You Don't Need To Pay The Earth...
When it comes to buying pre-owned musical instruments, it’s often nice to get something that has a bit of history, especially with guitars because you don’t need to worry so much about scratching it or knocking it around a bit but it’s just as good for playing as a new one and the best part is, you’ve paid a LOT less for it.
If you are a parent whose child wants a guitar, then buying one that has been owned by someone else is often a very wise move, not only because your child might grow out of the ‘I want to play guitar’ phase, so you’ll save yourself a lot of money but also because if your child does wish to continue learning to play, it helps them realise what kind of guitar does and doesn’t suit them; size, shape, electric, acoustic and so on.
Bargains Are Out There...
You can find some amazing guitars that are worth a lot of money when brand new for amazingly reasonable prices second hand, even though they’re not that old. Often owners want to sell quickly and so will give you a real bargain if you’re prepared to do a bit of haggling. However, other owners will try to push their luck, on the chance that you don’t know what you’re really looking for, so will push prices up on their second hand guitars.
So, try to make sure you go loaded with knowledge or at least take someone along with you who knows about guitars, so will make sure that you get a fair price. To help you out, below are some guidelines of what you should be on the lookout for when buying a pre-owned guitar:
- Try and find out the guitar’s make and model before you go and buy it, so then you can do some research and see if any others are being offered cheaper. You can also read any reviews on the guitar to make sure you are buying a quality instrument.
- Contact the seller by phone or email beforehand and enquire about the guitar’s condition. Then when you go to check out the guitar, inspect the instrument thoroughly to make sure that the seller was telling the truth. If you think they have lied, it’s probably best to forfeit the purchase.
- You need to ask the seller how long they have owned the guitar, as if they have owned it for many years they should know its history of maintenance and use. If they try to avoid answering your questions, it should set off some warning bells, as they might be attempting to con you. If they have a used guitar for sale, you need to know how used!
- Checking the guitar for damage is important. There will usually be some elements of wear and tear with any item that is second hand but you need to check there are no signs of rust on any parts of the guitar that holds the strings and pickups. Be sure to also check that the neck of the guitar is not warped at all, or that there are any cracks which may indicate that the guitar has been damaged in the past.
- You have to try before you buy. After all, people buy used guitars so that they can play them. If it’s electric, then ask the seller if you can plug it in to an amp. If it’s an acoustic guitar, just play and see if you like the sound.
Paul Holmes is a passionate collector and player of guitars. When he isn't tuning his dream Gibson, he's blogging or working on YouNextGuitar.com