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Guide to Pawning or Selling Your Guitar to a Pawn Shop

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Guitar owners can attest to the fact that once you’re hooked on playing the guitar, there is no stopping. Besides the piano, the guitar is the most popular musical instrument in the United States. According to statistics, about 2.7 million guitars worth $1.67 billion are sold in the U.S. every year.

However, there are times when you might have to pawn or sell your favorite musical instrument for quick cash. It might be due to an unforeseen expense or emergency. Or perhaps you need extra cash to buy that new guitar you have been dreaming of.

Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking of pawning or selling your guitar to a pawn shop, Maxferd has you covered. That’s why we have created this guide to assist you.

Read on to learn how pawn shops work, how they determine value, and if it’s best to pawn or sell your guitar.

Musician adjusting his guitar

How Pawn Shops Work

As explained in our article on how pawn shops work, pawn shops primarily provide two valuable services to consumers. Firstly, they offer short-term loans secured by an asset that’s accepted as collateral. Secondly, they buy selected items from people and resell them.

Whether you want to pawn or sell your guitar, it’s a fast, easy, and confidential process that can typically be concluded in under an hour.

The process followed by most pawn shops if you wish to pawn or sell your guitar is as follows:


Step 1. Come in for a quick over-the-counter evaluation of your guitar.

Step 2. Receive your verbal quote in minutes.

Step 3. Provide valid identification, i.e. driver’s license or ID card.

Step 4. Your loan is written and your contract is printed for you to sign and keep.

Step 5. Payment is made and your guitar is safely stored.

Once you have paid your loan, you may collect your guitar.


Step 1. Come in for a quick over-the-counter evaluation of your guitar.

Step 2. Receive your verbal quote in minutes.

Step 3. Provide valid identification, i.e. driver’s license or ID card.

Step 4. Payment is made.

Is It Better to Pawn or Sell Your Guitar to a Pawn Shop?

Guitar in living room

In principle, you either pawn or sell your guitar. One isn’t better than the other. They are simply different options, each having its advantages and disadvantages. What might be the best option for someone else might not be the best solution for you.

When Should You Pawn Your Guitar?

If you don’t want to lose ownership of your guitar, using it as collateral to get a pawn shop loan is your best option.

People typically pawn their musical instruments if they need quick cash and are confident they can pay back the loan on time.

The pros and cons of pawning your guitar include:


  • Fast way to get a short-term collateral loan.
  • No credit check is required.
  • You won’t be reported to credit bureaus if you can’t repay your loan.
  • Easy in comparison to getting a collateral loan from a bank.

Note: There are no monthly payments due at Maxferd pawn shops. You only pay us what’s due when it’s time for you to redeem your loan.


  • Short-term lending horizon – usually four months.
  • You may lose your guitar if you don’t pay back your loan on time.

Pawn shops may sell the guitar you pawned if you fail to pay your account. (This isn’t limited to pawn shops as banks and other financial institutions will act in the same way)

When Should You Sell Your Guitar?

If you no longer need or want your guitar, it makes sense to sell it and put the money to better use.

People typically sell their musical instruments if they need the cash because they are short of money and have to pay for something. Or if they want the cash to buy something else for the money that would give them more enjoyment. They may also decide to invest the money or pay off some debt with it.

The pros and cons of selling your guitar to a pawn shop include:


  • It’s a fast and easy way to get cash for your old guitar.


You can always try to sell your guitar on a platform like eBay. But you might not find a buyer for it straight away and have no guarantee that you’ll get a better price. In addition, selling on eBay isn’t free, and packaging and shipping your guitar costs money.


  • You may not always get the price you want for your guitar. 


Pawn shops also need to make money. They have to resell items that often stay on their shelves for months before they find a buyer.

Will I Get More Money if I Pawn or Sell My Guitar?

There is no general rule as to whether you’ll receive more money depending on whether you pawn or sell your guitar.

In principle, popular brands in good condition typically sell fast, so it’s unlikely you’ll get more money by either pawning or selling your guitar. Popular guitar brands include Gibson, Gretsch, Fender, and Yamaha.

However, in some cases, depending on your relationship with the pawnshop, you might get slightly more money if you pawn your guitar. A pawn shop may feel less reluctant to lend more money to a regular customer that they have a good relationship with. Someone they trust to redeem their loan in full and on time.

How Do Pawn Shops Determine Value?

Man playing his guitar

The short answer is that the value of your guitar is based on what it can be sold for.

The market value or OMV (Open Market Valuation) of your guitar is the price at which it would sell for in a competitive auction. It’s the price that a willing buyer is prepared to pay a willing seller.

Many factors might influence the market value of your guitar. It includes the condition of your guitar, whether it’s a popular brand, if there’s a strong demand for it, or if it’s rare and sought after by guitarists.

Pawn shops use a variety of methods to determine value. It includes the following:

  • Personal experience
  • What similar items have sold for on eBay
  • “Blue book” databases
  • Auction results databases (such as
  • Third-party experts

Pawn shops are typically good at determining value – refer to our article on how pawn shops determine value for more information. However, that doesn’t mean they can pay you market value as the pawn shop also has to make money.

How to Get the Most Money for Your Guitar

Whether you’re pawning or selling your guitar, here are some things you can do to get the most money for it:

Do your homework – Learn as much as possible about your guitar before visiting your local pawnbroker. It includes knowing how much similar guitars are selling for.

Include all accessories – If you have any accessories, such as a guitar case and extra strings, you might get more money.

Make sure it looks presentable – A neat, clean guitar looks like it has been well taken care of and might fetch a higher price.

Feel free to negotiate – If you feel you should get more money for your guitar, feel free to negotiate. But don’t overdo it and avoid coming across as confrontational.

That's a Wrap

We trust you found our guide to pawning or selling your guitar to a pawn shop both informative and helpful. You should have a better understanding now of how pawn shops work, how they determine value, and if it’s best to pawn or sell your guitar.

Pawn shops are a great place to sell your guitar for quick cash. Or to pawn it if you’re not ready to let go of it but need a fast and convenient collateral loan.

All Maxferd pawn shops, and our Van Nuys pawn shop, in particular, specialize in musical instruments. We’re good at determining the value of guitars and are known to offer our customers fair prices.

If you have any questions about a guitar you want to sell, pawn, or have evaluated don’t hesitate to contact Maxferd.

Call us at (800) 888-7296 or visit one of our Los Angeles pawn shops or our San Francisco pawn shop to find out how we can assist you.