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MY Top 3 Tips on Selling Musical Instruments on Resale Sites

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Despite having autism, I am passionate about writing about various subjects. I also love to travel and do crafts.

Many people sell their old musical instruments they have on hand at resale sites for many reasons. Their band kids would outgrow their student-geared band instruments, trading them in for more advanced models. Some more do so to declutter.

So how can one get the most benefits of it AND get the sale one desires? Here are top 3 vital tips in selling your old instruments online.

Tip #1: Confirm that they are genuine

Oftentimes, band directors and orchestra conductors - as well as expert instrument repairpeople - advise school band and orchestra students to not buy instruments online. Why? Though they advise them to buy reputable brand-names, the ones sold might be counterfeit. In other words, they are often instrument-shaped objects (ISOs) in disguise.

As explained in a Hub about them, ISOs are instruments made with poor-quality materials that have poor intonation and mechanical issues. Not all ISOs come in unnatural colors and include white gloves and shady fingering charts. Some of them have brand names engraved on them (oftentimes non-proportional or in wrong formats or places on them), and some others are advertised with photos that don't show what the sellers are actually selling.

Photo by author, 2022

Photo by author, 2022

"There has been a massive increase (recently) of flat-out fake and/or counterfeit instruments hitting the market," David Kessler, owner of Las Vegas music store chain Kessler & Sons, wrote.

"These are instruments where they are using someone else’s registered and trademarked logo illegally and putting them on sub-par instruments in an obvious effort to defraud people out their money. Some of you reading this are thinking, 'Surely - no one actually falls for that,' while others are saying, 'Yeah, I fell for that.'"

"There are a TON of fake instruments out there. I have had numerous such instruments come in to our store and the customer be completely oblivious to the fact that the instrument that they thought they found such a good deal only to discover that they overpaid for a poorly-made knockoff. While many of these fakes are pretty obvious if you look closely, some are not."

PLEASE make sure that you're not selling a fake-brand sax your kid used for 7th grade band!

If you are selling an old instrument, check with experts who are well-versed in instrument repair, whether or not you bought it from a reputable local music store. (You can photograph and highlight parts of the receipt of purchase and/or prior repairs to confirm.) It also helps that you're not reselling a fake brand.

There's a Facebook group called Musical Instrument Counterfeit & Scam Alerts, in which you can upload photos of your instrument you are selling. But if you want to go the extra mile by confirming the authenticity of them at your local music stores as well, that's much better.

Here's how REAL BRAND trumpets are made!

Tip #2: Acknowledge that the instrument you're selling is GENUINE in the description

If you both bought the instrument previously from a music store AND confirmed they are quality brand-name ones, PLEASE mention it in the description. Describe that you had it bought from a reputable music store and had went to it for repairs during the time you played it for at least a year.

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Photo by author, taken 2022.

Photo by author, taken 2022.

If you want to convince your sellers even further, elaborate as much as you can on your OWN experiences with your instrument. For example, you can point out that you have had your B-flat clarinet recorked a couple of times from the same music store over the course of middle school.

By describing your own (or your relative's, if the relative was in the band) experiences on the description text, the buyer can ensure that you're reselling a quality, GENUINE instrument. And it will make good with whichever resale site's terms and conditions as well as the law.

Remember: NOBODY WANTS TO BUY AN ISO!

Photo by author, 2022

Photo by author, 2022

Tip #3: Add value by including relevant but quality accessories

You MAY WANT to set a buyer or buyer's child off to the right path in one's musical journey by including relevant accessories. I strongly suggest staying away from used cork and slide grease and valve oil, as it's unsanitary.

If you have reed holders on hand that are in good condition, remove any reeds, sanitize them, and include them inside the cases. Make sure you're packing GENUINE accessories.

But keep in mind that you might want to slightly increase the price of the instrument depending on what you're including in it. However, the trade-off is that your seller or the seller's child will be on the right path to one's band, orchestra, or other musical journey.

Photo by author, 2022

Photo by author, 2022

Bonus: Packaging Tips

Whether you have lovingly used it or have it sitting around for a while since you last played it, you SHOULD clean the instrument as much as possible. Please remove any reeds from the reed cases and sanitize them beforehand if you're packaging them with it.

Place the parts in the case, latch it, and wrap it in at least 2 layers of bubble wrap. Next, put it in a box roomy enough to fit it as well as some packing peanuts. Make sure you put ENOUGH packing peanuts so that the instrument doesn't shift in transport. After taping the box, PLEASE weigh it and record its weight. This is important, as you'll determine the right shipping method for the instrument.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 talfonso

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