Buying a Guitar
Hints and Considerations
Numero uno in the buying process. Take your time. Do the research. Feel comfortable with your decision.
Remember, as a buyer, you have the power. Use that power judiciously.
An Aside - This is equally applicable when buying a car. Don't forget that.
The only exception to the "don't rush" rule is that once in a lifetime deal that is occasionally stumbled upon. You have heard the stories and these are not always urban legends.
That 59 Strat from grandpa's room that grandma is just looking to get rid of.
"Oh, 50 dollars sounds about right."
You buy that now.
Of course, you will somehow barter some element of equity with Grandma. Mow the lawn, clean up the trash, painting, and other such stuff. Treat Grandma kindly.
Practice good Karma.
Buy a reputable brand
You know the names. Gibson, Fender, Ibanez, Epiphone, ESP, Schecter, Gretch, PRS, Jackson, and the list goes on. These will typically have decent tone, will retain proper tunings and generally command a better resale price should you consider an upgrade or elect to - sigh - abandon ship.
You do NOT need to buy top of the line, although, admittedly this is pretty sweet if you have the bucks.
God bless if you have 25,000 to spend on an EVH replica of the Frankenstein guitar. Does this really say "replica"? It do! It do!
I can't say with any degree of certainty but I would be tempted to consider a wager that you won't be able to play quite like Eddie even with the 'replica'. Give it some thought but again, if you gots the bucks, well, you gots the bucks, and bless you for your good fortune.
All of the afore mentioned brands have entry and mid-range guitars that are quality instruments.
Don't be misled by that no-name beauty offered for sale "cheap".
A good rule of thumb to buy a guitar that is in good condition. Admittedly a pretty obvious suggestion, but one that is all too frequently overlooked in the heat of a deal.
Of course, you can blow dust off but give serious thought to what it will cost to fix that bowed neck or cracked body.
If you know what you are doing you might be able to polish up a battered, scratched axe or straighten a neck; just be careful and consider what it would take to make a guitar playable.
Sometimes the simple things turn out to be simple and sometimes they just don't.
Yes, this is somewhat of a repeat but a repeat that warrants repeating. Shop around, take your time, full considerations of your purchase. Again, don't pass up that once in lifetime deal, but if you don't find that - and most of us wont' - take a breath, give your pending purchase some thought.
Talk with those that know
Chances are you know one or two gentle souls that have played guitar for awhile. Talk to them.
Please do not buy stolen equipment. This needs no elaboration.
Shop around on-line
One of the absolute best methods to initiate the comparison process is to go on-line and see what's out there. You can get a very accurate price point from looking in their online catalogues.
Just a note that I have been able to get these sites to beat prices of a competitor. All they ask if for proof of the price and this is easily communicated via the link on the web site.
Emphasis on "Shop around".
Most of these sites will have consumer reviews available that are always worth a glance or two.
Sites such as
Welcome to Sweetwater.com | Call Us @ 800 222 4700
Musician's Friend | Your Online Music Instrument & Pro Audio Store | Best Prices, Great Service
zZounds.com - Musical Instruments Music Store. Shop for Guitars, Drums, Amplifiers and Equipment.
Harmony Central® - User Reviews
This is one of the more popular, general review sites on the web. Take the time to see what people say about the guitar you are considering.
Your Local Music Store
Never ignore your community. Generally these people are there because they care about what they do. Do your part and support them.
They might be able to match prices with the big boys or they might not.
They are good folks and into what they are doing. See what they can offer you and what you can offer them.
Many times there is value is keeping business local.
Visit the Guitar Center
This is obviously the pre-eminent brick and mortar guitar store on the planet. The sales people will assist and are generally open to counter offers to the posted price. They will ALMOST always match the "out the door" price of the online retailers. This can result in a considerable savings for you as the on-line retailers frequently offer free shipping and NO taxes.
Guitar Center is very open to listening to your offer and if you bring in the catalogue listing from the on-line store you have a good chance of matching that posted price without that painful wait for the shipping process. Playing is generally better than waiting.
As a general rule, the assistance you will receive is inversely proportional to the store activity. Sales people have responsibilities to serve all the customers and if you catch them in a lax period the chances are better than even you will get that extra level of support.
Guitar Center offers you an unmatched opportunity to try before you buy. Always a good practice.