If you are looking to save some money on an electric guitar, buying a used electric guitar is a great way to get a great instrument at a price you will love. Selecting the right one for you can be a challenge, though - there are so many options to choose from, how are you sure you will find the right one? And how can you make sure it will work for you now and in years to come?
Buying a used electric guitar should be an enjoyable experience - so take the challenge out of it by following this straight-forward guide to buying a used electric guitar on a budget!
Check The Neck, Mounting, and Fretboard of Your Used Electric Guitar
The most important part of your guitar is the guitar neck. Most used electric guitars have a neck made of polished wood, or heavy plastic with a wooden fretboard. Look over the neck closely to make sure there are no cracks. Then, look down the length of the neck to make sure there is no warping. At it's base, the neck is mounted to the guitar body with glue or heavy bolts. Make sure this connection is tight, and there are no gaps between the neck and body.
After this, look closely along the fretboard of your used electric guitar. Make sure all of the metal frets are well-mounted (jiggle them with your fingers), and any inlays in the wood are solidly in place. It is normal to see some wear along the wood of the fretboard - this should not affect your guitar's sound at all.
Check The Body And Pickups On The Used Electric Guitar
Like an acoustic guitar, you want to check out the body of the used electric guitar after checking the neck. However, unlike an acoustic guitar, you should look for different things in the body of the used electric guitar.
In an electric guitar, the sound is created by the vibration of guitar strings over devices known as "pick-ups" - sensors designed to sense string vibration. Since the best sound comes when the pick-ups are perfectly still and only the strings are moving, the most desirable guitar body is very solid and heavy. To create this, most guitar bodies are made out of a dense plastic or resin that holds the pick-ups completely immobile.
When you look over your used electric guitar, there are a few key items to look for. First, you want to make sure the pick-ups are in good condition (intact, clear and shiny) and solidly mounted to the body of the guitar. Any rattling can cause noise or buzzing in your final guitar sound. You should also make sure that the guitar body is solid, without cracks or other structural defects. If there is anything more than surface damage, move on to another used electric guitar.
Check The Tuning Pegs Before Buying A Used Electric Guitar
After you look over the body and pick-ups, move to the other end of the used electric guitar to look over the tuning pegs. They should look clean and shiny. Tweak them a bit up and down as you fine tune your instrument. The tuning pegs should move smoothly, easily, and stay where you leave them. Then, play your guitar with a few minutes. The guitar's tuning should stay right where you left it. If there is any drift, you may need to replace the tuning pegs or get a different guitar.
Check the Electrical Connections of Your Used Electric Guitar
One of the other differences you see with electric over acoustic guitars is the importance of their wiring. Acoustic guitars amplify their sound within the wooden body of the guitar. Your used electric guitar only creates a sound signal, and relies on an external amplifier to make it loud.
This means that, to truly judge the quality of a used electric guitar, you have to plug it in to an amp and play it. Most guitar stores have special areas in the store set aside just for this. As you play, you want to make sure that all of the electrical connections are solid and do not introduce additional noise into your signal. Any noise created by the guitar is only going to get louder in the amplifier! Wiggle the connections as you strum, and move around the area. If you have a quality used electric guitar, you should not hear any clicks, pops, or hissing.
Make Sure Your Used Electric Guitar Looks Good
Ultimately, you want to have a guitar that you enjoy playing. Does your guitar have the cool factor you are looking for? Are you excited to put it on and strum a few chords? There are so many great guitars out there - get one that makes you happy to be playing it. Life is too short for a boring guitar.
Now, go out and find the right used electric guitar for you, rock star!