May 18, 2024

Are you a musician with unused instruments gathering dust in your home? Do you feel guilty about the investment you made but haven’t been able to utilize them? Worry no more! This guide will help you preserve your unused instruments and make the most out of them. You’ll learn about different ways to maintain and store your instruments, as well as how to repurpose them for other musical endeavors. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this guide will help you maximize the value of your unused instruments and keep them in top condition for years to come.

What to Do with Unused Instruments

Donating Your Instruments

Donating your unused instruments is a great way to give back to the community and support music education. By donating your instrument, you can help a child or an adult who cannot afford to purchase their own instrument, or you can contribute to a music program in a school or community center.

  • Find a worthy cause or organization that accepts instrument donations:
    • Many schools, music schools, and community centers have music programs that can benefit from instrument donations. You can contact these organizations directly to find out if they accept donations and what types of instruments they need.
    • There are also non-profit organizations that collect and distribute musical instruments to those in need. These organizations often have websites where you can find information about how to donate your instrument.
  • Consider the condition of your instrument and its potential value to the recipient:
    • Before donating your instrument, make sure it is in good condition and that all the parts are functional. If your instrument is in poor condition, it may not be suitable for donation.
    • Consider the recipient’s needs when choosing which instrument to donate. For example, if you have a violin, you may want to donate it to a school with a string program.
  • Check if there are any tax benefits for donating musical instruments:
    • In some countries, donating musical instruments may qualify you for a tax deduction. You can consult with a tax professional or check the IRS website for more information about tax benefits for charitable donations.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your unused instrument goes to a good home and helps someone else enjoy the benefits of music.

Selling Your Instruments

  • Research the value of your instrument

Before selling your instrument, it is important to research its value. This will help you determine a fair price for your instrument and ensure that you are not undervaluing it. There are several resources available for researching the value of your instrument, including online price guides, auction results, and local music stores.

  • Choose a reputable platform or dealer to sell your instrument

Once you have determined the value of your instrument, the next step is to choose a reputable platform or dealer to sell it. This will ensure that you get a fair price for your instrument and that the transaction is handled professionally. Some popular platforms for selling musical instruments include eBay, Craigslist, and local classifieds websites. It is important to thoroughly research any platform or dealer before selling your instrument to ensure that they are reputable and trustworthy.

  • Consider having your instrument appraised for insurance purposes

Having your instrument appraised is a good idea if you are planning to sell it for a high value. An appraisal will provide an official estimate of the value of your instrument, which can be useful for insurance purposes or for negotiating a sale. An appraiser will take into account factors such as the age, condition, and rarity of your instrument when determining its value.

Storing Your Instruments

Proper storage is crucial in maintaining the condition and value of your unused instruments. Follow these guidelines to ensure your instruments remain in good condition:

  • Find a safe and secure location for storage: Look for a dry, clean, and secure space that is away from direct sunlight and moisture. Consider a room with a stable temperature and humidity level, and avoid storing your instruments in areas prone to flooding or extreme weather conditions.
  • Consider humidity and temperature control: Maintaining the right humidity and temperature levels can prevent damage to your instruments. Ideally, store your instruments in a room with a temperature between 60-70°F (15-21°C) and a relative humidity of 40-50%. You can use a hygrometer and thermometer to monitor the environment and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Regularly inspect your instruments: Conduct periodic inspections to check for any signs of damage or wear. Look for cracks, discoloration, or other issues that may affect the instrument’s value or playability. Address any problems promptly to prevent further deterioration.
  • Consider investing in a music instrument insurance policy: Insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection against damage, theft, or loss. Research various insurance options and compare coverage, premiums, and deductibles to find the best policy for your needs.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your unused instruments remain in good condition and retain their value over time.

How to Maintain Your Instruments

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your instruments in good condition and prevent damage. Here are some tips on how to clean and maintain your instruments:

Follow manufacturer guidelines for cleaning and maintenance

Before you start cleaning or performing any maintenance tasks on your instrument, it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines. These guidelines provide specific instructions on how to clean and maintain your instrument, and following them will help you avoid damaging it.

Consider hiring a professional for complex maintenance tasks

If you’re not confident in your ability to perform complex maintenance tasks, or if you’re unsure about how to do them correctly, consider hiring a professional. A professional repair person can help you with tasks such as adjusting the action or replacing strings, and they can also provide advice on how to maintain your instrument in the future.

Regularly tune your instrument to prevent damage and ensure optimal performance

Regular tuning is essential to ensure that your instrument stays in good condition and performs optimally. Even if you don’t play your instrument frequently, it’s still important to tune it regularly to prevent the strings from becoming stretched or damaged. A well-tuned instrument will also sound better and be easier to play.

Proper Storage

  • Store your instrument in a dry, cool place with minimal exposure to sunlight: This is crucial to prevent damage to the instrument’s finish, wood, or metal components. Excessive heat or direct sunlight can cause warping, cracking, or discoloration.
  • Consider using a hard case or protective cover to shield your instrument from damage: A hard case or protective cover not only provides additional protection from physical damage but also helps to keep your instrument clean and free from dust.
  • Avoid storing your instrument in areas with high humidity or extreme temperatures: Extreme temperatures and high humidity can cause damage to the instrument’s wooden components, such as the fingerboard, neck, and body. These conditions can lead to cracking, warping, or even structural damage.

Proper storage is essential to ensure that your instrument remains in good condition and retains its value. By following these simple guidelines, you can help to protect your instrument from damage and maintain its quality over time.

Repairs and Restoration

  • Address any damage or wear and tear as soon as possible: Delaying repairs can lead to further damage and devaluation of your instrument. Even small issues like a loose tuning peg or a cracked string can affect the overall condition of your instrument. Regularly inspecting your instrument and addressing any issues promptly can help preserve its value.
  • Find a reputable repair person or service center: Not all repair persons or service centers are created equal. It’s important to find someone who is knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy. Ask for recommendations from other musicians, music stores, or instrument manufacturers. Look for someone who specializes in your specific type of instrument and has a good reputation in the industry.
  • Consider restoration services if your instrument is of significant value or historical significance: If your instrument is particularly valuable or has historical significance, you may want to consider restoration services. Restoration involves repairing and refinishing the instrument to its original condition, which can help increase its value and preserve its historical significance. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it can be worth it for instruments of great value or cultural significance. It’s important to work with a reputable restoration specialist who has experience with your type of instrument and can ensure that the restoration process is done properly.


1. What should I do with unused instruments that are still in good condition?

Unused instruments that are still in good condition can be donated to a music school, community center, or other organization that can make use of them. You can also consider selling them to a music store or online marketplace, or even trading them in for a discount on a new instrument. If you are a musician or music teacher, you may also be able to use the instruments yourself or offer them to your students.

2. Can I repair or refurbish unused instruments before using or selling them?

Yes, if the instruments are in need of repair or refurbishment, you can have them serviced by a professional technician or do the work yourself if you have the skills and knowledge. Refurbishing an instrument can make it more appealing to potential buyers or help you get more value out of it if you decide to sell it. However, keep in mind that the cost of repairs and refurbishments may reduce the value of the instrument, so it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits before proceeding.

3. Are there any tax benefits for donating unused instruments?

In some cases, donating unused instruments to a qualified nonprofit organization may qualify you for a tax deduction. You should consult with a tax professional or refer to the IRS guidelines to determine whether your donation is eligible for a tax deduction and what documentation is required. Additionally, you may be able to deduct the fair market value of the instrument, which can help offset the cost of the donation.

4. What should I do with unused instruments that are in poor condition?

If the instruments are in poor condition and cannot be repaired or refurbished, you may need to consider disposing of them. However, it’s important to do so responsibly and legally. You can check with your local government or waste management department to find out about proper disposal methods in your area. Alternatively, you may be able to recycle the instruments or find a facility that specializes in disposing of electronic waste.

5. How can I ensure that my unused instruments are preserved properly?

To ensure that your unused instruments are preserved properly, you should store them in a dry, clean, and cool environment away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. You should also avoid exposing them to humidity, moisture, or other environmental factors that could damage them. If you plan to sell or donate the instruments, make sure to properly clean and maintain them beforehand to increase their value and appeal.

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