November 3, 2008

5 Ways to get Top Dollar for Guitar Center Gear Trade-ins

For the past several years I've been using a Mackie 32 channel/8 bus analog mixer (the 32.8 one) in my studio. It's been great, I have many fond memories of projects created on that mixer from start to finish, but times change.

Unfortunately, as I accumulate more and more gear, space is at a premium and the mixer is one of the biggest things in the room. From time to time, I'd eye the mixer suspiciously, but then think better of it and reprimand myself for ever having such blasphemous thoughts; just like any good christian boy would.

yoga position

The time has come my friends. I do all my mixing the the box these days. I do say I want a revolution, and I don't give a damn who wants to change the world!

So I tried selling the mixer on craigslist. But as I suspected, very few people have that kind of money lying around in case they come across a beautifully gigantic analog mixing console on craigslist.

That's when it hit me: at some point in every musician's life, we realize that we need to get rid of some piece of gear and Guitar Center is probably the only place that will buy it.

Mackie 32.8 at Mixtake Recording Studio

I've had good trade-in experiences with the people at Guitar Center and I thought I'd share it with the world! Here are 5 ways to get top dollar on Guitar Center trade-ins:
  1. Get a general price point on the internet - My advice would be to search craigslist, and ebay to see what the general price is when the item is used. Then check the retail and list price on or musiciansfriend (which is owned by guitar center).
    As a general rule Guitar Center will pay about 25% of list price for gear trade-ins. This is something the manager of my local Guitar Center told me - of course, it assumes the gear is near perfect condition.
    You can sometimes get more if the item is in high demand (though in these cases you're usually better off selling on eBay or craigslist)

    note: If you're selling an instrument to Guitar Center, it may be a good idea to have it appraised by someone at that Guitar Center before you go about selling it to them. If you're happy with the appraisal it'll be a strong case for why you should get that price.

  2. Call up a different Guitar Center - This is the next step in your research on how much to ask when you go to actually make the sale. Once you ask your local Guitar Center how much they're willing to give you, that's it. You only get one chance so arm yourself with good info!

    This is a trial run. Pretend you're calling your local guitar center, tell them you're interested in selling the gear and describe it - just like you would to your local GC guys...

    You want to ask them two questions:
    • How much can they give you for it - in dollars, not goats ;)
    • What factors would influence how much they're willing to pay

    Make sure you mention and problems with the gear as well as any potential selling points, don't be afraid to ask for elaboration!


  3. Don't forget to mention you'll be spending money - If you're like me you're probably going to turn around and buy more gear anyway... so wait until you have a reasonably sizable purchase to make.

    Very often, if you mention that you're planning to spend a sizable chunk of the money they're giving you for the item during the same transaction (a trade rather than them just giving you cash), you can get more for the item. If you're nice and friendly about it they'll often times give you a discount on the gear you're buying as well!

    Which brings me to my next point...

  4. Know the names of the staff - to quote the famous Dale Carnegie,
    "Remember that a man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language."
    People really do appreciate it when you recognize then and remember their names. This is the first step toward a good relationship with the folks at Guitar Center, which can benefit you both greatly!

  5. Make sure the item looks good and works well - First impressions are very, very, super-extraordinarily important! Get that baby dust-free, polished, buffed, waxed, oiled, tuned, and whatever else needs to be done to make it seem as great as it really is.

    Someone is going to examine and test/play your item long before they commit to buy it, so make sure they're really impressed with how nice it is.

That's all folks, good luck and good night!

© 2008 Jim Robert