6 steps to buying a second-hand guitar

Q. How do I avoid buying a dud when shopping for second hand guitars?

A. Buying second-hand can be a great way to get more guitar for your budget. But you have to know what to look for to avoid being ripped off. Guitarists are notorious impulse buyers, so always do some research into the model that you're buying and ask plenty of questions before you part with your cash. Follow

Total Guitar

's simple guide and you should end up with the guitar of your dreams, not your nightmares...

1. Inspect the guitar's finish. Wear and tear is fine, but if the wood is cracked, walk away!

2. Pay attention to the back of the neck. Look for any hairline cracks or signs of breaking.

3. Take a good look at the fingerboard. Older guitars may have worn fingerboards but as long as the frets have plenty of life in them the guitar should play fine. Badly worn frets will have to be dressed or replaced, which can be expensive.

4. If the neck is badly bent ask the seller to have it adjusted before you part with any money.

5. Check the hardware. Are there any worn parts? Rusted bits will need to be replaced.

6. Always plug the guitar in! If necessary, take a small amp with you. You have to know that the pickups, controls, switches and input sockets are all working fine.