Remember that time you said that you’d always wanted to take up the guitar and start your life as a rock star?

Whether you’re a frustrated Guitar Hero or you’re simply considering learning how to play, second-hand instruments are an ideal place to start.

They’re generally cheaper than brand-new guitars of the same brand and model, and if they’ve been well looked after you can find yourself a real bargain.

Here are some of our tips to help you fine tune your pick.

What’s your genre?

Choosing the genre of music you’d like to focus on will have a huge impact on the guitar that you purchase. Have a think about your favourite bands and see what they use.

If you narrow down the type of music you’ll be focusing on, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that has a real influence on your sound.  

Do your research

Have an idea of what you’d like to buy. The internet is your best friend when it comes to reviews and helping you to narrow down the right guitar for the genre you’re tackling.

As a general rule, it’s best to stick to well-known brands when buying a used instrument as they’re reputable and have more accessible replacement parts.

Give it a once-over

It’s not all about the cosmetics or the paint job – you want to be sure that the guitar isn’t harbouring any long-term issues. For your first guitar, some things you might want to do are:

  • Check the surface – minor scratches won’t affect performance but be wary of stains or deep cracks that go through to the finish of the wood, as this kind of damage can turn out to be expensive
  • Check the body – for acoustic guitars, check inside and out. Ensure that the glue joints are intact, and braces inside aren’t loose. For electric guitars, plug in if possible, turn the knobs, flip the switches and wiggle the cable. Screeching noises are an indication of poor functionality.
  • Check the screws and plating – are they intact and in reasonable condition?
  • Check the neck – it should be straight and not bowing. The neck angle should neither be too high or too low.
  • Check the functionality – the bridge, saddle pegs, headstock, fretboard and strings should all be stable, and the guitar should be comfortable to hold. Listen to how it holds a note.

If you can’t make it in store, chat to the Cash Converters team. They’ll be able to guide you with the once-over and help you understand the condition of the guitar so you can make an informed decision.

Don’t be shy, give it a whirl

You’re the one who’ll be playing it, so you want to be sure that it suits you.

Pick it up and have a play. If you’re feeling confident, bend the strings to check the sound, bust out a chord to make sure that the action sits right on the fretboard or hold a note on an acoustic guitar to hear the reverb.

Have a think what other tools you might need, like an amplifier, tuner, leads or a case to keep your new guitar safe and secure.


We have a huge range of musical instruments and gear to make a new hobby possible. Browse our online store to check out what we’ve got available, like guitar amplifiers, or pop in store to chat to our knowledgeable staff.