Guitar Buyers Guide

The Guitarifieds Used Guitar Buyers Guide was written to help used guitar buyers learn the most essential things to consider when buying a used acoustic, bass, classical or electric guitar. We've compiled a list of important criteria for buying a second-hand guitars, so you can enjoy your new instrument for years to come. The items in this guide are important to avoid buying a damaged guitar or a one that isn't right for you. Below, find the most relevant points to consider in your quest to find a good used guitar. Before you get start reading the guide, please take a few minutes to review the Avoiding Scams and Safety pages, for useful tips and safety information.

1. Research the Guitar
Before considering a used guitar, gather some information beforehand by doing an Internet search. Specifically, find out if the seller's price is realistic, or the original retail price. If a guitar is over priced, it's a matter of looking elsewhere, or negotiating a better deal with the seller in advance. Also, it may be helpful to know the specs of the guitar you're considering. This information includes the manufacture year, hardware, woods, and the model history. With this additional information, you'll be able to verify that the guitar for sale is legitimate, as stated by the seller.


2. Talk to the Seller
Ask the seller a few question via email or phone before making an appointment to see it in person. Asking the seller questions ahead of time will give you the opportunity to find out more information, and why the seller has decided to list it. An honest seller will be happy to answer any and all question.


3. Verify the Condition
At Guitarifieds, we recommend seeing an instrument in person before making a purchase decision. If you buy an instrument from a reputable private party, you should get the exact instrument described. If you buy a guitar from a private party, do make an appointment to play it. Moderate traces of wear on the surface or on the paint are normal with used instruments and not necessarily an impairment. Signs of wear on the tuning mechanisms or frets are normal after a period of time, but may require replacement.


4. Inspect the Guitar
Even if a guitar makes a good first impression, take a closer look at the instrument with an objective eye. It's important to examine a guitar's hardware and components, and be aware of any excessive wear. The wear parts include the tuning mechanisms, the saddle, the bridge, the pots, and the electronic components of an electric guitar. Also, carefully inspect the shape and condition of the neck. Is is warped or curved? Will the guitar require repairs in the near future? If you see signs of excessive wear, be aware that the guitar may require the attention of a guitar repair specialist. If so, consider these repair costs when negotiating a final price.


5. Play the Guitar
As always, the first impression counts here. How does the guitar feel while playing it? Is the string position adjusted optimally? Does the guitar hold its tone? Do you notice any grit on the hardware? Does the guitar produce unusual background noises? If the guitar doesn't sound quite right, it could simply be a bad adjustment, and easily fixed by a specialist, or it could require more extensive repairs.


6. Guitar Serial Numbers
For collectors, it can be important to inspect a used guitar's serial number. For example, the serial number has a very special meaning, or even add to a its value. With a serial number, it's easier to date an instrument and assigned it to a specific model series. If you're unsure about these serial numbers, you can find detailed information at GuitarInsite. You can also search serial numbers for Martin Guitars, Fender Guitars, or visit The Guitar Dater Project.


7. Vintage Guitars
With older vintage models, scratches, dings, dents or other signs of wear are less significant. After all, these minor imperfections tell stories about the instrument and can add to its special charm. However, you'll need to distinguish if these flaws are signs of everyday use, or signs of neglect and misuse. How did the current owner play the guitar: Punk rock, blues, folk, classical? These are important factors to consider when shopping for a vintage guitar.


8. Use a UV Light
Old electric guitars or vintage instruments have typically been handled by countless hands or had several owners. In fact, the current owner may not even know the full history, or what's been fixed. However, with a UV light, you can often detect if a guitar was repainted or touched up. And, if you you happen to discover something unexpected, it could give you room to negotiate a better selling price.


We wish you success in buying a used guitar! Post an ad and sell a used guitar on Guitarifieds.