What Will a Dealer Do for You?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Remember that when you buy an instrument from a guitar store, you’re giving them yourbusiness—so they should treat you like a valued customer! This should start even whenyou’re“just looking.” Here’s a checklist of things to ask of your dealer:

  • Will he play and demonstrate different instruments for you?

  • Will he tune and adjust the guitar to your liking?

  • Does he provide any free extras—a carrying case, extra strings, etc.—with your pur-chase?

  • Does he offer repair services or additional warranties?

  • Does he have a return/refund policy?

  • Will he accept the instrument in trade if you decide to “upgrade” to something better?

Mail Order

At one time, most towns had a music store with a good selection of guitars on hand. Nowa-days you may have to travel miles to find a well-stocked outlet. There are, however, severalmail order dealers that specialize in guitars, often at discounted prices.

Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with mail order:
  • Make sure you’ve played the instrument—in a local music shop or at a friend’s house—before ordering one.

  • Make sure you have a reasonable “trial” period during which you can return theinstrument for a refund (not just a credit).

  • Pay for a reputable shipping service such as UPS or Federal Express, and insure theshipment.

  • Determine who handles warranty repairs and adjustments.

  • Examine the instrument carefully for damage when you receive it.


When buying a new guitar, you should always get a good, sturdy case. Generally, there arethree types of cases available:
  • Chipboard: The cheapest, and least protective of your investment.

  • Gig Bag: A lined bag made of vinyl or some plastic material that gives limited protec-tion to your guitar.

  • Hardshell Case: The heaviest and most durable protection you can get.

Obviously, you should go for the most protection you can afford. But never ever store orcarry a guitar outside of its case, even if it’s just a cardboard one. A case will help protect aguitar from bumps and scratches, and also can protect it against excessive humidity, sun-light, or heat, as well as other less-than-favorable conditions.

Other accessories you might consider are electronic tuners, extra sets of strings, straps, andguitar instruction books and videos. All of these items can be useful, although you don’tneed to buy them all at once. We’ll be discussing some of these items in more depth infuture chapters.

The Least You Need to Know

  • Buying a guitar takes time and study.
  • Be sure to get an instrument that suits your playing style and is easy for you to play.
  • Shop carefully among new and used instruments, as well as local dealers and mail-ordersuppliers.

  • Be sure to get a case to protect your investment.

  • You can play all the music in this book on a Spanish-style nylon string guitar.