This guide will cover a number of retail music store concepts centered around the buying and selling of new and used musical instruments. The same concepts can be applied to accessories and electronics (amplifiers, keyboards, etc.). At a basic level retail stores invest money in their inventory and need to see a return on that investment in order to pay for staff, utilities, more inventory, etc. 


New instruments and Accessories:

-Many music stores match internet prices on big ticket items, those that do not at the start may be trying to mislead you by talking about the retail price of the items and what they can do to bring the price down.

-Accessory prices are determined by the margin percentage or raw dollars margin the store has determined they need to make on a particular item (usually 35-50%), high volume or expensive items can be sold at lower margin in order to reap the correct return on the money invested. 

Used Instruments and Accessories:

-How much will we pay for an item?

  -Do you want cash (meaning we write you a check)? At most you will get 25% of the price the store thinks they could sell the item for. That percentage also assumes that the item is in excellent condition and needs almost no work in order to be sellable. More than likely you would receive an offer less than the 25%. That is not necessarily them trying to low-ball you (though it could be) but they are assuming that they may not be able to sell it for that price that you see them listed for, and they will have to hold on to that item until it sells. The time it takes to sell that item plays into the overall return on investment the store is seeing on the money they are investing in their inventory, so if they invest fewer dollars and sell at a higher price then they can hold on to that inventory for longer, or they need to sell faster at lower margin to reap the correct benefit, this is the concept of Gross Margin Return on Investment.

  -Do you want store credit? At most you will get 50% of the price the music store thinks they could sell the item for. Again, the percentage assumes that no work needs to be done to the item in order to make it sellable. 

-Consignment is sometimes an option.

  -Consignment is an arrangement where the item is left in the store's possession and the store is paid a fee for selling the item, usually around 30% plus any extra fees for repairing or selling the item. The consignor is then paid the remaining balance from the sale after a waiting period to make sure the item does not get returned. Typically, consigned items must be left in the store's possession for a minimum amount of time in order to allow the store the opportunity to sell the item. 

-We use the percentages listed above to calculate what we would pay for an item or how we would consign an item and if we don't have a good reference point for a selling price (through the sold and complete listings on Ebay and then we will use the new selling price as a reference to get to a selling price. 

-Here are a few examples of what we would do if you brought some different types of instruments, these examples all assume the instrument is amazing condition and would get the highest possible price from the calculated percentages:

  -Clarinet you rented to own from a music store:

  -This is the example skewed furthest away from what you actually paid for the item. Brand new at the time you rented the instrument 4 years ago, so the instrument has been paid off for a year. This means that the instrument is used when you bring it in to sell and when we try to rent or sell the instrument it will be considered used. You paid $900.00 in rental payments over 36 months with and additional $5.00 per month for maintenance and repair of the instrument for a total of $1080.00. If you had purchased the instrument 4 years ago instead of renting you would have paid $630.00 (if you had purchased from us because we offer a discount for outright purchase, not every store does this). Used selling price at $350.00 for excellent condition of instrument, case, and mouthpiece so we would give you $175.00 store credit or up to $105.00 cash. Consignment fee would be $105.00 so you would be paid $245.00 assuming no repairs are needed prior to sale.

  -Electric Guitar (discontinued model) you purchased from a different store more than a year ago.

  -When purchased new it was $1699.99 used prices are hard to find actual sold listings. Used selling price would be estimated at most $1300.00 if it was in perfect condition, so you would get $650.00 in trade in credit or $345.00 in cash. Consignment would get you $902.01 because we would also need to change the strings. 

  -Acoustic Steel String Guitar (model still in production) purchased within the last year from us for $449.99. Used selling price of $300.00 so we would give you $150.00 trade in credit or $75.00 cash assuming the instrument is in great condition. Consignment gets a 30% fee and the cost of a new set of strings so assuming it sold for $300.00 you would get $200.01 ($90.00 consignment fee and $9.99 (set price in 2022) for strings) 

  -Professional level Trumpet you purchased new from an internet store 5 years ago for $2999.99. Used in excellent condition selling for $2250.00 we would pay you either up to $500.00 cash or up to $900.00 store credit. Consignment you would get $1575.00. 

  -Cello you rented for 12 months in our rent to own program. When you return the instrument the credit toward purchase is attached to the instrument and is not transferable outside of the rental program. At the point that you have returned it you will have just paid to rent it. 

  -Ukulele you purchased new from the internet within the last year for $149.99. No used selling price available so we estimate it at $100.00 so you would get $50.00 trade-in credit or $25.00 cash. 

  -Amplifier you purchased used from an internet marketplace for $700.00:

  -The amplifier was already used so the purchase price of $700.00 is probably still good unless the model has been discontinued with a new model replacement and the current model is more desirable for some reason or otherwise valuable for its collectability. You would get $350.00 trade-in credit or $175.00 cash. Consignment would get you $490.00.

  -Reeds or other things that go on or near your mouth: 

  -Are the reeds used? If yes, that's gross, and no we won't take your used reeds, mouthpieces can be sanitized so we will at least look at them. Mouthpieces also hold their value on some brands an not on others. We won't buy used harmonicas.

-Brand new in box or still in the wrapper? We will exchange them for the correct reed size from a brand we stock, otherwise no trade-in or purchase option. 

-School/Method/Popular Music Books you purchased from another store or from us more than 30 days ago:

  -You can donate these items to a school or to our donation bin.