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Best Place to Buy Used Guitars

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Guitars are more popular than ever. We take a look at where you can buy used guitars and why pawn shops should be your number one choice.

Besides the piano, the guitar is the most popular musical instrument in the United States. 

About 2.7 million guitars worth $1.67 billion are being sold in the US every year. It includes acoustic, electric, and bass guitars, as well as the mandolin and banjo. It’s estimated that as many as 72 million people are playing guitar now.

Man playing the guitar

Where Can You Buy Used Guitars?

The two most popular ways of buying a used guitar are online or from a brick-and-mortar store.

Most brick-and-mortar stores only sell new guitars and deal in specific brands, so they are often not the best place to look for a used guitar. The exception is pawn shops, but we will get to that in a moment.

The top online platforms for buying a used guitar are:

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace has many sellers trying to find new homes for their guitars. Unfortunately, there are many scammers on Facebook Marketplace. In addition, the condition of guitars is often not accurately described or reflected in photos.


eBay is by far the largest auction site in the world. As can be expected, there are many listings for used guitars.

Although some items are not accurately described or depicted, eBay is very buyer-focused. They will typically side with the buyer if the seller of a guitar cannot offer proof of delivery, if it arrives damaged, or doesn’t match the description.


Reverb is the largest and most popular online platform for music gear. They focus on music enthusiasts and typically have more listings for high-end guitars from premium brands than eBay.


Last but not least on our list of online platforms is Craigslist.

They might have more listings for used guitars in your area than you would find in a pawn shop, but items are often not well described or depicted in photos. They are also known to have many fake listings posted by scammers. And meeting a stranger to pay for and collect your guitar can be risky.

The two main advantages of shopping for a used guitar online rather than from a pawn shop are variety and convenience.

Variety – You have many more options to choose from online than any pawn shop can offer you.

Convenience – Shopping for a used guitar online from the comfort of your home is convenient.

Why Pawn Shops Should Be Your First Choice

Shopping for a used guitar online may be convenient and provide you with more options to choose from than a pawn shop can offer. But pawn shops offer many advantages that online platforms cannot match. Here are seven of the most important ones:

#1. See and Play Before You Buy


A guitar can look great in photos, but you have to play it first before knowing if it’s right for you. No two guitars are exactly the same. If you buy it without first seeing it and playing it, you may very well be disappointed.

#2. No Stolen Guitars

All purchases made by pawn shops are reported to local law enforcement who compares it to a database of stolen goods before it can be sold. There are no guarantees if you buy a guitar on a platform like Craigslist that it won’t be stolen property.

#3. Layaway Program

Pawn shops typically offer a layaway program where you can secure the guitar you want even if you don’t have enough money to take it home today.

Note: Maxferd has a great layaway program. You can make a deposit to secure an item and we will split the balance into affordable monthly installments. Once paid, you can collect it.

#4. Safe From Scammers

Pawn shops are highly regulated. The same can’t be said from online marketplaces that often struggle with keeping their platforms safe from scammers.

#5. No Shipping & Handling Costs

Shipping and handling costs can be expensive depending on how far away you are from the seller. By picking up your guitar from a pawn shop you can save a lot of money.

#6. Easier to Negotiate

It’s always easier to negotiate face to face at a pawn shop than with a complete stranger online.

#7. No Waiting

Guitar lying on shelf

If you’re like most guitar enthusiasts, you don’t want to wait for your guitar to arrive. You want to play it today, not tomorrow or next week. When you buy from a pawn shop, you can enjoy your guitar right away.

That's a Wrap

Shopping for a used guitar online is convenient and you have many more options to choose from than a pawn shop can offer you. However, pawn shops offer many advantages that online marketplaces cannot compete with.

This should make pawn shops your first point of call when you’re in the market for a used guitar.

Maxferd pawn shops specialize in buying and selling used guitars.

Call us at (800) 888-7296 or visit one of our five locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles to find out what we have on offer.