Buying a used guitar is typically an exciting endeavor. Few things can be as thrilling as going on a hunt for an instrument that you love, but at a lower price.
However, with a seemingly unlimited amount of models from so many makers, the excitement can quickly turn to anxiety. The massive question being, “what do I get?” There’s endless advice about what you should do and what you should avoid when buying a used guitar. Ask ten people for advice, and there’s a good chance that you will get ten different opinions on what to do. The reason for this is simple: choosing a guitar is a very personal matter. But do not worry! We have condensed the essence of what to do when buying a used guitar, just for you. Here are four tips for buying a used guitar.
Buy a guitar that you connect with
There is absolutely nothing more powerful and important than connecting with the instrument you buy. And this applies for both new and used guitars as well. That being said, it would be a bit impractical to try out one thousand guitars to see which one you connect with the most. The good news is that there are ways in which you can narrow the options based on your own personal preferences. Even if you are a total beginner and have never played a note on a guitar, chances are you gravitate towards a certain player or players. And that is a great place to start.
Start with your very own guitar hero
Is Slash your favorite guitar player? Then you can narrow the options by looking mostly at Les Pauls. If money is not a problem (and it usually is), you might go straight to the source and get a used Gibson Les Paul Classic. If you don’t have that much money to spare, an Epiphone Les Paul can be a great choice as well. There’s even a signature Slash Epiphone Les Paul model that’s very affordable (as there is a Gibson counterpart, that is much more expensive). There are also other brands that produce Les Paul guitars.
Or perhaps your favorite player is John Mayer, in which case you might wanna narrow the field to Stratocasters, whether it be his signature Silver Sky PRS, a Fender, or just a Strat copy. You get the idea.
Think about the style you want to play, and more
Do you want to play jazz? Then a hollow-body or semi-hollow body style guitar might be the place to start looking for that used guitar. As always, there is something for every budget, from coveted models like the Gibson L5, Gibson ES-175 and ES-335, to much more affordable models like the Artcore series by Ibanez.
But how about wood, electronics, neck style, construction type, etc? Those are all important considerations that will typically preoccupy more seasoned players. However, many of those considerations also depend on the style and player you want to emulate, which puts us back at square one. For example, if you want to play jazz, an option for a Floyd Rose bridge might not be an appropriate choice for you.
The ugly truth: your budget
Regardless of who your favorite player is and what style you want to play, you will have to adjust to your budget. There’s no way around this, unless you happen to win the lottery before you go buy your used guitar. Budget is one of the main considerations when buying a guitar (whether new or used). At the end of the day, we go back to the beginning. If you feel a guitar is right for you and it fits your budget, chances are you have found your used guitar. Even if you picked a model not typically associated with the style you play. Whomever your idol is, whatever your style and budget are… the ultimate test is: do you connect with that guitar and can you afford it.
Buying a used guitar can be relatively simple if you stick to these basic principles. It is also valuable to really ask yourself if you really need another guitar. If the answer is yes, remember to always do your research. If someone is selling you a guitar at a certain price, go online type in the brand and model and compare. Better yet, combine your research with the advice of a truste friend with a bit more experience. Always beware of G.A.S. and follow the principles above and you will likely have a nice used guitar in your hands. And once you have it, remember that the hard work is just starting. Practice, practice, and practice some more. Leave us a comment with your dream guitar model below.