The best time to buy a guitar is Black Friday through to late January. This is the busiest time of year for guitar sales, as stores find themselves ‘in the black’ and making room for new inventory. Used guitars also tend to sell well due to higher turnover. To find the best deals join mailing lists and receive alerts from retailers and auction sites.
For a more detailed explanation, continue reading.
Nailing New Guitar Day
The Christmas period
Starting with the obvious, any time around Christmas and/or just after the new year is a good time to buy a guitar. Retailers are trying to clear stock to make way for new inventory, and due to the competitive nature of the Christmas season (consumers were expected to spend in excess of 843.4 billion U.S. dollars during Christmas 2021), there are deals to be had.
But, this period doesn’t only apply to new guitars.
Online auction and classified sites that list secondhand guitars including Reverb.com, eBay.com, and Craigslist.com also see an increase in activity around this time, for many reasons, including the fact that a little extra cash goes a long way at this time of year, leading to greater competition and more competitive pricing.
Additionally, auction sites like eBay experience lower turnover from June to November (depending on the seasonality of the product being sold) and may offer additional incentives e.g. 10% off coupons.
Leading into Christmas is of course Black Friday (Friday 25th November).
The term ‘Black Friday’ is used to name the period of the year when the average business effectively starts turning a profit e.g. are ‘in the black’. While this is obviously completely overstated, it’s a catchy name and the retail industry goes all in.
As a result, there are great deals offered on all sorts of products during this period, including guitars. The best way to stay up to date on Black Friday sales is to join mailing lists (more on this shortly).
Public holiday shopping
Veterans Day (11th November), Labor Day (5th September), and Presidents Day (February 21st this year, 2022). You name it. Retailers offer discounts with many offering 15% of the retail price, and more.
How to Get Discounts on Guitars
While you might be wary of buying your next guitar without playing it first, buying online has become a necessity in recent times. And, besides, the wide range available compared to the guitars that are available within driving distance of your home will lead to far greater choice.
Not to mention it’s much easier to shop around, as the online price of identical items will often vary between stores.
Also, keep in mind, that many of the larger retailers offer a ‘no questions asked, money back guarantee‘. For example, Guitar Center offers a 45 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.
Before going this route, especially if buying an acoustic guitar check out my article on ‘how to buy an acoustic guitar online‘ to avoid some of the potential pitfalls. I’ve also written about a number of underrated acoustic guitar brands that offer quality instruments at great prices.
Develop a relationship with your local music store
If your local music store knows you buy a lot of stuff, it’s just good business for them to offer a discount on everything from the list price of guitar strings and accessories to new guitars. If you’re interested in a product you’ve seen online, it’s always worth checking to see if your local store can match the price.
Join a list. Sign up for deals
Of course, while the times mentioned above are usually the best times to buy guitars, retailers hold sales periodically throughout the year for many reasons, and unless you are actively looking you won’t see the best deals.
The best advice I can give is to sign up to the larger retailers’ mailing lists, and also sign up with eBay and Reverb, listing your preferences to receive personalized alerts to your inbox. You will then receive a list of guitars each and every day and won’t miss the next great deal when it becomes available.
Negotiating is arguably the most effective way to get a great price on a guitar, but only some people do this well. The best thing you can do to prepare is to have cash and do your homework e.g. know what price other stores in your area are offering for the same product.
The best way I have seen to actually ask for a discount is to say something along the lines of, is there any room to move on price?
In many cases, while you may not get a huge discount on the price you may find the store offers additional incentives by including accessories such as strings, a tuner, and cable. You never know unless you ask.
I hope the information above is useful if you are looking to save money on your next guitar. Of course, it’s scarcity that drives up prices so if the guitar you are looking at is in high demand, or the type of guitar is simply less common the chances of attaining a great deal go down considerably.
Lastly, remember, that showing respect goes a long way. A recent study of 2300 retail workers showed almost 90% of the staff had experienced some form of abuse while on the job.