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Old 11-27-2012, 09:08 PM   #1
Huge Guy
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Condition of used guitars

Hi there, I have a question about the condition of used guitars. I've always kept my guitars in pretty much pristine condition aside from the odd nick here or there. My oldest is an 80's bass and it has a teeny tiny bit of rust on the pickups but that's it.

So why is it that so many fairly new guitars (5 years old or even less) sold on Craig's List look like they've been left out in the rain or found in the trash?

I recently looked a a Fender US Strat from CL and all the screws and pickups were rusted. The guitar was only 3 years old and it wasn't reliced or anything. How much of a problem is this anyway, is it just cosmetic? The guitar was comfortable to play and sounded fine. When I see guitars like this I'm always afraid of how they were taken care of and that they could have hidden issues.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:16 PM   #2
krehzeekid
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rust can depend on a whole lot of different factors. Environmental factors, such as humidity, pollution and temperature, can have very significant effects- where I live (very dry and cold), it is very rare to see a rusty guitar, but I've bought guitars from the coast that are rather rusted for their age. Additionally, the exact composition of the steel alloy used for the parts can contribute to the oxidation rate. Different steels rust at different rates. the quality and type of plating also matters.

However, I think that different people treat guitars differently. some people are gentle users, some are heavy users (I'm definitely in this category- I look after my guitars, but I hardly baby them) and then there are just abusive users. I think that the most worn guitars are probably the result of borderline abusive use.

Anyways, my thoughts on used guitars have always been such that I don't worry about damage unless it is functional. Cracks, serious dings, massive corrosion, evidence of botched repair work and other indicators of abuse and potentially significant problems raise serious red flags for me. A little surface corrosion or a few dings? that probably won't keep me from buying a guitar. though I will try and knock down the price...
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
solidrane
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depends on the value, the more high end $1500-2000 can be a bit "babied" by their owners but if you look at $400-800 ish guitars, those ones are going to have the dings and ware.

Also... you might have just lucked out and the owner just didn't know how to be the most careful with his instruments.

Guitars that have been on gigs will indefinitely be a bit scuffed and beat up.

Just my input.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:23 PM   #4
Huge Guy
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The guitar in question was a Fender USA Strat Special, he listed it for $500 and tried to get $450 when I said it looked to worn. I also noticed that the trem had stripped screws. The guy claimed the rust "did not affect the value" but I was not so sure so I said no.

It didn't help that he pulled a total bait and switch - the pic on his CL ad was of a new guitar (not a stock photo) and still had stickers on the pickguard and plastic on the pickups.
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:31 PM   #5
krehzeekid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huge Guy
The guitar in question was a Fender USA Strat Special, he listed it for $500 and tried to get $450 when I said it looked to worn. I also noticed that the trem had stripped screws. The guy claimed the rust "did not affect the value" but I was not so sure so I said no.

It didn't help that he pulled a total bait and switch - the pic on his CL ad was of a new guitar (not a stock photo) and still had stickers on the pickguard and plastic on the pickups.


yeah, I would avoid doing business from somebody who is even slightly dishonest from the outset. something like that always makes me worry a little.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:57 AM   #6
mattrusso
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I would always stay away from anything with rust on it. At best, it means that the guitar was poorly taken care of. At worst, it can be really damaging to the guitar's functionality.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:25 AM   #7
trashedlostfdup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattrusso
I would always stay away from anything with rust on it. At best, it means that the guitar was poorly taken care of. At worst, it can be really damaging to the guitar's functionality.


not necessarily. region makes a difference. i am two blocks off of the gulf of mexico, high humidity and it is a saltier. maybe even the salt in sweat could make the difference.

i have a gibson SG that had rust on the stock pickups. it was fine, it was well taken care of but it was definitely used. i put a pair of EMG 81's in it at C#std so it doesn't have the same pickups, but i have both of the stock gibson buckers on a different guitar and it is fine.

stripped screws are a big no.

and i do agree that if anybody does the photo swapping shit not to bother with them. if they aren't going to accurately depict it in the ad, they probably aren't honest regarding other things.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:20 PM   #8
Huge Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trashedlostfdup
and i do agree that if anybody does the photo swapping shit not to bother with them. if they aren't going to accurately depict it in the ad, they probably aren't honest regarding other things.


I'm wondering what sort of hidden problems a guitar like that might have.
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