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The Hard Baroquer is a home musician that has pursued music as a hobby for nearly 20 years. An intermediate guitarist, beginner bassist and even sometimes dabbling on the harmonica, he is always learning something. In his free time, he runs The Hard Baroquer blog.

By The Hard Baroquer

We know the six factors that decide a music instrument’s re-sale value – so let’s take a look at what steps can we follow in order to hold on to our music gear’s re-sale value as much as possible.

Maintenance

Carry out regular routine maintenance on your musical instrument in order to extend it’s life span and ensure that it will hold as much value as possible. This includes cleaning the instrument after use with a damp microfibre cloth or alcohol. Doing this gets rid of human liquids from mouth or fingers that will corrode metal parts.

Beyond this, set some time aside to clean moving parts regularly, not just the body. This will keep rust at bay and keep the instrument as close to new as possible

Avoid dings

While road worn vintage guitars are attractive, you can guarantee someone valuing a pre-owned musical instrument will be finding flaws to bring the selling price down. Do your best to avoid dings, dents and scratches. Cracks too. If it shows visible signs of repair, then that will harm the sell-on value.

Buy a sturdy, protected case and make sure that your instrument lives there when not being played. If it’s a professional instrument, perhaps have second practise instrument to minimise wear and tear.

Play efficiently

This may be repeating the above point, but when it comes to playing your musical gear, nothing is built for heavy handed playing. Keep percussive playing techniques to only where they are necessary, learnt to play with light, nimble fingers and you’ll find your components live longer and replacing them won’t be an issue for a potential new owner (something that if they can see is going to need to be done, they’ll want the selling price to reflect that).

Avoid modifications

If you think that this instrument will be re-sold at a later stage, modifications will not benefit the price, no matter how much you’ve spent on the instrument. This is because modifications are done to your preferences, not the next owner’s so they can’t guarantee the customisations will be welcomed by the buyer.

Retailers will sell it for what it is, not what you think it is, especially entry-level instruments. According to Lee Anderton, your best bet when part-exchanging an instrument is to remove customisations and re-attach the original gear.

Keep the custom gear for fitting to your new instrument, or on an instrument that you want to celebrate your originality.

Buy wisely

If you’re buying an instrument with the intention of upgrading in a year or two, chat with the retailer about what brands/models have a steady demand. Buying an over supplied musical instrument (or something too cheap from Amazon, or a white/private label instrument, isn’t a bad move, except that your resale value on an already cheap instrument will be lower still.

This isn’t to discourage own-brand instruments from retailers – these are offered as good value for money option when it comes to buying music gear. They will be cheaper than their equivalents from leading manufacturers and compete on quality. What they won’t guarantee is holding their value in a year.

Break the bank

Stands to reason that the instruments that hold their value best will be those that don’t break/wear down easily, therefore have high quality components; that are in demand but in scarce supply; that are always relevant to the music world and where age is hopefully beneficial, or at least not an issue since the item is scarce in supply. These instruments will be professional-level items and instruments aimed at collectors. If you can afford an professional instrument, go for it. In general, though, buy the most expensive in-demand model of instrument in your budget, whatever that budget it.

As a basic rule, treat your musical instruments like an necessary tool of your trade, not like a toy to entertain yourself with. From there, when it comes to part-exing it or selling it privately you will get an amount you’re happy with.