When you buy an amp, you want something that will fit your needs. If you like a clean sound, you will want something tailored to that. If you want to tweak the sound and have multiple effects built in, same thing. The main thing on most people’s minds, and congrats to you if its not, is price. The price of an amp and the money in your bank account WILL directly effect your sound. We all know this all too well. So in the sake of a little cost effectiveness, used amps are the way to go for a guitarist.
Pawn shops or used guitar shops always have a plethora of used amps. what you want to do is sift through the junk and find yourself a gem. It may take a little bit longer than going the “new” route, but in the end, I think you will be happier. Just follow these steps and you will have a winner in no time.
1. Locate a pawn shop or used guitar shop: Easy enough right? if you don’t know any locations off the top of your head, Google it. Take that list and go to EVERY shop. The worst thing you can do is buy something from the first place you go to, its expedient, but the point of researching is to find ALL the amps.
2. Check out the product: Play every amp that looks like it meets your criteria. If possible use a guitar that has the same pick-ups as yours or better yet, take yours with you.
3. Make a list and compare/contrast: Either in your head or on a piece of paper, make a list of all the good amps you have found. Compare and contrast likes and dislikes as well as price. Find out what each of the amps goes for new and see how far the price is dropped at the vendor.
4. Haggle: My personal favorite, a pawn shop is an over glorified garage sale. Use your price research as you base. Talk with the owner and see what he or she will give it to you for. Always leave afterwards, because that is what they are trying to stop and that will get you the best price.
5. After getting all the prices and making a second list, get the best deal. That being said, only buy something if it is a deal. That means a significant price difference on an almost new item. That’s the whole point of all the work you just put it.
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