So, the time has finally come. You made the decision to sell your guitar. Whether you are selling it because you want to upgrade to a better model, you simply never play it anymore, or you need some money, there are some things that you need to know.
That’s why I decided to give you some advice on selling a guitar that will ensure you get the price you want and that you can get it sold. So, let’s get started and find out what you need to do and what you can expect.
How to Sell a Guitar – Pre-Sale Preparations
Before you can sell your guitar, you first need to get it in tip-top shape. That means you will need to clean it and make sure all the components are in proper working order.
We are going to assume you are selling a functional guitar that has some value to it. As opposed to some dirty old beater you might find at a garage or yard sale. Some things you will be able to do on your own. However, there are certain things you will need a guitar professional to help you get up to speed. But let’s begin with the DIY stuff first.
Getting Your Guitar Ready to Sell by Yourself
As I said, you will need to clean your guitar. Thankfully this is something you can do by yourself. All you need is some kind of guitar cleaning solution. It’s always better to use dedicated products than using dish soap or wood oils. So, let’s take a look at…
Guitar Body Cleaning Options
Thankfully, there are affordable options out there to help you clean up your guitar and get it looking spiffy. For example, this Jim Dunlop Body & Fingerboard Cleaning Kit or this MusicNomad All-in-1 Guitar Cleaner.
You will probably need some cleaning cloths for the job. It’s recommended to use microfibre cloths rather than old rags. A nice option is this Microfiber Guitar and Instrument Cloth in a pack of three.
Of course, you can go all out and get a great cleaning package such as this Fender Guitar Super Care Kit Bundle. It may cost a little more, but bundles like that one have everything you need to clean a guitar, acoustic or electric.
Guitar Hardware Cleaning
Those items just mentioned are for cleaning the body and the fingerboard. But that’s not all you need to clean on your guitar. You also need to make sure all the hardware components are in working order.
This includes the tuners/machine heads, volume/tone knobs, selector switches, and cable jack. If you are selling an acoustic guitar, you will only need to worry about the tuners. But, if you are selling an electric guitar or an acoustic-electric guitar, all those parts need to be attended to.
Let’s start with the tuners
First, check the tuners manually. Do they turn easily or not? If not, you will need to use some lube to help clear out the gunk. This is especially true for open-back tuners.
There are specialized guitar tuner oils you can buy. However, an easy DIY option is to use vaseline or petroleum jelly. Just don’t use very much of it, or you will have a mess on your hands, literally.
Electric Guitar Hardware Cleaning
After the tuners, you need to make sure all the knobs and switches move smoothly. If they feel sticky or you hear static/distortion when turning the knobs, they probably need a good cleaning.
You will need to use a chemical cleaner that is designed for electrical components. One such product that is recommended by Fender for cleaning the electronics is DeoxIT. You can also use this to clean the input jack.
When it comes to cleaning the pickups on a guitar, we suggest simply wiping them down with a clean microfiber cloth. Don’t use any lube or oils on the pickups. If there is debris on or around the pickups, use a dry toothbrush to scrub it off and wipe it away with the microfiber cloth.
Professional Help When Selling a Guitar
I’ve covered the things you can do on your own to get your guitar ready to sell. Next, we need to look at the areas where you are likely to need professional help. Usually, we refer to this as a Professional Guitar Setup.
This will mean going to your local guitar shop, where a guitar pro will inspect and set up your guitar. Typically this involves adjustments to the bridge, nut, and truss rod to make sure the intonation is correct.
Additionally, the people at a respectable guitar shop can repair any loose wires in the pickups or electronics. Furthermore, if you need to replace any hardware on your guitar, it’s best to leave that to the experts. This could be a pickup, nut, bridge, or tuner replacement.
For more information about setting up your guitar, have a look at our handy guide on Professional Guitar Setup.
How To Sell A Guitar – The Basics
Once you have your guitar cleaned up and firing on all cylinders, it’s time to find out what it’s worth. Your first clue is the make and model of your guitar.
What is your guitar worth?
For the major players, you can search on their website to see how much a new version of your guitar costs. You may also be able to check the price of your guitar if you know the year it was made.
Some of the big names in guitars are Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, Yamaha, Gretsch, Ibanez, Washburn, Martin, and Guild. Each of these have dedicated websites where you can look up the prices of various guitar makes and models.
If you know the make, model, and year of your guitar, an easy avenue is to search for a similar one that is for sale on the internet. This should give you a quick little idea about how much you can sell your guitar for.
Ask the experts
Another option is going to a guitar or instrument shop and asking for an appraisal. Just make sure you go to a legit business that won’t try to low-ball you on the actual value of your old guitar.
Where To Sell Your Guitar
After you have an idea about how much you can expect to get for your guitar, you need somewhere to sell it. The first stop on your list should be local music shops. Simply walk in with the guitar you want to sell and ask the people if they are interested in buying it.
It’s important you know the price range your guitar can fetch before you try selling it at a music shop. Most independent music will want to negotiate a price that’s favorable for them if they are interested in buying your guitar.
The Old Standby
Furthermore, if you live somewhere with a Guitar Center nearby, that is a great place to sell your guitar. But, keep in mind Guitar Center will usually give you a trade-in offer. Meaning they will give you store credit that goes towards the purchase of another guitar or instrument at Guitar Center.
The same might be true for a local guitar shop. You are more likely to get store credit or a straight up guitar swap than you are to get cash in hand.
How To Sell a Guitar Online
If you can’t find a guitar shop that wants your guitar, or you can’t seem to get the price you want, there’s always the internet.
Some people say that selling a guitar online is easier than trying to sell one to a guitar shop. That might be true, but it will require a lot more effort on your part to make sure your guitar sells at the price you want.
Make Some Eye Candy
You will need to advertise your guitar online. That means you will need pictures and all the relevant information about your guitar. Take about 10-20 different pictures of your guitar using natural light.
You need full-body pictures of both the front and back, along with close-up pictures of the pickups, tuners, headstock, bridge, soundhole (for acoustic guitars), and input jack.
It’s also a good idea to have pictures looking up and down the neck. And if you are selling an acoustic guitar, include a picture of the manufacturer’s tag inside the body, making sure prospective buyers can read the details.
When selling a guitar online, try to give as many details as possible about the guitar. The most important guitar specifications you need to include in an online listing are:
- Make/Brand (examples: Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, Squire).
- Model (example: Telecaster, Les Paul, dreadnought, slimline, concert).
- Body, neck, and fingerboard wood (examples: Alder, Spruce, Mahogany, Maple, Rosewood)
- Nut and bridge material (examples: plastic, urea, bone).
- Number and types of pickups (examples: single-coil, humbucker, piezo, transducer).
- Types of tuners (examples: vintage, closed-back, Grover, locking).
- The fact that it has recently been professionally set up (as long as that is the case?)
- Asking Price.
Don’t give details about yourself or why you are selling it. Always stress the condition of the guitar. Use words like “Excellent Condition,” “Well Maintained,” or “Treated With Care.”
If you are selling the guitar with a case, make sure you include that information in the title. Be sure to state if the case is soft or hard. It should look something like this in your listing, “Fender Telecaster 1952 Reissue with original hardshell case”.
Where To Sell a Guitar Online
So, now your guitar is clean and properly set up. And you have your pictures, product description, and asking price all sorted; it’s time to list your guitar online. There are plenty of options for selling a guitar online. But we are just going to go over a select few.
The online auction site is one of the best online guitar options. One reason why eBay can help you sell your guitar is that there are close to 200 million users on the site.
Therefore, you have a large potential customer base. The time between when you post your guitar and when it sells is not going to take very long, unless you are selling a popular item that already has numerous listings on the site.
While eBay is a great option, there are some downsides. For example, if there are multiple listings for the same guitar you’re selling, you have competition and may need to lower your asking price to make a sale. Also, eBay will take 9% from the amount of your final sale.
This is a site dedicated to selling only music gear. As a result, you are less likely to run into the same level of competition as eBay. Likewise, the users and the site will know the value of the guitar you’re selling, so you will get fair value.
Furthermore, you pay a lot less than the 9% required on eBay. But, there are some negatives. The site doesn’t get anywhere near the traffic as eBay. So, it may take a significant amount of time before your guitar gets sold.
A really great option for selling a guitar online. The best part of Craigslist is that it doesn’t cost you a thing to list your guitar and sell it. You will need to decide if the price is negotiable or not, and you will need to include that information in your post.
You will also need to respond to messages and offers as quickly as you can. The only thing that Craigslist does for you is host the listing. Everything else must be sorted out by you. That includes communicating with possible buyers, handling the shipping and delivery, and of course, securing your payment.
Other Online Options for Selling a Guitar
Those sites listed above are the most commonly used websites for buying and selling guitars. However, there are a few others worth mentioning.
- Facebook Marketplace.
- Guitar Center.
- Music Go Round.
- Cream City Music.
Interested in Upgrading Your Guitar?
We can help you find a new guitar that’s right for you. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Acoustic Guitars Under $300, the Best Left-Handed Acoustic Guitars, the Best Jazz Guitars, the Best Blues Guitars, the Best 12-String Guitars, and the Best Hollow And Semi-Hollow Guitars you can buy in 2023.
If you are selling a guitar and need some replacement components, we can help with that. Have a look at detailed reviews of the Best Electric Guitar Pickups, the Best Humbucker Pickups, the Best Grover Tuners, the Best Electric Guitar Strings, the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings, and the Best Guitar Strap Lock currently on the market.
How to Sell a Guitar – Final Thoughts
Well, there you have it, what you should do before you sell your guitar and where you sell your guitar. Hopefully, this article gave you a better idea about everything involved in selling a guitar.
One final tip I think you should know if you’re selling your guitar online is to make as many listings as you can and contact as many shops as you can. Don’t post your guitar only on eBay and just wait for someone to buy it. You will need to let as many people know as possible if you want to sell your guitar for a fair price and within a reasonable timeframe.
Until next, the very best of luck with the sale of your guitar.