#1
I like buying used as I find good deals often and have bought a couple of used guitars that have served me well, although those were only a couple of years old. Lately I've found a couple of guitars on craigslist that I like, a MIM strat and a schecter c-1 pretty fairly priced, the thing is the strat is 05 and the schecter is 04. 12 and 13 years old respectively.

I can always check out what obvious to me and make sure the electronics work, but how well do guitars age generally? There is the whole issue with how the previous owner used it..these two seem like they know what they were doing with their guitars but still, I feel some people often neglect their guitars that they try to sell on craigslist. If a guitar sat on a rack for 10+ years I assume it'd have some problems. Anyway, I'd like some input on this as I've only recently been buying used, been all new beforehand.
#2
10 years is nothing, I regularly see guitars from the 1970s that are in perfect playing condition. Unless the guitar has been seriously abused then 10 years is just nothing to the life of a guitar. If it has sat on a rack for 10 years untouched it probably needs a good clean and setup, but that depends on the environment conditions.

I don't have a guitar that is younger than 15 years old currently, and they all play like new.
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#3
Bigbazz Thanks for the reply. I'll prob give one of em a shot. I sold all of the guitars when I first started playing and kept upgrading so at the moment I don't own anything older than 10 years old and they've been under my care the entire time. 
#4
Quote by Bigbazz
10 years is nothing, I regularly see guitars from the 1970s that are in perfect playing condition. Unless the guitar has been seriously abused then 10 years is just nothing to the life of a guitar. If it has sat on a rack for 10 years untouched it probably needs a good clean and setup, but that depends on the environment conditions.

I don't have a guitar that is younger than 15 years old currently, and they all play like new.
I mostly agree, but if a guitar is someone's main or at least very regularly played 10 years is more than enough to render the instrument seriously lacking in the fret department.
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#5
K33nbl4d3 Yeah, that's my main concern. Fret dressing is expensive here so I don't want to deal with it.My other would be the neck warping but I don't know how relevant that it based on age
#6
I literally don't own a guitar that's less than 10 years old, and they're all in pretty much the exact same condition as they were when I bought them
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#7
Age isn't really an issue. I've got a pair of '67 ES-335s, a 1939 Epiphone Emperor, a 1949 ES-175, three mid 50's Gibson solid bodies, several mid-70's Gibbies (L5S, L6S), some archtops, etc., etc.  They don't break down over time due to time; just check the things you should check on ANY guitar (new or used). 
#8
If the pix look like the guitar has been used as a shovel on a construction site, I'd give it a pass unless I could try it out before the sale was final.

"Case Queens" and axes with some normal wear & tear or the odd serious ding? I'm pretty confident if the seller has a good rep.
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#10
Yeah age shouldn't be an issue.I have a Strat that's 40 years old with wear marks to show and that is fine.It did need a fret level and polish etc but it has been played the hell out of.
#11
The only things to check are how worn the frets are, any damage around the neck and headstock area, ensuring that the neck is straight and not twisted, the truss rod still works, the action can be lowered to a low and playable height and that the guitar intonates properly.

Any other problems that the guitar might have will be relatively easy to resolve.
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#12
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
The only things to check are how worn the frets are, any damage around the neck and headstock area, ensuring that the neck is straight and not twisted, the truss rod still works, the action can be lowered to a low and playable height and that the guitar intonates properly.

Any other problems that the guitar might have will be relatively easy to resolve.


Well...
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1677077
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#13
Thanks for all the info. I did suspect that my main issue would be fret wear, the thing is I don't know how to check for neck damage or warping..or should it just be obvious to see?
#14
dannyalcatraz Not really a guitar I'd want to buy.

The guitar was damaged in a fire but it was lovingly restored and the neck totally hasn't been warped/twisted from the heat of the fire, promise!
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#15
Quote by daddyorca
Thanks for all the info. I did suspect that my main issue would be fret wear, the thing is I don't know how to check for neck damage or warping..or should it just be obvious to see?

It isn't always readily apparent if you're just looking at pictures on an ebay listing. At the very least, you'll want to see a good quality photo looking right down the guitar neck. But what would be better would be photographed measurements taken of the neck relief on the bass side and treble side of the neck. Though very few sellers are willing to provide such pictures.

With that said though, unless the guitar has been in a very harsh and unstable environment, I wouldn't worry about it. Neck warping/twisting is rare for a guitar that has spent the vast majority of its life sitting on a stand at home.
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#16
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
dannyalcatraz Not really a guitar I'd want to buy.

The guitar was damaged in a fire but it was lovingly restored and the neck totally hasn't been warped/twisted from the heat of the fire, promise!


Which is why I didnt buy it!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#17
i don't think aging applies as well to an electric guitar as with an acoustic.  Your price ranges are going to be steep because they are considered vintage but you are also right in the sense that you are paying for how well a guitar is kept not how well it ages. It's funny how relicing your guitar became a thing for people who specifically wanted a vintage guitar with an aged look. An electric guitar that has been aged probably looks like Eric Clapton's Blackie stratocaster- it is literally a beat up strat. The value comes with the player and experience though.



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#18
I sorta prefer to buy guitars that are at least 10 yrs old.  There are several books and YT vids on what to look for when buying used.  A little homework in advance can serve you well.
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#19
I bought an SG from 05 recently with frets and electronics in mint condition. But that was only due to lack of use. Guitars in general seem to hold together well despite age
#20
daddyorca, when considering a guitar, regardless of age, you should check things like fret wear, level frets, etc. There are plenty of people who check out new guitars and find that they have dead spots and need fret work before they even leave the shop. If you are buying from Craigslist or eBay, make sure you have some protection just in case. In a store, it's easy, you put it back on the shelf or return it. There's no magic date or age where problems will occur. Grab the guitar, plug it in, play it, and if you like it; that's the guitar for you.
#21
All of the guitars in my collection are used but one and of those most are pre 2010 that were purchased by me post 2010. As long as you know what to look for and have the opportunity to geive them a good once over in person you should be fine. Two of my recent purchases were a 1987 Kramer F1000 and a 1989 Charvel Fusion custom both are in great condition with the Charvel being pretty close to mint with only a bit of finish wear on the tremolo.
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#22
Fret wear or rust on core components are really the only major concerns.  You don't want to buy a guitar and then need to have it re-fretted, that's a $350 job at least. 

I would budget a setup with a tech for any purchase like that.  
#23
I think it must take alot to warp a neck.I keep my US Tele hanging right above an oil radiator which is turned on and off every day in winter.That Tele gets hot(and cold) alot.No neck warping issues at all.Much of the time it's in tune when i pick it up too.
#24
Age does not matter, but certainly condition does. You also have to be careful of mods, generally the older a guitar the more chances it may have been modded over the years. For Gibsons, you really have to watch out for fakes. You can also check for wiring by easily opening the back cavity to see if all looks original. For Fenders, you have to watch out for changed pickups....from the front of the guitar you can't always be sure what pickups are in it....I've seen nice Strats that turned out to have Squier pickups in them. The other problem with Fender is, a neck can easily be switched from one guitar to another. It happens. I have been buying and selling guitars for about 10 years so I have seen it all. Things like Schecters "usually" don't get tampered with so much unless the pickups are upgraded or something along those lines. I have a nice Schecter myself and put in Seymour Duncans, great guitar and was cheap used. Good luck.
#25
Quote by jtees4
Age does not matter, but certainly condition does. You also have to be careful of mods, generally the older a guitar the more chances it may have been modded over the years. For Gibsons, you really have to watch out for fakes. You can also check for wiring by easily opening the back cavity to see if all looks original. For Fenders, you have to watch out for changed pickups....from the front of the guitar you can't always be sure what pickups are in it....I've seen nice Strats that turned out to have Squier pickups in them. The other problem with Fender is, a neck can easily be switched from one guitar to another. It happens. I have been buying and selling guitars for about 10 years so I have seen it all. Things like Schecters "usually" don't get tampered with so much unless the pickups are upgraded or something along those lines. I have a nice Schecter myself and put in Seymour Duncans, great guitar and was cheap used. Good luck.


I agree and I'll add that if done properly there is nothing wrong with upgrades if they are something you are interested in having on a guitar like better tuners, pickups, temolos etc. Just remember that upgrades do not really add value on the used market where a bone stock guitar is typically more desirable. So don't let the seller try to gouge you for the price of the upgrades. Also do some research and find out what the going rate is for the model you are thinking about buying used to be sure you are getting a fair price.
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Last edited by Evilnine at Mar 28, 2017,
#26
I don't have enough first hand experience to be considered an expert, but both of my main guitars were well over 10 years old when I bought them, but had spent most of their existence sitting in a case. I suggest looking at a used guitar the way you'd look at a used car. It's not so much the age as the mileage. Some parts can go bad through neglect, like storing a guitar with the strings too tight might lead to neck warping. Storing an unplayed guitar in a harsh environment, either too dry or too humid, can have a bad effect on it. 

If I had to give any advice, it would be to only buy a used guitar that you can test yourself, unless it's really economical. If you do buy a used guitar on eBay or Reverb.com and it doesn't work out, you can always resell it.

My own personal experience, which is extremely limited, is that my Epiphone Dot Studio I bought at a Music-Go-Round franchise store needed a little bit of set up but is otherwise excellent. My Dean Boca 12 string I bought through Reverb.com arrived absolutely perfect, needing no set up at all. Based on serial numbers, both were made in 2003. 
#27
All of my electric guitars are over 10 years old. Condition matters more than age. 
#28
Quote by gerdner
I don't have enough first hand experience to be considered an expert, but both of my main guitars were well over 10 years old when I bought them, but had spent most of their existence sitting in a case. I suggest looking at a used guitar the way you'd look at a used car. It's not so much the age as the mileage. Some parts can go bad through neglect, like storing a guitar with the strings too tight might lead to neck warping. Storing an unplayed guitar in a harsh environment, either too dry or too humid, can have a bad effect on it. 

If I had to give any advice, it would be to only buy a used guitar that you can test yourself, unless it's really economical. If you do buy a used guitar on eBay or Reverb.com and it doesn't work out, you can always resell it.

My own personal experience, which is extremely limited, is that my Epiphone Dot Studio I bought at a Music-Go-Round franchise store needed a little bit of set up but is otherwise excellent. My Dean Boca 12 string I bought through Reverb.com arrived absolutely perfect, needing no set up at all. Based on serial numbers, both were made in 2003. 

So much can be read between the lines.....