Buying and selling musical equipment, in general, can often be tricky business, especially when it comes to finding those worthwhile deals and sifting through the real buyers from the online scammers.
However, like with most things, you just need to be careful of the offers that sound too good to be true, and stay away from the sellers who refuse to give you clear answers and descriptions.
If you stick to common sense, then you should find it relatively easy to buy and sell synthesizers online, and through private deals in your local area.
So with that in mind, we’ve put together a shortlist of the best places to find those bargain deals and willing buyers, plus, we’ve outlined the pitfalls and disadvantages of each one so you’ll quickly be able to spot the fake deals and scammers.
Reverb is an excellent place to buy and sell your synthesizers, the prices are fair and you’re dealing with like-minded musicians who are trustworthy and reliable. You could easily describe it as the musician’s eBay with stacks of musical equipment and synth hardware available.
You can purchase anything from budget synths to rare, vintage gear. Plus, you’re more likely to find a buyer for any of the specialized hardware that you’ve got for sale. It might take you longer to find a buyer on Reverb, but it’s useful to know that the people who do become interested are less likely to mess you around in the long run. Be sure to use the Bump and Sale features whenever available, these both increase your chances of making a sale.
The fact that you can’t test the gear before buying does make things a little riskier. However, knowing that you’re dealing with other musicians should help you to get the answers to any technical questions, or remove any doubt that you may have before making the purchase.
A specialized site focused on music
Fair prices from like-minded musicians
A large collection of budget and rare gear
Special “Bump” and “Sale” features to increase the chance of selling
Fewer users than eBay so selling can take longer
You can’t try the gear before you buy
eBay is known all over the world and is one of the biggest online marketplaces. This quickly increases the number of potential buyers if you’re looking to sell your synth gear, and it also means that you’ve got a lot more products and equipment to choose from when it comes to adding to your synth collection.
You need to put the trust in the seller and hope that what you’re buying is as described, so asking plenty of questions is going to reduce any surprises further down the line, and any worthy seller will be happy to answer any doubts that you may have.
Which leads on to the main point about selling, be clear and descriptive with what you are selling, it makes the whole process run a lot smoother and keeps both parties on the same wavelength! A trustworthy site in terms of online transactions, so if you play sensible and deal with the trusted sellers and buyers, then we’re sure that you will find success on eBay.
A wide selection of synth gear
Large items sell quickly
Fair prices and bargains can be found
You can’t try the gear before you buy
Less specialized users who might not understand equipment value
3. Dedicated Facebook Groups
Using Facebook groups is a clever way of buying or selling your gear to someone in the local area. It can help to remove the stresses and complications of arranging delivery and reduce the costs involved as well. Facebook has a strong community of followers and your items for sale can quickly reach a bigger audience with the sharing feature. It seems that there are more bargains to be found here as well, due to some people not knowing the full value of equipment or just wanting quick cash.
Buying synth hardware from a Facebook group can sometimes give you the useful option of trying before you buy. The seller is likely to be nearby so taking advantage of this will mean you don’t have to risk buying faulty gear. Simply test whatever you are buying before you hand over the cash.
Facebook doesn’t have as much security and trust as the other options already mentioned in this list, so you do need to be aware of potential scammers out there. The group admin will usually kick these rogues out fairly quickly, but it’s still best to keep aware of anything that seems too good to be true!
Facebook Group Pros
Many of the groups are local in densely populated areas
You can find gear at lower prices than Reverb/eBay
You can sometimes try the gear before you buy
Facebook Group Cons
Fewer scammers than on a site like craigslist, but they are still out there
Less trust and security when dealing with transactions
Craigslist is one of those sites that can go either way when buying and selling. It’s a well-known site and you are likely to pick up some deals from sellers who are looking for quick cash. You’ll find that electrical-based items do sell quite cheap so it is wise to keep an eye out on Craigslist from time to time.
For those looking to sell their synths and other gear, be warned that it can be frustrating and finding serious buyers can be hard. People will make offers and then not follow up, and some people will make crazy offers way below the asking price.
The fact that you are dealing with local people does help though, meaning that you can try before you buy and also save on delivery costs if you’re selling large items. If you do go down the Craigslist route then make sure you’re well prepared for the ride!
No shipping or delivery costs to deal with
You can often try the gear before buying so you know that it works
There are many scammers and flaky buyers
It can take time to sell items due to the general nature of the site
5. Garage Sales
Garage sales are still a thing and there are bargains to be found. You’ll see them in and around your local neighborhood which means that you shouldn’t have to travel far. The only problem is that you’ll have to work extra hard to find out when and where these garage sales take place.
The extra work may well pay off though because many of these sellers will be unaware of the value of each item. If they are eager to remove “old garbage” then you just might find some very rewarding deals, as they say, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”
The downside to garage sales is that if you do see any advertised, they’re not likely to mention if there will be any synths or music gear available to buy. It really is pot luck and the journey might well be a wasted one, but you’ll have to weigh that up against the possibility of finding some amazing bargains, and then see if it’s all worth your time and effort.
Garage Sale Pros
Big possibility of getting some great deals due to unaware sellers
You can sometimes try the gear before you buy it
Garage Sale Cons
It’s very rare to find good quality synths and equipment
It can be hard to locate when and where garage sales take place
6. Online Forums
Online forums were a hive of activity a few years ago. A perfect place for offloading unwanted gear, picking up bargains, and getting useful advice and information on any synth equipment that you were interested in.
Forum sites are not as active as they once were, meaning that you may find it hard to find any worthwhile equipment or buyers to sell to. However, the positive you can take from using forums is that the users are likely to be very enthusiastic about synths, meaning that they will certainly be intrigued to any possible purchases or they’ll at least give you a heads up on where else you can successfully buy and sell your gear.
Like Facebook and Craigslist, online forums are more open to scammers due to the lack of security checks that sites like eBay and Reverb can offer. So it’s always wise to stay cautious and keep clear of anyone or any deal that sounds too good to be true. The fact that you can’t try before you buy is also something you need to consider, unless you get lucky and it’s a local buyer.