When I buy an average guitar(around $500), when I go to the shop would they give me the guitar off the wall, or do I expect to get a new one in a box?

And should I call ahead to see if they have what I want in stock?

I just had to post this, didn't I.
You're buying the one off the wall, unless you're getting a really cheap (starter pack) guitar

If you wanna call ahead, then by all means do so, but if you're an open minded person who cares about quality rather than brands or big names I'd say go to that store and try a bunch of guitars. You might end up liking guitars you've never even heard of (nothing wrong with that) and even if you DO know what you want I'd still recommend you to try that guitar at the store and compare it with similar models. You'd be surprised how many people change their minds once they get some hands on experience

The fact that you already have a (flexible) budget is great, now just think of some features you'd really want to see on your guitar (hardtail or whammy, pickup configuration, neck shape, etc.) and, if possible, search the store's website to get an idea of what they're offering. Do some research on the guitars that appeal to you (like checking out reviews and such). It will probably save you a lot of time whilst giving you an idea of what it is that you're looking for

/] 三方 [\
Last edited by shwilly at Jun 2, 2011,
If I go to Guitar Center, I always ask if I can buy one from the back that's still in the box. Sure they'll get pissed, but the customer is always right. Besides, who knows how many people have played the one that's on the wall ?