Do Pawn Shops Buy Trumpets

Brian McCracken


When it comes to great brass instruments, virtually everyone thinks about the saxophone first. But the truth of the matter is that the trumpet is often times the more popular instrument to be seen coming into a pawn shop. Did you know that the trumpet is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world? According to some historians, trumpets date back to at least 1500 BC and were used by ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. They were often used for military or religious purposes and were made of materials such as animal horns, shells, or metal.

But does that mean that all pawn shops will take in trumpets for loan or offer to buy them outright? Well, unfortunately that is a much harder question to answer to be honest.

Pawn Shops Are Not All The Same

You see, pawn shops aren’t like Walmart or Home Depot. There is no one set standard for how they have to do business or what it is that they have to accept.

Pawn shops are typically owned by small business owners and there are hundreds of thousands of them across the country. Because of that, it’s almost impossible to tell you that, yes, with no questions asked, your local pawn shop will take in your trumpet.

That having been said, I will tell you that it is a very safe bet to assume that as long as you have a decent trumpet and that it’s in fairly good condition, your local pawn shop will likely be very happy to take the time to look at it and make you a very reasonable offer for it.

What Makes a Trumpet Valuable

That having been said, there are some little things that we should talk about when it comes to pawning or selling a trumpet at a pawn shop and some things that you really need to know.

Not All Trumpets Are Created Equal

The first thing that we should really just go ahead and get right out on the table right now is that not all trumpets are created equal.

What I mean by this is just as there are some really great, expensive, awesome trumpets – there are also some $20 knock-off’s out of China that really aren’t worth anything. Then of course, there’s all sort of trumpets in between that you should keep in mind as well – which is most likely where your trumpet will fall in this.

Age Doesn’t Always Matter

Another misconception that a lot of people have when it comes to brass musical instruments, and it seems trumpets in particular, is that if it is old that it has to be worth a fortune.

Well, sadly, that is not really the case and I’m well aware of who that can come as a shock to a lot of people. You see, trumpets have been around for so long that just as there are now, even 100 years ago there were some really cheaply made and inferior trumpets produced.

They weren’t worth a whole lot then, and largely because of that, they will have virtually no collector value or usable instrument value now. It’s just the sad truth when it comes to these things, so if your trumpet is old, please don’t instantly assume that you’ve come across a gold mine because that may not be the case.

How To Pawn a Trumpet

So with all of that in mind, let’s talk about how to actually go out there and pawn a trumpet.

Find a Pawn Shop That Takes Musical Instruments

Now the first thing that you should do is find a pawn shop that takes musical instruments like trumpets, which really shouldn’t be too hard to be honest. Virtually every pawn shop will, but it might still be worth calling around in case you aren’t entirely sure if your local pawn shop will take it in or not.

Make Sure Your Trumpet is in Good Condition

That having been said, once you are comfortable knowing that you have a good idea of what pawn shop (or pawn shops) to take your trumpet to, let’s look at some other things.

  • Make Sure All The Pieces Move – A big thing with trumpets is that all of the little cleaning parts will sometimes get “Frozen” in place and won’t be easily removable. A pawn shop isn’t going to like to see this so it’s a good idea to try to free up those parts before you take your trumpet down to your local pawn broker.
  • Make Sure The Keys Don’t Stick – Another common problem with trumpets is that the keys will sometimes stick and not move freely. This can affect the sound quality and playability of the instrument. You should try to lubricate the keys with some oil or grease before you bring your trumpet to the pawn shop.
  • Clean Your Trumpet – This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t bother to clean their trumpets before they try to sell them or pawn them. A dirty trumpet can look old and worn out and may lower the value of your instrument. You should wipe down your trumpet with a soft cloth and polish it with some brass cleaner if possible.
  • Bring Any Accessories – If you have any accessories for your trumpet, such as a case, a mouthpiece, a mute, or a stand, you should bring them along with your trumpet. These can add value to your instrument and make it more appealing to the pawn shop. They may also help you negotiate a better price for your trumpet.
  • Have The Mouthpiece – This might sound lame, but it’s actually pretty important to make sure that you have the mouthpiece with your trumpet. While most mouthpieces are completely standard these days, that wasn’t always the case unfortunately. So this is even more true if you have an older trumpet – it may have a uniquely size mouthpiece and having that can really mean a world of difference to you when you’re trying to make a loan against it or sell it.

If you follow these tips, you should have a pretty favorable experience when you go to pawn or sell your trumpet at the local pawn shop.