Should You Buy a New or Used Guitar?

used vs new guitar

Now more than ever, people are picking up new hobbies and activities to try and learn, and guitar is one of them. If you’ve chosen to learn the guitar as your hobby of choice, and you’re wondering whether to invest in a new or used guitar, you’ve come to the right place. 

Many new players wonder if they should buy a used or new guitar.

There is no one answer for whether you should buy a new or used guitar. Each person has different wants and needs, and there are pros and cons to buying either a used or a brand new guitar.

However, the below guide will help you decide what your priorities are so you can make the right decision for yourself. We’ll examine the pros and cons of buying used and new guitars. Keep reading to find out whether a new or used guitar is right for you. 

Considerations to Make Before Buying a Guitar

Before buying a used or new guitar, it’s important to first ask yourself these important questions:

What is your budget? New and used guitars have different price points, so it’s important to decide what your budget for a guitar is ahead of time. 

Am I looking to make a long-term investment, or am I wanting to try out something new? Depending on whether you want a guitar for the long-term or you want it more as a trial run, you may prefer either a new or used guitar. 

Do you want your guitar to look sparkling and spiffy? Or do you like the look of a little wear and tear? Depending on how you’d like your guitar to look, you may want a brand new guitar or a guitar with a little wear. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a New Guitar

Purchasing a new guitar could indeed be the right path for yourself. Let’s take a closer look at the most important pros and cons of purchasing a brand new guitar. 

Pros of Buying a New Guitar

If you buy a new guitar, you’ll definitely have more optionality and choice. With all of the available new guitars on the market, you’ll have the pick of your brand, make, and model. You can also choose the color of your guitar, the type of strings- you name it. 

A new guitar is also more likely to last you a long time, depending on the quality. They haven’t been used at all, so you’ll be starting entirely fresh.

You can think of it like putting miles on a car. You can travel a lot of distance on a car with zero miles, but a car with 100,000 miles on it can only take you half as far. If you want a guitar that is guaranteed to last, a new guitar is a good choice. 

You can also usually get warranties on brand new guitars, meaning if a part breaks or needs to be replaced, you’ll either get a brand new guitar or a refund for free. Not all used guitar shops offer this kind of service- in fact, most don’t. 

Lastly, a brand new guitar will have no wear and tear. You can rest assured that your guitar will feature no scratches or dents, and you’ll likely be able to play it right out of the box without having to replace strings or fix parts. If you’re not as familiar with guitar repairs, this is a major benefit to consider. 

Cons of Buying a New Guitar

You guessed it – the biggest downside here is going to be the price. You can still find deals on new guitars, but they’re unlikely to be cheaper than a used or thrifted guitar. This is really the only con of buying a new guitar- but it’s an important one to consider. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Guitar

Buying a used guitar comes with its own set of pros and cons as well. 

Pros of Buying a Used Guitar

If you like the look of a little wear and tear or are interested in vintage aesthetics, a used guitar could be the perfect option for you. Many people prefer the look of an older guitar- it has a special kind of beauty to it. 

You can also find rare or special guitars that aren’t sold new anymore- some may have been discontinued even decades ago. If it’s important for you to have a collector’s guitar or a guitar that most people won’t have, used guitars are a great choice. 

A used guitar like this can also appreciate in value. If you buy a rare used guitar for a good price, there’s always the possibility of selling it for a profit in the future- a unique benefit to used guitars. 

Cons of Buying a Used Guitar

Used guitars can come with dents and scratches. If this is something you want to avoid, either look very closely when purchasing a used guitar or opt for a new one. 

There’s also a chance your guitar could have broken parts or be malfunctioning. Every used guitar buyer takes this risk. If you’re familiar with guitar repairs, this may not be an issue for you. If not, you could end up spending the extra money to fix it. 

Depending on your priorities, getting either a new or used guitar could be the right choice for you. If you want a vintage-looking guitar that you can experiment with, try a used guitar. If you prefer a sleek look and want more optionality in choosing one, try out a new guitar. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your sessions with your new instrument. Rock on!

Ready to Get Better at Guitar, Faster?

Whenever you’re ready to take your guitar playing to the next level, check out a few of my favorite resources below:

The Best Acoustic Guitar Strings – A unique polymer coating makes these guitar strings last for months or even years at a time, making for an exceptional value. They provide the perfect mix of boom, range, twang, and brightness that acoustic music is known for. — CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

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Chords, Tabs & Video Lessons for 100 Epic Songs – This free guide that I created for fellow guitarists gives you chords, tabs, and video lessons for the 100 best songs to learn on guitar… I spent many hours putting this guide together to help you get better at guitar, faster. — CLICK HERE TO GET IT FREE

Fingerpicking vs Flatpicking Guitar – Learn which picking style is right for YOU by exploring examples, history, and popular players of each style. Discover essential techniques and pros and cons of each approach. — CLICK HERE TO GET IT FREE

Corbin Buff

Corbin has played guitar for over a decade, and started writing about it on Acoustic World in an effort to help others. He lives and writes in western Montana.

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