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Buying And Selling Used Trumpets – What Should You Do?

There is always a risk in buying a used instrument. And especially so with something like a trumpet. There are also some risks involved if you have a trumpet to sell. It could cost you money if you set the price too low. You may not even sell it at all if the price is too high.

Buying and selling used trumpets is something that needs to be undertaken with care and some thought. Let’s take a closer look at both situations.


Buying A Used Trumpet

Buying A Used Trumpet

If you have been looking at the prices of a new trumpet, then you will know they can be an expensive instrument to buy. That is one of the reasons you might be considering buying a used trumpet.

Buying For Cost Reasons

With an instrument like a trumpet, there are plenty of manufacturers making some very cost-effective instruments. However, not all of them are particularly good. Some are what you might describe as almost unplayable. But if you are on a budget, then cost is going to be important. A used trumpet could be the way to go.

The Big Advantage

Buying a used trumpet allows you to get a better quality instrument at a cheaper price than you would have to pay new. Obviously, someone who has upgraded their trumpet or has just ceased to play has no more use for it. 

They are usually willing to sell it at a discounted price rather than leave it to collect dust in a cupboard. However, if it is not stored correctly, the quality of the instrument will deteriorate to the point where its value will fall.

Used Price Reduction

It will depend on the condition, both cosmetic and from a playing perspective. But you will be looking at a price reduction of between 15% and 70% off the new price. You will also have to consider the brand and the model. 

Some trumpets will hold their price more than others. Yamaha and Schilke are especially known for having a high resale value because they are quality instruments. I won’t even be discussing Monette trumpets as a used option.

A Discontinued Model

The other reason you might be contemplating buying a second-hand trumpet is to get hold of a model that may have been discontinued. However, those occasions are quite rare. 

Manufacturers bring out new products and will discontinue, over some time, selling the trumpet the new model replaces. They will want buyers to focus on the newer models. 

You may sometimes find these instruments at discounted prices. They can appear in a variety of outlets, sometimes on eBay. Although not strictly a used instrument, they are going to be available at cheaper-than-new prices.

The Downsides

As with buying anything that is used, there are some potential downsides. Buying from an advertisement or a local shop is the best option. At least you can go and see it and play it or get someone who knows about trumpets to take a look.

However, whether you buy second-hand privately or from a dealer or retailer, you won’t get a warranty on the instrument. There may be an odd exception, but generally, a warranty will only apply to the original owner. From day one, you will be responsible for any repairs or maintenance. And if you buy one with a problem, it may cost a bit to fix it.

Online Scams

Unfortunately, there will always be some unscrupulous people around. That doesn’t apply just to trumpets; it applies to just about everything. 

If you buy second-hand online from eBay or similar, extra care is needed. You will usually be able to check the seller’s record through the site where you found the instrument. This won’t apply to sales sites like Amazon or similar as they actually possess the instrument.


You may well have heard the stories about people buying an item online, and it doesn’t arrive. That is always going to be a risk. However, reputable sites that sell items have certain procedures in place to reduce the potential for fraud. 

These days it is less likely to happen, but it is always advisable to be careful and watch out for scams. A warning signal can sometimes be the price of a used trumpet

Too Good To Be True

If you see an instrument where the price is too good to be true, then it’s time to take special care. You can assume that the seller will have done their homework to look at what the instrument should sell for. If it is significantly cheaper, then alarm bells should ring that there might be something wrong with the deal.

Of course, it could also be that the seller needs to make a quick sale for personal reasons. There will be some genuine reasons for a very competitive price.

The Cosmetics

I have already mentioned it, but cosmetics are important. When buying a used instrument, you cannot expect it to be in pristine condition. All users will be different, and some will have taken great care of the trumpet. Others might not have been so careful.

But you can expect some scratches at least. This will not affect its playability, but it will affect how the instrument looks. You just expect that with a used instrument. And with instruments that are metal-based, probably lacquered, appearances can easily be affected.

What Should You Consider Minor Damage?

I would describe minor damage as things that may affect the playability of the instrument or have a significant effect on the cosmetics. These might include:

  • Small dents.
  • Realignment of valves.
  • Repair and replace any defective soldering work.

In the case of those issues, you will need to decide how you proceed. Assuming you are made aware of these defects precisely before buying, you will need to assess the cost of the repairs. Sometimes it may be less expensive to buy a new trumpet. Or a used trumpet from a recognized brand with no repair issues. 

You will have to buy this trumpet, go through the potential hassles of the repairs, and then pay for them. Is it still significantly cheaper, or will it be a similar price to new or better quality used?

More Serious Problems

These might come in a variety of issues that are all quite serious. Some of these issues might be:

  • Large dents.
  • Cracks in the bell or elsewhere.
  • Rust.

In those cases, it might be better not to make the purchase at all and keep looking. Buying a used instrument is fraught with potential dangers. But they are potential dangers. Not all used instruments have major problems. 

And even the minor ones can be very minor. If you are on a budget, a used instrument can be the way to go if you are upgrading or even buying for the first time. 

Buying And Selling Used Trumpets – Examples 

Buying And Selling

Here are some available currently, although this can obviously change overnight:

Those are two used trumpets from recognized brands. As you can see, the difference between the new and used prices is quite small. I did mention that trumpets from a preferred brand will hold their price. Those prices might still be too expensive for some. 

An alternative is buying a new trumpet package

Eastar makes excellent quality trumpets for the price, and they come with a warranty. I’ll include this Eastar Bb Standard Brass Trumpet Set for Students as a guide. 

There will be cheaper used trumpets around than the two I have included here. Having looked at buying a trumpet and what to look for, let’s talk about selling one.

Selling Your Used Trumpet

If you have bought yourself another trumpet, possibly upgraded, then you can get some of the investment back by selling your old trumpet. There are several options you have as to where you try to sell it. Where you sell it may affect how quickly it sells and also the amount you might get for it. Let’s consider some of the options.


This is certainly one of the most convenient ways of selling an object for some people. You can do it from home as long as you have a computer and are online. 

  • It will get seen by plenty of people, probably more than any of the other options. 
  • People who are looking for a used trumpet can “zone in” on your instrument.
  • You can set a price or have an auction for it.

The only real effort you will have to make is packing it securely and taking it to the postal or courier office. And whilst on the subject of dispatch, in your eBay ad, it is often a good idea to offer free delivery. It may cost you a bit, but it is a selling point.

The Downside

If there is a potential downside, it is that you may have to wait to sell it. This will depend to a certain extent on how desirable the instrument is and the price you have set. 

And eBay does have some, at times, rather awkward rules to follow about various things, including how and where you get paid. Millions of people make successful transactions using eBay. Perhaps I was just the unlucky one.

Facebook Marketplace

Another organization with a less than glamorous profile these days. To many people, they have their positives about selling using Facebook Marketplace.

  • Many of the people who see your ad might be local.
  • The trumpet can be collected if they are local, saving on postal or courier services.
  • Fewer restrictions on placing your ad.
  • Potential buyers can go straight to the sections on trumpets.

The Downside

People expect cheaper deals on the Facebook Marketplace than on other sites like eBay. And, of course, it is somewhere that scams can quite easily take place. 

This is made possible by the lack of regulations controlling what is going on. A Facebook problem in many areas, not just buying and selling as we all know. Although being the seller, you are less at risk.

Second-Hand or Pawn Shops

There are some advantages to buying and selling used trumpets through a second-hand shop or a pawn shop. The deal can be done immediately, and you walk out with your cash. There is no waiting for a customer to buy it if you choose that route. 

Although, in some places, you can arrange a fee for the shop to sell it on your behalf. In that case, you will have to wait for your money.

The Downside

It is unlikely you will get anywhere near the valuation you place on the instrument. These shops are not in the business of offering fair deals. They are there to make money and so will buy at the lowest price you are willing to accept. 

Nothing wrong with that as long as you clearly understand how it works. A further downside is that it is unlikely the employee or owner of the shop may be up to speed on trumpets. It is likely they won’t recognize its full value anyway, which is an added problem when negotiating.

Quick cash required, then yes. If you want a decent price, then no. Let’s move on now to what some may see as a preferable way to sell their trumpet. 


Reverb was founded in 2013. It has now become the preferred online resource for buying and selling musical instruments for many musicians, amateur and pro. It is a vibrant community for those selling and buying that covers the globe.

There is a service team that understands your instrument, and it has e-commerce tools set up for musicians and instruments. This is a music community that deals and works with each other. 

Some buyers go to Reverb with a good idea of exactly what they are looking for. But others are either just browsing or are looking at various options. An excellent service with no strings and a better way of selling musical instruments online.

The Local Music Shop

The Local Music Shop

If you are fortunate to have a local music shop, then this is also a good alternative. Maybe you have dealt with them already, and they know you. If they sold the instrument to you or serviced it, they will know your instrument.

Not all music shops buy used equipment, but it is always worth asking. They might not follow this potential income stream as policy. But if they know you and the trumpet, they may make an exception.

Price Negotiation

As always, they will be looking to buy at the most cost-effective price for them. However, at least you will be dealing with someone that knows what they are looking at. And therefore they can make an offer to you appropriately. Another advantage is that if you can come to a deal, you will leave with the cash in your pocket.

Pricing Up Your Instrument

Always a tricky thing to do. What you want and how much a used trumpet is worth might not always be the same thing. As with all these things, it doesn’t matter what it is; it is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Two Approaches

  • You can set your price and then wait for someone to buy. This could take a little time.
  • You can set it at a very cost-effective price for a quick sale.

You will need to do a little research first. Go to sites like eBay and check what the exact and similar items have been selling for. Then go to other sites and see if there is a similar instrument for sale and how much it is. After that, you can set your price.

On eBay, you could set a small reserve and have an auction. That can be a little risky because the market then decides what it is worth, not you.

Interested in the Trumpet?

We have you covered. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Student Trumpets, the Best Trumpet, the Best Pocket Trumpets, the Jean Paul USA TR-330 Standard Student Trumpet, the Mendini by Cecilio MTT-L Trumpet, and the Yamaha YTR-2335 Bb Trumpet for amazing trumpets you can buy in 2023.

You might also enjoy our handy articles on the Best Trumpet Brands, the Best Online Resources and Lessons for Beginner Trumpet PlayersHow To Clean A TrumpetHow Much Do Used Trumpets Sell For, and The Greatest Trumpet Legends for more tantalizing trumpet information.

Buying and Selling Used Trumpets – Final Thoughts

This is not always easy in either area. My advice is that if you are buying, then buy sensibly from a place you are happy with and can trust. Also, check out the instrument as far as you can, whether in person or online.

Or, if you are selling, then choose a good place where there are people who know what they are talking about. Plus, set your price realistically.

Take as much care as you can, and things should work out well.

Until next time, let your music play.

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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