Can You Haggle at Guitar Center? (2023 Edition)

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If you’re wondering if you can haggle at Guitar Center, this post is for you!

The short answer is:

You usually can’t haggle at Guitar Center. But if you bring gear to trade in, you get the value of your gear plus 10% off of an in-store item. In this context, you may be able to negotiate that your gear is worth slightly more than they are offering. And while they’re in the negotiating mood, you may also be able to talk down the price slightly of the in-store gear you want in exchange, particularly if it’s slightly damaged or the floor model of an item.

I’ll unpack this more in the sections below.

Buying Guitars and Gear at Guitar Center

As you probably already know, Guitar Center is one of the biggest if not the largest instrument retailers in the US. With almost 300 stores, it’s safe to say that they’ve shaped the history of the instruments.

They’re generally a go-to place for a huge portion of the guitar-playing population. However, there have been some critiques over the years as well. In particular, some of the latest scandals involve destroying slightly flawed instruments.

Nonetheless, they still remain one of the most important guitar-related businesses. And if you need anything, whether that’s a guitar pick or a high-end amp, they’ve got you covered.

Can You Trade in at Guitar Center?

What’s really interesting is that Guitar Center has the trade-in option as well. This means that you can sell your used gear over at their stores. And almost all of their stores work with cash payments. A few of the stores don’t and you can only sell it for credits to use to buy new stuff.

Of course, this model comes with its good and bad sides. What’s great about it is that you can sell your gear in bulk. And all in one place. They take pretty much any of the standard guitar, pedal, and amp brands. It takes a lot less time to sell it through Guitar Center compared to eBay.

If you decide to sell it for store credits, you get a 10% discount on whatever you purchase. This is a pretty decent deal if you plan on buying something new.

However, there’s a downside to all this. Like any other retailer, they’re looking to earn money. If you bring a used guitar or an amp there, you can only sell it for about 50% of the used value. In most cases, they’ll check the price of what you’re selling on eBay. They’ll take the average, consider the state of the item, and offer 50%. Eventually, they’ll sell it for a full used market price.

Overall, it’s not a bad deal if you want to get rid of a bunch of old stuff and don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling each individual item. But if you’re selling a single item, then I’d suggest that you sell it yourself. You will likely get a much better price.

Can You Haggle at Guitar Center?

Then also comes the question of whether you can haggle at Guitar Center stores. The answer may not be that simple. And it’s a bit hard for me to answer with certainty since I’ve never done it myself. But I’ve heard a few stories about people doing it.

Overall, the trade-in model opens up this possibility. For instance, if you’re getting store credits, you get a 10% discount on new stuff. This gives some room for haggling and getting a better price.

However, there’s a catch. You need to have a good reason for this price reduction. You can’t just say that a certain guitar isn’t worth that much. It’s just not for you to decide. And they’ll offer you a cheaper guitar model.

Just don’t try to act too smart or pretentious. If you act like you know more than them, they won’t accept it.

What you need to do is find a good reason. Ask them whether the instrument comes with a case. Or, you could ask to get a few smaller goodies along with the instrument. This includes string packs, cables, or other accessories.

Some have managed to reduce the price if they found minor flaws with the item. If you really want a better discount with the trade-in option, be on the lookout. See if there’s a scratch that they haven’t noticed. 

Or ask if you can take the floor model of an item for a discount.

Be Realistic

But although there’s maneuverability, don’t expect to get some insane discounts. After all, they’re looking to earn money. You can’t possibly get the same prices that they got from the manufacturer. But you may be able to alter the price just a little bit. 

You also can’t expect to always lower the price. They won’t allow for a great guitar to go down easily at a lower price. In most cases, people just don’t want to waste time on it.

As I said, the trade-in option is great if you want to get rid of a bunch of old gear. But don’t expect to get incredible deals. 

In all honesty, I’d avoid selling my used stuff over at Guitar Center. And, for the most part, I’d recommend finding used gear online instead of their stores.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy stuff at Guitar Center. However, if you decide to do so, don’t do it online. Go to the store and check these items yourself.  


Have you ever tried haggling at Guitar Center?

If so, let me know in the comments below!

I’d love to hear about your experience.

One Response

  1. Yes, you absolutely can haggle at Guitar Center. I do it every single time. And they always come down in price and sometimes throw in free stuff, warranties, etc..
    Especially if you’ve been shopping there for a while. They will always go the extra mile to find you the best deal.

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