If you're a gear head like me, you spend way too much money on instruments and gear that you just have to have.
I don't even know how much money I've spent over the years on guitars, amps, pedals, and software. Have you lost track too?
These days I'm much smarter with my money. I still buy stuff, but I've found many ways to save big bucks while getting exactly what I want for less. Here are six proven ways you can save money on guitars and gear.
1. Buy Used
eBay and Craigslist are great options to find high quality, used gear. I've bought and sold on both platforms.
Buy from sellers that have high ratings. I do not buy from anyone that has zero ratings and feedback or has never sold on eBay before unless it's an inexpensive item.
I've purchased a $2,500 vintage guitar on eBay before, and the item arrived exactly as it was described. The seller had great feedback, responded to my questions and did a great job packaging the guitar for shipping.
You can get instruments and gear up to 50% off if you shop around eBay for a deal.
Stuff or sale on eBay isn't always a deal. There are a lot of "Buy It Now" items that cost more than what you can find on websites like musiciansfriend.com. Shop around
There was only one time on eBay I had a bad experience. The item was listed as "perfect" and was anything but. I worked out a lower price with the seller after I had received the item and complained.
The benefit of Craigslist is you can typically drive close by to check out whatever item you're interested in. Plus you have the ability to negotiate the price right in person. Always ask for a lower price.
Craigslist has become a scammers paradise. Ignore any emails you get from people wanting to have your PayPal account.
Always pay in cash, and accept nothing other than cash when selling something on Craigslist. You'll save yourself from getting scammed.
Craigslist is quickly being replaced by local Facebook groups where people can post stuff to sell.
Google "Facebook group Your City" and request to join the group. You'll find a ton of stuff for sale you never knew you wanted.
The nice thing about Facebook groups is you avoid the scammers trolling Craigslist.
2. Stay Away From No-No-No Plans
You've heard of these plans before.
- No money down;
- No interest for 90 days/6, 12, or 24 months;
- No payment for 30/60/90 days.
The No, No, No plan is designed with one goal in mind - hoping you miss a payment.
Because the moment you do - you're going to be hit with huge interest charges. If you miss a single payment, you owe the back interest from day one.
But I'm going to pay it off on time!
I know in your heart you believe that. You may even have a Google Calender alert setup to remind you to pay the bill.
The problem is any one of us can get hit by a bus tomorrow and be out of work for a while making no income. 1 in 4 people will become disabled before they retire (either short term or long term).
We all think we're going to pay these bills on time, but nobody knows what the future holds. We can
- get fired;
- become injured and unable to work;
- have an unplanned pregnancy and boom - you've got another mouth to feed.
I've heard too many stories of people getting suckered into these plans and then being stuck with massive interest charges. The risk is too high - don't buy anything with these plans (that includes home appliances, furniture, etc.)
The bottom line is you can save money by paying for stuff in full, and you have zero risk of missing a payment.
3. Shop Local
You can find some great deals online. Sometimes you're local music store will have what you're looking for. Make a phone call before you go to save yourself some time.
Ask them if they carry the Schecter Synyster Gates Custom-S electric guitar black gold stripes and if they will match the price you found it for online.
4. Buy Refurbished or Scratch-n-Dent-Items
I buy all of my gear from the refurbished or scratch-n-dent section of the online music stores. (I do the same for computer equipment too).
My Ibanez JEM/UV Steve Vai Signature Electric Guitar is available new for $1,499. I paid $1,150 for mine because it had two cosmetic issues:
- the paint around the jack and in the recesses of the claw look terrible;
- there was a 1-inch hairline crack in the paint where the neck attaches to the body.
Do you know how often I stick my head down and look at the hole near the input jack or in the back of the guitar? Never.
Your gear is going to get used and abused. Cosmetic flaws that have no bearing on playability and usually can't even be seen to the naked eye can save you big bucks.
5. Post a Wanted Ad
Somebody may have what you want, but they haven't thought about selling it yet. A near-mint guitar pedal might be sitting in the back of someone's closet just waiting for you.
Post a wanted ad explaining what you're looking for:
- Guitar forums;
- Facebook groups;
- Craigslist Music forums.
6. Just Ask
I've saved the best for last. If you want to save money on pretty much anything - not just instruments - just ask for a lower price.
If you want to pay less, just offer a lower price. It really is that easy.
By Scott Alan Turner