Finding a Quality Used Guitar at a Reasonable Price
Whether you are a beginning guitarist or you’re an experienced player, buying used equipment has multiple advantages. To begin with, you will be able to get considerably more guitar for your money. An added advantage is the possibility of acquiring a guitar or bass that is no longer being manufactured. Many older guitars have superior craftsmanship to newer ones, depending on the brand and model. Here are some things to consider.
Where to Buy a Used Guitar
More and more people are using auction websites (predominantly ebay.com, although there are many others) to buy and sell their gear. Although you can often find exactly what you are looking for, and can save a bit of money, it’s important to be careful. Aside from the obvious disadvantage of not being able to try the instrument before purchase, there are many unscrupulous dealers online. Make sure that the seller has a high rating, has a long selling history, and that they deal primarily in musical instruments. Also ensure that they have a reasonable return policy. Take the time to ask relevant questions regarding condition and playability. If you have any doubts at all, it’s in your best interest to avoid buying or bidding on the item.
Pawn shops, garage sales and flea markets are also popular choices. Once again, however, let the buyer beware! Typically, these sellers are not experts on musical instruments and their return policies can be tricky (or nonexistent). Your best choice is the used guitar section of your local music store. Your local dealer knows instruments and you can handle and play guitars and basses immediately. It takes a considerable risk factor away.
What to Look For
Look for the most guitar for your money. Take some time before purchasing to think about the features you need. Although there are exceptions, it’s generally smart to stick with better-known brands and models.
Aside from the inevitable bumps and scratches that come with use, you should look for the same qualities you would look for in a new guitar. Take as much time playing as you need to. Make sure the neck is straight and the strings are in decent condition (although, with used guitars, you may want to change the strings anyway). Ensure that the tuning keys move nicely without being too loose. If the guitar is electric, take the time to test all knobs, whammy bars, pickups and any other electronics.
Most local music dealers have a good used instruments section. Ask all the questions you need to, they will not be offended. Be patient and persistent, and don’t settle. You can get a fantastic guitar at a great price.