How much is a used guitar? For a used guitar, you can expect to pay around $200-$500 less than if you get yourself a brand-new one. Some used guitars even slash $1000 or more off of their brand-new price. Of course, the price will depend largely on the brand and model.
Everyone loves a good deal. And when it comes to guitars, how else can you get a better deal than by scoring a guitar that’s $500 less than its original price?
Of course, we are referring to used guitars.
Buying a second-hand guitar is a great way to save cash, although some may have second thoughts about it. But don’t worry, we will guide you on how to pick the best used guitars and what to expect when it comes to pricing.
We will also tell you why many enthusiasts include used guitars in their collection, so you won’t have to get scared of getting your very own pre-owned one.
And who knows, you just might come across a rare gem—perhaps a limited edition, or maybe one with an interesting pre-ownership history.
Why Buy a Used Guitar?
As beginners, many people gravitate toward inexpensive brands as a starter instrument—never mind if the quality matches the price. This is not to say that cheaper brands are mediocre; in fact, there are inexpensive guitars in the market with impressive qualities!
The key to buying a used guitar is to examine what you are getting. But before that, let’s see why buying a pre-owned guitar is not such a bad idea. Here are some of the benefits:
1. Best value for money.
A used guitar is a great option when you are on a budget or just on a hunt to see which guitar type and style will suit your skill and taste before settling for your very own brand-new ax.
2. Used guitars have a broken-in quality.
Used guitars have this broken-in nature about them and they tend to be better setup than new ones, as well. Some guitars tend to feel—and sound—better as they age; in addition, mechanical parts tend to improve with age. The guitar is basically settled in.
3. A used guitar just might be better than the brand-new ones.
You know how the older generation says, often wistfully, that things from the past used to be a lot better in quality. Despite being technologically advanced, our gadgets and appliances, for instance, tend to be “disposable”; we use them for an X number of years, and then, replace them. In contrast, basic appliances and machines from the past have stood the test of time, and even make it to the next generation, still functional.
Guitar makers use wood that was far better back in the day and this speaks volumes about their quality and durability. If you get lucky, you might find yourself taking home a preloved instrument with superb quality and craftsmanship for a steal!
4. Some used guitars can have this charming, classic look.
It’s the vintage vibe! Older guitars can have that rustic, antiquated appeal that some guitar enthusiasts dig. Who knows when you might chance upon a rare find and become the next owner of a collector’s piece!
5. Easier to upgrade (or to let it go if you end up not liking it after a while…).
If for some reason, you find that you don’t bond well with the instrument further down the road, there would be fewer regrets on your part to let it go and find its new happy owner.
Or, maybe one day, you will come to outgrow the guitar and decide to buy one that you know will be for the long haul. It will be much easier for you to give away or resell the guitar to upgrade and invest in a brand new one.
The Price of a Used Guitar
So, here is the question you’ve been meaning to ask all along: How much do I expect to pay for a used guitar?
The answer to this may vary depending on factors such as the guitar’s brand, general condition (excellent, good, fair, B-stock, or with functional problems that may need repairs), how long ago it was first bought, and its repair history.
In most cases, you can expect to spend around 30% less than the original price of the guitar, assuming that the instrument is in a good condition with just a few minor blemishes and other signs of normal usage. Of course, these “flaws” should not affect the guitar’s functionality.
Here are some of the popular guitars sold second-hand in the market today and how much they cost:
Used Electric Guitar Prices
- For used Les Paul (Gibson and Epiphone) electric guitars, you get the highest savings with Epiphone Traditional (up to 30%) and Junior models (up to 29%), at around $350 and $300 average price for second-hand, respectively.
Higher-range models such as Gibson Les Paul Slash are sold at $2500 (17% off the brand-new price), Gibson Modern at $2100 (25% off), and Gibson Standard at $2100 (16% savings).
Gibson Studio and Epiphone Les Paul Slash also offer competitive saving potential on their second-hand prices, at $1100 (27%) and $700 (26%), respectively.
- For used Fender/ Squier guitars, the Squier Affinity gets you the highest savings, at $120 (48% off) average second-hand price. Both the Fender American Performer and Squier Classic Vibe get you 33% savings, at $900 and $300 second-hand price, respectively.
- For used PRS, you get the highest savings at 39% off the brand-new price with PRS S2 Custom 24, which sells at an average $1100 second-hand price. The more affordable model PRS SE Custom 24 sells at $700 (18% less than the brand-new price).
- For used Ibanez guitars, the Ibanez RG Prestige sells at $1300 (28% savings); the more affordable Ibanez JS100 sells at $450 (that’s 44% savings!).
- For used Schecter, you get the unbelievably highest saving (up to 56%) with Schecter Omen 6, which sells at $200. The Schecter C1 Hellraiser is also priced competitively, at $550 on average (52% off the brand-new price).
Used Acoustic Guitar Prices
- For used Gibson and Epiphone acoustic guitars, the Gibson J-45 Studio sells at an average second-hand price of $1500 (25% savings), while the Epiphone EJ200 sells at $400 (27% savings).
- For used Taylor guitars, the premium Taylor 814ce sells at $2450 (30% savings), while the models Taylor 214ce and Taylor 414ce V-Class both get you up to 23% in savings, at $1150 and $2000, respectively.
- For used Martin guitars, the premium Martin D35 sells at $2600 (19% savings). The more affordable model, Martin LX1, sells at $280 second-hand price (30% savings).
- Used Seagull Maritime SWS sells at an average second-hand price of $750 (25% savings), while Guild D-40 sells at $1700 (19% savings).
Take note that the prices listed here are just the average for used guitars in good overall condition. The price could be higher (for near-new conditions) or lower (bottom price, or those with minor but still fixable defects).
Final Words: Knowing What You Are Getting
As promised, we will help you with what you should look for when it comes to buying a pre-owned guitar.
Buying a used electric or acoustic guitar entails a thorough understanding of what to look for (and also, what to avoid). Of course, the most important thing to do is to assess the instrument carefully before purchase to make sure that it is in good working condition and offers value.
Aside from ensuring that the guitar plays in tune and frets easily, you must also consider its overall construction, the materials used, the workmanship, and any aesthetic additions to the instrument.
If something doesn’t feel right about the guitar, perhaps a fret buzz or damaged nuts, ask the seller about it. When you’re dubious, just go with your instinct. Don’t be afraid to negotiate if you feel that the guitar could be sold for less than the price they listed.
Here’s a more in-depth guide to making sure you know what you are getting when it comes to used guitars:
Happy guitar hunting!
Joyce Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies at New Era University. She especially enjoyed her journalism class and was nominated for Photojournalist of the Year. Joyce Anne loves music; she is a self-taught piano player. When she's not writing (or baking or watching documentaries), she's probably playing songs on the piano, mostly by ear.