Renting, Selling, Trading, Borrowing and Recycling instruments


Let’s say you want to get an instrument but you don’t have enough money to buy one yourself, you may want to try one before buying it or you may even be the one that’s trying to get rid of the instrument, but it’s not sure how.

In this article we’ll be going through some of the options you have to get the instrument and some resources to help you.

Renting

Renting is good to try new instruments or improved instruments to see (for example)  if you can tell the difference.

Rent my instrument

This website works like this, you choose an instrument from their list (mainly marching band) like a trumpet, then you choose a model for the instrument, the better the trumpet the more cost per month it has, then you can add maintenance and some accessories.

They ship the instrument for free, they give you discounts if you want to rent another instrument and they even sell them if you want to keep them.

The problem may be in the details, for example, you sign an agreement before you rent, so if you can’t pay the rent, if you steal or damage the instrument in specific ways, they can take the instrument back (it’s not specified how). You can only repair the instrument by sending it to them, so it may take a little bit longer to do if that’s not a problem for you I highly recommend it. 

Long mc quade

Similar to rent my instrument, and proudly Canadian as you may find when you enter the webpage, long mc quade rents a bigger selection of instruments and has the options to rent for a day, week or month, you can even go for the instrument to one of their stores to save on the shipment.

You are able to rent accessories and sound systems if you want and the average price of rent seems to be a little bit lower. It has its downsides too, the shipping is slower and more expensive and you won’t find as good options for buying a rented instrument at a discount, maintenance, and the most important thing, it’s only for Canada.

Nemc

Nemc is another option to rent an instrument, but this one works a little bit different, their focus is on schools and kids; you start by searching a store based on your postal code, then you select a school from a list, once you select it you can choose the instrument you prefer.

As you can see is limited, if your postal code sends no options you’re out of luck, the same thing if your school doesn’t appear, the instrument variety is good and will cover most famous instruments, the prices per month are the lowest of these options but you can only rent for a minimum of 4 months (after that is month by month).

The website is updated but its user experience is bad so it may be hard to know what to do and how, personally I only recommend it if you work or go to a school.

Selling

You can get rid of musical instruments by selling them, you can also try to restore them before you do if you want a little bit more profit (check the other section).

Value my instrument

This website is great if you want to know how much your instrument can be sold for, this is a good option, especially for rare and highly valuable ones.

Reverb

Reverb specializes in selling musical instruments, they help you put the instrument in the store and if you sell it, they get a 3.5-4.0% of your instrument price.

I put the website here because it may not have a lot of traffic to sell fast, but it does have a pricing guide to help you with valuation and they give back to help music-related nonprofits, the next options are the bigger, so try this only if you’re interested.

Craigslist / Facebook / Ebay

You already know them, I’m just gonna tell you how to list your products there and what you can expect from them.

If there’s a craigslist for your area you should consider, you can sell locally by posting images of the instrument (the category will be music instruments or arts) and get the full price, you can even trade.

eBay works differently, you can auction a product for people to bid on it and you can set a fixed price if they want to get it instantly, this helps to see easier, and if you’re lucky you can get people fighting over your product giving you bigger earnings.

The Facebook marketplace has probably the most traffic and will give more exposure to your product, which will help you to sell faster but maybe not cheaper if you find a lot of similar products. Regardless, listing a product is really easy, so I recommend at least trying it.

A risky trick you can try is to list the same products on multiple platforms, of course, the second the instrument sells on one of the platforms you should cancel the listing on the others.

Trading

This one is harder to do because it’s not people’s first option (selling maybe), it’s harder to find people who have the instrument you want and at the same time want the instrument you have, but there are workarounds. 

Trade Music Gear

First, let me explain to you why you have to search a little bit harder for a trade, websites like trade music gear are built around trading, but nobody uses them.

Facebook Groups

We already talk about the Facebook marketplace, when you ask for details you can propose a trade (you can do the same on craigslist). Another option is to look in groups about music, they don’t need to be about trading, you just need to find a group where people may be interested in your instrument and you propose a trade in a post hoping somebody messages you.

We suggest searching for groups like:

  • Music + Name of your city or state.
  • Buy & Sell + City/State

Music ground

There are always stores that will (at the very least) take a look at your instrument, music ground is an example of such a store, you go there, they check it and then they give you an offer.

What I want you to realize here is that even if your local store doesn’t advertise trading, you can try it anyway because even if they don’t offer you a trade, they can tell you who will.

Other

Consider the following

Donate

Here, the fact that nobody offers to buy or trade your instrument doesn’t mean nobody wants it, and who more deserving to get it than less fortunate kids, collectibles with cause may be the option you’re looking for.

Other donation options are Pickup please and hungry for music (local schools and churches too). And of course, the best part (ok maybe second best) is that you can qualify for a tax deduction when you donate.

Recycling

It’s easier to get rid of objects of sentimental value like instruments if you know they won’t end in a mountain of garbage, to know if you have the recycling option just type any of the following on google “local recycling”, “recycling centers”, “recycling collectors”.

If you have more than 1 option I suggest choosing an option with a collector, so you don’t have to travel to the recycling center. 

Repair

When you buy an instrument, you usually get a guarantee for a couple of years that covers simple repairs, if you can’t use that guarantee anymore you can still pay for a repair from a third party.

They’re a lot of options for this, but again I will suggest searching for the local option “local music instrument repair” to avoid having to send your instrument really far (that’s costly and takes more time).

Pawn Shops

Yes, you can sell your musical instrument in a pawn shop, but I want to mention a very specific case, if you don’t want to get rid of your musical instrument but you need money, you can always pawn it, if you get more money back later, you pay the money + the difference (usually a lot) and get your instrument back.

Which one do I choose?

Here’s an oversimplification to help you decide:

  • If you don’t have money to buy an instrument but you have another instrument, trade it.
  • If you don’t have enough money for an instrument, but you need one for some time, rent it.
  • If you don’t have enough money, but you need it for a long time, sell something else and buy it.
  • If you can’t sell anything else to get the money, rent it with a plan for buying in the long run.
  • Before selling an instrument, repair it.
  • If you already have an instrument but want a better or newer one, donate it. If it needs repairing, repair it, then donate it, if it’s beyond repair, recycle it.

Luis Gerardo

Musician as a hobby for +6 years, documenting every instrument in simple words for this website.

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