Purchasing a guitar from a pawn shop can seem like a daunting task. The large variety in style, vintage, and displayed prices might prove especially confusing to someone who is used to buying their instruments brand new or made to order. How can you make sure that you get the best deal for you when you purchase that pawn shop guitar? Here are some tips.

1) Know What You’re Looking For (But Not Too Well!)

Whether the store is online or brick and mortar, most pawn shops that sell instruments carry guitars that are at least slightly used. This means that it might be tricky to find that exact guitar you found in the latest Fender catalog, but due to the variety present in second-hand instruments, you’re quite likely to find something close to it that you’ll really love, and without paying that really high list price, to boot!

2) Talk Shop

If a pawn shop is carrying instruments, chances are good that there are some musicians working behind the counter (or the email inbox). If you have an idea of what sort of guitar you might like, give the shop a call or drop them an email and ask questions about everything from the age of the guitars they sell, to the condition, and of course, ask about the price! You might be given options you never would have discovered on your own, or even be saved from a bad purchasing decision.

3) Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate

This last point is why so many go to pawn shops– the prices aren’t set in stone! At a big box music store like Guitarcentre or an online retailer like Musician’s Friend, negotiations are nearly impossible. With a pawn shop, especially one who carries musical instruments, negotiations are just a normal part of the process. If you find your dream guitar at a pawn shop and they’re out pricing it, there’s no harm in pointing that out and you might be able to get a deal on it that you simply couldn’t dream of with a big box store.

If you’re looking to find a guitar that’s right for you, at a price that’s fair, start with a visit (in person or online) to a local pawnshop. You never know what you might come home with, but there’s a good chance you’ll love it!

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