Make Buying A Used Acoustic Guitar Easy Using These Simple Tips!
Bryan Adams famously got his first real guitar at the local five-and-dime store. Buying a used acoustic guitar is a good option to save a few dollars while still getting a great instrument, especially for beginners and musicians on a budget. However, when purchasing used guitars, you are never quite sure what you are going to find. How do you know what parts of the instrument really matter, and what is just for show? Here is a guide to buying a used acoustic guitar on a budget.
Check The Guitar Neck, Body, and Neck Mounting Before Buying
The first items you need to check on a used acoustic guitar are the guitar neck, body, and neck mounting. Look for holes, large gouges, or weak points in the wood. The quality of the guitar tone depends quite a bit on the structure and integrity of the wood body. If there are any significant cracks or dents in it, move on! You also want to make sure that the neck is not missing any frets (metal pieces on the fingerboard of the guitar neck).
The neck and the neck mounting are also critical to the quality of the guitar. This is where the most stress is in the musical instrument since the strings are constantly pulling the neck toward the hole in the front of the guitar. Unfortunately, the place where the neck and guitar body meet (neck mounting) is the weakest point in the instrument. Guitar builders either glue the neck to the body, or use a large bolt to hold them together. Make sure there are no gaps between the neck and body of your used acoustic guitar before buying it. Also make sure that the connection there feels solid, with no movement or looseness. The body and the neck should feel like one continuous piece.
Check The Tuning Pegs And The Acoustic Guitar Sound
If the neck and body on your used acoustic guitar are solid, the next pieces to check are the tuning pegs and the sound. Pluck the strings on the guitar and use the tuning pegs at the end of the neck to adjust the string tuning. Make sure that they rotate easily and hold their position after tuning. A little bit of rust is not a good sign, but can be worked out. A little oil can also help if they don't turn smoothly. Worst comes to worst, the tuning pegs can always be replaced.
What can't be replaced on an acoustic guitar is the sound. After you have used the tuning pegs to tune the strings, try playing a short melody on all of the strings and listen for the tone developed in the guitar body. While the strings themselves provide the basis for the guitar sound, you can usually distinguish between the sound due to the strings and the sound due to the guitar. You want the used acoustic guitar to have a full, rich, resonant sound coming from the body of the guitar. If the sound is flat or hollow, move on to a different guitar.
Check The Acoustic Guitar's Beauty Before Buying
If the construction is good, the tuning knobs are good, and the guitar sound is good, you are now in great shape! The next items to check are primarily there for convenience or cosmetic reasons. For instance, look over the guitar's finish. The better the finish, the more the guitar is worth. If there is a custom detail or construction, this also increases the value of the guitar.
At this stage of buying, you also want to look for strap mounts on your used acoustic guitar. Better guitars will have a knob in the tuning area and a knob at the base of the body for slipping on a guitar strap. Some simply have the knob at the base, and make you tie the strap to the top of the neck. This piece is not necessary if you plan on playing while sitting instead of standing.
Other items to consider are the guitar case, a tuner, a capo (bridge that holds the strings down to change keys), guitar picks, and a slide. I recommend purchasing new strings for a bused acoustic guitar. This will guarantee the freshest new tone for your instrument, along with guaranteeing you a long musical life for your guitar.
Buying an acoustic guitar used is an economical way to get a great instrument at a very affordable price. If you check these few simple items on your instrument before buying it, you can't go wrong!