A lot of musicians who are looking for new gear often ask the same question: are used guitars better? To be honest, the answer to that question is pretty complicated. There are a lot of guitarists who believe that guitars sound better with age, but on the other hand, a huge group of people believes that new gear is always a better choice. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Let’s find out!
It is true that used guitars often sound better than new guitars. Nevertheless, it really depends on a lot of factors, such as guitar age, guitar brand, used materials and the way that the previous owner maintained it. Generally, older and well-maintained guitars are more resonant due to their age. That’s why some vintage guitars from the 60’s and 70’s cost thousands of dollars!
If you’re struggling whether you should choose a new or used guitar, don’t worry. In today’s article, we’re going to highlight the pros and cons of both options. Hopefully, this short guide will help you with making the right choice!
Advantages Of Second Hand Gear
As I mentioned earlier, old guitars tend to improve their tone over time. But apart from the sound, there is also another really important advantage of second hand guitars. If you’re getting a really expensive, used guitar, there is a high chance that the person who’s selling it is an advanced player. Beginners don’t usually buy expensive gear, right? With that being said, there is a really strong possibility that the guitar they’re offering is legit and well maintained. Maybe even after upgrades! Who doesn’t want a set of new and better pickups? In addition, old guitars are often discontinued. If you decide to get a second hand guitar, you may be able to find something really rare and special.
Disadvantages Of Second Hand Gear
The main problem is that you never know the whole story. The seller may seem like a trustworthy person, but bear in mind: there are a lot of scammers out there. Some guitars have hidden flaws that are not visible at first glance. Whether it’s a problem with electronics or something else, some issues may come up after a few weeks of playing when it’s too late to return it.
Still, I like to believe that the majority of people do not want to scam you. To avoid any problems, I highly recommend buying these type of guitars only in person. If you’re getting a used gear from the other side of country and all you have is just a few pictures, you’re risking a lot. In addition, guitars can get damaged during shipping. That’s why I highly recommend buying gear only from people within your area.
New Doesn’t Always Mean Better
If you’re looking for a cheap or low-level guitar, buying a new model is sometimes a bad idea. Since the manufacturers are making these guitars in bulk, the quality of these instruments is not the best. The most common issues are buzzing frets, poor quality strings and problems with the string action. It’s really annoying when you buy a new piece of gear and you have to visit the nearest luthier right away to make it more comfortable and playable. These things can be avoided if you buy a pre-owned guitar from a reliable source. Still, you may get lucky and find a perfect model that doesn’t require any adjustments. Just keep in mind that cheap guitars are a lottery – you never know what may happen with them.
On the other hand, new gear often comes with a warranty. If something goes wrong, you can usually resolve that simply be reporting the issue to the manufacturer. That’s a really important thing that’s not applicable for second hand guitars.
The Market Is Big
There are literally thousands of used guitars out there. If you visit one of the most popular sites on which people can buy and sell used and new guitars – Reverb.com – you will see that almost half of guitars offered in there is not new. To be honest, it’s not surprising. As a guitarist with years of experience I can totally admit that buying guitars is like an addiction. Even when you buy your dream guitar, in a few weeks or months you’ll be thinking about trying something else. It’s a fact!
And of course, there are various different sites and marketplaces on which people exchange their musical gear. These numbers indicate that the market for used guitars is really huge. Still, most people prefer new guitars anyway. According to Statista, the electric guitar sales in the US last year were approximately 1.1 million. That’s a lot of guitars!
Inspecting A Guitar
We established that often getting a pre-owned guitar is a good idea. But how can you check its condition and determine whether it’s worth it or not? Well, there’s a few things that you can check out during your inspection. Most importantly, you should:
- check out the fretboard – is it dented?
- try out the frets – can you bend strings easily without buzz?
- have a closer look on the strings – are they old and rusty?
- check out the neck – is it properly attached?
- play a few chords or melodies – can you hear any buzzing?
- check out the body and the bridge – can you see any loose screws or scratches?
- plug it in (if it’s an electric guitar) and check out every pickup – is everything running smoothly?
- test all the pots – are tone and volume knobs working properly?
If you focus on these things while buying a pre-owned guitar, you should be able to identify any major or potential issues. It will take a few minutes, but it will also save you a lot of time and trouble in the future!
Alternatively, you can check out the video below. There are a lot of great tips in there!
Where To Find Used Gear?
There are a lot of places where you can find second hand guitars. Before you buy anything online, check out your local Facebook groups or Facebook Marketplace – there are most likely a lot of offers in your area. Alternatively, you can check out:
As you can see, it is tough to clearly determine whether used guitars are better than new. Generally speaking, they cost a little bit less and they can sound better if the previous owner cared about them. But every guitar is completely different and you may find a guitar that was maintained very poorly. In that case, the used guitar will only cause you trouble. Personally, I really like used guitars, because they often have a story. If you decide to buy a guitar from someone, just make sure to try it for a few minutes before buying it. Trust your gut and if you feel that something’s wrong, don’t buy it!
Thanks for checking out Best Guitars Now. I hope that today’s article was helpful! What do you think about used guitars? Let me know in the comment section below. Additionally, if you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like: