Guitar Center Trade-In

If you want to avoid the headache of selling your old guitar gear on your own, one option is to go to Guitar Center and use their Trade In Trade Up program to sell or trade in your gear right away.

Guitar Center Trade In Worth? Overall, guitar center make it easy and convenient for the trade in process. However, they will give you less than what the guitar is wroth than if you went to a less established music shop.

In this article, we discuss all you need to know about Guitar Center Trade-In Program in 2023.

1. What Is The Guitar Center Trade-In

Guitar Center Trade-In is a program offered by Guitar Center, a retail chain that specializes in musical instruments and equipment. The program allows customers to trade in their used gear, such as guitars, basses, drums, and other instruments, for cash or a Guitar Center gift card or store credit.

The value of the trade-in is determined based on the condition and age of the item being traded in, as well as market demand. Once the trade-in value has been determined, the customer can use the credit to purchase new or used gear from any Guitar Center store or online, usually with up to 10% discount, compared with receiving cash.

2. How Does The Guitar Trade In Center Work?

Once a customer trades in an item, Guitar Center will typically inspect the item to determine its condition and value. If the item is deemed to be in good condition and has a resale value, it will be put on the sales floor for other customers to purchase. If the item is not in good condition or does not have a resale value, it may be sent to a liquidator or recycled. 

While the used market is not their major profit generator, they will always attempt to make a profit by reselling your trade-ins. It is critical to note that Guitar Center will not pay you the full used value for your equipment. This is true of any music business that sells music equipment, not just Guitar Center. It’s more fair to expect offers between 50-70% of the item’s used market price. This leaves ample room for cleaning, setup, and maintenance, as well as the operational and processing fees connected with running the business.

3. What will a Guitar Center Not Accept In Their Trade-In Program?

Guitar Center has certain restrictions on what items they will accept for their trade-in program, usually they have to consider whether they can easily resell those items later. They may not accept the following items:

  • Items that are not in working condition
  • Items that are severely damaged, such as those with broken necks or missing parts
  • Items that are illegal to own or sell, such as stolen items
  • Items that are not musical instruments or equipment, such as power tools or sporting goods
  • Items that are counterfeit or knock-off products
  • Items that are older than 20 years.

As always, the final decision lies with the manager on duty at the time. It’s always best to check with the store or their website for the most up to date information about the program before heading to a Guitar Center.

4. Is It Worth Selling To Guitar Center?

Whether or not it is worth selling to Guitar Center depends on your individual circumstances and the item(s) you are looking to sell. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Convenience: Guitar Center has a wide network of stores across the country, so if you live near one, it can be convenient to take your items in and get an offer right away.
  • Price: The price you get for your item(s) through Guitar Center’s trade-in program may be less than what you could get by selling the item(s) on your own. However, it’s a quick and easy way to sell your gear and you can use the credit right away.
  • Condition of the gear: As mentioned before, Guitar Center will not accept gear that is in poor condition or not working. So, if your gear is not in great condition, it might not be worth selling to them.
  • Alternatives: Consider other options for selling your gear, such as online marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or Ebay, or other local music stores. Compare the prices and services offered by these options with Guitar Center’s trade-in program.
  • Vintage equipment: If you have vintage equipment with a high market value, it may not be a good choice for Guitar Center trade-in, unless you are willing to accept a significant loss. Guitar Center may offer you a few extra points for them, but it will not be the same as what you may obtain on another site. Most guitars may be sold for a few hundred dollars more on the correct market. So, if you’re not in a rush and don’t need a new piece of equipment, wait it out.

In general, it is always a good idea to do your research and explore all options before making a decision whether heading to a Guitar Center or not.

5. How Much Can I Receive For My Used Gear?

Guitar Center’s trade-in program typically offers less than the item’s retail value, as they need to make a profit from reselling the item. You may have read online that Guitar Center will pay between 40 and 60% of your gear present value. However, the exact amount you can receive will depend on the specific item and the store’s evaluation. It’s always a good idea to check with the store or their website for the most up to date information about the program, or to check prices on the internet to have an idea of what you can expect. 

It is important to note that you can get more for your gear by selling it privately, but that process takes longer and it’s not as easy as just walking into a store and getting an immediate offer.

6. Guitar Center Give You Store Credit?

Another thing to consider is that Guitar Center’s trade-in program typically pays customers with a Guitar Center gift card or store credit, rather than cash. It is possible that some stores may offer cash, but it’s not the common practice and it’s best to check with the specific store or their website for the most up to date information about the program.

In most cases, Guitar Center pays up to $1000 cash for used gear – if your valuation is over $1000 they will pay the remainder in different following ways, depending on the store:

  • Store credit towards another purchase
  • A check in the amount exceeding $1000
  • A prepaid Guitar Center Visa card

Overall, if you are looking to purchase something else then fine, but if you need the cash to pay bills then you would need to take your gear to a smaller guitar shop.

7. How Does Guitar Center Determine Trade In value?

The amount you can receive for your used gear traded at Guitar Center will vary depending on several factors, including the brand, model, condition, and age of the item. The current market demand for the item, and the store’s inventory will also be considered.

When you bring in an item to trade-in, a store associate will inspect the item to assess its condition. They will look for any cosmetic or functional issues, such as scratches, dings, or missing parts. They will also consider the age of the item and how well it has been taken care of.

The Trade-In Process:

  • Take the equipment to your local Guitar Center.
  • Get it checked out and evaluated.
  • They will give you a selling or trade-in offer.
  • Walk out with up to $1000 in cash or a cheque for a higher sum!

After the assessment, the store will determine the trade-in value of the item based on the information gathered during the inspection, as well as current market demand and the store’s inventory. The store will then make an offer to the customer, and the customer can choose to accept or decline the offer.

It’s important to note that the trade-in value of an item can vary depending on the specific store, mostly due to the manager’s valuation, so it might be worth checking with multiple locations before making a decision. Also check out their website to determine if your equipment qualifies for a trade-in.

8. How To Prepare For A Trade In?

If you need to remember just two things for a Guitar Center Trade In, please keep in mind that it is just a negotiation when the condition of your gear does matter. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself for a trade-in at Guitar Center:

  1. Research the value of your item: Look up the make, model, and condition of your item online to get an idea of its current market value. This will give you an idea of what to expect for a trade-in offer.
  2. Clean and maintain your gear: Make sure your gear is in the best condition possible. Clean it, fix any functional issues, and make sure all parts are included.
  3. Gather all necessary information: Make sure you have all the necessary information about your gear, including the make, model, serial number, and any documentation that came with it.
  4. Take pictures: Take pictures of your gear from different angles, make sure to show any cosmetic or functional issues if you decide to get it checked online. Be honest about the condition of your gear, as Guitar Center will not accept gear that is in poor condition or not working.
  5. Research the store: Research the store’s inventory, check their website or call them to get an idea of what they are currently looking for.

By following these steps, you will be better prepared to negotiate the best trade-in value possible for your gear. Remember that the final decision is up to the store, but being well prepared will give you the upper hand.


Whether or not you should trade in your gear at Guitar Center depends on your specific circumstances and goals. Guitar Center Trade In Program can offer you the convenience and safety, which are traded off by a lower selling price and some limitations on payment method. If you want to head for the Trade In Trade Up program, make sure you do careful research and preparation and try to get a fair price. It is also worth noting that trading in your gear at Guitar Center is not your only option, you can also sell it on your own, such as through online marketplaces like Craigslist, Reverb, Facebook marketplace etc. or through local classified ads.

From my friend’s experiences, the most advantage of trading in your instrument at Guitar Center is that you do not have to meet with strangers to sell it. You also do not have to play games with youngsters and their parents who do not know anything about guitars and are simply trying to swindle you. At Guitar Center, you are given a price. If you can live with it and like the replacement you are getting, you will be saving yourself a lot of headache!

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to do your research and weigh the pros and cons of different options before making a decision.

Rich Wilde Music

My name is Richard Wilde and go by @richwildemusic on all major social channels. I am an artist, guitar player, and producer. I have been playing guitar for over 15 years and have come to learn the "tips" and "tricks" to enhance guitar playing, recording guitar, setting up guitar, and overall get that professional sound.

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