How to buy a pawn shop guitar the safe way
There is something about pawn shops. In fact, some people recorded whole albums about them.
As a man, I think it’s the smell. Seriously.
Next time you walk past a pawn shop, walk in and take a big huge sniff. It’s the smell of a potential bargain, a possible rip off. Pawn shop hunting is the modern day civilised hunting expedition.
On a recent hunting trip I managed to trap a PRS SE Single Cut Soap bar Model. It’s an SE, so it’s a Korean model. I had a look online and it lists for about 700 pounds, so it’s still a bargain.
Basically, I was looking for a cheap guitar case at the pawn brokers because I’m one case short these days, and as I was leaving I saw it in the window.
I came home, asked the better half if I can get guitar number seven and she said ok, because she knows how much I want a PRS, and [suck up mode] because she is the most lovely person in the word [/suck up mode].
I went back up to the pawn broker, and asked for a play. It was awful. Absolutely unplayable. He said he had it in there for a while and that it had been reduced because for some reason he can’t sell it.
All the problem was is that the bass side of the bridge was WAAAYYY to low. I pulled out a ten cent coin, four turns of the bridge bolt, BINGO, perfect playability.
Yeah, the tone control will likely need replacing, but big whoop. It sounds beautiful, even with the dead strings on it. I even got him to throw in a case for $0. Bargain and a half.
How much I hear you all ask?
$499 Australian Dollars. Go do the math! I can’t wait to finish paying this off in the next few weeks and going wild.
It just seems to be that every guitar I want is falling right in front of me. I few months ago, I was really wanting an S-S-S Strat.
Then I get a phone call from someone I had not seen in two years offering me her partner’s guitar that he does not play. It was an S-S-S Strat. $100 later and it was mine. Now I get the PRS I’ve been wanting for years.
So here are my rules for pawn shop guitaring.
1. Never impulse buy
You see something you like, don’t just grab it and run (unless you think you can get away without getting caught).
Play the guitar for a while. Put it down and come back in the next few days. See if it still feels the same and has the same appeal as that initial reaction.
The last thing that you want to do is to buy a guitar that you loved at the time only to take back to the same pawn shop a few weeks later.
2. Have a goal
This follows on from tip number one. Have a goal as to what type of guitar you are after. By that I mean you should a clear definition of what you want to buy.
This will help you avoid the impulse buy, and focus your attention so you don’t get distracted by all the shiny things in the shop.
Going back to my PRS example, I’ve been looking for a nice guitar with soap bar style pickups now to round out my collection. I wasn’t necessarily after a PRS, but that came as a giant bonus.
It was the only guitar that had the features I was after, and as such was the only guitar I picked up and tried. Don’t by a guitar that you don’t need, unless of course it is something exceptional.
3. Play with the knobs and know how a guitar works
The ones on the guitar you dirty fiends. Turn all the knobs, waggle the lead, and flick all the switches. Make sure they all work, and if not, have a rough idea if you can fix it yourself or how much it may cost you.
You don’t want to spend $100 on a guitar and then have to do $300 worth of work on it. The PRS has a busted tone pot, and I can most likely fix that myself, and at worse, I no someone who will fix it for a few beers.
You also need to know a little about the setup of guitars. The PRS again is a great example. The strings were to low, and after looking down the neck I could tell the issue was just the bridge height.
Simple things like that can get you a bargain. This guitar had been ignored my who knows how many people before me because they did not know how to correct that simple problem. A little knowledge is your friend here.
4. Try some different amps
This is very important. The person running the pawn shop will always plug you into a small Fender combo and crank the reverb.
I honestly think that those small combos were designed by Fender exclusively for the pawn shop industry because they make every guitar sound great. So try the guitar with that crappy 15W no name amp as well. It will give you a much better idea on the true sound quality.
5. Don’t pay for the case
From my experience, the person who pawns off any decent guitar will have had it in a case, and the case will likely be out the back of the shop. Ask about the case, ask if it is included in the price, and if not ask why not.
75% you’ll get the case for free, 20% heavily discounted, and the remaining 5% involves you walking out of the store. They want the sale just a bad as you want to buy the guitar so let them chase you.
Well, I’ve got a few weeks until I get my new pawn shop beauty. I’ll make sure to let you know how she settles in. Till next time…
Tips on Buying Guitars
There are so many guitar models on the market today. So many types including electric, acoustic, acoustic electric, nylon string, and steel string guitars. How does one make a selection? Here are a few tips to help you choose one that meets your needs.
1. It depends on how much you can afford.
With such a wealth of guitars available, a working person shouldn’t have a problem finding one that fits their budget. But this doesn’t mean that you should settle for anything.
As the old adage goes, you usually get what you pay for. Usually the more money you invest, the greater the returns. You’re going to be spending a lot of time practicing so choose an instrument that you can enjoy. An instrument that you can look forward to playing.
2. What style of music will you be playing?
The style of music to be played should influence your choice of guitar. For instance if you plan on playing rock you should buy an electric guitar, since Rock music is better suited to be played on that type of guitar.
If Jazz and blues is your thing you may prefer a semi-acoustic guitar from the start. An acoustic nylon string guitar may be better suited to classical music and smooth Jazz.
3. Child or adult.
Are you a parent looking to buy a guitar for your child? Consider buying a 1/2 size or 3/4 size guitar. Your child doesn’t have the reach that an adult has, so these smaller guitars are better suited. Regular size guitars will be more difficult to play and can cause a lack of interest.
You may also want to look into buying an electric guitar for your child if you can afford it. They have a small neck and very light thin strings and are therefore easier to play. If money is an issue a second hand electric guitar may be the answer.
4. Wood type and its relation to tone.
Although there are no rules for choosing guitar woods, there is a guide that you can follow. Generally, darker woods produce a brighter tone while darker woods produces a deeper, richer tone.
Medium tone wood like mahogany produce a very even smooth sound spectrum. You should compare various wood colors. The best thing to do is to listen to the tones that a guitar produces before deciding.
5. Pay attention to the guitar‘s features.
Your guitar must have certain important features. Don’t simply focus on looks.
For example, your guitar should have die-cast machine heads (or tuning gears). With this feature, you will be able to tune your instrument more accurately and your guitar will stay in tune longer.
A solid top is also very important. A solid top usually consists of 2 solid matched pieces glued together side by side.
This is of better quality than a laminated top where various woods are glued together on top of each other. With a solid top the guitar‘s tone will be more even and accurate and you can expect a sustaining vibration throughout the guitar‘s body.
6. Buy a guitar that feels good to you.
You’re the one who will be playing that guitar. So you’d better buy one that feels comfortable to you, whether you’re sitting or standing. For instance, if the strings are too far from the fretboard, playing will be difficult. An expensive guitar that is not comfortable is a waste. Spend time with the guitar before deciding.
7. The bottom line is sound.
If it sounds good, buy it. No two guitars can ever be the same. It’s never about looks. It’s about the sound that is generated through the use of the right type of wood and through superior craftsmanship.
You should be able to find a guitar easily online. You can order one that suits your needs today. Some of the best guitar prices can be found on the Internet. You even get free shipping to your door.
Cheap Electric Guitars
If you are looking for cheap electric guitars there is a lot of choice out there.
You can buy a cheap electric guitar from as little as £70 and there are a number of brands making cheap guitars.
Don’t spend under £90 on a guitar
If you are buying your first electric guitar, I wouldn’t recommend spending under £90. Most of these guitars are built with very cheap materials to bring the production costs down, hence the retail price. The guitar’s sound will be compromised with this lower quality and the finish will also look a bit rough.
You will usually find that the guitar strings are the cheapest ones you can buy, they will sound twangy.
The other downside of these cheap electric guitars due to the low build quality is the durability.
You will be lucky if you can play it for more than 1 year and not have a problem with the guitar parts. You will end up with a cheap electric guitar (cheap meaning the quality this time and not the price).
Spend £90-£150 on a guitar
My advice is to spend between £90 and £150 on your first electric guitar. You will get some reasonable quality at the lower end and good quality at the upper end.
Electric guitar brands to look out for
Here is a list of guitar brands that offer beginner electric guitars within the above price range: Stagg, Crafter, Vintage, Encore,
Cruiser by Crafter, Gould, Squier, Yamaha, Dean, Peavey, Epiphone, Carlsbro and Ibanez.
The Epiphone, Vintage and Yamaha are the most popular electric guitars from the above list, the Stagg offers the best value for money in my opinion.
Should I Buy My Guitar in a Music Shop or Online?
It is really up to you, but my advice would be to buy one of the recommended guitar brands above. You can do this easily online,
and you won’t get a shop salesman trying to push what’s best for them rather than what’s best for you. Follow this link for a comprehensive range of Cheap Electric Guitars.
Learning Guitar Basics
When you start with something new, you are usually so eager to jump into this new venture with both feet that you forget that every subject has its own basic information and way of doing things.
When you start learning guitar playing, you want to be the new sensation on the hit charts within one day. Woa – pull in the reigns.
Learn the guitar basics first. Why? You will be a better guitar player later on. Even the masters of the guitar started off with the basics and progressed from there.
There are many things that are included when you learn guitar basics: the chords, the scales, the fingering, but perhaps most importantly, you need to learn all of the different parts of the guitar.
How is a guitar constructed?
One of the basic reasons to learn guitar basics, is to know the different parts of a guitar.
As you progress, you will meet different terms for the parts of a guitar and if you do not know those terms, you can find yourself struggling to learn the guitar.
First of all, you should know what the body of the guitar is:
1. The guitar’s body is the large wooden part of the guitar.
2. The thin part of the guitar that is connected to the body of the guitar is called the neck.
3. The bridge is located on the body of the guitar near the hole.
4. The strings of the guitar begin at the bridge and end at the pegs, which is located on the head of the guitar.
5. The head of the guitar is on the end of the neck not connected to the body.
6. There are small metal pieces located at various intervals along the neck of the guitar. These metal pieces are called the frets. When the player presses the strings into the frets at various intervals, the strings vibrate and produce different pitches.
The way you hold the guitar differs for nearly every type of song you play on a guitar. If you are right handed, your right hand is your strumming hand. Thus, you hold your guitar so that your right hand rests on the strings of the guitar above the hole.
This means that your left hand is your picking hand, and your left hand should rest on the neck of the guitar. If you are left handed, then you should use these directions as well, only reversed.
Take time to learn the guitar basics and you will be richly rewarded not only with money, but also with a life long relationship with a wonderful instrument.
Know Your Free Guitar Chords
With the continuing craze about guitar playing, from rhythm and blues to rock – there is a huge demand for free guitar chords.
A guitar chord represents the collection of tones that is sounded when the strings of a guitar are played simultaneously. Cool guitarists have a way with guitar chords – they play it with style and ease.
Free Guitar Chords, Anyone?
Free guitar chords are illustrated in the customary musical notation and tablature, also known as tabs. With more self-taught guitarists on the rise, free guitar chords are also depicted in chord diagrams for easier reading.
However, different people have different interpretations of guitar chords. Some coaches use their own versions which often lead to confusion.
Understanding guitar chord symbols
Free guitar chords often include symbols in the chord diagram layout. The vertical lines are the guitar strings, the horizontal lines are the frets.
An x above the vertical line indicates that a string is free or is not played, while an O designates an open string or a string that is not played on the fret. A filled circle means the string has to be fretted.
If you look closely at the neck of your guitar, you will see thin strips running the full width of the neck. These metal strips divide the neck into musical intervals.
A fret has its cluster tone where an octave is segmented into twelve semitones. When there is an instruction in the free guitar chords to fret, you simply press down the string on the strip.
Other illustrations on a free guitar chords diagram are the curved line to indicate a barre. When a barre is signaled, you use a single finger to hold down several strings all at once.
If there are numbers beneath some strings, you are asked to use the indicated finger number on the note. For left handed players, the diagrams are simply reversed.
Getting those free guitar chords
There are guitar sites online offering free guitar chords, from classics to the latest pop songs. You can choose from a drop down menu the artists or the songs, often arranged alphabetically.
These guitar chords are also marked according to their difficulty level. Other sites simply cluster the free guitar chords according to the following ranks – beginner, advanced, and pro.
To make the learning process easier, there are sites that have video demonstrations explaining the function of each guitar part, the guitar chords, and techniques. The video demo makes it easier for self-taught players to understand the complexities of the guitar chords.
To make the most of your free guitar chords, get a guitar dictionary. This contains 63 basic chords, and when you pick a note, you will hear the sound of the guitar chord. This will require a Flash player, though, so be ready to get one when needed.
Yet another tool you can use is a CD of guitar chords that may supplement the free guitar chords you have downloaded from websites. This CD is easy to use because it does not require extra tools to set up.
Also, surf the net for free guitar chords of your favorite songs and artists. There is no end in sight for guitar chords, tips, and even free guitar newsletters.
You can also sign up for guitar forums to get more ideas from other guitar players. From there you can start you budding guitar career.
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