Dr. Phil and a large number of consumer financial advisers have long recommended that consumers purchase a used automobile to strengthen their personal financial position. This is because a new car depreciates as soon as it is driven off of the showroom floor. This same advice can also be applied to your guitar purchases because guitars also suffer from this same immediate depreciation as soon as they are taken out of the store.
Used guitars can generally be purchased at a 20 to 50% savings over the cost of new guitars, depending on the basic economic principles of supply and demand. Although this may translate to a $ 100 savings on a low-end, beginner guitar, a cost savings of $ 500 or more can easily be realized on the purchase of a high-end, quality used guitar.
Used guitars are a available from a variety of sources. These include both newspaper and online classified ads, music stores that accept trade-ins, pawn shops and internet auction sites such as eBay. Although the local classified ads, music stores and pawn shops provide the consumer an advantage to actually put their hands on the guitar and play it, this is more often than not a hit or miss shopping proposition due to the limited number of used guitars available from these sources. Additionally, many times the individual owners or store operators place a value on the used instruments that is above their true value because they either have an unrealistic view of their worth or because they need to factor in their profit margin. On the other hand, eBay and other auction sites allow the consumer to determine the guitar’s value through the competitive bidding process.
Whatever venue you choose to use when you shop for a used guitar, it is imperative that you know its true value before hand. Two readily available ways to determine that are to use a standardized price guide such as the guitar blue books, or to review recently completed eBay auction items. With these methods you must narrowly define your criteria for your considered guitar purchase the same way that you would when shopping for a car, because like automobiles guitars come in specific models and have available options and upgrades.
Prior to the potential purchase of a used guitar, you must be able to evaluate its condition. The necks of both electric and acoustic guitars should be carefully examined to ensure that they are straight and that the frets are not overly worn. Also, inspect the integrity of the joint between the neck and the guitar body. Used electric guitars and acoustic-electric guitars will need to be played through an amplifier to confirm that the electronics are in proper working order. An examination of the body of all used acoustic guitars should be performed to determine whether they have suffered from extremely humid or dry environmental conditions. This will be indicated by either a sunken top and/or bottom of the body or by cracks in the wood or finish. If you are inexperienced in performing these evaluations, it is recommended that you seek the advice of someone that is more knowledgeable in the area of guitar construction.
Although there are plenty of used guitars that are available with cosmetic defects, this has no correlation to either the structural integrity or sound of the guitar. In fact, seeking such guitars will offer you the opportunity to save even more money on your purchase since they will have fewer buyers interested in them.
When you purchase a used guitar at an online store or an internet auction site, you will not have the ability to visually inspect the guitar for defects or problematic areas. This is usually not a problem because, for the most part, sellers will generally provide a complete and accurate description and give you the opportunity to ask questions to alleviate your concerns. Also, most eBay sellers are guitarists just like you and will have provided proper care for their cherished equipment. Used guitars even offer the advantage of being properly set up and broken in so they are usually immediately playable without adjustment. Also, sometimes used acoustic guitars have improved tonal qualities due to the aging of the wood.
So the next time you are in the market for a new guitar, consider purchasing a used guitar instead and extend your purchasing dollars. Dr. Phil will be proud of you and you will be able to apply your savings towards some music lessons.
The author has both bought and sold a number of electric and acoustic guitars on eBay and recommends that you consider the auction format for your next guitar purchase. For guitar tips and more buying advice for used acoustic guitars and used electric guitars, please visit his web sites.