New vs Used Guitars
It’s really hard to draw the line between which guitar – new or used – is the absolute best. ‘New’ doesn’t mean perfect, and ‘used’ is nowhere near being horrible. But what’s good and bad about them?
Well, to start, the feeling of a new axe in your hands gives you so chills. Straight from the factory, it’s glossy, smooth, in perfect condition, and sometimes comes with some handy accessories. There is a higher chance that it will serve you longer, and it’s possible to buy new axes at a very affordable price.
Used guitars, however, have history, that none of the new axes have. The bad side is, well, they are used, and there is some wear and tear to them. It might be as minor as just a few scratches, and as grave as internal damage; which is noticeable only after you purchased it. Yet, some models are not issued any more, and if you are a great fan and looking for that one unique axe that has been gone since the ’60s, you gotta buy used.
Are Guitars Under $1000 Only for Beginners?
Rumour has it, only newbies should aim for a guitar under a grand.
To put it bluntly, this is not true.
Guitars manufacturers have come such a long way, and cheap doesn’t mean bad anymore. The majority of the guitars in this price segment have excellent quality and feature some kick-ass hardware, like the Yamaha REVSTAR Series RS502T, for example. With a proper amp and some effect pedals, no one will even notice how cheap or expensive your guitar is.
For a beginner, an affordable axe is an obvious choice, but trust me, even veteran guitarists can’t avoid guitars for a grand. You need to be able to afford six or seven axes, right?
Guitars $1000 Guitar: 101
Despite the increasing quality of these kind of guitars, there are still a couple things to keep an eye on. To start with, make sure the guitars are made from quality tonewoods: alder, maple, mahogany, and rosewood. It will increase the sound sustainability. Also, check the hardware – even if the bridge and pickups are basic, they should be well made and set up correctly. Be extra careful with the fretwork and finishes, as guitars for a grand have a tendency to be a bit rough around the edges. And most importantly, try it out first and check how it sounds. Nothing will tell you how good the axe is better than this.
What’s the Difference Between Expensive and Affordable Guitars?
There are a couple of things that differentiate guitars of various price segments. It would be weird if there weren’t.
The critical thing is the quality of materials and hardware. Yes, cheaper guitars use cheaper woods, paint, finishes, and basic, rather ordinary hardware and mechanics. Yet less expensive, doesn’t mean bad. Both $3000 and $800 guitars can have an alder body, and the sound sustain will be great on both of them. Some guitars like EVH Striped Series have a pretty basic set up, but its sound is as sick as, well, a pretty tricky to play Schecter Hellraiser C-1. You can never know until you try.
Another big thing is the manufacturing process. The majority of guitars are now done mechanically, at the factories. Thus, the cost of production for these guitars drops significantly. While expensive and, I might add, premium axes are hand-made, at least some parts are.
And lastly, place of origin means the world in the guitar industry. Traditionally, American-made guitars have higher quality and are more expensive, while Mexican, Korean, and Japanese guitars are usually cheaper. These are slowly becoming obsolete, though, as more and more small brands enter the market. Besides, big American brands like Fender, Les Paul, and Gibson are launching affordable versions of their classics.
Guitars are becoming more sophisticated, and it’s getting easier to find a genuinely gorgeous, reliable, and kick-ass sounding axe. No matter what kind of guitar you are looking for, you can find a great sounding axe in no time. If you are looking for something traditional, go for the twangy warm-sounding Fender American Tele. If you are a metalhead, there is nothing better than an ESP LTD EC-1000. If I were to choose the best guitar from the list, it would be nothing else but a crystal clear, versatile Fender Jimi Hendrix Stratocaster.