Real Gear Reviews for the Worship Minded
The nuts and bolts of this article have been floating around in my head for almost 2 years at this point. I was fortunate to get to hang out a bit with some of the Reverb peeps at the last NAMM show in January and realized then that this really needed to get this written, but I’m only now finding the time to get my thoughts organized into words. But that’s okay. I’m justifying my busy schedule in that now I have even more experience with Reverb and can attest to its mighty powers with even more gusto.
If you’re not familiar with Reverb yet, let me give you a quick rundown. Reverb.com is an online marketplace for buying and selling music gear. Users can quickly set up an account and post items they have for sale and just as easily browse the site to see where their GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) is going to take them next. The site launched in 2013 and I have been a “power user” since day the beginning.
As a worship musician, I like to change up what I’m using gear-wise every so often to keep things fresh and new, but I also don’t want to get trapped into a pattern of accumulating stuff I don’t need, so selling gear I’m no longer using is important to keep my own collection relatively streamlined. Simply put, I need an easy way to purchase and sell gear. So why do you, a fellow worship musician, need to be using Reverb to buy or sell gear?
1. It’s easy.
Many of us have turned to the internet for selling and buying gear and we have three well-tread options: eBay, Craigslist, and Reverb. Ebay is fine for purchasing gear, but you often get caught in annoying bidding wars. Selling gear on eBay is cumbersome and pricey (but I’ll get to that later). Craigslist is definitely a good bet for big items, but you have to be ready to deal with lowball offers, scammers and flakes and be careful about meeting up in sketchy situations to do business. Reverb wins easy here in my book. I just listed 2 guitar pedals this morning and it took me less than 10 minutes to take photos and post my listings via their app on my iPhone. Buyers can pay me via Paypal or Reverb’s dedicated credit card system (Direct Checkout) that will deposit funds directly into my bank account. They also (like Craigslist) have unlimited free listings so I don’t have to worry about being charged at any point if I have a lot of gear to sell. Shopping is easy, too. It’s simple to find what you’re looking for (if you are searching for a specific item) on both their app and their website and they also make it easy to browse by category by using an easy to look at layout where you can quickly see pics, prices, and titles. They have an easy to navigate price guide so you can make sure you’re getting a good deal if you’re buying and make sure you’re not overpricing your item if you’re selling.
2. It’s a better deal.
As a seller, eBay charges a whopping 10% fee of your final selling price (and that’s not even including the possible listing fee or PayPal’s 2.9%). Reverb only takes 3.5% and their maximum fee is $350 no matter what. You also have the option (as I mentioned earlier) of using their Direct Checkout payment method, which costs $.25 plus 2.7% of the transaction total, or the familiar PayPal option that costs $.30 plus 2.9%. This is a no-brainer for me. Sure, with Craigslist there aren’t any fees (and honestly this is probably the best way to go if you have a gigantic amp or Hammond organ you need to sell), but you have to decide whether or not you’re comfortable meeting up with complete strangers for a business transaction.
As a buyer, I absolutely love using Reverb. I have purchased numerous items through the site and I haven’t been burned yet. Sure there are bad people out there, but Reverb has a great protection plan. I have been fortunate to not have to use their protection plan yet, but I have spoken with people who have and haven’t heard anything negative. My favorite option with Reverb that you just don’t get with eBay or Craigslist is that it is super easy to haggle. Sellers have the option to accept offers (and most do) and a buyer can go back and forth with the seller until they agree on a price. This isn’t possible with eBay and you can haggle with Craigslist sellers but it either involves uncomfortable face-to-face back and forth with a total stranger or emails that usually get ignored if the buyer thinks you’re trying to lowball him/her. It is really easy to “counter” an offer on Reverb and the back and forth is easy. I have really found some incredible deals buying gear on Reverb and I can’t say enough good things about their offer process.
3. The people who run Reverb are musicians who care about the community.
I had the pleasure of chatting with two of the mucky mucks at Reverb at the last NAMM show in January and I am always struck by how friendly and passionate everyone is behind the scenes at Reverb. The site is dedicated to music gear (unlike eBay and Craigslist) and everything is specifically tailored to this concept. Gear is easily categorized in a way that makes sense to musicians and it’s easy to use keywords in your searches without pulling up endless pages of random listings. Reverb not only makes it easy to buy and sell, but they put a tremendous amount of energy into publishing articles and reviews specific to the musician community. For example, last year they published an article on the Five Laws of Productive Band Practice that was spot on for worship rehearsal (even though that wasn’t the specific intended audience). At the NAMM show, I was lucky enough to get a copy of their first zine and you don’t have to flip through all 24 pages to get the idea that these people like what they do. Be forewarned that some of the language is a bit blue, but I was particularly enamored with the Peter Buck interview as he was an early guitar hero of mine.
Over the past couple years, Reverb has only gotten better at what they do and they really have revolutionized buying and selling music gear on the interweb. If you aren’t using Reverb yet, you should be.