Thursday, May 22, 2008

Used and Abused: Why You Should Buy Used

Do you ever feel like your obsession with gear is putting a strain on your finances? Does a trip to the music shop sometimes mean a sense of regret post purchase? There are lots of tricks to getting good gear at a good price. The easiest and most accessible is buying used. Buying used is a great idea for a couple reasons, first at foremost, buying used will guarantee you a very healthy discount and secondly, sometimes the coolest, most obscure pieces of gear can be found in the used case. For example, the vintage Electro-Harmonix Small Stone that I wrote about earlier this week. Fifty bucks- used... you can't beat that.

Lately, I've been having a lot of luck buying on Craigslist. My latest bargain came this week in the form of a mint condition Fulltone Choralflange, which I was able to pick up for only $175. This is a piece I've been wanting for a while now. I managed to find a really nice cat by the name of Randy on Craigslist who happened to have a CF for sale, so I contacted him and we made a deal. Coincidentally, Randy also sold me an MXR Zakk Wylde OD for $40- a great deal! EBay is also a very viable option for most people, but I personally prefer Craigslist. It's easier and faster. I've also had some luck selling on Craigslist as well, although lately a couple killer items I have up are proving to be a bit too obscure for most people's liking (MXR Blue Box/4 OHM THD Hotplate anyone?).

So Craigslist is all well and good, but what are the less tech savvy of us to do? After all, some of us <i>do</i> still live in caves and don't often get the chance to go online, let alone buy gear online. For our Cro-Magnon gearhead friends the solution is simple. There MIGHT be two music shops on the planet that do not deal in used gear. We've all sauntered into the local shop and happened upon that one piece that just floors us. You know, that one piece that makes you completely re-think your financial plan for the next two weeks. How many times have you thought to yourself, "If I can only go without groceries for a week, then I could afford it," pretty sick huh? To an outsider, hearing someone utter these words could seem very odd
And maybe borderline disturbing; but to a fellow gearhead who's in the know it's like a reflex. Buying gear used at your local music store is a great way to not only find cool gear, but also build personal relationships with the guys that sell it to you. You never know what kind of deal they might cut you, a regular customer. Another advantage to buying from the shop is that you can try out the gear to make sure that, A. you dig the tone, features, and price and B. the piece actually works. It's rare, but we've run into damage incurred by the previous owner. Don't fall victim to this!
While quality control is always a concern, don't let that stop you from buying used <i>at least half the time</i> if possible. The risk is minimal and the value, more times than not, means that the piece will pay for itself very quickly.

Buying gear is a passion of mine, especially used. It's like a treasure hunt- you never know what you're going to find (or is that a box of chocolates?). I've discovered over the years that sometimes, the initial shock and awe of seeing "the big one" online or in a shop is more rewarding than taking it home and trying it out. Situations like these are a bummer, but it says a lot about our addiction. Sometimes, I think my girlfriend is going to put me on that show "Intervention" and ask me to go to pedal rehab... no thanks.

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