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Things break. Even those expensive musical instruments and accessories, like your guitar pedal, will eventually wear down and stop working. Now what?
While having your gear break is typically not a pleasant experience, there are, thankfully, several options to solve this problem. Whether you have accidentally stepped on the neck of your guitar, dropped your snare drum and dented the hoops, or have had your guitar pedal mysteriously quit working, these things can be fixed in most cases. And if they can’t be fixed, there are many alternative solutions.
Guitar pedals, although quite resilient, will eventually break. What can you do with your broken guitar pedals if you find yourself in this situation?
There are different options for broken guitar pedals. You can sell or trade them online or to other musicians you might know. You can recycle your broken pedals at proper facilities or even get them fixed. You can also use them for parts for other pedals or even turn them into unique works of art.
Let’s take a closer look at six options when deciding what to do with our broken guitar pedals.
Option #1: Sell Them
The first option for broken pedals is to sell them. However, there is a small market for selling broken pedals, and there are limited options on where you can sell them. Stores like Guitar Center will not buy your broken pedals (or any other gear, for that matter). While those stores will buy used gear, everything needs to be functioning.
Further, to my knowledge, there are no stores dedicated to buying broken guitar pedals. This leaves only a few options. The two best bets to sell your broken pedals will be Reverb and eBay. Check out my article on who buys broken guitar pedals to learn more about the details of these two sites.
Reverb is my go-to site for used music gear, as there are both buyer and seller protection plans. However, any deals discussed through private messaging in Reverb do not qualify for their protection services (which is important to consider if you are considering using Reverb as a medium to trade gear). This link provides a description of Reverb’s protection services.
It is important to note that if you are going to use these sites to sell your broken guitar pedals, you clearly state they are non-functioning, list what is wrong with them, and provide pictures of the issues if feasible.
Option #2: Trade Them
Trading your broken guitar pedals is another option, although it might be even more difficult to find someone to trade with you for broken equipment than someone willing to buy them.
I am unaware of any specific sites focusing on trading gear (especially broken gear). Still, there may be some music gear groups in your local area that might facilitate the trading of equipment. I have heard of people trading gear on Reverb, but I have not personally done it and cannot recommend either of these methods as I have no direct experience with them. Again, as stated above, the protection plan doesn’t cover those transactions if you are making deals via private messaging on Reverb.
Likely, your best bet for trading your broken guitar pedals will be with friends or other musicians that you know, but from my experience, not many people want my old broken music gear. However, guitarists or other musicians who know how to fix up old, broken pedals might be willing to trade with you.
Option #3: Recycle Them
Do not simply through your broken guitar pedals into the trash. As Sweetwater states in this article, a lot of music gear has heavy metals in them, and if they are thrown into the garbage, they will likely end up in your local landfill, and these heavy metals can end up in the groundwater.
If you are unsure of how to donate your broken guitar pedals, you can check out websites like the EPA or even contact your local landfill, electronics store, or music store, and they likely help point you in the correct direction of where to dispose of your broken guitar pedals safely and responsibly properly.
Option #4: Fix Them
There are two options when considering fixing your broken guitar pedals. The first is having someone else fix them, and the second is fixing them yourself.
Guitar Center, in most cases, will fix broken guitar pedals. However, these services can end up being expensive, so be prepared for this. Other local guitar and music shops may also offer repair services for broken guitar pedals, but you will need to look into those stores nearest you to see if they do repair pedals.
Another option will be if you know a fellow musician or friend who can fix your broken guitar pedals, which would likely be cheaper than bringing it to Guitar Center or another location.
Sometimes your pedals, especially if they are relatively new, might have a manufacturing warranty that will allow you to send them in to get repaired. Also, you might be able to send your pedals to their manufacturing company even without a warranty, but in that situation, you would, of course, have to pay for that. There are also shipping costs to consider in these situations.
If you are able to do so, fixing your broken pedals yourself will likely save you quite a bit of money. I have never attempted to fix a broken pedal myself, but I know that it is a common occurrence.
Be mindful to follow safety protocols when attempting to repair your own broken pedals, such as ensuring they are not plugged in, the batteries are removed, and the other usual safety procedures that you would follow when using the tools required to repair pedals.
The video below provides a tutorial on how to fix a broken guitar pedal. However, keep in mind that there could be several different reasons that a pedal is broken, so the video below might not solve your specific issues with your pedal.
Option #5: Use Them As Parts For Other Pedals
Along the same lines as fixing the pedals yourself would be to keep them and use them as parts for other guitar pedals or if you are interested in building your own guitar pedals.
Again, if you are planning to use broken pedals for fixing other pedals or building your own new pedals, be sure always to follow the recommended safety protocols for the tools and materials you plan to use.
Option #6: Make Art Out Of Them
Lastly, you can use your broken guitar pedals to make unique art or decoration projects. There are many possibilities of what you can do with old broken guitar pedals, and you are only really limited by what you can think of to create.
I have even heard of people using broken guitar pedals as paperweights and bookends.
With so many different things you can do with broken guitar pedals, you should be able to find something from this list to help you solve what to do with your own broken guitar pedal.
I hope this article has been helpful to you, and I wish you the best of luck with your broken guitar pedals!
Until next time, stay creative and keep on playing!
Hi everyone! I have been involved with music most of my life, beginning in grade school with the trumpet. I am a largely self-taught multi-instrumentalist (drums, guitar, bass, and starting the piano and violin). I currently play drums in two bands and write and produce many genres of music in my home recording studio. I am also an avid guitar and drum collector.