By: Pro Lessons
Used Guitars: Should I Play Them or Not?

New versus used guitars is a great topic. In this post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of playing a used guitar. Who doesn’t like walking into a music shop and walking out with a brand new guitar? The smell of the case and the wood is intoxicating. No scratches and no wear. You feel like you got a great deal and you’re inspired to play. Hopefully, the music shop set it up for you and made sure it was ready to go. Some new guitars come off the wall in terrible playing condition. The strings can get old and rusty while sitting in the shop, so you should get a free set of strings and some other goodies. Otherwise it’s like buying a used guitar but paying the new guitar price. Should you look for good used guitars? Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages.

Used Guitars: Should I Play Them or Not?

The Price Break in Used Guitars

When you’re shopping for a guitar, you’re looking for the best bang for the buck. Sometimes that means buying a used guitar. Even Guitar Center has a used guitar section because of trade-ins and used guitars they’ve purchased from others. If you go to the used wall, you’ll find about everything from junk to expensive vintage guitars. Yes, sometimes they’re overpriced, but you can always make an offer. Some used guitars are marked very reasonably and you might find a great American Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster for hundreds less than a new one. Also, some cool unusual guitars end up on the used wall. You’re likely to find a G&L or a Gretsch or some other guitar that was once listed for $2000 in used condition for $800 or less. You will need to bring your phone along so that you can research and find competitive price comparisons. You don’t want to overpay, no matter how cool the guitar is.

Things To Look For

In any guitar, you want to look for issues with the neck. Frets get worn and notes start to buzz or the frets can become sharp on the edges of the neck. Also, necks can warp, but sometimes they just need adjusting. If you find a good used guitar that’s hardly broken in and has been played a fair amount, you may certainly prefer that over a new one. Many times, a previous owner will have kept it in good playing condition and even made modifications like pickups. You may pull off the pickguard and find you have Texas Specials in a Mexican made Stratocaster. If that happens, then the deal is even sweeter. Also, check the pickups and make sure everything is working before you leave the music shop. If it has issues, it’s not the end of the world, especially if you are purchasing an older vintage guitar. If you can get it cheap enough, most fixes are affordable and many you can do yourself.

Some Cool Pros

When you buy a used guitar, the previous owner may have played the neck and worn down the finish to where it plays so smoothly. Every guitar has a happy place, meaning there’s a gauge of string and action height that just seems to suit that guitar. It might not be the perfect guitar for everything, but it might be just right for playing slide. Each guitar is good for something, and if nothing else, it’s good to hang on the wall and look at. Many tremolos on electric guitars seem to get broken in after several hours of playing. A guitar is made to be played. Chips, dings, and scratches might not seem attractive to everyone, but they come with the territory. It just means that someone probably made some great music with the instrument. That can be a cool look. People actually pay to have it done these days, so don’t worry if there’s a chunk of the headstock chipped away where some guy got into a fight and used his Tele to block a knife his girlfriend threw at him. It’s a war wound.





Used From Ebay Or Some Online Source

One con might be buying a guitar without playing it or getting it from a novice. Even with a good description on Ebay you can get a guitar that somebody thinks is in good working order, but turns out to have a warped neck upon arrival. Yes, you might be able to get a refund but that can be a real headache. Buying sight unseen is risky. Don’t worry too much about the big stores like Guitar Center because most of them offer a 30-day return policy. Just check first and make sure before handing over your hard earned money. You may find a killer used guitar that you love from the moment it arrives or you may get it and have deep regret. By the way, that’s also true of ordering a new guitar, even an expensive one. Many times guitars are just pulled off the wall or have been sitting in the back in a box a while. If they’re not set up or gone over, you may have some more money to spend when you get it.

Desirable Or Not

With some things you want to be the sole owner, but with guitars, it’s about the performing ability of the guitar. Does it have life left? Sure, and you’re just the guy or gal to give it a new life. You should never be embarrassed to play used guitars. It is a thing of beauty and most people love a guitar with a good story. Maybe it was Grandpa’s old Martin or Les Paul Jr. A guitar with a story is even better. Rule number one is you can’t have too many guitars, so another good used guitar isn’t a sin if it doesn’t break the bank. You might even buy one to restore or tweak a bit and sell for a little profit. Used guitars are very cool. If you’re careful, you can find some beauties and make some money.

Finally, always be thorough and don’t be afraid to ask for knowledge. Bring a friend who knows guitars and make a good purchase. Used guitars are desirable and you may just find the guitar of your dreams. Give it a shot.

Another thing you might want to try out is online guitar lessons. At Pro Lessons, our online curriculum will help you learn things from a new perspective from some very talented musicians. FInd out how you can be our next student by clicking below.

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