Are used guitar pedals good? The secondhand stompbox market today is overflowing with gadgets of all sizes and shapes, making the hunt a more exciting experience for effects pedal lovers.
Because of the internet, the used gear scene has evolved into a huge community wherein the continuous swapping of instruments and gadgets is happening every minute. Because of this vibrant activity, the world wide web is full of anecdotes about the failures and triumphs of musicians when it comes to obtaining pedals.
While there certainly are great finds at absurdly-low prices, the fear that you might get a faulty one or nothing at all, is real. There are countless horror stories of guitarists getting duped and this is not surprising nowadays, especially in an ineptly-regulated online selling environment.
Buying used guitar pedals is a practice that’s just as common as buying used cars and houses. The options are virtually limitless and if you do things the right way, you can become one of the satisfied guitarists who have successfully acquired their beloved gears from trustworthy musicians and reputable stores.
Factors that determine if the used guitar pedal is good
A mint condition guitar pedal is definitely enticing to every guitar player’s eyes. Assuming the pedal’s enclosure has never been repainted before, it could be a sign that the pedal was handled by its owner with utmost care or it’s just a relatively new pedal that has rarely seen the spotlight.
Don’t be fooled by appearances however, as there are some old but tough guitar pedals out there that still perform like they just came out of the factory yesterday. Aside from that, there are also valuable used guitar pedals in the market with scratches and chipped paint, and they are highly sought-after by vintage gear aficionados.
A good guitar pedal should be working perfectly with responsive knobs and switches. Aside from sounding good, the guitar pedal should also be able to run without unwanted noise and humming.
Moreover, if the pedal is designed to be operated with batteries, you also have to make sure that it will really work with its portable power source. Some guitarists often overlook the battery compartment and proceed to buy pedals without checking that part.
Be aware that in some cases, a used guitar pedal will harbor some hidden defects. Sometimes, these issues can only be revealed through prolonged testing.
Tips for buying used guitar pedals
Do your own research
Before even inquiring about a used guitar pedal, it is recommended that you research about that specific model first and understand its features, capabilities and resale value. Being prepared and knowledgeable will aid you in finding the best pedals, while also avoiding scammers and the like.
Establish good rapport with the seller
Whether you are buying a second hand store or a fellow guitar player online, it is important to establish a good relationship with the seller. Being nice to people, especially in the used gear scene, will help you navigate the market much smoother and even get better deals.
Moreover, cultivating an environment that values trust is vital in building a community of musicians that will look after each other. This way, scammers and other dishonest elements will be easily apprehended, preventing others from getting victimized.
Avoid shady dealers and middlemen
While it has been very hard to get rid of shady people even on regulated platforms, there are ways to avoid being swindled by these crooks.
If you will be interacting in a peer-to-peer setup on the internet, it would be better to at least have a little information on the seller to give you a chance to at least check the person’s background. You will be needing some of this info anyway after you decide to transfer the payment to the person.
Get to know the used guitar pedal that you are planning to buy. Be ready to ask about the following:
- Ownership history
Knowing how many guitar players have owned a used pedal will allow you to assess if the gadget is already way past its prime. Effects pedals will manifest hosts of problems after years of getting stomped on and you might have to interview the seller rigorously to get the whole story behind the pedal.
- Changed parts
Although a few sellers may lie to you, it is still crucial to ask whether the guitar pedal still has its original parts. The only way to prove for yourself is to have the pedal checked by an expert, but it’s more likely that the seller won’t hand it over to you without the payment first.
- Hidden defects
Ask if there are any hidden defects and if you are still doubtful, give the pedal a proper test run.
Test the used guitar pedal
When it comes to buying new or used instruments and gadgets, the best way to discern the quality is to check them out in person. Take your time to test them and play around with various settings. Push the guitar pedal to its supposed limits, just don’t do anything that will wreck it.
Testing a used guitar pedal will not just uncover hidden defects, you will also be able to see and hear if the guitar pedal is the right one for your taste.
Know your right as a consumer and ask for a discount if you feel that the used guitar pedal is priced a little too high. However, it is also important to be fair and avoid haggling aggressively if the price is already justifiable.
Used guitar pedals can go as low as half of their original price or even more. But if it’s a very durable pedal that still looks spanking brand new, then be generous enough to give the seller what he or she deserves.