Buying and Selling Guitars for Profit (Definitive Guide)

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by Erin Schollaert

Updated

Guitars are iconic and incredibly popular both as instruments and also as statement pieces in home decor.

Global guitar sales rose by 15% from 2019 to 2020, and all signs are pointing to buying and selling guitars for profit being a great business to move into.

If you’re new to the industry and aren’t sure how to resell guitars, you’re not alone!

These are some of the most important things to know before you break into this industry!

Can You Resell Guitars for Profit?

can-you-make-money-reselling-guitars

The short answer is absolutely! Guitars are coming back into style and have been the top instrument to learn for teens up to sixty-year-olds for the last sixty years.

Plus, there are no major restrictions in place to stop people from flipping guitars, so even making money as a teenager is possible with this opportunity.

ModManMike of Guitars You Dream About says that he bought and sold his first guitar within a couple of days.

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This was without any previous advertising, and he could make over $500 on this first sale.

Although not every sale will have such a good profit: knowing what you’re looking for and being fast at making deals can win you a big profit time and time again.

Another guitar flipper, Youtuber ‘The Tone King’, says that you can sell a guitar for far more than it’s worth by simply studying guitar values and how to sell it.

He advises also selling the work you’ve done on it as a service, such as also offering guitar tuning services.

After all, if someone wants their instrument professionally tuned, it can cost $50-$60 at the average guitar shop. Therefore, when it comes down to it, guitars are one of the best items to resell.

Current Guitar Reselling Market At A Glance

Guitars are quickly rising in value and price because of the push for people to lean into hobbies in recent years.

guitar-reselling-industry

In addition, many people are spending more time at home than ever before, which has led to more people needing something to do while they’re at home.

It’s also never been easier to get your hands on a lower-quality guitar.

This is awesome for beginners because it means they can practice on something that costs less than $300: yet many quickly become aware that there’s a huge difference in quality between these beginner guitars and good quality ones.

The good thing is that this means owners sell many guitars for less than they’re worth because they don’t research beyond the current price landscape.

This means that resellers can quickly snatch up these underpriced guitars and move forward with reselling them for even more.

Online guitar purchases skyrocketed, with many companies claiming that they’re selling over a thousand units a day.

This is a huge amount of sales, and they’re not slowing down.

What Guitars Should You Flip?

The top selling used guitars are easily recognizable brands. Gibson, Guild, and Seagull are the top brands selling in 2021.

Although Fender saw a rise of 14% revenue in the last couple of years, their guitars don’t resell as easily because they’re so common.

Electric vs Acoustic

There’s a lot of difference in opinions between the importance of electric or acoustic guitars, but one thing to keep in mind is that more can go wrong with electric guitars than acoustic guitars.

So if you’re not sure how to replace or buy pieces for electric guitars, and you’re more familiar with acoustic ones, work with these nonelectric guitars until you gain comfort in recognizing them.

Marketing guitars as beginner guitars can be an awesome way to sell non-branded instruments as quickly as possible, but they’ll have far lower profits than recognized brands.

If you can source a guitar capable of both, acoustic-electric guitars can offer the largest turnaround of profit if you can manage to get them for a low price. People love the flexibility of these instruments, plus they’re interesting to beginners who want to start strong.

Where Do You Buy Guitars to Flip?

best-places-to-buy-guitars-to-flip

If you want to buy guitars for cheap that you can sell for a large profit: you should avoid major retailers or instrument shops.

These businesses know the value of their instruments and will often research them to get the largest profit possible.

Unfortunately, that means there’s little chance of reselling these for any income.

Instead, seek out guitars from people who may not know what they have or may price them low because they need to sell them as quickly as possible.

Best places to find guitars to flip include:

  • Second-hand stores
  • Listed on local Craigslist ads
  • Facebook Marketplace ads
  • Yard sales
  • Flea Markets
  • Local newspaper listings

These allow you to find instruments listed for less than their original price and far less than their resale value, which gives you the chance to make a good deal.

Some guitar flippers make money on eBay by both buying and selling guitars on the platform, but you need to carefully read the listing before you purchase on any site where you won’t see the guitar in person before you pay.

Keep in mind that any poor purchases you make may leave you with major losses, considering guitars you buy will usually cost between $50-$300, so don’t leave yourself open for too much loss.

Best Places to Resell Guitars

There are a few different places to sell guitars; these can range from in-person to online platforms such as eBay and Mercari.

Try to avoid selling to shops or second-hand stores because they will aim to buy it at the lowest price possible so that they can sell it again for far more money.

Instead, try to sell directly to consumers. You can do this by selling at markets that allow you to host your small shop or opening a shop of your own. To avoid overhead costs, you can sell online.

The best online marketplaces for resell shops are:

best-places-to-resell-guitars

Tactics for Success:

  • Be aware that if you buy a guitar from a marketplace like Facebook or Craigslist, you may not want to list the instrument in the same platform. If your seller can see you relisting it for more than you bought it for, they may try to report you or spam your listings with comments or replies to make it look bad.
  • Don’t lie in your listings, be honest, and post information that can be verified. Otherwise, you can lose money from bad reviews and reduced sales.

Should I Flip Nonfunctional Guitars?

Flipping nonfunctional guitars can give you a mixed bag of results. Although many people love guitars for their looks and as art, it’s not always possible to sell guitars for this type of price.

It is possible to buy guitars and sell them when they’re nonfunctional, but it’s a good idea to try and go for mostly functional instruments.

When you try to sell nonfunctional guitars, please pay attention to the aesthetic and its era.

You can sell a nonfunctional guitar as art at a high price or even for parts of the brand that is common enough that it’s popular.

Tactics for Success:

Search for guitars that work or have small enough issues that they should be able to be repaired. If you’re not sure if an instrument can be corrected or made functional, try to do a little research beforehand. Getting used to how a device works and finding the way to correct the issues can allow you to buy more nonfunctional guitars (that many flippers will pass on) to fix them and sell them for bigger profits.

How Quickly Can You Sell Instruments Online?

Wanting to ensure your products sell as quickly as possible is important in making a turnaround on your investment. But, unfortunately, many factors can affect how well or quickly a product can sell.

Factors that slow your sales down:

  • How competitively is your pricing
  • What is the quality of the piece?
  • What is your rating on the website?
  • How good are your pictures
  • What type of area are you in?
  • The time of the month

It’s important to keep in mind that although some of these factors are outside of your control, there’s a lot you can change or affect through work.

In addition, instruments aren’t cheap to invest in, so make sure that what you purchase will gain value.

Some sites like reverb see an average turnaround of seven days while selling on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reselling Guitars

It’s easy to make mistakes when selling guitars, so it’s a good idea to be aware of what you’re doing and how it will affect your profits.

In general, you should be honest with what pieces you have and try to sell them at competitive prices that still allow you to profit.

Bad Pictures Kill Sales

Take clear, well-lit photos so that your listing stands out and avoid any personal items in the background.

You don’t have to take pictures on a white background, but ensure that whatever is in the shot looks stylish or well maintained.

This will allow your items to seem high-class and valuable to buyers, even if they’re older.

List at Better Times

Try to list your items closer to the beginning of the month, and pay attention to the day of the week and time of day.

For example, it’s better to list your items for sale on a Thursday evening or Friday around noon at the beginning of the month, when people will have more money and more interest in buying.

How to Ship Guitars

Shipping guitars can be a lot of risks, especially if you don’t have a hard case for the instrument. It’s a good idea to loosen the strings as much as possible for shipping and then thoroughly wrap the guitar in packaging paper.

From here, use a smaller box that’s more fit to the guitar’s size and package it in there with packing paper or foam.

Pad a large box, and then place the smaller container inside there, ensuring that there’s at least an inch of padding on each side.

You can ship with almost any service, but make sure that the item is marked as fragile and that it’s a service you trust.

Wrapping Up

Whether you grew up listening to rock, pop, country, or r&b: guitars have had a hand in almost all modern music.

So if you’re passionate about guitars and want to inspire new musicians and ensure these guitars live on for longer times: flipping them is an awesome way to make money while supporting music and instruments.

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About the Author

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Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.