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A Guide To Selling Your Turntable

On November 10, 2016

An underlying theme to many of the hardware posts for this blog is what delights are available for those who upgrade. Many of these upgrades can be applied to your existing record player or the wider system you own. Others, however, will require you to buy a new turntable. One of the simplest ways of raising the money to do this is to sell your existing player to contribute to the purchase of the new model. Vinyl is-- in all senses of the word-- a mature format so your old unit isn't obsolete and hopefully of use to somebody.

Many aspects of the following advice are not specific to record players. It applies to any piece of audio equipment and other parts are even less specific and are as valid when applied to pretty much anything you happen to be selling used as they are a turntable. As with so many things in life, a little bit of effort at the start can be enormously beneficial later on.

First up, where are you going to place the advert? This will depend on a few factors, some of which pertain to where you are and others depending on the turntable you are selling. Should you be resident in a built up area with plenty of people in it, there is no harm whatsoever in using free listings as a means of getting some attention. While hugely more popular than it was a decade ago, vinyl is a niche interest so you will need to have a large head of population for this to be truly worthwhile though.

If you need to cast the net wider, before you resign yourself to eBay, another alternative is to look at the classifieds that are operated by various forums. These are usually free to use for registered members and by dint of their location are going to have 'pre-filtered' the people reading the adverts thereby improving the hit rate of people looking at the ad. Using a forum will also move your viewing audience to a national one-- although this means you'll need to be prepared to ship.

Finally, if neither of these options appeals, you can throw yourself to the tender mercies of eBay. This is obviously a chargeable option and will put yourself in a sales environment that very firmly favours the buyer. You will therefore need to be selling something that warrants the comparatively greater hassles and risks of doing so.

Once you've made your decision about where you are selling, you need to become entirely unsentimental towards your old turntable. It might have provided the music to some incredible evenings and been a fixture of some of the greatest years of your life, but unless you happen to be a celebrity of some note, nobody else cares about this. What you need to do is accurately describe what it is and note its current condition as accurately as you can. This means that you need to honestly portray the turntable as it exists in the here and now and not from behind a pair of rose tinted glasses.

This means that you need to avoid advert cliché bingo. Is your turntable really 'stunning'? Will the first person to see it definitely buy it? When you say you have 'a genuine reason for sale' what do you actually mean by that? Do you assume that other people are writing listings for fun? What your pitch needs to include is the information that people actually want and nothing emotional at all. This should include specific aspects- telling people how old the unit is and what, if anything you've changed on it is good. Making it clear whether it has the original box is vital. Telling them it sounds amazing playing Bon Iver is more of a subjective statement and nowhere near as good.


Your pricing needs to be realistic too. Even if you are the tidiest human that ever lived and your player looks almost new, it isn't. New products have warranties, dealer support and the warm cosy feeling that you are the first person to use it. Your product isn't able to match this so- whether you like it or not- it is worth less. If you own something relatively common, be sure to check what similar examples have fetched recently on eBay and the like and price accordingly. If you are selling on eBay, check for similar products before you list- if buyers have a choice of multiple units, a bidding war is much less likely. Finally, if you are a brave soul, remember that no reserve frequently results in a better price than listings with one but you can lose out big time if you aren't careful.

Your advert should also include pictures. In a world where every phone has a camera, it is simply inexcusable not to. Before you simply whip your phone out and shoot a random image off though, you need to do a few simple things. First up, is the turntable clean and dust free? Spend fifteen minutes cleaning the unit to get shot of marks dust and debris- any detritus on the player will be captured in high resolution glory if you don't.

You should then put at least some thought into how you will shoot the pics. While most phones now have a flash, only a tiny number of models actually shoot decent low light images. This means, if you are using a phone (and if you are, remember to turn the location info off), give it plenty of light to do its best work. If you do have access to a proper camera, the difference in the quality of the image can make it worth going to the effort of using it. By way of example, below are two photos of the same turntable. One was shot on a reasonable but not outrageous DSLR at 11.30 in the morning and the other shot on an Android phone at 7.00 in the evening. I hope that choosing which one you'd rather front an ad with isn't too taxing.

One very important aspect of photography is that if there are scratches, knocks or other damage, ensure that you take pictures of them and add them to the listing. If you are distance selling, you need to be 100% accurate in listing these so the buyer is in no doubt whatsoever about the condition of the player when they make an offer on it. While you can easily argue, you're reducing the potential value of the player, you are ensuring that the item is described accurately giving no fair grounds for complaint.

To a greater extent, every aspect of your listing should be written in such a way as to completely avoid ambiguity. It is an oft repeated line that nobody ever lost money overestimating the stupidity of the general public and this should- perhaps regrettably- be something you take to heart. If anything appears in shot that isn't for sale, ensure you point this out. If you are shipping the item, list the costs up front and the courier you intend to use. If you have a well written, informative listing with good pictures, it reduces (not eliminates unfortunately) the scope to which people can be heroically stupid in response to it.  Similarly, the more professional and less serial killer your listing looks, the more interest it is likely to generate from people who are in turn less likely to be serial killers.

If all of this frenzied activity doesn't appeal, remember that if you are looking to trade in a newer model from companies like Pro-Ject, Rega, Thorens and the like, it may be that the dealer you are buying the new deck from will offer you a trade in. This reduces the amount of work you have to do but given that the dealer won't be looking to do this for free, you will have to accept a lower price than what you might get selling directly.

Ultimately, there are plenty of people out there looking to purchase equipment that is competitively priced and there is no reason at all why you can't be someone that provides some of the equipment. You can then spend that filthy lucre on something awesome- your records will thank you for it.


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