Buying a Used Acoustic Guitar


Music stores are a good place to start when you begin your search
for a used acoustic guitar. But don’t neglect other great sources to find a
good deal on a vintage instrument. Used guitars can be found at garage sales,
flea markets, pawnshops, classifieds and used-guitar sites. Tell your friends
that you are looking for a used instrument, you would be surprised to see
offers coming out of a closet or under a bed. Just before taxes or during the
holidays are always good times to look for a guitar. The owner of the guitar
may be looking for a few extra euros to spend on gifts or taxes.

A good second-hand guitar can cost from a few hundred euros
to hundreds of thousands of euros. Some of the best brands of used guitars
are:  Guild, Gibson, Martin, Larivée and
Taylor. Good deals on lesser known brands can be found. Keep an eye out for
older models: Epiphone, Takamine, Seagull, Norman, Art & Lutherie… It may
be wise to look at old Ovations or Fender. Guitars made in the USA cost more,
but are generally considered superior to guitars made in Japan, China and
Korea. Look for the label and check to see if it is made in the USA.

Check the sound of the guitar and the way the instrument plays.
Play every note on the neck and check for buzzing. If it buzzes, it could just
be a simple adjustment of the truss rod or it could require a reset of the neck
or replacement of the frets. An intervention by a luthier (a craftsman who
specializes in repairing guitars) could cost less than a hundred euros or more,
depending on the repair. Check the back, sides and head of the guitar for
cracks. Cracks are expensive to repair. If there are small cracks on the top or
soundboard of the guitar, it is probably of no consequence and only visual and
will not affect the sound of the guitar. The overall appearance of the guitar
can tell you a little bit: has it been cared for and is it in good condition? A
guitar that has been mistreated or left next to a radiator is almost always a
bad investment.

Check the bridge of the guitar. The bridge is the room where the
strings are connected to the soundboard, near the back of the guitar. Look at
the front and back of the bridge and see if you notice if the bridge is
loosening or lifting the soundboard. The saddle is the piece of plastic or bone
on top of the bridge. Does it look worn or broken? Replacing a saddle is
inexpensive, but it usually requires a luthier to install and adjust the
saddle. After a good inspection of the guitar, play it. How does it sound?  Does it sound balanced and powerful? Are the
strings difficult to place on the fingerboard? Use your common sense. If it
sounds great, the instrument looks well maintained, and it fits your budget, go
with it. There’s nothing better than a new “old” guitar.