Tips to choose your guitar at the best price
You’re watching this Guns N’ Roses concert for the hundredth time and you think you’d love to play rock like them.
Okay, you can’t play the guitar!
You would like to start guitar lessons online and you feel perfectly capable of learning guitar by ear and thus save the expense of a guitar lesson at home.
But you can’t go to the first music store to buy a brand new Stratocaster, your finances won’t allow you to do so!
What if it was possible to find a used guitar without breaking its A booklet and be sure of its quality? How do you not get ripped off by the person who sells you his stringed instrument?
Then that would change everything!
Ready to start your guitar career?
What price to put for your guitar? Here are a few tips to help you choose and serenely buy your second-hand instrument and discover the joys of being a rock star (no guarantee on the rock star effect)!
The advantages of choosing a used guitar
But first of all, why choose a cheap and second-hand guitar rather than a new one?
As a novice, one tends to go for inexpensive but unfortunately poor quality beginner’s packs.
So you will be quickly tempted to resell your guitar to buy a better quality one, but you won’t find any buyers…
Whether you want to acquire an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar or an electro-acoustic guitar, one thing is sure, for the same budget, you will get a better quality instrument if you buy it second-hand!
As a result, the sound of your guitar will also be better and it will be easier for you to play, especially if you’re new to guitar.
In addition, the loss in value is less on a used guitar than on a new one. If you wish to resell your musical instrument a few weeks or months later, you can do so at the same purchase price.
And if you’re looking for a rare gem, don’t hesitate to turn to the second-hand market: limited edition guitars, more commercially available, with a particular colour…
Give free rein to your imagination and your desires in guitar lessons!
Do you know how much a classical guitar costs? And how much to buy an electric guitar?
The make and model of your guitar
No matter what guitar you choose: whether acoustic, electric or electro-acoustic, always go for a well-known brand.
Whether you want to play rock, gipsy jazz or folk, to start or to improve your skills, buy a used guitar from a famous brand such as Ibanez, Yamaha, Gibson, Epiphone or Fender.
Check or ask the seller to specify the make, model, and year of manufacture of the guitar. This information is usually found on the label visible through the mouth of the guitar.
This information is important to know the price of the new guitar and thus better estimate its second-hand price.
Buying a guitar from a well-known brand makes it easier to repair the guitar. The major brands develop many tools that allow users to repair this or that part of the instrument without having to buy a new guitar.
Brands such as Yamaha, Ibanez, Cort, Fender develop a whole range of accessories to improve your playing and have fun (guitar amp, bass amp, guitar pack, etc).
Famous in the sale of other musical instruments (synthesizers, pianos, drums, clarinets, trumpets, orchestral percussion, digital pianos, acoustic bass, electric bass, electro guitar, jazz guitar, stringed instruments, wind instruments, etc.), the major brands are often a guarantee of good quality.
The brand also evokes the quality of manufacture. So pay attention to the wood used: rosewood, spruce, mahogany, cedar, alder, ash, basswood, poplar, ebony, maple, walnut, cherry, etc.
Guitar maker’s guitar, Dreadnought, Telecaster, whatever!
The important thing is to find out before you buy a guitar.
The price of a used guitar
But then what price should we pay for a used guitar?
Of course, it all depends on the make and model of the guitar as mentioned before.
The price of a guitar generally decreases with the years unless you are looking for a collector’s guitar belonging to a great rock master.
To better estimate the fair price of a used guitar, consider the value of the new instrument. You can find this information on various sites such as michenaud, woodbrass, thomann or audiofanzine.
Be aware that a new guitar for less than 80€ is not really a guarantee of quality. Of course the price doesn’t mean everything, but if the price of a new guitar is already very low, it is rare that the used guitar is still in good condition.
Always ask the seller what justifies the price at which he is selling his guitar and why he is selling it. This does not prevent you from checking the condition of the guitar yourself, but it does give some indication of why the price is so high.
Don’t hesitate to ask what use the musician had of his guitar.
Some sellers offer their guitars at a very low price only because they are in a hurry to sell.
I sold my folk guitar myself via an ad on the internet. And because I wanted the guitar to go fast so I could buy a new one, I lowered the price quite a bit to attract potential buyers. However my guitar was in very good condition.
It is therefore possible to find great opportunities if the salesmen have taken good care of their guitar.
It is often said that a used guitar should cost from -20 to -50% of its original price. This is often the case, but it is not always true.
The price will depend above all on supply and demand.
To make a good deal, there is no secret, COM-PA-REZ!
Ebay is your friend! Look at the completed sales to find out the true selling price of the guitar you covet. This is because the price displayed is not always the actual sales price.
And above all, buy a guitar according to its resale price.
That’s right! Always keep in mind the good old story of supply and demand!
Where to buy a used guitar?
Several possibilities are available to you:
- in a music store or at a violin maker’s
You will benefit from advice, adjustments of your guitar, after-sales service and you can even get free accessories (mediator, strings…). Often a warranty of a few months is possible. As far as the price is concerned, it is possible to find offers and thus be as interesting as on the internet.
- on the internet with professional salespeople
Take into account the appreciation of the vendors and choose vendors with a good reputation. Here too, the adjustments will be made by the seller. It is in the latter’s interest to sell you a quality instrument in order to build your loyalty.
Check the return policy of the product if it does not suit you.
And to be sure, consider doing a test in store to choose your guitar and then buy it on the internet.
- on the internet, think about stock B
Stock B are instruments that can no longer be sold at the original price in the store because of a defect: damaged packaging, scratch, scuffing or because they were demonstration instruments in the store.
Choose ads in your area and ask to test the instrument. Two sites where individuals regularly put instruments for sale: Zikinf and the guitarist.com forum.
Think about music schools and their guitar lessons! On the billboards, in addition to the search for musicians, there are also advertisements for the sale of musical instruments.
Check the general condition of the guitar
That’s it, you’ve chosen your guitar, found your ad, the price suits you, it’s now time to meet the seller.
If you are a beginner and this is your first purchase, have a more experienced guitarist or your music teacher accompany you, if possible.
There are three main parts to check before buying your used guitar: the head, neck and body.
Check that the mechanics are not too worn. To do this, tune the guitar and play a little. If it gets out of tune quickly, it could be the result of bad mechanics.
Also check that the head nut is not cracked. That said, this piece is inexpensive if you had to change it. You can find them for less than 5 €.
The neck should be straight and the frets flat and in good condition.
Also check the heel for glue marks.
Remember to check that the strings don’t curl (do you know how much guitar strings cost?), i.e. that they don’t touch the frets when you play. If this is the case, either the saddle is worn or the handle is warped due to improper storage. In any case, it’s not good!
The cash register
You can check that the varnish is in good condition, this can be an element of price negotiation if some scratches are present on the guitar. Take care that there are no real cracks or dents in the wood. There is a difference between signs of play wear around the rosette and real problems due to unintentional impacts.
The most important thing is to check that the bridge is glued to the soundboard. It has an essential role in the sound of the guitar.
If you choose an electric or electro-acoustic guitar, remember to check the condition of the pickups and knobs: there must be no noise or interference.
Test your new guitar!
Test the guitar to make sure you find the right fit!
Beyond the fact that you may find faults while playing, you will spend time with your instrument, better that it suits you perfectly!
Is the touch good? Do you like the sound? Do your fingers fit well?
Remember to test it in all playing positions: sitting and standing.
The comfort of play is very important, you will spend many hours on it, as long as it is pleasant to use.
Also take into account your morphology: if you have small hands, prefer a 1/2 or 3/4 size guitar.
For the sound, ask a more experienced guitarist or your teacher if you’re not sure.
Is the sound good? If it’s an electric guitar, does it sputter?
Also, you may be able to negotiate some accessories with the selling guitarist :
- a drum machine,
- a pedal board,
- footswitch, fender,
- a protective film,
- a charger,
- a guitar case
- an amp?
- It’s finally up to you!
In conclusion, buy your
You’ll get a good deal if you just make sure you check out a few important points that will make your guitar an extension of yourself.
Now that you know all this, all you have to do is get out there and find your happiness on the second-hand market!
And if it’s your first guitar strumming, think about the guitar lessons we offer everywhere at Belgique☺.
Ask a guitarist for advice
Buying a second-hand guitar to take music school lessons or to learn to play with a private teacher is difficult when you’re new to music. We do not know the purchasing criteria and the small details that need to be paid attention to.
No matter how much you read all our advice, in practice it is sometimes more difficult. So don’t hesitate to ask for help from someone who knows about guitars. This person can accompany you to ask the right questions.