New vs Used Guitars: Which is Right For You?

April 13, 2018 4 min read

New vs Used Guitars Acoustic Electric

When figuring out if a new or a used guitar is the right option for you, there's a handful of things that you should consider. Learn more about them here!

There has been an uprising; in 2017, the number of guitars sold, both electric and acoustic, almost eclipsed 2.5 million. The increase in guitar interest has been slight but noticeable.

Perhaps you are one who's interested in owning a guitar and learning how to play. If that's the case, you'll have to figure out whether a new or used guitar is the right option for you.

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing new vs. used. Thankfully, we have all of those laid out here in this handy, comprehensive guide. Learn more about new and used guitars below.

General Rule: New Online, Used In-Person

This is a good rule of thumb to have when you aren't sure about getting a new or used guitar.

Especially when it's used, you'll want to be able to see it in-person. Pictures usually don't do the guitar justice, plus you'll want to play it as a test to see just how used the instrument really is. If the seller is hundreds of miles away and needs to ship it, forget the whole thing.

In contrast, if the guitar is new you're probably getting it from the manufacturer or a legit vendor/distributor. You know what brand you're getting, the quality, and the fact that nobody before you has owned it. The only time it's been played is when tested for quality assurance.

The last thing you want to do as soon as you get your new-to-you guitar is bring it in for repair. Unless you're buying from a refurbishing site or locally, avoid used guitars.

Price and Pickup Effort

This is more of a question for used guitars, but new ones can be considered here too.

When you buy used, the price has to be right because depreciation is real. That specific guitar might've cost the original owner hundreds of dollars, but if there are wear and tear, it isn't worth that amount anymore. Therefore, you should be getting a price that matches the length of time the original owner has used it and how hard it's been used.

Location is also a factor. How close is the guitar geographically? If you're picking it up, you obviously want it to be close.

As for new guitars, the price needs to be right as well. Pickup can be translated to "shipping costs," which also should be reasonable. If the price isn't right, maybe going with a used guitar is the right move.

Accessories Make a Difference

What else does the guitar come with? Ask this for both new guitars and used ones. If the guitar has extra features or accessories, you'll A) want to know, and B) find out if they're baked into the final price.

Does it need repairs, new strings, tune-ups, or something else? See whether picks, extra strings, straps, cases, or amps are included in the deal. Both types of guitars can have these additions; when locating these instruments online, read the fine print carefully to find out the accessory situation.

The availability of other parts changes the value of the package. So keep that in mind.

No Matter What, Go for Quality

New, used, don't matter: Quality is always necessary. Sure, it will cost you more than a cheaply crafted guitar, but the risk-reward and durability will instantly be upgraded. Decide on trusted brands every time.

This is really critical for used guitars. If someone's trying to sell you an instrument with an obscure brand name, it's best to avoid that deal. The same goes for new ones too; with online businesses cropping up left and right, make sure you're getting your new guitar from the manufacturer itself or a qualified distributor.

Quality is super important when it comes to vintage guitars. The majority of vintage guitars are used - because, duh, they're old - so make sure that it isn't a knock-off or remake.

But how can you be sure? That's what the next tip is for...

Bring a Friend with Experience

You're new to the world of guitars. If you have a family member or friend who knows more about instruments, bring them with you when taking a look at used guitars. For new ones, you should also ask for your friend's consultation.

You don't want to get screwed over with a bad guitar. Know you're getting your money's worth with the guitar you're considering by using the acumen of people close to you whom you trust.

Even if you have experience with guitars, it doesn't hurt to have a second pair of eyeballs. They could find something you miss in looking over used guitars or testing how it plays.

Have a Goal in Mind

At the end of the day, you have to decide on a new or used guitar based on what you'll be using it for.

If it's for you, what's your goal? Are you going to practice hard because you want to become great at playing? Or will you be a weekend warrior, learning as you go along just to develop a new skill?

How you mean to use this instrument will dictate how much you should care about use and care of the guitar.

If you're getting the guitar for someone else you care about, it's always best to go with quality and lightly used. Consider how much that person will value the gift. Be it a child who wants to learn music or someone older who needs a new guitar (at least, new to them), the person who will play matters just as much as the guitar.

In the End, New vs. Used Guitars Debate is Your Choice

Hopefully, you have a better grasp of what the pros and cons each type of guitar brings you. Do your due diligence, research for yourself, and come to the conclusion that makes you feel most comfortable. The right decision is the one that you don't regret; when it comes to guitars, you want the perfect instrument for you so you start your music career or hobby on the best of terms.

If you're a lefty in need of quality used guitars, check out our awesome lineup of quality models. We got everything from acoustic to electric, bass to normal, even banjos, mandolins, and ukuleles.

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