Miscellaneous Rumbles

My Experience Trying to Sell A Guitar To Guitar Center


Today I thought I'd see how it would be to sell a guitar to Guitar Center.

Back story is that I never sold a guitar to GC and would prefer to sell it over the internet on eBay or Reverb, or even locally although that's a bit difficult because locally you get a lot of nickle and dime types but on the internet there is not as much of the mentality of nickle and diming people. Well, there was a used 50s Classic Strat, MIM in Surf Green that they had I saw a few days ago so I thought let's see if they offer a decent price for my guitar and if it covers the price of the Strat or close and see if because I'm buying a guitar off them if they will give me more for my guitar or at least a discount on the used Strat just so they can unload the Strat since whoever they bought the Strat from probably was low anyway so it could be a win for them, get a Mosrite and get rid of a MIM Strat they paid low for. But I found out that they don't do that, they just pay you for your guitar and then sell you the guitar without discount. The manager did say that on new guitars if you sell them a guitar they may give you 10% off the new guitar price but the one I was interested in was used so I suppose on those they don't.

Alright, so I have many Mosrites now as you know. Although I love the 1969 Mosrite Avenger I figure I have so many now one must go. I just got my 1972 and that's a keeper, the Fillmore is a keeper as well as my 1966 Mark V. I could keep the Avenger but I think one should go so that's the one.

So there is a salesman I have dealt with before and he's a really nice guy. He has nothing to do with pricing on this, even the manager doesn't. According to Mike, the salesman, any vintage guitar has to go thru the vintage specialist at the Hollywood store so they send pictures and a description of the guitar and they get a reply within 10 to 30 minutes. So Mike submits pics and a description. Takes an hour, not half hour. Mike gets back to me and says they said if it's a Japanese Mosrite it has to be 1980s not a '60s model because Japanese didn't make Mosrites in the '60s or '70s. Mike just went by what the vintage expert said, no fault of Mike because he's never played a Mosrite in his life and you can go years in GC and not have a Mosrite come through. So I convince mike it's really a 1969. I explained Firstman made the Avenger and was the first Mosrite copy from Japan and the previous ones were Zen-On Morales which there not authentic but the forerunner then Firstman came out. So he gets back to the vintage guys and explains that. They offer $350 and say it needs to be restrung and they will charge me $15 so that gives me $335. So he agreed that I can do better selling it privately. The one thing got me was that they say it needs to be restrung and they will take out $15. To me that's nickle and diming me. I don't care if they offer very low, take it or leave it but the deduct for stringing was ridiculous. He said the vintage expert says they will sell it for $650 so they based the $350 offer on that. That gives me about 54% of what they will plan on selling it. These normally go for about $850 so not sure why they plan on pricing it so low. It's like they don't know anything about Japanese Mosrites which is odd because I check often their used stuff online and the past few months I've seen Avengers and they put them up for $899 which is a decent price for a great guitar such as an Avenger. Even the 1972 Mosrite I just bought from GC was labled Avenger even though it's not, so they should know they price them at $899 so not sure why they are asking $650 and also since they have sold Avengers in the past they should know these are late '60s and early '70s then Firstman went out of business and Fillmore started up.

They should have offered more because this particular GC store has very little used inventory. This location usually has a lot but they are really low. It's like people aren't selling to them. I was told by a salesman, not Mike, a different one, about 3 months ago that that GC gives a better offer on guitars that people are selling than other GCs. They offer 70% of what they plan on selling, which is no where near what they offered me. I understand they need to make a profit and I knew that going into this but the $350 offer was based on selling it for $650.

I'm definitely not bothered by the price they offered, I just thought they would put it up for sale for more than $650 and also thought they would know that Japanese have been making Mosrites since 1969 with the Firstman company started then later Fillmore. I understand why Mike didn't know, he's not a Mosrite guy and not responsible for valuation of guitars, but the vintage man should know certain things especially since they have had Avengers listed before.


This is the Mosrite.

Any of you ever sell a guitar to GC or another shop and what’s your experience?


expecting a GC location to have detailed knowledge of Mosrites is a bit of a stretch, isn't it? how many shops that aren't GC have even a bare working knowledge of them?


expecting a GC location to have detailed knowledge of Mosrites is a bit of a stretch, isn't it? how many shops that aren't GC have even a bare working knowledge of them?

– macphisto

Very true, just they listed Avengers for sale before so I'd figured they knew about them but yeah, Mosrites are a rare bird these days so they don't know much about that.


My favourite small used gear shop (in the UK) always offers low trade-in prices and is quite open about the fact that selling privately will almost always yield a better return. The fact is that a legit business needs to make a profit, and that involves sales tax, premises, staff. GC would have far more stringent guidelines on this and the individual store probably has very little discretion (I am speculating here).

Also I often hear people saying that the vintage guitar market is now shrinking. If so that won't help.


I had a severe case of New Amp Fever and had a Fender Acoustasonic 150 that I didn't use very much. After unsuccessfully trying to sell locally on Craigslist and Facebook off I went to GC. They were very upfront and offered 40% of what they could sell it for. The number they came up with did indeed match what they were selling those for.

Fast forward a year and it was Gretsch time. I ended up at Cream City Music in Milwaukee whose website said that they offered more than GC. (Its a 100 miles from home but I was nearby doing something else.) It was hard to compare head to head with GC but we did bargain on the trade in of my MIM Telly and amp. I didn't get what I had hoped for but did get what I thought was a reasonable deal.

My thought is that GC is a large chain and bound up by their corporate policies.


I have a Fender Classic Series '50s Stratocaster in Surf Green that I would trade for the Avenger, but the shipping cost and trouble would likely make the deal less desirable for both of us.


Bob I’d trade you too but shipping is trouble too. Are you in the US?


It seems clear, based on my experience, that GC has little to no room for any haggling or deal-making because of upper management directives. I'm guessing it's because there's no way to oversight that process in their corporate franchise business model. It's certainly the case when buying used gear. They'll list something used, and if it doesn't sell for that price within a few weeks time, they'll drop the price. But they don't negotiate on the fly.


If you ship with the neck off of a blot-on the shipping cost is much less.


ALL stores that will buy instruments are acting (and licensed) as pawnshops.


If you ship with the neck off of a blot-on the shipping cost is much less.

– WinnieThomas

This is quite tru. I sent a Strat to Australia for much less.


I've taken gear to GC three times. All three times, the guy did a computer-look up and came up with a really low number and sheepishly apologized.

Two times, I politely said, "Thanks, but I'll pass." Both times, he said, "Yeah, I thought so."

The third time, I said, "Fine." It was a 1979 135 watt Twin Reverb that I was never going to play again and my wife absolutely hated. I didn't want to return home with the amp. And I didn't want a bunch of strangers coming over to play it. So I bit the bullet and sold to GC for a loss. Funny thing was they wanted me to sign some sort of transfer of title doc, which i noticed described the amp as "vintage." I said, "It's not vintage." They said, "That really has no meaning. It's just a thing. And our system says it's vintage." I imagined myself being sued for fraud and politely declined. They deleted "vintage" from the description on the doc.


Guitar Center is jive...why would you go there? Vintage is the gear I wanted but couldn't afford when it was new. Antique is older than I am. Modern means anything I thought was crap when it came out.


I have a Fender Classic Series '50s Stratocaster in Surf Green that I would trade for the Avenger, but the shipping cost and trouble would likely make the deal less desirable for both of us.

– Bob Howard

Bob, maybe trading would be okay because as it was mentioned her that removing the neck would make shipping less expensive and probably easier. We just cover shipping cost on our end and we both have a new guitar. Not brand new but new to use. Let me know if you are interested and we can talk specifics in a private message or over the phone.


Yes. Did you get my PM? Bobhoward42 at gmail dot com


I’m thinking I’ll find the perfect box, send you my Strat and then you can use the same box to send me the Avenger.


Yes. Did you get my PM? Bobhoward42 at gmail dot com

– Bob Howard

Hi Bob, just got your email, thanks. I will reply to it.


A fun trade is in the making!

– Bob Howard

Heck yeah! We both anxiously await our new exchanged guitars!

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