Whether you’re starting up a garage band or joining a school orchestra, your local pawn shop can be a great resource when you need to buy musical instruments. While most of these products come second-hand, they are usually still in good condition and deliver high-quality performance for an affordable rate. Still, since every shop and every item will vary, it’s important to know how to assess your purchase properly. To ensure you pick the best musical instrument for your needs and budget, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.


Inspect for damage.

It’s common for second-hand instruments to have a little wear and tear. But if there is damage that can impact performance, it might be time to move on. Some specific problems you should look for include missing keys, cork damage, rust, dings, and dents.

Ask about history.

A pawn shop may not necessarily have the complete history on an instrument, but you can still ask in case they have a few details. If possible, find out how many owners the instrument has had, how it was maintained, and if the shop has made any repairs. The more background you have, the more confident you can feel about the transaction.

Play the instrument.

pawn shopThe easiest way to avoid purchasing a bad instrument is to play it in the store. When playing, make sure the instrument can adapt to your specific style. Additionally, make sure that it can play all notes without challenge.  


Overlook a professional opinion.

Sometimes, it can help to have an instrumental repair professional look at an item with you at a pawn shop. Although this can seem like an additional hassle, these specialists can identify potential hidden issues that may impact performance. If there is damage, don’t rule out the purchase entirely. Instead, find out how much it would cost to repair and determine if that fits within your needs.

Buy before researching prices.

If you have a specific instrument in mind, always take time to research current market rates for that exact model. Once you know what they are selling for online, you can make sure that your item of choice is being priced fairly.


Whether you can’t deal with a few scratches or can’t find the type of instrument you want, don’t buy one if it doesn’t meet your requirements. Pawn shop inventories change rapidly, and there is a good chance that you can return within a week to find a better, more suitable option.


When you need a used musical instrument in Cincinnati, OH, look no further than the American Trading Company. Serving the community for more than 50 years, this trusted pawn shop offers a wide range of high-quality, second-hand items—including jewelry, rare coins, and firearms. To learn more about their selection, visit this pawn shop online, and call (513) 661-3633 to ask about current inventory.