Buying a Guitar - Part Two

When buying a guitar one of the first considerations is your budget - and should you go for a new guitar or a secondhand guitar?

To be honest unless you wish to jump right in and buy a good quality 'name' guitar I would suggest that you stick with new for a number of reasons. Firstly you will get a warranty or guarantee, you can be assured the guitar has not been abused, and the low cost of a very reasonable first guitar these days makes the decision easier.

However, if you really want a good quality secondhand guitar then ensure you do your homework. Compare the prices of various guitars, know what the going rate is for a guitar of good, excellent or poor condition. Check local retailers and online (ebay for example) to check prices. It's always best to see and especially play the guitar before buying, but if you are buying online this is not always possible. I once bought a beautiful looking electric guitar online. Once it arrived I plugged it in and was disappointed to hear the muddy neck pickup and overly bright bridge pickup. It cost me another couple of hundred to replace the guitar pickups which improved the sound dramatically. Had I heard the guitar prior to buying it I probably would have looked elsewhere.

Some other general buying tips - do some research, buy magazines, read about the different types of guitar and what styles they are used for, ask others, your friends, tutors, music store staff, ask questions on online forums and use your head. Do try and play or hold the guitar and use your gut feeling.

Don't get too hung up on it though, it's hard to go too far wrong these days with guitars although there are a few that should be left out of the picture. I have seen some small bodied electric guitars that a few of my younger pupils have received for Christmas presents that are literally unplayable and cannot be tuned. Had their parents first got some advice (from myself or a local music store, etc) they would have been advised to look elsewhere. As it is, when they come for lessons I have to lend them one of my schools guitars, which are Fender Squier Stratocasters. These represent great value for money and can be bought as a complete kit, with guitar, amplifier, cover, lead and spare strings. They can also be set up to play very reasonably (check out the section on Basic Guitar Maintenance).

So when buying a guitar check prices online or with your local music retailer, and PLEASE try to play it before buying; so many potential guitarists have been put off ever playing again by their first guitar being virtually unplayable.

Back from - Buying a Guitar - Part 2

Buying a Guitar - Part 3 - What Size

Buying an Electric Guitar

Buying an Acoustic Guitar