How Do I Dispose of an Old Guitar?

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: October 2, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

So you want to get rid of that old guitar that’s been collecting dust in the corner. 

You don’t use it anymore and the neck is beginning to warp along with missing strings. It’s time to clean house and throw it away once and for all.

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I dispose of an old guitar?” Understand you have many options here depending on the condition of the guitar, its manufacturer and playability. If it’s in good playing order, you can sell it to someone else or donate it. 

If it’s a real junker with no value in any capacity, you might be able to pretend you’re a classic guitar god from the late 1960s.

Figuring Out the Guitar’s Value 

But, before getting into the various ways you can rid yourself of it, inspect the guitar’s condition. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it useable as an instrument at all?
  • Does it need some repairs to be playable?
  • Is it a rare or higher-end model made by Squire, Epiphone, Gibson, Martin-D or other classic guitar maker?
  • Is it a vintage guitar by a brand that doesn’t even exist anymore?
  • How much is it worth to you (either in dollars or sentiment)?
  • How much did you originally pay for it?

If it’s useable or even a vintage guitar, you may want to refurbish, sell or donate it. 

When you bought the guitar for pretty penny, you might want to start with trying to sell it.

But, judging by the condition and how much you want to get, you’re going to have to look around at current prices. 

See how much other people are selling it for and what the Blue Book value is. 

Compare that to the condition and playability to come up with a figure you’re happy with.

Selling It

You can put it up for sale on a social media marketplace or on some place like Craigslist, Etsy or Ebay. 

When you create your ad, take as many photos of the guitar as possible. 

Be as honest and up front about the guitar’s condition and anything else that might be wrong with it. 

This includes cosmetic imperfections, nicks, dents, gouges, neck alignment, missing knobs and etc.

If it’s a vintage guitar or a high-end guitar from a popular brand, take it to an antique dealer, specialty pawn shop or a collectors’ convention. 

For haggling purposes, you should know exactly what price you want to aim for and the lowest price you will accept.

Donating the Guitar

Depending on the condition of the old guitar, you can donate it to a worthy cause. 

If it’s in playable condition but it doesn’t have any real value, give it to a charitable auction, a youth program or a local school. 

Never donate a guitar that doesn’t work well or have an acceptable appearance.

For Guitars in a Sorry State

If your old guitar is total piece of junk that isn’t worth any money or is entirely unplayable, there are a few other things you can consider doing with it.

Find a Luthier

If the guitar is in a horrid, unplayable state, consider donating it to a luthier or luthiery school. 

They will gladly take the guitar, regardless of the condition it’s in.

Likewise, you could have a luthier repair the guitar to make it sell better or for your own playing pleasure. 

This may be a good option if it’s a vintage guitar, a gift from a loved one who passed away or a trinket from childhood.

Repurpose the Guitar

If you’re artistic, handy and innovative, you could use your old guitar for more practical uses. 

If you have things like sandpaper, drills, saws, hammers and other tools, you can make something impressive and functional. 

Electric guitar bodies can transform into wall clocks, chair backs or even a coat rack.

You can turn acoustic guitars into shelving, a pot for plants, a dollhouse or a wall decoration. Some people have drilled holes into the face of the body and inserted lights for a mood effect. 

LED string lights, a strobe light, and battery-operated tea lights make it look like stars bursting light from the wall.

Have a 60s Moment

In the case you don’t care about the thing and you don’t want to bother taking the guitar somewhere, you could have a little fun. 

Set up a video camera and mimic Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1968 or the various times Pete Townsend from The Who smashed his guitar live onstage. 

You could even attempt both at once.

However, if you opt for this, don’t be stupid. 

Make sure you take all the necessary precautions, keep a fire extinguisher nearby and ensure there won’t be flying shrapnel that can hurt someone, including yourself. Wear solid eye protection too.


Whatever method you choose to dispose your old guitar, make sure it’s a decision you can live with. 

If your guitar has value in any way, consider selling, donating or repairing it. 

Remember, these are marvels of human engineering and it’d be a shame to just dump it in the trash.

But, if the guitar’s a true piece of junk to which you have no attachment, then give it away to a luthier or pretend to be Jimi or Pete for 30 minutes on video.

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