Online Guitar Selling Advice

Alb1441

Member
Messages
91
I'm pretty experienced with selling pedals and smaller musical equipment on Reverb, but am looking to post a guitar for sale. In the past I have only sold guitars through Craigslist/Guitar Center. After reading some horror stories on here, any advice on protecting myself besides incredibly detailed pictures?
 
Messages
5,318
I'm pretty experienced with selling pedals and smaller musical equipment on Reverb, but am looking to post a guitar for sale. In the past I have only sold guitars through Craigslist/Guitar Center. After reading some horror stories on here, any advice on protecting myself besides incredibly detailed pictures?
Incredibly good packaging, and lots of documentation ie, videos of you packing the item, how it functions and looks before packaging etc. Also on Reverb be sure to sell “as is”.

Most people are good and reasonable but some just want to scam. Cover your bases and be prepared for a buyer to call out “damage” or something that wasn’t there.

I personally had only had good experiences, but I go through all of those precautions because it all the horror stories I hear here.
 

Mojoworkin

Supporting Member
Messages
1,073
I agree with having good pictures. I recently went through a bad experience where the buyer claimed the guitar was damaged and that "someone had sanded the neck". Guess who that someone was. And guess who had to give a refund.
 

Jayyj

Supporting Member
Messages
7,209
Best advice I can give is make the listing professional - no flannel about playing like buttah or being the best guitar you've ever played but you need to thin the herd, no essays about your personal life, just keep it factual and accompany the listing with good photos. Make a ruthless assessment of the condition and describe every potential issue in detail, with photos to illustrate. Don't oversell the condition, it will come back to haunt you.

Photos should be in sharp focus and taken in natural light against a neutral backdrop (a clean bed sheet works fine). No pictures of your feet, no pile of dirty laundry in the background and definitely no getting your significant other/local lady of the night to put on a bikini and pose with it (come to think of it, haven't seen this in a while, I wonder if Ebay have cracked down on it?). Look at how dealers on Reverb present their stock and try to aim for something similar. If your cell phone doesn't have a great camera borrow one - seriously, if it's a high end guitar you could probably buy a decent camera for the difference in selling price really good photos can make. I don't mind a seller saying they don't know much about the guitar if the pictures show enough information to do my own assessment - I've walked away from what might have been smoking deals because I couldn't see decent enough photos to put my mind at rest.

The more amateurish the listing the more people will feel like they're taking a risk, which means longer to sell and lower offers.

You can't completely protect yourself against things going wrong but presenting the guitar honestly and thoroughly will go a long way towards minimising the changes of it going wrong.
 

Steadfastly

Member
Messages
2,023
Best advice I can give is make the listing professional - no flannel about playing like buttah or being the best guitar you've ever played but you need to thin the herd, no essays about your personal life, just keep it factual and accompany the listing with good photos. Make a ruthless assessment of the condition and describe every potential issue in detail, with photos to illustrate. Don't oversell the condition, it will come back to haunt you.

Photos should be in sharp focus and taken in natural light against a neutral backdrop (a clean bed sheet works fine). No pictures of your feet, no pile of dirty laundry in the background and definitely no getting your significant other/local lady of the night to put on a bikini and pose with it (come to think of it, haven't seen this in a while, I wonder if Ebay have cracked down on it?). Look at how dealers on Reverb present their stock and try to aim for something similar. If your cell phone doesn't have a great camera borrow one - seriously, if it's a high end guitar you could probably buy a decent camera for the difference in selling price really good photos can make. I don't mind a seller saying they don't know much about the guitar if the pictures show enough information to do my own assessment - I've walked away from what might have been smoking deals because I couldn't see decent enough photos to put my mind at rest.

The more amateurish the listing the more people will feel like they're taking a risk, which means longer to sell and lower offers.

You can't completely protect yourself against things going wrong but presenting the guitar honestly and thoroughly will go a long way towards minimising the changes of it going wrong.
i AM GOING TO GIVE YOUR POST A..................

 

COYS

Member
Messages
5,176
Look up Reverb's definition of the gear condition so you don't list it as "Excellent" or "Mint" when it's not.

Take meticulous photos of the guitar. Don't forget the frets.

Disclose anything you know about it. But don't say "this is the only scratch on it" or anything closed-ended like that. There might be other stuff that you didn't notice.

People here will tell you to record an hourlong tape of you packing the item and walking it to the mailbox but meticulous photos are all you need.

Sell the item "As Described" unless you want to deal with buyer's remorse returns.

If you accept offers, you'll get lots of lowball offers. If you just price the item at the bottom of the market it'll sell with no drama, although it might take a little longer.

Be prepared for tire kickers to ask you about the weight, to measure the neck, nut, string spacing, as well as many other details they could just Google. These people will never buy the guitar. The more questions they ask, usually, the less serious they are.

Make sure you pack it well. There are guides online and StewMac has kits if you have something that's higher value. If it's a Fender in a good case, no real worries. If it's a Gibson then you might see if you can acquire some benzos before you ship it.

Buy the shipping label through the Reverb website. Don't walk it into the UPS store or whatever and buy the label there, unless you want to pay significantly more.

You'll do better if you can sell it on Craigslist but Reverb is not a problem.
 

CBHTele

Supporting Member
Messages
771
Great advice above!

I would also add disclaimers detailing YOUR specific terms of sale (payment expectations/time allowed, allowable refund window and conditions, etc.). Don’t be afraid to try to ward off any potential scammers, lowballers, excuse makers, etc. - better to avoid a massive headache than to treat one.
 

Scott L

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,282
Do your homework on shipping costs, you don't want to be shocked at the end.

Check out for packing info: http://www.danerlewine.com/freestuff/shippingaguitar.pdf

DON'T go to a USP Store to have it packed / boxed, they are franchises and the rates are off the charts.
Fedex will box and pack a gutiar in a case for $23.xx. If possible ask them to cut the box down to under 50 inches, you will avoid an oversized surchage.

If you have a contact with a commercial account, you can save a lot on the shipping charges over retail / counter prices with Fedex. I'm sure the same with UPS.
 

Highnumbers

Member
Messages
694
I think people here have already covered it - take a TON of photos and describe everything in extensive detail.

It's pretty annoying that Reverb will only allow you to post 24 (?) photos, and same with Ebay's uploaded photos. That just isn't enough to cover everything on a guitar in detail. Back when I sold on eBay more than Reverb, I would embed 50+ high-resolution photos of every guitar. Maybe overkill, but guitars never came back to me... and buyers knew exactly what they were getting. It's a seller's only insurance.
 

Scott L

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,282
I think people here have already covered it - take a TON of photos and describe everything in extensive detail.

It's pretty annoying that Reverb will only allow you to post 24 (?) photos, and same with Ebay's uploaded photos. That just isn't enough to cover everything on a guitar in detail. Back when I sold on eBay more than Reverb, I would embed 50+ high-resolution photos of every guitar. Maybe overkill, but guitars never came back to me... and buyers knew exactly what they were getting. It's a seller's only insurance.
Ebay lets you plug photos in to the body of the listing - you just have to copy and paste it from another source. I use Google Photo to hold the pics and copy from there.
 

Rossi163

Supporting Member
Messages
1,770
Craigslist is worth a try before anything else if you live near a decent size city. Cash and carry with no fees or returns.
All good advice but this is exactly what I would recommend as the first step in selling anything. CL means no shipping hassles, cash in hand, no returns. Screen those that are supposed buyers through email or phone call to avoid scams or losers. Meet in a public place, never your own home.
 

stonem

Supporting Member
Messages
2,523
Lot of good advice here. I'll add this: people that ask a lot of questions rarely buy. Get used to that. Also if they seem really anal dont sell to em. I been selling online since Ebay started, you have to learn how to spot someone setting you up for a partial.
 

COYS

Member
Messages
5,176
Lot of good advice here. I'll add this: people that ask a lot of questions rarely buy. Get used to that. Also if they seem really anal dont sell to em. I been selling online since Ebay started, you have to learn how to spot someone setting you up for a partial.
Yeah, it's easy to spot a buyer who's likely to be trouble after the purchase. A million messages, inane questions, sometimes it feels like they are trying to box you into saying things they can dispute later.

The people you want to do business with know the product, know what they want, know what it is you're selling - they've already done their homework. They can ask what they need to know in just one message if you happen to have left anything out of the listing.

The 20 questions types 99% of the time are wasting your time and either won't buy or will try to hit you up for a discount after they receive it.
 

Steadfastly

Member
Messages
2,023
I sell nothing unless the request is accompanied with a phone number. I have had a few emails from time to time without a phone number and have emailed back and reminded them the ad says you must include your phone number. The serious ones reply with the phone number. The tire kickers are never heard from again.
 

Fitzer

Supporting Member
Messages
1,793
Yeah, it's easy to spot a buyer who's likely to be trouble after the purchase. A million messages, inane questions, sometimes it feels like they are trying to box you into saying things they can dispute later.

The people you want to do business with know the product, know what they want, know what it is you're selling - they've already done their homework. They can ask what they need to know in just one message if you happen to have left anything out of the listing.

The 20 questions types 99% of the time are wasting your time and either won't buy or will try to hit you up for a discount after they receive it.
This is great advice and this is only learned through experience.
 

Fitzer

Supporting Member
Messages
1,793
What is the value of the guitar you're wanting to sell? If it's anything under $500-600, I'd say try to sell locally as much as possible. The shipping charges are going to kill you if the guitar isn't necessarily worth a lot of money, and you'll clear just as much money as you would've made if you'd accepted an offer from someone on craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and made a local deal.

Also worth noting: I've shipped guitars that were only worth a few hundred bucks and I've shipped extremely valuable vintage guitars that are worth 5 figures. The cheaper guitars always, always attract a higher percentage of problem buyers. Be aware and take the great advice in this thread on how to spot those problem buyers.
 

DrumBob

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
17,063
If you are not desperate and don't require immediate cash for a guitar, say so in the ad. Last night, I had two jokers really lowball me on an $849 Les Paul. One offered just over $600 and the other jerk offered $415! I sent a counter offer to Mr. $600 and heard nothing, and a terse email to the guy who offered $415, telling him not to waste my time or insult me with his BS lowball offer. No reply. Then, a nice guy emailed me off of CL and offered me $800. He was in the next town. I met him this morning and did the deal in a parking lot. Done. No fees, no nonsense. I would definitely use CL, but be specific.
 
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Highnumbers

Member
Messages
694
Ebay lets you plug photos in to the body of the listing - you just have to copy and paste it from another source. I use Google Photo to hold the pics and copy from there.
That’s what I meant by “embed” photos, via HTML links. You can use any photo hosting to do so (except Photobucket, who ruined the internet...).
 




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