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How To Save Money: Refurbished & Factory Second Guitars (2023)

Quick Summary

If you’re in the market for a new guitar, you might be wondering if it’s worth it to consider a refurbished or factory second instrument. While these terms might sound like a warning to steer clear, they actually refer to guitars that have been restored to like-new condition or have minor cosmetic blemishes that don’t affect playability.

These guitars are often sold at a significant discount, making them a great option for budget-conscious musicians who still want the high-quality instrument. In this blog post, we’ll explore why buying refurbished or factory second guitars can be a smart financial decision without sacrificing quality.

Let’s get into it!

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When it comes to buying a guitar, most people think that the only option is to buy a new one.

However, did you know that you can save a lot of money by buying refurbished and factory second guitars instead?

In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of buying refurbished and secondhand guitars versus paying retail for brand-new ones.

factory second guitars

We will also give you some tips on how to find the best deals on refurbished instruments. So whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, read on for valuable, money-saving insights!

How Much Money Do You Save Buying a Factory Second Guitars?

To calculate the cost of a used guitar with greater accuracy, start by looking at the retail price of a new instrument. You may get this information from numerous websites on the internet. A used guitar is said to cost between -20 and -50 percent less than its original price.

Let’s get into it!

What Are Factory Second Guitars?

We hear the phrases “refurbished”, “refurb”, “factory seconds”, “B-Stock”, and “blem” in conjunction with other similar terms when shopping for products.

These phrases are frequently used in vague or contradictory ways, making them difficult to interpret. They can have a variety of meanings depending on the industry and the vendor selling the goods.

Purchasing online is especially tough since you can’t try it out before buying it.

When you locate a pair of shoes, for example, and it says “Like New” or “Excellent Condition,” that’s what you’re getting most of the time: a lower price on the item. But exactly what are you receiving when you buy a refurbished or factory-second product?

When it comes to refurbished guitars, the definition is a bit more complicated. A professionally repaired used guitar brought back to its original working state by the manufacturer is generally considered refurbished.

This can include anything from fixing a minor cosmetic flaw, or a bad paint job, to structural or playability issues requiring repair. These issues equate to a substandard guitar.

In some cases, refurbished guitars are even guitars that were damaged in shipping and have been repaired by the manufacturer.

So, when you buy a refurbished guitar, you’re essentially getting a used guitar that’s been brought back to its original condition by the company that made it.

Now that we’ve established what refurbished guitars are, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying one.


  • You can save a lot of money. Refurbished guitars often sell for 20-30% less than their original retail price.
  • Buying refurbished supports sustainable practices. When you buy a refurbished guitar, you are keeping that instrument out of a landfill.
  • You can find some great deals on refurbished guitars. If you know where to look, you can find some amazing deals on refurbished guitars.


  • There is always the risk that the guitar may have hidden damage. Make sure to inspect the guitar thoroughly before buying it.
  • The warranty may not be valid. If the guitar is refurbished by the manufacturer, then the warranty should be valid.
  • There may be a limited selection. Not all models and brands of guitars are available refurbished.

Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons of buying refurbished guitars, let’s give you some tips on how to find the best deals.

What to look for when buying a used guitar?

  • Check out online retailers that specialize in selling refurbished guitars. These sites are a great place to start your search.
  • Compare prices between different retailers. You may be able to find a better deal on a refurbished guitar by shopping around.
  • Search for promo codes and coupons. You can often find discounts on refurbished guitars by using a promo code or coupon.

Finally, let’s look at the differences between refurbished guitars, factory seconds, and original-brand secondhand guitars, as well as how understanding these distinctions is critical to saving money when purchasing your next guitar.

Factory Second Guitars (B Stock)

Factory seconds or b stock guitars are guitars that didn’t meet the manufacturer’s quality standards for one reason or another.

They’re usually cosmetic defects, like a small chip in the paint or a misaligned headstock. Sometimes factory seconds/ b stock guitars can be found with structural defects, but usually, those are repaired before they ever leave the factory.

Related Article: How to paint a guitar

Factory seconds guitars are generally sold at a discount since they’re not perfect. But that doesn’t mean they’re not great guitars!

A lot of times, you can find some amazing deals on factory seconds. So if you don’t mind a small imperfection, definitely check out factory seconds guitars. You might just find your perfect guitar at a great price.

A Real-life Example – Incredible Vintage Guitar

Here’s a good example. A friend has a 1963 Gibson Hummingbird that belonged to his grandfather. The guitar was in pretty rough shape after several decades of use.

The bridge was lifting from the top, the frets were worn, and it was unplayable. He took the guitar to Gibson Guitar’s Repair and Restoration shop and had it “refurbished”.

The outcome: an incredible vintage guitar that plays and sounds better than brand new. Yes, it’s technically a “refurbished guitar”.

Is that a deterrent? Certainly not. It’s simply the guitar being restored to like-new condition.

How To Save Money Refurbished & Factory Second Guitars (2023)

Most people are amazed at how minor a flaw can fail a guitar at inspection.

In the guitar business, quality and reputation are everything. The industry is hyper-competitive, and this creates extreme measures within the quality control area.

Even very minor finish flaws can fail a guitar during the inspection and make it become a second.

Most of the factory seconds I’ve come across exhibited finish flaws so minor, they could barely (oftentimes not even at all) be detected. And several could be simply buffed out with polish (dependent upon the flaw).

It may be difficult to distinguish between a well-used factory second and an out-of-the-box “brand new” guitar from a guitar dealer’s showroom. More dents, dings, and bangs are often found on an out-of-the-box “brand new” guitar that has never been road-tested by the public.

If you are like the average person, you will probably be surprised at the amazing quality of a good refurbished or factory second guitar.

Buying refurbished guitars or factory seconds is a very good way to get a guitar at a huge fraction of the cost of a completely new one, and something that few could tell from a brand new piece off the dealer floor.

Find a good reputable dealer that will always let you know if a repair was completed or if there’s a visible flaw.

With a 100% money-back guarantee, caring customer support, and free delivery in the continental U.S., you can’t go wrong.

10 Tips For Buying Second-Hand Guitars – How to Spot Fakes & Bad Deals

  • Does it look good? – check for nicks, chips, etc.
  • Is it legit? – check to verify it’s in original condition
  • Check neck – look for twists
  • Check frets – look for dents under the strings
  • Test the pickups
  • Check the hardware
  • Check the electronics
  • Check the pocket neck fit
  • Check for hairline cracks
  • Check for enjoyment!

Your Video Guide

Check out this terrific video from PMTV, where the host, Dagan, shows you exactly what to look out for when buying secondhand guitars. I have included this summary guide above, showing the video topics.


Who buys used guitars?

There are a few different types of people who may buy used guitars. Hobbyists, collectors, and those who are looking for a deal on a guitar that they may not be able to find new. 

Hobbyists are generally looking for a certain make or model of guitar that they either can’t find new or would prefer to get at a lower price point.

They may also be interested in vintage guitars or those with unique features. Collectors typically want to add new pieces to their collections, so they’re always on the lookout for good deals on guitars.

And finally, some are just looking for any old guitar so long as it’s cheap – they may not care about the make or model,

Why are Clearance Guitars so expensive?

Used guitars are expensive because they are in high demand.

Guitars that are well-maintained and have been well-taken care of will tend to hold their value better than cheaper, less-well-taken-care-of models.

So, people who sell used guitars often ask for a higher price than what the guitar was originally worth.

Additionally, the market for used guitars is constantly growing as more and more people become interested in playing music. This increased demand drives up prices for used instruments.

All this being said, there are some bargains to be found when shopping for a used guitar! It just takes some patience and research to find the right one at the right price.

How much money do used guitars sell for?

It depends on the make and model of the guitar, as well as its condition.

Generally, a used guitar will sell for about half of what a new guitar would cost, although higher-end guitars in mint condition may only sell at a 20% to 30% discount off retail prices.

Some people may try to sell a used guitar for more than it’s worth, so it’s important to do your research before buying one.

local music store

There are many websites and forums where people can post classified ads for guitars, or you can check out local music stores in your area.

How to sell used guitars online?

There are a few things to keep in mind when selling used guitars online. First, be sure to take good pictures of the guitar from all angles and include close-ups of any blemishes or scratches.

Next, be sure to list the guitar’s features and specifications, such as the make, model, year of manufacture, and any other details that may be relevant.

Finally, be sure to price the guitar competitively and include shipping costs in your price.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to sell your used guitar online without any problems. Good luck!

Which electric guitars hold their value?

There are a few electric guitars that hold their value better than others. Some of the most valuable guitars are those that are rare or limited edition models.

Guitars made by well-known brands, such as Gibson or Fender Stratocaster, tend to hold their value better than those made by lesser-known companies.

However, there is no definitive answer when it comes to which electric guitars will retain their value over time.

The best way to ensure your guitar will maintain its worth is to take good care of it and keep it in good condition.

If you’re ever thinking about selling your guitar, be sure to do your research first and find out what similar models are selling for to get the best price.

Why do old guitars sound better?

One of the reasons old guitars sound better is that they’ve had time to mellow.

Guitars are made of wood, and over time the wood dries out and becomes more resonant. The result is a guitar that sounds warmer and richer than a newer guitar.

Another reason is that older guitars often have better craftsmanship. With modern manufacturing, it’s easy to make a technically perfect guitar, but with older guitars, you get more character and personality.

A well-made old guitar will resonate more deeply and sound more musical than a new one.


Whether you’re looking for your first guitar or adding to your collection, buying refurbished or secondhand can be a great way to save money.

You may have to do some research to find a reputable dealer, but it’s worth it when you get that perfect guitar at a fraction of the cost.

Have you ever bought a refurbished or secondhand guitar? Share your experience in the comments!

Happy Shopping!

Passionately invested in the music world for over 20 years, Jake studied music for 14 years at the Royal Conservatory Of Toronto. He has a degree from Champlain College & Bishop’s University in Business & Music. He is the owner of Fly Away Music & Media Studio in Montreal since 2014, with over 500 happy artists recorded, mixed and mastered.

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