One thing about musicians is that we love gear. We also love to brag about the gear we own. It’s not uncommon for people to post pictures of their gear on popular forums and even Facebook. Having an addiction for new gear can be also be very expensive. Especially if that shiny new guitar has a $2000 dollar price tag.

In Toronto there is no shortage of music shops to buy gear. Some of the more popular places are Long and McQuade and Steve’s Music. There are also specialty stores that sell higher end gear like 12th Fret, that deal only with guitars or Mikes in Kensington Market that has used gear.

With a plethora of music stores available, one should not overlook the option of buying and selling gear if you’re budget concious. Enter Craigslist and Kijiji. Depending on what you’re looking for, there is normally an abundance of used guitars, drums, amps and pedals available at incredible discounts. You can even find people giving away gear, especially old pianos and organs.

You can expect to find ‘like new’ gear at 40% off the retail price. I have personally bought and sold lots of guitar related gear over the past 5 years on both of  these sites and find it difficult to stay away. It really can become an addiction for the guitar afficionado. The collecting of guitars has become a popularised acronym – G.A.S. – guitar acquisition syndrome.

The beauty is that it gives you an opportunity to buy a quality instrument at a great price. If in the future you decide you want something else, you can just resell the item very close to the price you paid. Some people don’t feel comfortable going to a strangers home or having a stranger come to theirs. If you’re one of these people, than buying used is probably not for you.

Some of my advice to buyers is: 1) Make sure you try the item before you buy. Make sure it plays fine and there are no issues. If it’s an electric guitar and the seller doesn’t have an amp, bring one. 2) Be weary of those that want to meet at a location outside of the home. If you can’t plugin, then don’t bother. 3) Make sure you’ve agreed on a price before you arrive. Unless the item isn’t as described, you shouldn’t be haggling on price. If there are issues that weren’t mentioned like dents or scratches, then by all means try to get a better deal. If the item has bigger issues ie. not playable, then pass and politely ask the seller for ttc or gas money for wasting your time.

If you’re a seller: 1) Take a minute to clean up the item. It looks better in the pictures and makes it easier to sell. 2) Take as many quality photos as you can, to add to the listing. No pics, no sale, it’s that simple. Refrain from using photos off the internet. If it isn’t the actual item, then it is false advertising. 4) Let the potential buyer try the item. I have always let the person into my home to try out a guitar. I’ve actually made friends with a few people that bought gear off me. Musicians are cool people! Again, if you don’t feel comfortable allowing a stranger into your home, find a mutual location to meet. When I am selling something, it is always pick up only. I am not wasting $6 on TTC to sell a $50 distortion pedal.

So there  you have it. Good luck with your next sale or purchase and beware of G.A.S, it is contagious.

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