appreciate it.

Selling Your Guitar For Cash

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

Are you ready to do some selling? Now you have to decide how and where you are going to sell your instrument. You can either sell online or offline.

When you go to sell your guitar, you need to consider where you should actually look, and where you will only waste your time.

Depending on where you live, there might be a number of local stores that would be more than happy to take it.

If you don’t live near a store, you may want to go to a larger chain like Guitar Center or Sam Ash. Both places specialize in guitars, and they both have national reputations.

They would both be able to help you find someone interested in buying your guitar.

If you’re not willing to travel a great distance to sell your guitar, though, you’ll probably want to look into online listings.

In fact, many sellers now prefer to sell their instruments online rather than face-to-face.

One of the reasons why is because they can offer a lot more money, and they can avoid dealing with the hassles of being faced with customers who aren’t very excited.

No matter which way you choose to sell your guitar, keep in mind that you need to create a system for yourself.

That means having a set time every day, or week, that you dedicate solely to selling your guitar. This isn’t something you can just “wing” by doing.

If you’re serious about selling your guitar, then you need to put in the work. Otherwise, you risk losing interest, and you could easily lose your investment.

Sell It Online

Selling online can be both very easy and very difficult. A lot more goes into the whole process of selling online.

This is because you need to create a listing, take all your photographs, answer queries, and eventually ship it out. It takes a lot more effort to sell online than it does if you were simply going to a music store.

But if you want to make sure that you’re getting top dollar for your instrument, you’ll definitely want to do so. So, while it’s easier, you still need to devote a significant amount of time to selling online.

Go To A Local Store

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

Selling your guitar in-store is often the easiest option. This is because you typically just walk into a store, and the exchange happens.

Of course, you still need to prepare your guitar as well, but you also won’t have to worry about shipping. You can usually find a few different stores within a reasonable driving distance.

While this is typically the easiest option, you might also not get as much money as you could from selling your guitar.

Some music stores, like the Guitar Center store, have a  Trade-In Trade-Up program. Here, Guitar Center buys guitars and, as well as some other musical gear and equipment, back to you.

This can help you get savings on trade credit, though this can depend on what promotions are happening and what store you’re in.

Most places will accept basses, acoustic, and electric guitars. Not only that, but if you have any unwanted guitar amps and other similar objects, you can sell them there. 

You should speak to a sales associate in the store you want to sell to in order to sell your guitar. Then, they will check your instrument to get an idea of its condition, as well as the brand.

If you have a rare guitar, you could get a lot of money. More common instruments will fetch a lower price. The price can also increase or decrease based on what other guitars the store stocks. 

After the associate has made their assessment, they will go to you with their offer. It’s up to you to decide whether you would like to accept or decline it.

All the research you did should give you an idea of whether they’re trying to rip you off or not, though this is pretty unlikely.

Still, you need to be happy with the offer you receive. If you accept it, you will get the money that same day, so there’s no waiting around.  

It’s important to remember that Guitar Center is not the only store you can visit to sell your guitar. Plenty of other stores do trade-ins, and there are likely plenty in your area.

Feel free to try a couple different ones to see which one will give you the amount you’re hoping to receive.

Again, you are likely to receive less money from your instrument if you sell it in a store, so if you’re looking to make some real money, online is the best way to go.

Selling A Guitar Online – Everything You Need to Know

A lot goes into selling your guitar online. We will go through everything you need to know in order to sell your guitar successfully.

From which sites to use, to how to create the listing, everything you need to know will be right here!

Which Place Is Best?

First thing’s first – where are you going to sell your guitar? 

  • eBay – this online store has plenty of users, estimated to be around 182 million, according to Statista. Posting on eBay should get you loads of traffic, and you should be able to sell your guitar in no time. However, since eBay is so popular, there’s also a good chance that your post will get lost in a sea of similar ones. This is especially the case if what you’re selling is a popular item. Your listing can also get shown according to your eBay rating, which you have no control over. This means that new sellers, or anyone with bad reviews, could be avoided by potential buyers. This site also takes 9% of the profit, and it’s pretty rare to pay full price for an item. Everyone loves a deal.
  • Amazon Used – this could be a good call if you have a very popular type of guitar. For rare ones, however, Amazon Used might not even accept you. See, this website only allows you to sell items that are already being sold on Amazon. If you have a model or brand that Amazon doesn’t sell, you won’t be able to sell your instrument there. Depending on the guitar you have, this can either be an excellent choice or one that isn’t even an option.
  • Reverb – this site can open a lot of doors since it sells all kinds of things. From DJ equipment to amps, drums, pedals and, you guessed it, guitars. Reverb only sells music gear, but there’s plenty to go around. While Reverb isn’t as popular as eBay or Amazon, the people who use it know exactly what they want, and they know the value of instruments. You will get fewer viewings on the listings you make, and it could take a while, but at least it takes a smaller cut of the profits than eBay does.

How To Create An Online Listing

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

Need to know how to create an online listing? We’ll go through everything down below.

Honesty – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Firstly, you will need to come up with an honest description of your guitar. What can it do? What can’t it do? People will eventually find out if you lie, so always stick to the truth 100%.

Include the brand, when it was manufactured, its features, specs, and anything else you can think of.

Everyone wants to know what they are getting themselves into before spending any money. The more details you can give in the description, the fewer questions you will have later.

Make sure that you include any damage to the guitar, even if it’s just a few scratches. Honesty is the best thing, and everyone will appreciate you more for it.

Make sure to mention any noticeable scratches, dents, or wearing. Even include a picture of it, so people don’t think they’re getting ripped off.

This is one of the most important things. You need to allow people to be able to trust you, and how can they if you don’t give them proof?

Besides, a scratch here and there just means the instrument has character – everyone loves that.

Title – this is simply the name of the listing. Make sure it’s easy to read and includes the brand, year of manufacturing, etc. It’s not necessary to put an actual title on the picture, but it would be nice.

Price – this is where you list the price of your guitar. Start low, and work your way up. Figure out what seems right for your instrument.

Remember, the lower the price, the higher the demand, meaning that you will get more views.

Conversely, the higher the price, the less demand, meaning you will get fewer views. There’s nothing wrong with starting high, though, just don’t let it go too far.

The Importance Of Photographs 

Make sure that you include photographs of the guitar from all angles in natural lighting. Show off the best parts of it, including frets, neck, headstock, hardware, and other components.

You do not, and in fact, should not edit your photos. No one cares about special effects.

In anything, adding any kind of effects to your photographs could make you seem unreliable since color correction could have taken place, too.

It’s better to use high-quality raw photos so o=people know exactly what they’re getting.

If you don’t own a camera, you can just use your phone to take pictures, it’s all you need!. Just make sure that you include a few close-up shots of the various parts of the guitar.

This will help buyers see what they are buying. If you do own a camera, then take as many pictures as you can.

As well as the close-ups include pictures of the instrument as a whole, including from the front, back, and sides.

You can even choose some interesting angles, but don’t go too crazy!

Any Added Extras?

You should also include whether there are little extras included in the purchase. This can be music, guitar picks, or anything else that could be useful.

If you can add some extra things that you won’t be needing anymore, your listing will look more appealing. This means that it could get sold even quicker!

How To Pack For Shipping

How To Sell A Guitar: The Complete Guide

All right, if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve probably sold your guitar! Someone on the great wide web has expressed their deep love for it, and now all you need to do is get it to them.

But… How do you do that? A lot goes into the entire shipping process, so get ready to take notes. 

Remember To Loosen The Strings

Okay, you will want to loosen the strings. It might not make sense at first, but loosening the strings will protect the frets as the instrument travels.

Fretboard tension is not fun, so after loosening the strings, be sure to place cloth beneath all the strings. Move the cloth until it covers the full fretboard. 

It’s a small thing, but doing this can help keep the frets in good condition. Good condition means that the buyer will be happy with their purchase.

That means that everyone will be happy. It’s worth it, I promise. 

Use That Guitar Case

You should have a case for your guitar, and it’s going with the instrument. The buyer will, without a doubt, appreciate the case being included, unless they expressly say otherwise.

Using the guitar’s original case is the best, but this isn’t always an option.

If you don’t have the original case, fine – just get a case that will fit it. Doing this will protect the guitar on its travels. 

This is especially important if you know that it will be traveling a long distance. The delivery method can also be essential, but we’ll get into that a little later.

If you can’t find a case or don’t have the money to buy one, you can still manage. Just be sure to pack the guitar very securely.

Bubble Wrap!

Bubble wrap is fun to pop and play with, but it serves a purpose, too. Get some bubble-wrap and start wrapping the instrument.

Start at the head of the guitar and work your way down. Two layers should suffice and will go a long way in protecting the guitar as it travels.

You’ll be surprised by how often instruments are broken just because they weren’t bubble-wrapped. It can save a whole lot of trouble, so it’s worth that little money you have to spend to get it. 

Pack Extra Tight

To ship your guitar, you’ll have to get a special kind of box.

You can get them from a number of places, but ULINE  has a decent selection that will fit any kind of guitar, including basses, acoustics, and electrics.

Fill the box up with things like eco-friendly packing peanuts if you can. You shouldn’t be able to wiggle the guitar.

If you can move the guitar within the box, you need to add more to it. The tighter the box, the more secure it is. 

Reliable Shipping

Finally, the shipping company you work through can be incredibly important. Of course, this will also depend on where you live and where the guitar is going, but try to do some research.

There may be companies that don’t have the best reputations. If they don’t have a good reputation, then they might not care about your package, and it could get damaged or worse.

Pick a company you trust. This will give both you and the buyer peace of mind, and that can go a long way.

Final Thoughts

You have reached the end. Hopefully, your guitar is now sold, and the new owner is happy with their purchase.

Selling a guitar isn’t easy, and anyone who says it is is either lying or magical. Don’t let the stress take over, though, it’s a small thing.

Keep calm, and everything will work out well. Good luck!

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘How To Play The Electric Guitar Through Headphones‘.

Howard Matthews