Categories > Musical Instruments
For music lovers, nothing quite compares to the joy of picking up a brand new electric guitar.
Buying A Used Electric Guitar
The reality for some, however, is that the sky high price tag on a new stringed beauty isn’t always a realistic option.
Luckily, there are a number of places, like our Edmonton-based pawn shop, where you can buy used electric guitars for a steal – sometimes for even less than half the regular retail price of a new guitar!
Let’s dive right in to our top tips for buying a used electric guitar now.
1. Set a Budget
What are you willing, and able, to spend on your used electric guitar?
Like anything in life, different models and brands of guitar come at varying price points.
By choosing a budget for your used electric guitar before you start shopping, you will be able to get a good idea of which models you may want to consider.
Did you know? An added benefit to buying a used electric guitar from a pawn shop is that it’s completely acceptable to negotiate when it comes to price!
2. Make Sure it Fits
Hands, arms and bodies come in all different shapes and sizes – just like guitars.
When buying a used guitar, always be sure to pick it up and try it out.
Wrap your hand around the neck – do your fingers reach the strings comfortably?
3. Choose a Body Style
Electric guitars come in a number of different body styles from solid body to semi-hollow, and hollow body.
If you’re considering buying a solid body style used electric guitar, choosing a body style within that category will be important.
If you plan to play metal or hard rock, a super strat is a great option to consider.
More into the soulful swoon of folk and country? A telecaster guitar is most likely your best bet.
Each of the body styles produce slightly different types of sounds and it’s best to do some research in advance to decide which type of body will be best for you.
4. Check for Rust
Do a general once-over of the musical instrument; is there any visible rust?
Minor rusting on the frets or fretboards is no cause for alarm and can be remedied at a low cost, but other parts that been rusted may be cause for concern.
5. Check for Dents and Dings
Of course when buying a used musical instrument second hand, there will undoubtedly be some signs of wear and tear.
However, note if there are any chunks missing or significant dents or scratches on the guitar body and in particular, along the back of the neck.
Larger defects could mean that the guitar has been dropped, which could lead to the integrity of the instrument being seriously affected.
6. Check the Neck
Take a look down the neck of the guitar – it should look fairly straight.
A twisted guitar neck may be difficult to repair and it’s a safer bet to try your luck with a different guitar if you notice this.
7. Check the Frets
If you look at the neck of the guitar, you will notice small metal strips that run across the piece. These are the frets of the guitar.
When buying a used guitar, be sure to check that the frets aren’t damaged or dented in.
Visible divots or indentations in the neck of the guitar where the frets are could be a sign of excessive wear and may not be your best purchase option.
8. Check the Hardware
Try adjusting each of the dials including the tuner, and ensure that they are all working and aren’t noisy.
9. Check the Jack
Ideally, a used electric guitar in great condition would have a nice, tight jack that does not make any noise when tapped or bumped.
However; that’s not always the case.
Try plugging in to the jack, and give it a bit of a wiggle – the cord should stay in, and stay put.
Buying a used electric guitar can be a very rewarding experience, especially if you’re able to snag yourself a sweet deal.
Be sure to do your research beforehand, and give yourself enough time to try out a few different styles.
Come prepared to not only ask questions about our used guitars but most importantly, to have fun!
For more information on our current selection of used electric guitars, get in touch with us or come stop by today.
Whether it’s acoustic or electric, your guitar is a finely-tuned system of wood, metal, glue, and other materials. Being primarily made of wood makes it vulnerable to extreme temperatures and humidity levels, as well as to rapid changes in environmental factors. If you live somewhere with extreme weather (like our fabulous City of Champions), or you plan to move your guitar from one environment to another, you want to keep it protected!
What Can Go Wrong
By themselves, extreme heat or cold can be dangerous to your guitar—too much heat can melt the glue, and cold can crack the varnish. However, you should also be wary of rapid changes in temperature, which might lead to some of your instrument components expanding or contracting at different speeds. This may result in severe structural damage, including cracked wood.
Moisture is the other threat to your guitar. Extreme humidity or dryness can warp the wood of your guitar, causing permanent damage. A warped guitar becomes impossible to tune—if the surface of the fretboard becomes uneven, your instrument may never sound right again.
What You Can Do
The most basic step you can take to protect your guitar from seasonal changes is to store it properly. First, never keep your guitar in a cold closet, a damp basement, near a window, or close t0 a heater—try to keep it somewhere with a fairly stable climate (like next to your bed). Look for temperatures within the 18°C to 23°C range and humidity levels between 45 percent and 55 percent.
Second, if you’re not playing your guitar every day, it’s best stored in a hard case. Guitar cases slow down the heat transfer, meaning that if your guitar gets hot or cold it will at least do so slowly, reducing the risk. You should also keep your guitar in a hard case when you transport it, and leave it in the case as long as possible in its new environment to let it adjust before taking it out.
Also good to note – never leave your instrument in a car! Cars, and trunks in particular, can reach extreme temperatures even in moderate weather.
If you play your guitar every day, you will have a good sense of when it needs to be tuned, and when it needs taking care of. If you don’t jam on it daily, experts recommend you inspect your instrument every six months or so to perform maintenance on it. Otherwise, over time, the changing weather can cause lasting damage.
The biggest task for seasonal maintenance is to adjust the truss rod. If you’ve never done this before, take your guitar to a local store and ask a professional to show you how. Many guitar stores offer truss-adjustment as a free service.
The truss rod balances the stress of the guitar strings to keep the neck straight, but with changes in weather, the neck will gradually drift out of alignment. Adjusting the truss rod may take a few days, as you want to make small adjustments to avoid damaging the wood, and you want to give each adjustment about a day’s time for the wood to settle before making further changes.
Add a few cleaning and polishing tasks to your seasonal maintenance and you’ll keep your guitar in beautiful condition—and a well-made, well-maintained guitar can last a lifetime!
Shopping for a music lover can be tricky, especially now that music has gone digital. You can’t exactly casually peruse the CD shelf to learn who their favorites are or what albums they still need to add to their collection. But the fact that music exists in the digital era doesn’t necessarily mean finding gift ideas for that music lover needs to be a challenge. Here are some gift ideas any music lover would love.
1. Records Aren’t a Thing of the Past Anymore
While most people find their music online these days, that doesn’t mean records don’t hold value. Buying someone an album or collector’s edition of their favorite musician can make for an awesome collectible that any music lover would love to decorate their room with. Plus, there isn’t a way to imitate the sound those records make when they take your favorite song to the turntable, so don’t underestimate the value of buying the music lover on your gift list their favorite album in record form.
2. Music as Art
There are a lot of ways to make your music lover’s favorite band into visual art. Go online or to a music store and look for posters of his or her favorite band. You may even be able to find retro posters of the classic bands he or she loves, or even tour posters or t-shirts that can be framed. But those aren’t the only ways to turn your loved one’s favorite band into art. You can also commission someone to paint something symbolically related to that favorite band or musician onto an old drum cymbal to turn it into cymbal art.
3. Reclaimed and Personalized Items
You can also reclaim musical items to turn them into something else your music lover can use or wear. For instance, an old guitar string can be turned into a unique and stylish bracelet. You can also personalize a guitar pick and turn it into a keychain or keep it as a usable pick for someone who loves to strum. What’s their favourite instrument? You can find or make earrings, bracelets, pendants for necklaces, and even cufflinks out of old keys and valves off flutes, trumpets, clarinets, saxophones, etc. Press a piece of sheet music into a pendant or turn an old piano key into a necklace or keychain, or find someone who can print your loved one’s favorite song lyrics or sheet music onto a scarf or bag. You can find lots of items like this by shopping online and you may be able to make some yourself for an extra personal touch.
4. Signed Editions
For even more of a collector’s dream, you can find signed memorabilia, like signed cymbals, drum sticks, albums, t-shirts, sheet music, and lots more. Some bands may even have a contact form that would allow you to request to buy signed items and some will have them available on their websites. For the classics, eBay, used music shops, and auctions might be the answer.
5. If All Else Fails
Tickets to a concert are always a safe bet. If no one is touring close by soon enough, you can always find a venue that puts a variety of new musicians onstage. You might just help your favorite music lover find his or her next favorite band or the perfect venue to take his or her own talents to the stage to get noticed.
As with everything in life, guitars come with good and bad news. The bad news is they’re expensive. The good news is that they’re easy to maintain. To extend the life of your beloved guitar, all you need to do is show it some care.
Here are a few guitar tips that will help it last longer and sound better.
1. Think About Humidity
Whether you live in a dry or humid climate, humidity is one of the main elements that affect a guitar’s lifespan. Dry weather has a tendency to dry out guitars, making them more brittle. Humid climates can make guitars a little soft and flexible, making it difficult to keep their sound consistent. No matter what kind of climate you live in, you need to keep your guitar in an ideal environment. The easiest way to do this is to simply put your guitar back in its case when not in use. The enclosed space is much more stable. Also, try and keep your humidity between 45%-55% with the help of either a humidifier or dehumidifier. This will help keep the guitar’s environment more stable.
2. Give it a Clean
Every guitar, from the cheapest acoustic to the most expensive collector’s item, needs a good cleaning now and then. Oil, dead skin cells, and dust tend to mock up guitars, their longevity and sound quality.
To clean a guitar, follow these simple steps:
- Take off the strings.
- Take a dry cloth and carefully wipe down the entire guitar, front and back.
- For deeper cleans, use a specialized guitar cleaning solution and follow its directions carefully.
- Restring your guitar and enjoy.
3. Condition the Fingerboard
As the unfinished part of your guitar, the fingerboard can collect a lot of grime and dirt when used. That’s why it needs to be conditioned every once in a while. Find a quality guitar conditioner to use that will hydrate your guitar as it cuts through oil and grease. Silicone-free products are still the best for guitars. Be careful not to over-condition, as that can have a negative impact on your guitar.
4. Swap Out the Strings
Chances are you aren’t changing your strings as frequently as you should. It’s not your fault, it’s just that it can be a pain and we all have a tendency to avoid restringing our instruments. If you can’t remember the last time you restrung your guitar, do it soon. Otherwise, look for the following signs: it won’t stay tuned and certain guitar techniques, such as sliding, become impossible. If these are happening, it’s time to get some new strings.
Guitar maintenance is often fast, inexpensive, and easy. The trick is to know how to keep your guitar in its peak condition. Regular cleaning, restringing, and conditioning are all vital, but so is your guitar’s environment. Keep it in a quality case when not in use and maintain a steady humidity. This will help your guitar last longer.
Contact us today with any questions on maintaining your guitar!
Becoming a musician is a big task, but we all start somewhere. Here are the things every beginner musician needs to know to start their journey.
1. How to Pick Out the Right Instrument
Unless you’re planning on becoming a master penny whistler, picking the right instrument is going to take a lot of research and a lot of money. Sure, you can pick up a simple acoustic guitar for less than $100 dollars to see if you like it, but that instrument is going to get in the way of your development quicker than you think. If you are serious about the time it takes to learn an instrument and become a musician, then you will need to also invest the money into getting something of quality.
The first step to picking out the right instrument isn’t even music-based, it’s budget-based. Researching instruments before knowing how much money you have is like going to an expensive restaurant without enough money in your pocket; you want the things you can’t afford and are more likely to put yourself in debt. Instead, carefully consider how much you can spend and then explore options that fit within that budget. If you know what kind of instrument you want but can’t afford a new one, check out Loan Star, who can show you affordable, high-quality, gently used guitars, drum kits, and other instruments to help you pick the best one for your needs.
2. How to Read Music
While musicians like Thom Yorke can’t read music, that isn’t exactly the best route to go when learning to play. Getting the basics of music down involves learning how to read music. This will often come with your lessons and is an essential skill to learning songs, how music works, and how musicians communicate their music to each other. Music is a language with concepts and lots of technical terms. Getting the hang of all of this is absolutely key to being a successful musician. Unless, of course, you think you’re the next Thom Yorke.
3. How to Manage Your Time
Learning music is like learning a skill and a new language all at the same time. And, just like skills and languages, when you don’t use it and practice regularly, it goes away. To truly learn music, you need to put in the time. It’s both simple and complicated, though. First, set aside blocks of time to work on your skills as often and, possibly more importantly, as consistently as you can. That means regular practice so you can learn new skills and keep them going into the future.
Becoming a musician is a lot of fun, but there’s plenty to do before hitting the stage. With the right budgeting of time and money, however, you can learn a new instrument, keep the skills you acquire, and keep yourself out of debt as you prepare for your big stage debut.
5 Helpful Tips for Buying Used Guitars in Edmonton
Learning to play the guitar is a difficult enough task, so we thought we’d help you get started with a few basic tips on choosing your first one.
It’s always nice to pick up a beautiful, brand new guitar but unfortunately the cost is usually astronomical for a nice guitar.
Definitely worth it, but it’s a lot of cash to plunk down if you don’t even know how to play.
Buying used is a great way to begin your musical journey!
1. Set a Budget
What are you willing to spend on your first guitar?
Keep in mind that cheaper guitars don’t have the sound quality that higher-priced guitars do.
When you buy from the pawnshop, luckily you can get more expensive guitars for a better price!
2. Decide on a Music Style
Are you into jazz and blues? Or is it grunge or alternative?
Are envisioning yourself as a campfire rock star…?
The musical genre you will be playing will affect your choice of guitar.
3. Choose Between Acoustic and Electric
Acoustic guitars are generally cheaper, more portable and versatile for many different songs and sounds.
However, electric guitars are a bit easier on the fingers, and louder. But you will need equipment to get the right sound.
4. Research Guitar Brands
Poke around and ask a friend or fellow musician which type of guitar they use or prefer, and why.
5. Play It Before You Buy It
Before you make an offer, play it a bit; press on different parts of the neck and listen for fret buzz.
If you are unsure, bring a friend who plays to check it out for you.