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Some Common Sense Rules to Buying and Selling Guitars and Music Gear on Craigslist, eBay, Reverb, etc.

by vaughn skow November 03, 2015 3 min read

I’ve been buying and selling on eBay for over 16 years, almost since day one of eBay; my history on Craigslist is about the same, and like many of you, I have started buying and selling on Reverb.  And so I propose that I am about as qualified as anybody to offer up some general guidelines for both buyers and sellers, so here goes!


  • You must provide GOOD detailed pictures of the item you are selling; expect to field many requests of “I need to see pics”!  If you don’t provide pics we all know that you are either: 1) a crook, or 2) a do-fuss.  Number one lands you in jail and number two means that if your item sells at all, it will sell VERY cheap!

  • You must provide excellent detailed descriptions of what you are selling.  Get your crap together before listing a musical item, get the details.  It’s not hard to figure out the year of a guitar’s manufacture, for instance … so include this info!

  • Don’t use ALL CAPS, multiple exclamation-marks (!!!!), or stupid opinions in your description “This is hot and will sell FAST”.

  • Be realistic about your price.  See what items like yours are actually SELLING for on Craigslist, eBay, etc and figure if you price yours at about that, it will sell; a little higher and it might still sell but will sell slowly, a little lower and it should sell quick.  Oh, and get a clue: “this instrument was once owned by a guy who was once in a band that had a little success” is NOT going to help your item sell, or make it worth a premium price.

  • Don’t lie.  You would think this need not be stated, but … well, folks, fraud will get you in every imaginable form of trouble; it’s just not worth it!

  • Communicate with folks!  Answer legitimate questions quickly and friendly if you really expect to sell your item!


  • Don’t hassle a seller unless you seriously plan to buy the item.  Don’t be a jerk, nuff said!

  • Play by the rules.  If a Craigslist add says “cash only” or “no trades” … please, don’t bother the seller with “can I pay you over time” or “I’ve got a great 4-wheeler I’ll trade you”. 

  • PAY, damn it.  On eBay or Reverb, there is no reason to not pay immediately, so just do it!

  • Have realistic expectations.  This is especially true with vintage gear, or really, any used gear.  See my blog “What You Need To Know About Buying aa Guitar on-line”.  Same goes for amps and other gear.  If it’s 30-60 years old, expect all those years to have affected it in all kinds of ways!

  • DO NOT use feedback as a weapon.  The idea that “my guitar arrived with strings that need to be changed and so I’m gonna burn this dude with my negative feedback” is the doings of a real douchebag!  Even worse is using feedback to extort money.  “Hey, I’m going to give you bad feedback if you don’t refund some money” is the work of a CRIMINAL douchebag!

  • Be patient on shipping.  I know it’s hard in this current on-line climate, but you must take into account the fact that your seller may well be a regular Joe with a full time job, three kids, a wife and a dog.

  • Communicate well.  Yep, as in selling, this is of paramount importance.  If there is a legitimate issue with an item, communicate in a clear, friendly, and non-emotional manner with the seller.

I’m sure there’s more I could add, but I’m going to resist the urge to beat this drum any further.  Now, Ya’ll go out and do some good friendly buying & selling!

emailVaughn   About Vaughn Skow 


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