It isn’t always easy saying goodbye to instruments you love.
But there almost always comes a time in a musician’s life when it becomes necessary to sell their babies.
It isn’t always necessarily sad. Sometimes it’s to pay for an upgrade. At other times it’s to buy some other piece of hot gear.
Whatever the reason, if you’re looking to sell musical instruments right now, here are the best places to do exactly that.
Reverb is focused exclusively on new and used music gear. This clear focus makes them the go-to choice when it comes to selling your music instruments online.
Their website is simple and beautiful, if a little cluttered. But they’ve made it easy to find what you’re looking for. And that makes for a positive experience for sellers and buyers alike.
They’re also Google friendly, and Reverb listings often show up in search results.
Unlike other eCommerce stores, marketplaces, or classifieds sites, Reverb has a clear focus. And that means whoever is visiting Reverb is more likely to be a prospective buyer or seller. That helps you get your used goods in front of the right audiences.
Selling On Reverb
Reverb is quite friendly to sellers. There’s even a prominent “Sell Your Gear” button in the header, right next to the search bar.
Reverb has been built with selling musical gear in mind and is quite friendly to the community. That also means people looking for new and used gear are more likely to come looking for specific instruments, and it’s not limited to a local audience.
Reverb can handle shipping for you, and that’s another major plus. If you need any support, the Reverb team is there to help.
Reverb is also transparent about the fact that, when you sell anything on their site, you keep 92.3% of the total, which is generous to say the least.
If you don’t know how to promote your listings, not to worry – Reverb has their own selling guide that can help you put your used gear in front of the right prospects.
If you’re struggling at any step, or don’t understand anything, Reverb has helpful guides and live support to assist you at each step of the journey, regardless of any issues you might encounter.
Reverb is there to make the process of selling and delivering your musical instruments as straightforward and as simple as possible, which is a huge plus.
Layout & Design
As noted earlier, Reverb’s website layout is nice, if just a bit cluttered. That’s quite common with sites like these, mind you (as you’re about to see).
The product pages are quite strong, however, as they feature a clean, modern, high-converting eCommerce layout.
Pictures are displayed prominently on the left-hand side, where users can scroll through the images to see what they’re buying.
On the right-hand side is the title (name of the instrument), along with the price and “Add to Cart” buttons.
Reverb has a prominent search bar in their header, along with several common categories for products – guitars, pedals and amplifiers, keyboards and synths, recording gear, drums, DJ and audio gear, and more. You can even hunt around for gear by brand. That makes their site highly searchable.
Overall, Reverb has a strong user experience, both for buyers and sellers. And that makes it one of the best places to sell your musical instruments online.
We certainly can’t say that Reverb goes above and beyond in this area, but they do a few things to create trust with buyers and sellers.
First, there are no glaring omissions or errors on their site. Always a good start, right?
Second, they have a secure URL (as is expected for any legitimate eCommerce site).
Third, they have a “Buy With Confidence” badge on the individual product pages.
Fourth, they have apps on the App Store and Google Play. If they weren’t serious about their business, that’s not something they would do.
Beyond that, Reverb has obviously been around a while, they have an active presence on social media, and they maintain an email list. All these things are credibility indicators.
eBay is an old guard consumer-to-consumer eCommerce site. “Weird Al” Yankovic called it a “worldwide garage sale,” and that description seems apt.
What used to define the eBay experience was the ability to bid on products you’re interested in, sometimes getting them at a significant discount.
While some items are still up to bid, there are many new and used items available for immediate sale on eBay too. And that makes it feel a lot more like a typical eCommerce store, like Amazon, especially now that you can find products in a variety of categories – collectibles and art, electronics, entertainment memorabilia, fashion, home and garden, motors, sporting goods, toys and hobbies, and a great deal more.
Selling On eBay
Because of eBay’s site layout, it might not be immediately apparent that there’s a small link that reads “Sell” in the upper right-hand corner. But that’s where you would get started as an eBay seller.
When you click on this link, you are brought to a page where eBay educates you on how their site works. The basic process includes listing your item, getting seller protection, and scheduling payouts. On this page, you will also find detailed advice on how to create a listing that stands out. Very helpful.
Creating a listing, though, is kind of a longer process. First, you are asked to search for a product and add relevant keywords. Second, you are asked to identify a match. Third, you’ll be prompted to specify the condition of the instrument. And from there, it follows a relatively standard process (creating a user account if you don’t have one, making the product listing, etc.).
Still, we find this to be a little cumbersome and confusing. If you’re determined to sell on eBay, you’ll find your way, but it seems like it could be a little easier.
Also, putting your gear to bid can sometimes help it earn you a little extra cash, but most of the time, that’s not the case. I once sold a Japanese comic book collection on eBay, expecting to get a lot more from it, and any profit I made ended up getting eaten up by shipping fees.
eBay charges two types of fees on every purchase. First is the insertion fee. This is not applicable unless you’re posting 200+ products per month. Unless you’re running a store, you probably aren’t selling that many items on eBay.
The other fee is a final value fee. When an item sells, eBay charges a percentage of the total amount of the sale, plus $0.30. This fee depends on the item. For musical instruments, especially guitars and basses, the fee comes to 5.85% on the total amount of the sale (up to $7,500 per item), and an additional 2.35% on sales over $7,500.
Layout & Design
eBay was originally founded in 1995. As one of the oldest sites on the internet, they’ve had time to change and evolve with the times. Their site does look a lot more modern than it used to.
That said, it still has a bit of that old, “broken” feel to it. We understand the design and layout choices based on the type of site it is, but there are just so many nested menus and product listings that frankly it gets a little overwhelming.
Some elements, like site width, aren’t always consistent either. Again, there might be a reason behind some of these choices, but we noticed.
This issue is not unique to eBay, and it’s fair to say that many modern eCommerce and classifieds sites struggle with organizing their content in a streamlined way. When you have multiple templates and thousands of listings, it doesn’t really get any easier over time.
It works for eBay, though, and that’s probably good enough for them.
Layout and design play an important role in your overall experience, and likewise, the people who might be interested in the instruments you’re selling.
Given how big the site is, you might need to actively promote the products you’re selling on eBay to get any bids or purchases, and that’s something to be mindful of if eBay is where you’re planning to sell.
eBay itself is trustworthy. But many a customer has purchased goods from eBay only to end up shocked or unhappy with the results.
For instance, there was someone who bought an iPod on eBay thinking they were getting a great deal on it. But somewhere in the fine print, it said that the buyer wouldn’t be getting an iPod but rather a picture of the iPod, which is exactly what they ended up with.
Obviously, that’s something for buyers to look out for, not necessarily sellers. But when you’re looking for buyers to sell your instruments to, that can be a factor (do they trust you?).
Overall, though, eBay has a lot going for it in this regard. Their site has been around for over two decades. They have a money back guarantee. They accept payments from all major credit card providers, as well as PayPal and Google Pay. They have a help and contact page (knowledgebase), as well as a Norton badge, indicating the site’s overall security (expected, but reassuring).
Craigslist, like eBay, is one of the O.G. online classifieds sites. Go to their website, and you will automatically be brought to local listings.
Ask 10 people what they think of Craigslist, and you’re sure to come up with mixed opinions. That’s because your opinion of the site will largely be determined by what your experience of it has been like – whether that’s “awesome,” “great,” “useless,” “weird,” or otherwise.
There are all types of listings on Craigslist, and there’s no denying that people have used it in unique, strange, and interesting ways through the years.
That said, it has an engaged user base, people are often looking for great deals they can take advantage of. Plus, many people have found them.
Selling On Craigslist
Selling on Craigslist is a lot like selling on any other classifieds site. You create new listing and fill out all relevant details – title, price, city or neighborhood, postal code, description, model name / number, make or manufacturer, condition, size / dimensions, and your contact information.
There are a few additional checkboxes you can utilize depending on the type of listing you’re making:
- Accept cryptocurrency payments
- Delivery available
- “More ads by this user” link
In this regard, Craigslist is quite forward thinking.
Of course, you would upload relevant media as well. Not having pictures is certainly going to affect how many people get in touch with you about your offer.
Generally, there are many people scanning Craigslist for new deals daily. That means you probably won’t need to put a lot of promotion behind your offer.
That said, Craigslist may not be the most utilized classifieds site in your locality. You won’t really know for sure until you try.
If you don’t seem to get any response from your listing on Craigslist, it could be that no one is looking for what you’re selling, but it could also be that no one is using Craigslist where you live. In which case, it might be worth trying Facebook Marketplace and other classifieds sites or apps.
Layout & Design
Craigslist has made the intentional choice to stick with an old school design. White background, blue links, black text, and grey backgrounds for sidebars and titles. Because of that, the site loads fast. And I can’t imagine they have any intention of changing any time soon.
Although we can’t say the same for the site’s inner pages, the homepage is easier to use than that of eBay’s. Product listings are displayed grid style and will fill your screen. These could be better organized (Facebook Marketplace does a better job). The sidebar is convenient for customizing your search.
Then, the listing pages are just as minimalistic as the homepage, if not more so. It kind of gives off a “cheap” vibe, for better or for worse.
At the end of the day, it’s a pros and cons situation. The pros outweigh the cons, at least to the extent that the site is fast loading and easy to use. The main con is that the site isn’t exactly visually stimulating.
Craigslist itself has a track record of over 20 years, and that certainly earns them some trust points.
They also have a “safety” page, along with some recommendations to ensure you have a good experience using Craigslist.
So far as buying and selling are concerned, that’s mostly up to you. If you’re selling a product, it’s always good to make sure your prospective buyers have money to spend (and to ensure your overall safety), and if you’re buying, it’s not a bad idea to ask to look over and test the products before making the final purchase.
Virtually no one selling used goods offers a money back guarantee or accept returns. Sales are generally finally.
Facebook Marketplace is a relatively new development compared to the others, but in Facebook’s continued efforts to become the internet, it seems a logical next step for them to take (will they overtake Craigslist or eBay one day?).
The Marketplace is a classifieds site through and through, and you can easily find local listings without even needing to specify your location. You can extend your search beyond, though.
Product categories include vehicles, property rentals, apparel, electronics, entertainment, family, and a great deal more.
In terms of communication, Facebook utilizes its own built-in Messenger system, which is not without its flaws, but we certainly can’t deny its overall convenience.
Selling On Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace has a top-level category for “Musical Instruments.” That’s always a plus.
You can post multiple photos of your product (or multiple products as the case might be – I saw a listing of someone selling five guitars at once). We would recommend using this feature to show all sides of your product, nicks, scratches, gashes, and all. Transparency is the best policy when selling used instruments.
You can create a brief product description for the items you’re selling, tell users what condition the product is in, and indicate your location.
I live in a city of about 150,000. Not small, but certainly not big. And even in a city of this size, I found a ton of listings for guitars, keyboards, pianos, amps, brass instruments, stringed instruments, and a great deal more.
I wouldn’t expect any different from other classifieds and eCommerce sites, but what this should tell you is that unless people are looking for the specific instrument you’re selling, especially in your locality, they might not be buying from you.
And that also means you might need to actively promote your listings.
Communication is handled via Messenger, which is fine I suppose. I still think of it as an inferior WhatsApp, LINE, or Telegram myself, but it’s worth mentioning as it directly impacts the user experience (buyers and sellers alike).
Layout & Design
It’s Facebook… and that’s a pros and cons situation if there ever was one.
Overall, we find Facebook has done a good job with the design and layout, using their existing infrastructure, but organizing listings in a logical way.
The site is cluttered, and it certainly seems like they could remove a few onscreen elements (less is more), but we can’t deny that their site is still more usable than eBay or Craigslist.
All your search options are conveniently in the left-hand sidebar, including a search bar, and products organized by category. These categories all have fun icons next to them, and that’s a design choice we can get behind.
Product listings dominate the right side of the screen, but the way they’re displayed seems to make a lot more sense than how they’re organized on Craigslist.
The inner (product) pages are practically the same as any media on Facebook. The picture(s) and / or video(s) dominate the left side of the screen, and on the right side, you can find product details, seller description, location, and seller information. Of course, you can message them using the provided form.
How much do you trust Facebook…?
Again, this is a point of contention, especially these days. Social media sites are starting to delete and ban posts or users they deem as fake or misinformed, and that includes Facebook. Obviously, this hasn’t been great for everyone.
But Facebook does have a lot going for it. It was founded in 2004 and it had an estimated 2.89 billion active users in 2021. That’s noteworthy.
The Marketplace is more of a classifieds site than anything, though, so what I said about Craigslist certainly applies here too. It’s always good to take necessary precautions when buying or selling online. Do your due diligence, regardless of which side of the sale you’re on.
There are many other places you can potentially sell your instruments.
Canada, for example, has Kijiji. It’s like Craigslist, except with a little more class and strong user adoption.
You can often sell instruments back to guitar or music stores. And this has some advantages in that you can get store credit, but if you’d like to get more money for your prized instruments, you’d be better off selling them independently than going through a music store.
And if you’re thinking a little outside the box, you might be able to sell your instruments on your own blog or website.
This always comes with the warning that, if you’re selling online, you should ask for money before delivering the package. Otherwise, there is always the risk that you won’t get what you’re owed.
What Is The Best Place To Sell Musical Instruments?
For a lot of reasons already mentioned, we feel that Reverb is the best place to sell your musical instruments online.
eBay has certain advantages, but they don’t serve musicians specifically, and their site is so cluttered, and has so many listings, that if you don’t create a listing that’s accurate with the right title and description, it may not even be discovered by potential buyers.
As for selling locally through classifieds, we suggest trying both Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace (though Facebook Marketplace offers shipping options too). Your success will largely depend on your locality. Depending on where you live, people are going to be more active on one or the other. And in some cases, they might be more active on some other classified site or app, so take note.
Top Places To Sell Musical Instruments, Final Thoughts
Whatever your reason for selling your instrument(s), we wish you all the best. We hope you’re able to sell your guitars or basses or drums (or whatever you might be selling) for a fair price. Money isn’t everything, but it sure can’t hurt, right?
Ultimately, it’s up to you where you sell your musical instruments. You could even explore options other than what we’ve shared here and come to your own conclusions. Either way, we thank you for trusting us with your time and energy.