The first time you start searching through Craigslist, or another site, will be time consuming. In order to simplify things I suggest you set a budget for your first few purchases. When I started my goal was to not spend more than $150 per guitar. This ensures that you don’t have too much invested early on, and generally there is more movement on low to midrange guitars. The other advantage to looking at this price point is that a lot of deals are to be found.
Keeping your budget that you set in mind, we can eliminate a lot of listings from our examination. Sites like Craigslist give you the option to sort in a price range. Always look beyond you price range as you always want to factor in that the price listed is an asking price, not the price that you are willing to spend. In this case I would set the maximum price to about $250-$300 with a budget of $150.
Something that is important when looking at the listings is how much information is included and how it is included, what is all included with the purchase, and are certain keywords or phrases included.
Ads that have very detailed descriptions are usually posted from people who are very knowledgeable about their instruments and as a result are often less likely to come down much on their price. Some good deals can be found here for adding to your collection, but seldom for the purpose of reselling or trading. The exception to this is when the very detailed description is simply a cut and paste from a retail or manufacturer’s website.
Although you might have started looking for just a guitar, listings that also include the amp and patch cord and sometimes other extras can be worthwhile. These ads let us know that someone is probably giving up on guitar. The guitar and amp in their bedroom isn’t being used and they can often be convinced to accept a much lower offer just to get it out of their house.
Next we will look at the keywords and phrases.
Written by Michael Zelle