Hardly anyone can afford to shell out thousands of dollars on brand new guitars, basses, amps, and other musical equipment, especially if they’re just starting out on their musical journey. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for low-quality equipment or be forced to spend a fortune on the latest model.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can get your hands on quality second-hand or refurbished musical gear, saving you big money while keeping your instrument in top shape. Here are some tips on how to find and purchase quality second-hand music gear from reputable dealers online and offline.
The Top 7 Ways to Save Money When Buying Used Musical Instruments
Thinking about getting into playing the guitar? Save money by purchasing a second-hand or refurbished model. Check out these tips to ensure you’re making a wise investment when buying second-hand musical instruments.
Used instruments can save money, but only if you know what you’re doing—and we’ve got your back. Make sure that the used instrument is still in great condition with these 7 must-know tips for used musical equipment.
1. Buy from Resellers
When shopping for second-hand musical equipment, you want to look out for used stuff being sold by professional resellers. If a person is selling more than just one item, they’re likely a business selling products. A lot of guitar stores and music venues sell their merchandise directly at a discount price.
If you can find someone who has a lot of second-hand goods (which they might have purchased directly from a manufacturer), they’ll often negotiate with you if you’re able to buy multiple items from them. Of course, if that isn’t an option, online sites are always good options for picking up individual items at great prices.
2. Choose Used Instead of New
Buying used is typically a more economical way to get a quality instrument. If you’re looking for your first guitar, we encourage you to consider buying used over new, since you’ll likely grow out of it before it wears out. Plus, because we offer our guitars at substantially discounted prices when compared with competitors like Guitar Centre or Sam Ash Music Store, buying a used acoustic guitar won’t cost much more than a starter kit from one of these other guys—and will often sound better!
3. Don’t Buy What You Can’t Afford
Unless you’re one of those people who has a spare closet full of high-end guitars, it’s probably not a good idea to buy what you can’t afford. That said, if your bank account looks like mine, it might make sense to consider refurbished or factory second instruments.
These are still great guitars that may have small blemishes or imperfections that were too noticeable for their brand new price tag but are perfectly fine for an instrument that will be played in a garage band.
4. Look for Sales and Discounts
One of our favourite ways to get a great deal on new gear is to look for sales. A sale isn’t just for Black Friday. Look for promos and deals that music stores are running in your area, from local shops all the way up to online retailers like Guitar Centre or Musician’s Friend.
By keeping an eye out for special deals, you can score some cool gear at discount prices. For example, Guitar Centre has a steady stream of coupons and promos available (they regularly run a 15% off everything promotion) so keep an eye out so you can save big bucks when it comes time to purchase that next new axe.
5. Use Coupons, Discount Codes, and Rebates
When it comes to refurbished and factory second guitars, you’ll want to look out for coupons, discount codes, and rebates. These are some of my favourite ways to save money on already budget-friendly purchases. All of these perks stack nicely in our experience! Always check Deal Of The Day sections at online retailers or new websites dedicated specifically to savings.
6. Test Before You Buy
When buying a used guitar, you may want to consider having it inspected by a professional. This will help you get an idea of what condition your used guitar is in before you buy it. A qualified luthier (one who deals with guitars professionally) can tell you if there are any major structural issues with your instrument, whether repairs have been made or needed, and how well it has been kept up over time.
If a guitar needs some work done on it before it’s playable, most professional luthiers will be able to tell you that as well; for instance, if an electric guitar isn’t working because of bad wiring or pickups, someone who knows about those things can easily point out whether they need replacement or repair.
7. Consider a Warranty
When buying a refurbished guitar, always ask about a warranty. Some companies will give you a full factory warranty while others may only offer 30 days or less. A longer manufacturer’s warranty is almost always worth it.
However, if an item you’re interested in has no warranty then think hard about whether or not you should buy it. It may be smarter to just bite the bullet and pay for a new one. You don’t want to end up paying hundreds of dollars just because your instrument was damaged outside of its warranty period without getting anything out of it in return.
When you’re in a tough spot financially, used instruments are often more attractive than new ones. The savings can really add up—but only if you buy used wisely. Most musicians agree that they actually prefer playing second-hand guitars over their newer counterparts, so long as they have a proven track record of durability, sound quality, and craftsmanship.