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Buying a used guitar or a new guitar? pros & cons   You are logged in as Guest
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lohan

Posts: 56
Joined: Nov. 29 2020
 

Buying a used guitar or a new guitar... 

Some used guitars are recommended because of their specific models or their specific period of their constructions and their specific builders or brands & reputation & so on.

On the other hand, some people prefer new guitars because they don't know a used guitar in what kind of situation (e.g., moisture and etc) has been kept and they don't know what happened for that in the past years and even decades. They afraid of repaired (hidden) cracks also that sometime only the professionals can recognize some kinds of repairs.

Now what are the pros & cons of buying a used or a new guitar? (certainly, I am taking about a guitarist who use a guitar, not a guitar collector)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 25 2020 7:51:56
 
RobJe

 

Posts: 727
Joined: Dec. 16 2006
From: UK

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

Good, acceptable and bad guitars exist in all categories – factory made, luthier made, new, secondhand, repaired (or needing repair) and perfect condition. Finding the one that suits your needs and financial state is not always easy. So there is no simple answer to your question.

Here are some suggestions.

Work on improving your flamenco playing - it becomes easier to select a good guitar as your playing improves. If you keep playing and improving, your first guitar won’t be your last.

Ideally you should try before you buy or if you are commissioning a guitar, see if you can find one or more examples of the luthier’s work to try. The alternative is to find recommendations as to quality of guitars produced by whoever you choose. Some, but not all luthiers manage to achieve consistency and would refuse to send out a bad guitar. Factory output can be a bit more hit and miss.

Try as many guitars as you can find. I don’t know whether your geographical location makes this hard. For me, being close to London it has been easy. Visits to shops and luthiers in UK and Spain and trying the guitars of players that I have associated with over the years have given me plenty of opportunities. You might have to work had at this. Take a friend if you can. Take another guitar for comparison if you can. The first guitar I bought )in 1959!) was new, shiny and affordable. I was dissatisfied with in in a few weeks. Later I had the opportunity to play a fabulous guitar in London and I began to learn something about the qualities that I wanted. Sadly, the price was way out of my league. I went to Spain and bought a fairly cheap but perfectly suitable guitar. I have been buying guitars ever since.

Yes, you do need to take care buying secondhand guitars. Properly repaired cracks do not usually affect the quality of a guitar. They might affect its secondhand value though. You need to increase your knowledge about the issues that can affect the playability of a guitar and understand which can be corrected easily. All the flamenco guitarists I have known have had several guitars. Professional players don’t choose bad guitars and buying one from them that is being sold to make way for a new one can be a good deal. I have found amazing bargains at auctions but it might take some time to find what you want.

Do some searches on the Foro – there is a lot of information here that should help you.

Rob
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 31 2020 15:01:17
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1617
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

Some basic genera rules on the second hand market.
(Feel free to ad some more or to correct me)

1. Take a small flashlight. Shine in the soudhole. Any cracks will let light trough. In a dark room.
Cracks in the back or sides are not so bad as in the top.
2. Put down your finger on the first fret and another on the 12th fret on the 6th string. The string must run freely, but not more than 0,1or 0,2mm. Above the middle of the keyboard. (fret 6, 7)
3. The 6th string on fret 12 should be around 3mm. The first string fret 12, on 2,5mm, without too much buzzing.

4. Buy the guitar with in mind it would be your last guitar to have. Not for reselling.

All 4 points ok? Does it sound nice? Separated tone, loud enough? Percussive enough? Does it play easy?
Are the frets not worn out?

Buy it! And play it. You made a good choice.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 31 2020 20:07:33
 
Sr. Martins

Posts: 3075
Joined: Apr. 4 2011
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to gerundino63

quote:

The string must run freely, but not more than one mm.


That's very generous but that neck would look like a banana. Typo?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 31 2020 21:42:17
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1617
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to Sr. Martins

Thanks for correcting. 0,1 to 0,2 is more likely.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 1 2021 2:46:18
 
Schieper

 

Posts: 184
Joined: Mar. 29 2017
From: The Netherlands

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

maybe to add.. if you stick your phone in the sound hole with video modus on, you can film the inside and see all repairs and the quality of the workmanschip.

Even with new build guitars or factory guitars I would have a peek on the inside..

Finally, I would also test the "tone purity" (do not know what it is called). Meaning the note pureness on the higher fret position. If you start playing pieces with notes that involve long distances down on the neck, or chords or open chords on for example the 7th and 10th fret, and there is a big difference, this is verry anoying.

I have a negra that is all good as long as you play on the first couple of frets but if you slide down, it starts to sound off... so you have to compromise your tuning.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 1 2021 14:43:25
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13003
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to gerundino63

quote:

All 4 points ok?


The action can be adjusted at the bridge and should not be a determining factor...unless:

5: check the neck ANGLE and bridge height....if the bone has no room to go down, make sure the action at 12 is low...if the bridge height is very high (above 9mm from top) then make sure the action is ALSO high at 12...if the bridge is high and the action low that means the neck angle is wrong for flamenco.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 1 2021 15:59:39

lohan

Posts: 56
Joined: Nov. 29 2020
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

How much is the maximum old age suitable for Cypress as the wood of back and sides? and for Spruce as the wood of top?

some people say that "a guitar build on 1970 is not good because the spruce wood of its top is over aged and has been lost it Stability." is it true?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 28 2021 15:17:57
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13003
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

quote:

ORIGINAL: lohan

How much is the maximum old age suitable for Cypress as the wood of back and sides? and for Spruce as the wood of top?

some people say that "a guitar build on 1970 is not good because the spruce wood of its top is over aged and has been lost it Stability." is it true?


False. There is no over or maximum age. The idea is humidity affects wood so the more dried and stable to relative changes of humidity the better. Prehistoric petrified wood probably sound the best (just kidding).

However the opposite is a problem. Young wood might be too elastic and guitars built with young wood might take in and expel water too quick relating in cracks and warping. Probably sound won’t be as good either.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 28 2021 16:11:59

lohan

Posts: 56
Joined: Nov. 29 2020
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to Ricardo

Hi Dear Ricardo
Thanks for your reply..

unfortunately, a luthier told me yesterday that the maximum suitable age for Spruce is 40 years..
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 28 2021 16:43:45
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1617
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

If I was a Luthier I would tell you that a guitar is good for max. 3 years.
But the best is to buy every year a new one.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 28 2021 17:22:34
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

quote:

Thanks for your reply..

unfortunately, a luthier told me yesterday that the maximum suitable age for Spruce is 40 years..


There are guitars being played by professional concertizing guitarists with guitars that are considerably older than 40 years.
Carles Trepat has a Torres that’s about 150 years old, it’s fantastic. A friend of mine in Sweden Marten Falk ( no relation) plays several guitars in concerts from a 20 year old Santos copy to his 100 year old Russian guitars and his 200 year old French guitars.

At 40 a guitar is still a teenager.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2021 1:11:28
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

quote:

much is the maximum old age suitable for Cypress as the wood of back and sides? and for Spruce as the wood of top?

some people say that "a guitar build on 1970 is not good because the spruce wood of its top is over aged and has been lost it Stability." is it true?


I wish I had spruce that was cut in 1970 to build guitars with. There’s no limit on how old the wood is. The older guitars of that time were not over built like most guitars today, so they are often inherently more fragile and easier to break.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2021 1:14:42

lohan

Posts: 56
Joined: Nov. 29 2020
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to estebanana

Do You suggest Repolishing (new french polish) for a guitar 1970? I think maybe re-polishing affect on its original sound.. what is your idea?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2021 7:13:22
 
estebanana

Posts: 8324
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

quote:

o You suggest Repolishing (new french polish) for a guitar 1970? I think maybe re-polishing affect on its original sound.. what is your idea?


Don’t touch it. Never refinish old guitars, it’s a crime against humanity.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2021 10:10:12
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1617
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to estebanana

What is true about the ceder top story?
(That it supposed to get worse after 30 years or so.)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2021 10:18:34
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13003
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

quote:

unfortunately, a luthier told me yesterday that the maximum suitable age for Spruce is 40 years..


It used to be the ideal MINIMUM age to build with, so could be you miss understood. I think that due to difficulties getting wood that is legal that this is no longer possible. Otherwise the person is giving you false info in hopes to sell something dangerously young.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2021 17:10:27
 
Echi

 

Posts: 939
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Buying a used guitar or a new gu... (in reply to lohan

Many good advices here, but I particularly second what Robje wrote at the beginning.
I doubt a luthier can ever have said a 40 year top spruce is done. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. or He was referring to specific conditions.
EDIT:
I forgot to answer to your question:
In my case I often preferred to try the actual guitar which means to go second hand.
You have to learn what to look at when you buy a guitar or get accompanied by an expert.
Without making a name or boasting anybody, here in the foro there a couple of luthiers I’d really wish to commission a guitar to.
3 other names I am confident to suggest are Javier Castano (a luthier formerly working for Conde) Leonard Plattner (A young guy who took the heritage of Arcangel) and Sergio Valverde, a pupil of Stephen Hill.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jul. 29 2021 21:35:17
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