If you're in search of information or scouring the net on guitar sales, how to buy a guitar or how to buy a bass guitar, there are some points you should take into consideration before you part with your hard earned cash. Whether you buy new or used, these steps should be taken in order to avoid disappointment. So, 'how to buy a guitar' is a question easily answered if you do the following.
1. Play the guitar
2. Inspect for cracks, dents and scratches
3. Test the neck for strength and twist
4. Sight the neck for straightness
5. Check a bolt-on neck's alignment
6. Inspect the nut's shape, slots and action
7. Check the fret condition and height
8. Make sure the truss rod works
9. Check the bridge and tailpiece
10. Check the tuning keys
11. Make sure the hardware is secure
12. Check the electronics
If you follow these steps, your questions about what to look for at 'guitar sales', 'how to buy a guitar' or 'how to buy a bass guitar' will be quickly answered. The rules for either are the same.
Here some more excellent tips on how to buy a guitar, when investigating a guitar for sale, from Dan Cross:
Have patience - do not decide you HAVE to buy the guitar that day. Plan on taking at least two trips to the music store.
Maintain control - You are in charge! Don't let music store salesmen intimidate you.
Research - The web is a great place to find info on guitars. Use it to your advantage!
Get help - if at all possible, recruit a friend who plays guitar to help you choose an instrument. If not, don't be afraid to ask music store employees multiple questions.
You do not have to be an expert guitarist to get a good deal on a good guitar at a guitar sale. What you do have to be is a disciplined shopper.
For many guitarists, especially novices, trying out a guitar in a music store can be an intimidating experience. Invariably, there are several other guitarists in the store who feel the need to show off their skills on the instrument, by playing all their most impressive licks. Understandably, this can be scary, but you'll need to focus on your goal - finding the best instrument possible, for the least money.
Scan the store until you find an instrument that appeals to you. Make sure you are given a good stool, and a pick (although I suggest you bring one you're comfortable with). If you're looking at electric guitar sales and playing an electric guitar, make sure you're plugged into an amp similar to the one you plan to use. If you've only got a small practice amp at home, don't allow the guitar to be plugged into a Marshall half-stack through a rack of pedals.
The first few times I tried out a guitar in a music store, I remember playing very quietly so no one would hear that I wasn't very good. A perfectly natural instinct, but in retrospect I've realized it was the silliest thing I could have done. In order to really hear the tonal qualities of a guitar (either electric or acoustic), it needs to be played at a reasonable volume. Do not be afraid to strum the open strings hard - listening to the guitar's sustain, and keeping an ear open for problems like buzzing strings. If you're having a hard time hearing (due to other guitarists in the store, etc.), ask to play the guitar in a separate room, or in a quieter part of the store. It should be noted I've been in music stores where owners glared at me for turning up the guitar a little, or strumming an acoustic vigorously. My solution to the problem - I hand them the guitar, say thanks, and take my business to a store that allows me to find out what the guitar sounds like before I buy it. I urge you to do the same... these people are obviously not very familiar with the way guitars work, thus not the best stores to deal with anyway.
Let's look for a moment at guitar makers and manufacturers and which are at the top of the heap. Probably the 3 most widely known and respected guitar makers are Martin, Gibson and Fender guitars. These manufacturers have been a huge part of the industry for decades and their reputations speak for themselves. Martin guitars however, are slightly different than Gibson guitars or fender guitars in that they don't make electric guitars, per say but only acoustic and acoustic-electric models. Hopefully, before you start hunting down the guitar sales in your local area you'll learn these simple steps.
Here is another excellent resource for guitar sales.