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Musical Instruments Selling Guide

Tags:  selling | music | instruments | guitar | amplifierWrite a guide!

Got an instrument collecting dust? Advanced beyond your instructional DVDs? Gone from flute to saxophone? Ready to upgrade to a Fender? Whether you're an experienced collector of vintage guitars or simply looking to sell some musical equipment around the house, eBay makes selling Musical Instruments fun. With millions of eBay shoppers looking for percussion instruments, stringed instruments, pianos and keyboards, drums, DJ equipment, and maintenance supplies, it’s easy to turn your stuff into cash on eBay.

Cash In on Musical Instruments

Cash In on Musical Instruments

Many musicians, young and old, successfully use eBay not only as a place to find new Musical Instruments and equipment, but as a way to help fund their passion. Whether you’re saving to upgrade your instrument or just trying to pay for upkeep and maintenance, selling on eBay is the perfect way to earn extra money. Swap out your unused stuff—that beginner Epiphone electric guitar you no longer play, those instructional books you’ve already mastered, or that extra tuner you don’t need—and buy yourself some new gear..

What's It Worth?

Already have an item in mind? Visit Musical Instruments Seller Central to find out the average selling price of similar pieces on eBay. You can also search completed listings to see how others are selling similar items.

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Find Out What's Hot in Musical Instruments

Find Out What's Hot in Musical Instruments

Millions of people come to eBay in search of Musical Instruments—everything from harmonicas to DJ equipment. The following provides just a small sampling of the myriad of Musical Instruments and equipment that you could sell on eBay. To get a real-time view of what’s in demand, what buyers are searching for, and what items are selling the most, visit Musical Instruments Seller Central.

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Get Top Dollar for Your Musical Instruments

Get Top Dollar for Your Musical Instruments

Once you have an idea of what you’re going to sell, it’s time to think about how to attract Musical Instruments buyers. Here are the top tips from eBay’s most successful sellers.

Help Buyers Find Your Items with Keywords

Keywords are a great way to attract buyers to your listing, especially when used correctly in your Listing Title. Listing titles are used by eBay’s search engine to pull up listings during a search. Use your 55 characters wisely, and try to anticipate what buyers will be searching for. Find out what is being searched right now with our list of Top Musical Instruments Searches. Be sure to include common search terms like “Gibson” and “Marshall,” when appropriate. State important characteristics of your item—what it is, brand, production year, model number, and condition. Of course, you should only include keywords that are relevant to the item you are selling. You can also search current and completed eBay listings to see what other sellers include in their titles.

In your Listing Description, make sure to include both basic information and details about your item. A good description is concise, well organized, and easy to read. Create bold section headlines, bulleted lists, and be sure to restate the information featured in your title plus more details such as dimensions, colors and materials, estimated value, and any other interesting features. You can also insert photos or links to videos that highlight the unique attributes of your item. Think about your listing from the buyer's perspective. The more information you provide, the more likely the buyer will be to place a bid on your item.

Here are some terms commonly used by other sellers to describe their Musical Instruments. Make sure you only use a term when you are sure it applies to your item.

  • New In Box (NIB): An instrument is new in box if it remains in the original packaging from the time of purchase and has not been opened or used.

  • Gently Used (GU): Equipment and instruments are gently used if they show slight signs of wear such as scratches. Wear should be superficial, and should have no effect on the instrument’s performance.

  • Poor: An instrument or musical equipment in poor condition may no longer be working and has considerable signs of wear. However, poor equipment may have valuable parts or usable components. Make sure when you list a poor item that your description accurately describes the item and its condition.

  • No Longer Available (NLA): Instruments and equipment that are no longer available cannot be found in stores or bought form the manufacturer.

Do Your Research

A little research can give you a better understanding of what you are selling, which can lead to a higher return. Examine your Musical Instruments for any signatures, markings, dates, titles, or brands. Learn about the instrument—what materials are used and how they enhance the instrument’s performance. All of these details will give you a better estimate of your item’s value, and educating your buyers can increase the attraction of your item.

When selling a rare or valuable Musical Instrument, it may be worthwhile to get your item appraised and authenticated. Authenticating your instrument not only provides you with a good estimate on expected sale price, but it also builds buyer confidence. Third-party graders and authenticators are qualified, experienced professionals who pledge to provide unbiased opinions.

Note: Opinions expressed by evaluators are theirs alone. eBay does not examine items listed on its site and does not have the expertise to evaluate items. eBay cannot guarantee the findings of any evaluator — authentication and grading are difficult, often subjective matters where experts themselves occasionally disagree. Each of the companies listed on the Opinions, Authentication, and Grading page that provides authentication and/or grading services is an independent company, and eBay is not responsible in any way for any action, inaction, opinion or service in connection with these companies. You should review the credentials of each company and use your own judgment before using any company's services.

Showcase Your Musical Instruments with Great Photos

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words! Photos are the closest you can get to putting your Musical Instruments in the hands of potential buyers. Here are some tips on how to best represent your item:

  • Choose the Right Background: Use a contrasting, solid backdrop. By placing your Musical Instruments on a solid black or white backdrop, you draw a buyer’s immediate attention onto the item. This is easily achieved by hanging a bed sheet or placing poster board behind the item. Use a plain, colored fabric backdrop to make your item stand out. Most importantly, avoid background clutter that can distract buyers or confuse them regarding what you are selling. If you are selling more than one item in your listing, take pictures of the set as a whole and of individual pieces.

  • Cover All Angles: Take pictures from multiple angles and distances, zooming in on important details. Make sure highlight any signatures, dates, serial numbers, branding, and details. Zoom in to show textures and colors. Always include photographs of any flaws—it gives the buyer a clearer idea of what they are bidding on and builds buyer trust.

  • Use Proper Lighting: Natural light tends to give the best representation of your item, however direct sunlight can have the nasty effect of shadows. Find an area that receives indirect sunlight. Try taking your item outside on a sunny day and photograph it in a shady area. If you can't seem to find an area like this, or would prefer to use indoor lighting, try surrounding your item with desk, overhead, or floor lamps. Above all, avoid using your camera's flash which causes distortion and shadows.

  • Add Gallery: Including a Gallery photo with your listing is extremely important for success. You can attract attention to your item with a photo next to your listings in search results. In addition, when a buyer uses “Picture Gallery” to look at search results, your listing will be shown. Your Gallery picture should be a very clear, uncluttered view of your item. Since it is the only photo visible on search pages, make sure it provides a good representation of your item.

Maximize Profits with Low Priced, No Reserve Listings

Auction style listings are a great way to create excitement around Musical Instruments, which in turn can develop into a bidding frenzy among buyers—which could result in a higher selling price for you. The keys to a successful auction style listing are to get your first bid and encourage bidders to continue bidding.

  • Low Starting Price: Getting that first bid is critical, as other buyers are generally more likely to jump in if they see there are already bids on an item. To do this, many sellers prefer to set an opening bid below what the item is actually worth. Try beginning with a low starting price—such as 99 cents—to jumpstart bidding activity.

  • No Reserve: Be careful when setting a reserve price. Buyers may lose interest in an item if they place a bid and find it doesn't meet the reserve. Because they do not know the reserve price, they may assume the seller is simply asking too much for the item. To prevent this from happening, try listing your item with "No Reserve." Items sold with "No Reserve" typically attract more buyer interest, as buyers know that they will actually win the item if they are the high bidder.

  • Accept PayPal: Buyers want to know that they can pay securely when making a purchase on eBay. By accepting PayPal payments, you can build buyer confidence and help protect yourself. PayPal transfers payments to a bank account of your choice and notifies you when a payment has been received. Best of all, PayPal offers free online tools to make managing your payments easier. You can even print shipping labels and track your shipments.

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Ship Your Musical Instruments

Ship Your Musical Instruments

Specifying reasonable shipping and handling costs in your listing is essential for smart selling—and it improves your search ranking when buyers sort by total cost. Never leave a buyer wondering how much shipping will cost.

Calculate Shipping Costs

Often times, shipping costs will vary by distance. To make sure your shipping charges reflect this, incorporate a shipping calculator into your listing. With the shipping calculator, eBay can automatically calculate the shipping cost for your buyers based on the size and weight of your item and the buyer’s location. You can also program the calculator to add in the cost of packaging materials and your handling fee.

Select a Service Option

To protect both you and your buyer against loss or damage during shipping, consider purchasing shipping insurance for your package—especially for higher priced items. Shipping insurance is available through most postal carriers, and can be purchased while you pay for postage. You can factor in the cost of shipping insurance into your shipping cost—but make sure you state in your description that you are doing so. Buyers want to know that they are paying extra for shipping for a good reason. Shipping insurance generally covers both lost and damaged items.

If you are selling larger instruments such as a piano, freight shipping might be the easiest and cheapest way to get your item to your buyer. Freight shipping is usually reserved for items over 150 pounds, and is available in the United States and Canada. Find out more at the Freight Resource Center.

Package Your Musical Instruments Securely

After your item sells, you are ready to ship it off to its new home. Make sure you package your item safely and securely. Use bubble wrap, foam, or other packaging materials to make sure your item is not damaged during its move. If you take an item apart to ship it, include a list of pieces and instructions on how to put it back together. Here are a few steps to think about:

  • Wrap It: Individually wrap items and provide lots of cushioning (bubble wrap, peanuts, foam, corrugated dividers, or crumpled paper). Be careful if you choose to reuse newspaper—the ink can rub off and damage your items. If you use foam peanuts, be aware that they may shift in transit, so overfill your box. If any pieces could be damaged by water, make sure you wrap them with a layer of sealed plastic or place them in a waterproof carrying case. Remember, wrap and pack firmly—you don’t want to hear any rattling!

  • Box It: If the item is on the smaller side, you can order free USPS Priority Mail boxes right on eBay—the United States Postal Service will even deliver them right to your door for free! For larger items, use a corrugated box with rigid sides, intact flaps, and plenty of room for cushioning on all sides. Don't exceed the maximum gross weight of the box (usually printed on bottom flap).

  • Seal It: Use strong tape designed for shipping, rather than masking tape, cellophane tape, string or paper over-wrap. Once you’ve sealed up your package, you can pay for shipping and print shipping labels right from your PayPal account. You can even request a pickup from USPS or UPS, saving you a trip to the Post Office or UPS location.

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Build Your Reputation

Build Your Reputation

Communication is the key to a successful transaction. Make sure you’re available before, during, and after the sale. Answer any questions about your item promptly. Include a thank you note in your package—it’s a great way to surprise and delight your buyer and encourage them to leave you positive feedback.

Always Leave Feedback

Feedback is extremely important for all eBay users. Consistent positive feedback lets buyers know that you manage transactions well and that you care about your reputation. One way to help ensure good feedback is to communicate well, represent your item truthfully in your listing, and be polite. Also remember your buyer’s feedback score is as important to them as yours is to you—so be courteous, thoughtful, and truthful when leaving feedback.

Express Yourself

Be more than just a username to your buyers. Introduce yourself through your About Me page and MyWorld. Add pictures, keep track of your favorite buyers, and tell the community about your interests and collections. Show your expertise by writing Reviews & Guides. Connect with other music lovers and musicians on the Music & Musicians Discussion Board. Remember, be yourself—and have fun!

Sell for a Cause

Support your favorite cause and enhance buyer trust and loyalty at the same time. eBay Giving Works listings tend to sell at higher final prices, because buyers are more willing to purchase, and often pay more for, items that benefit a nonprofit. Get more exposure and receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donations!

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