#1
I see a lot of what appears to be good buys on craigslist, ebay, etc. But I don't want to end up with a lemon. Would anybody be kind enough to post what to avoid in a used guitar, as well as signs a guitar has been well-cared for?
#2
twisted neck

flat frets

broken stuff, cracks, etc.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#4
in a nutshell considering I've bought over 100 guitars on craigslist here's some pointers.

serious cracks in the headstock or anywhere on the neck like the guitars been dropped
a stripped trussrod - if you can't adjust the trussrod don't buy it
not working or missing parts are a no-no unless the price reflects it
a warped neck - warped necks are unplayable
dead notes on the fretboard - play every fret on the neck and if a note just dies with no ringing dont buy it
serious fret buzz - common on gibsons
sharp fret ends when you slide up and down on the neck - common on gibsons these days
not working electronics are a no-no as many fear the soldering iron

and finally "scratchy" electronics - plug the guitar in and move the volume and tone knobs or use the selector on all the positions looking for noise you should not hear. (Easy fix)

when you buy a guitar used this is my tips
take the old strings off unless the guy put new ones on and you can hear that jangle
tighten every part with a wrench and the right screw driver
it's odd but I use windex or lysol wipes on the back of the neck and body to kill all germs

clean the fretboard with lighter fluid and then after 3 minutes lemon oil (hardware store) to remove any dirt. If it's stubborn caked on stuff razor blades or 0000 steel wool help

a bit of car wax (turtlewax super hardshell and only super hard shell) to make the guitar look like new.


additional tips
ask what gauge (size) strings the guitar had. Try to re-string one string at a time. It's tedious but if there was no buzz on the neck it's best to keep it that way. Setups can be done at any time so don't worry about that just make sure there is no dead notes on the neck if you're trying the guitar in a parking lot or whatever.
#5
Some stuff can be repaired if the guitar is worth it and if it's minor. I've been buying and trading used for the past year or so. A lot of the time all a guitar needs is a setup with a good trusted tech. Best advice I can give you is if it doesn't feel at least close to a 100% good guitar then run away. You can automatically tell if something has been taken care of or not.
#6
I buy essentially all my guitars used and have good experiences so far. My checklist:

Is the neck straight and playable without serious issues?
Do all the switches and pickups work?
Has it been well cared for or neglected?
Is it bone stock or has it been subjected to questionable mods?
Do the tuning heads turn freely?
Any obvious cracks or damage?
Does it sound good and feel good in your hands?

Minor scratches and dings are negotiating points as well as minor repairs. Like anything used, I don't need perfect, just without major damage or defects. Everything else is easily fixable.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#7
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqmT2CDjV6o

This guy made a great 4 part series of stuff to look for when buying a used electric guitar. It helps to have the visuals to accompany the explanation of it, and he explains things well.

Personally I'd be very wary of buying any used guitar without playing it and inspecting it myself, such as the ones on ebay. A few pictures won't tell you much of anything about the guitar, except that it does or doesn't have scratches maybe.
#9
Quote by Tallwood13
in a nutshell considering I've bought over 100 guitars on craigslist here's some pointers.

serious cracks in the headstock or anywhere on the neck like the guitars been dropped
a stripped trussrod - if you can't adjust the trussrod don't buy it
not working or missing parts are a no-no unless the price reflects it
a warped neck - warped necks are unplayable
dead notes on the fretboard - play every fret on the neck and if a note just dies with no ringing dont buy it
serious fret buzz - common on gibsons
sharp fret ends when you slide up and down on the neck - common on gibsons these days
not working electronics are a no-no as many fear the soldering iron

and finally "scratchy" electronics - plug the guitar in and move the volume and tone knobs or use the selector on all the positions looking for noise you should not hear. (Easy fix)

when you buy a guitar used this is my tips
take the old strings off unless the guy put new ones on and you can hear that jangle
tighten every part with a wrench and the right screw driver
it's odd but I use windex or lysol wipes on the back of the neck and body to kill all germs

clean the fretboard with lighter fluid and then after 3 minutes lemon oil (hardware store) to remove any dirt. If it's stubborn caked on stuff razor blades or 0000 steel wool help

a bit of car wax (turtlewax super hardshell and only super hard shell) to make the guitar look like new.


additional tips
ask what gauge (size) strings the guitar had. Try to re-string one string at a time. It's tedious but if there was no buzz on the neck it's best to keep it that way. Setups can be done at any time so don't worry about that just make sure there is no dead notes on the neck if you're trying the guitar in a parking lot or whatever.

Thanks. A reply from a professional.
#10
Quote by bptrav
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqmT2CDjV6o

This guy made a great 4 part series of stuff to look for when buying a used electric guitar. It helps to have the visuals to accompany the explanation of it, and he explains things well.

Personally I'd be very wary of buying any used guitar without playing it and inspecting it myself, such as the ones on ebay. A few pictures won't tell you much of anything about the guitar, except that it does or doesn't have scratches maybe.


Nice stuff to learn. Thanks
#11
Quote by pointnplink
...is just answering the question so hard?

It would require me to write several paragraphs of information. Which it totally pointless when there are people who have written comprehensive blogs on the same topic that would only give the same information that pretty much anyone would give.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Dec 16, 2014,
#12
Quote by pointnplink
...is just answering the question so hard?


is doing some homework so hard? I had considered answering but most pertinent info was already posted. giving you a link like that is a great way to give you an informative answer without having to spend a ton of time typing.
#13
Quote by pointnplink
...is just answering the question so hard?

When I joined this forum not long ago I was greeted with the same attitude. cough... not surprising since it was the same person...cough

Some people come to a forum where you'd think it's because they want to help people/converse with people, but in reality a lot of people are lazy/can't be bothered. It's a weird phenomenon, but hey, that's the way people act on the internet.

While I do agree you can find most of these answers if you do some searching, if everyone were to say "can't you just google it?" and people did just indeed google everything instead of come here, it would make this forum pointless.

Forums are meant to be places to ask questions and find answers too, contrary to popular belief in this thread.

My one suggestion when buying a new guitar is to check all the edges. A ding or paint missing here or there might be a subject you can bring up to negotiate the price. A lot of people worry about the playability so much that they forget to think to check corners on guitars with angled body lines.
#14
Quote by Explorer91
When I joined this forum not long ago I was greeted with the same attitude. cough... not surprising since it was the same person...cough

Some people come to a forum where you'd think it's because they want to help people/converse with people, but in reality a lot of people are lazy/can't be bothered. It's a weird phenomenon, but hey, that's the way people act on the internet.

While I do agree you can find most of these answers if you do some searching, if everyone were to say "can't you just google it?" and people did just indeed google everything instead of come here, it would make this forum pointless.

Forums are meant to be places to ask questions and find answers too, contrary to popular belief in this thread.

My one suggestion when buying a new guitar is to check all the edges. A ding or paint missing here or there might be a subject you can bring up to negotiate the price. A lot of people worry about the playability so much that they forget to think to check corners on guitars with angled body lines.


you can't expect everyone else to do all the work. I answer ?s all the time here and at times do the research as well. thing is that as a poster you can't really get on folks that don't want to write a book doing it. a link with useful info was posted so he did give a useful answer even if it was a bit terse. also for the regulars here it does get tiresome answering the same ?s every week. there is a search bar here for threads on any subject and not surprisingly this one comes up at least once a month if not more. I get what you are saying just presenting the other side
#15
Quote by monwobobbo
you can't expect everyone else to do all the work. I answer ?s all the time here and at times do the research as well. thing is that as a poster you can't really get on folks that don't want to write a book doing it. a link with useful info was posted so he did give a useful answer even if it was a bit terse. also for the regulars here it does get tiresome answering the same ?s every week. there is a search bar here for threads on any subject and not surprisingly this one comes up at least once a month if not more. I get what you are saying just presenting the other side

Right, I totally understand the other side. But there are better ways of handling it. For example this thread in particular you can tell what it is about by the title, so why come in and say "why don't you just do your homework?" Why click on it at all? That person is wasting their own time *knowingly* and also creating a negative atmosphere to a thread that didn't exist until they replied.

"I'm aggravated because I had to look up this info for you, but I did it anyway." Why bother if that's how you feel?

When someone sends out a mass email to get the notes from a day in class they missed I don't send them the notes and then say "You should have just attended class." I just don't answer the email lol
Last edited by Explorer91 at Dec 16, 2014,
#16
Quote by Explorer91
Right, I totally understand the other side. But there are better ways of handling it. For example this thread in particular you can tell what it is about by the title, so why come in and say "why don't you just do your homework?" Why click on it at all? That person is wasting their own time and also creating a negative atmosphere to a thread that didn't exist until they replied.

Because it's a question worthy of asking. It points out that it doesn't take a lot of initiative to realize that answering the question can be achieved with a simple Google search. Or even just using UG's searchbar, thus saving everyone else the trouble of writing up some paragraphs, answering a question that thousands of people have already answered.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Dec 16, 2014,
#17
it's the internet.

you can expect all kinds of fun responses.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#18
Quote by Explorer91
Right, I totally understand the other side. But there are better ways of handling it. For example this thread in particular you can tell what it is about by the title, so why come in and say "why don't you just do your homework?" Why click on it at all? That person is wasting their own time *knowingly* and also creating a negative atmosphere to a thread that didn't exist until they replied.

"I'm aggravated because I had to look up this info for you, but I did it anyway." Why bother if that's how you feel?

When someone sends out a mass email to get the notes from a day in class they missed I don't send them the notes and then say "You should have just attended class." I just don't answer the email lol


I rarely give the "do your homework answer" myself but will defend those who do if appropriate. I happily give advice but do get discouraged when some posters just want everything handed to them and get indignant when they don't get responses that does that.

as for your example, asking for notes because you missed a class is a reasonable request. now say if that same guy wanted help writing a term paper and when you said let me see what you've got so far he said nothing. wouldn't you tell him to get off his ass and try to get something done? there are many things that you can look up yourself and if you ask me you should. after all I can't play the guitar for you or magically know what is going to work for you. all I can do is give my best guess based on my own experience. many people helped me along the way so once again I don't mind doing the same.
#19
People ask questions in a forum for the reason people use teachers/professors to learn a subject.
You would never learn as well without the ability to discuss, analyze, and debate information in a real breathing, living conversation.

Everyone knows the internet contains most any reference material you should want for any subject.

Being able to discuss it with others is priceless information.
#20
Is this about thread about googling or about what this guy needs to look for when buying a used guitar?

WHICH has been answered already, and even included a nice video series.
#21
Quote by monwobobbo
is doing some homework so hard? I had considered answering but most pertinent info was already posted. giving you a link like that is a great way to give you an informative answer without having to spend a ton of time typing.

Sorry I've wasted your time, but if I google, I may see only a few results on this subject which seem worthy of considering. If I pose this same question on UG, I'll likely get more than a few responses...but definitely subjective responses.
#22
Quote by pointnplink
...is just answering the question so hard?


Yeah, honestly.

There are probably 50 things I'm unconsciously considering (most borne of experience) when I'm looking at a used guitar in addition to the obvious. Some of these things aren't red flags by themselves, but several together will set off an alarm. For example, scratchy, slightly green frets plus corroded screws plus old strings with stactites hanging off them, plus cruddy tuners plus scratchy pots suggests that the guitar wasn't played much, wasn't cared for, might have been stored in a salty or corrosive air environment (these items are also typical of guitars that have mostly been on hangers exposed to the air), and now I know to look for flyer, non-level frets due to neck wood movement, problems with the bridge, chrome flaking, weak pickups (micro-shorts from sweat or salt air attacking tiny holes in the enamel insulation on the pickup coil wire causing copper wire corrosion which can result in crystal formation which can cause yet worse pickup shorting...). And so on.

There's no "checklist." There's a whole lot of experience vs. "dude, that thing looks sinister...whoa!".
#23
To continue from dspellman above, the answer of what to look for for me will change depending on the kind of guitar. I'm not worried about some pits on the stoptail on the back of an older Les Paul, but on a Strat trem that could mean uneven flex and a bad tremolo, for example.

The best advice you'll get here is to tell use which guitar you're checking after, we can give you better, more specific advice then. These sorts of things are very case-by-case and it's hard to give you overarching answers that will apply to every situation.
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