Music is a great hobby or career, but too often, many people think they need to shell out top dollar for quality equipment, while some believe that they are stuck with their instrument forever once they’ve taken their interest as far as it will go. This is far from the truth.

Whether for yourself, your child or as a gift, your local pawn shop is a great resource to get started in music, or a place to sell an instrument that is only gathering dust. You can easily buy and sell all kinds of musical instruments in a pawn shop, including guitars, drums, flutes, violins, even pianos.

Before you take the leap, however, there are some things you should know before buying or selling a musical instrument at your local pawn shop. Keep reading to find out what steps you should take to get the most for your dollar.


It can be a difficult decision to sell a musical instrument; for many people, there are a lot of emotions and memories attached, not to mention the tons of options of how to sell for a fair price. While some automatically turn to websites like Craigslist, there are many risks involved, such as finding a buyer who wants to low-ball or doesn’t appreciate the value of your item.

If you’re looking to get a fair price and quick cash for your instrument, a pawn shop is the logical choice. However, there are some things you should know. Whenever you sell something to a pawn shop, you must keep in mind several factors. When it comes to selling musical instruments, here are a few additional factors:

  • Determine the base value of your instrument by searching recent completed auctions on eBay, or by taking it to a music shop and getting it appraised; this will give you a good idea of what to expect. However, don’t forget that a pawn shop cannot pay full value; they will need to make a profit on virtually every item in the shop. Expect around 40 – 60% of its value.
  • Presenting your item with original packaging, a case, extra strings or other accessories can help you get a better deal. Track these items down before taking your item to your local pawn shop.
  • Clean your instrument before bringing it in; the more attractive the item, the easier it will be for your pawnbroker to resell it.

Luckily, musical instruments tend to go quickly at pawnshops, and the more prepared you are when you go in to sell, the more likely it is that your pawnbroker will be willing to make you a deal. Also, they will be willing to negotiate; the more you know about your instrument, the better prepared you will be.

Selling your instrument to your local pawn shop is far less hassle than trying to unload your instrument on websites or apps; unregulated transactions like these take time and effort, and more often than not are frustrating experiences. On the other hand, selling to a pawn shop means dealing with helpful, knowledgeable professionals, and can get you cash in hand in minutes. Also, if you happen to change your mind shortly after selling, you can buy your item back.


Buying a gently-used instrument is perfect for the beginner musician or for trying out different instruments. You will keep your investment costs low, which you can then put into lessons or high-end accessories. Also, the low cost of buying used means that you can experiment with different instruments to find out which one is perfect for you.

Your local pawn shop is an ideal place to find your next instrument. It is wiser than buying online; while you may find slightly lower prices, you are taking a gamble on quality or, worse, on receiving stolen property. Pawnbrokers carefully inspect everything they have on hand, and deal only in reputable merchandise. Most pawn shops maintain a huge inventory of all kinds of musical instruments. While this means that you will have a variety to choose from, it also means that you must do your due diligence when purchasing your next musical instrument.

You should study the instrument carefully and make sure that it hasn’t been excessively refinished. While you can always restring a guitar or violin, for example, things like warped fret boards or cracked pegs are red flags. Additional warning signs for brass instruments are discoloration, rust, or broken hinges.

If you are able to, play the instrument a little in the shop. Be careful not to annoy your fellow customers, of course, but if you know how an instrument should sound, playing it a little bit can tell you a lot about the quality. This all goes back to doing your homework before heading into your local pawn shop. If you need to, you can always bring someone more knowledgeable as a guide; together with your pawnbroker, they can help you find the perfect instrument.

Some additional good news about buying your next musical equipment at your local pawn shop is that their vast inventory is usually made up of top brands, due to the large number of people who go-all out when buying musical equipment, only to end up pawning it down the line. Also, because instruments and accessories come and go fairly often, you can check back often if there is a particular item that you want. For example, one of the most commonly pawned items is an electric-guitar and amp combo; with a little patience, you may be able to score the exact combo you’ve had your eye on.

While some pawn shops specialize in things like jewelry, guns, or tools, most pawn shops will have a huge inventory of musical instruments. Chances are good that your local pawn shop is a musician’s playground. If you are in the market for an instrument, you owe it to your wallet to check out your local pawn shop. Come check out our inventory today.