There is a point in everyone’s life when they become convinced that with the right instrument and maybe some practice, they are destined to be the next great musical influence of their generation. If you have never believed you had it in you to be the next Bob Dylan, Eddie Van Halen or, dare I say it, Taylor Swift, then you probably have no idea why pawn shops are filled with so many gently-loved musical instruments. You see, those of us who have had this dream seek it with everything we’ve got. And usually, all we’ve got is some cash, a dream and the on-again, off-again ability to keep a beat.
This means two things.
- You spend all the money you have on an overpriced, brand new instrument with all the accessories. You are in this for the long-haul and the smart thing to do would be to invest in a top-of-the-line musical instrument. Little do you know that by “long-haul” you mean for the next three months until you realize your real passion is base jumping.
- You are slightly brighter than You #1 and realize that buying a second-hand instrument is the smart choice for a beginner. Buying used will help you determine what brand and style of instrument you really want, and how dedicated you really are to your new craft.
Buying and Selling Used Musical Instruments
While we can’t say we haven’t been blinded by the shining lights of Scenario 1, Scenario 2 is clearly the better choice. Regardless, both scenarios create the supply and demand behind why so many used musical instruments are bought, sold and pawned.
If you have contemplated selling the keyboard your kid swore up and down they would practice everyday but haven’t touched in three years, consider selling to your local pawn broker. Since used instruments typically move off the shelves quickly, your local pawn shop will likely be interested in making you an offer. Folks often try to sell instruments on sites like Craigslist only to find the process of dealing with the unregulated transaction to be more of a hassle than the instrument is worth.
Selling to your local pawn shop is not just easier but will also take the frustration of dealing with lowball offers out of the process. It is true that you should still expect to negotiate with the pawn shop, but they will be straightforward and offer you a fair price while keeping in mind their profit margin. In addition, at the end of the interaction you walk away with cash-in-hand whereas on Craigslist you may find yourself messaging back and forth with people for days before you even arrange a meet-up… where you still may or may not make the sale.
On the flipside, if your 5th grader wants to join the school band and they are sure that their future holds nothing for them but the sweet sound of an alto sax, please visit your local pawn shop. You owe it to yourself and your retirement fund.
Some pawn shops specialize in certain items such as guns and ammo or electronics. However, you can typically find used instruments in most any pawn shops. Before you head out, call around to local shops and ask about their current inventory. If you find a shop with an instrument that fits what you’re looking for, be sure to do some research before heading out to the shop. eBay is a great place to look up prices ranges for a variety of used instruments.
If you’ve finally given up on your dreams of having the hair and the voice of Jon Bon Jovi, it’s ok. You’re not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Do yourself a favor, bring in that dusty guitar and get yourself some cash. If you are on the other side of the equation and dream of quitting your mid-level accounting job with aspirations of being the newest drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, get yourself a used drum set and some lessons before turning in your 2 weeks’.