You have choices. Guitar Center and Sam Ash sell new and used Fender and Squier guitars. Replay Guitar in Tampa sells used Squier and Fender guitars. Craigslist, LetGo, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace are full of used guitar ads.
And then there’s the little guys. People like Jeff in Largo, Dave up in Holiday and me, Hank in Palm Harbor.
Online Guitar Shopping
Craigslist and other online market places have used guitars, and I buy more than a hundred guitars a year off of them. You’ve seen the ads – “Excellent condition, just needs tuning..” Well, I have yet to get a guitar that was in good playing condition! Uneven frets, stripped truss nuts, high nut slots and it won’t play the right notes when fretted (poor intonation). Many times the sellers don’t realize that their guitar has serious problems. They just know they don’t like it and so they’re selling it – to YOU!
New & Used Guitar Shops in Tampa / St Petersburg
The brick and mortar stores are safe and will probably stand behind the sale if some problem slipped by them or if something just stops working. But these guys have to “pay the rent”. When you buy a guitar from them, a good chunk of your money goes to their landlord by way of higher prices.
Also, the brick and mortar stores have to watch the “bottom line” closely. They generally can’t afford to do a proper setup on a lowly Squier or Epiphone guitar. The setup alone would cost as much or more as the average used Squier guitar! But without that setup, even a brand-new guitar won’t play right!
So how are us home-based guitar techs different? Sure, we like to make a little money, but we do this for love more than anything. We love guitars and we love working on them.
I was a full-stack web developer and web security analyst. But at the age of 71, I just couldn’t get a job. Having a heart condition that requires taking a nap each day, doesn’t help either!
It doesn’t really matter if I only make five dollars an hour. I only need to make enough to turn my Social Security and VA disability checks into a livable income. And I enjoy meeting people and helping them further their interest in music.
It gives me a good feeling to help a parent buy a decent guitar for their child – one that intonates properly, is easy to play, has a decent sound and is the right instrument for their child’s situation – and importantly, one that is “cool” enough to motivate the child to actually practice!
So, when you come across an ad for one of the more economical used guitars, that says the instrument has had a complete setup and new strings, etc. and if you’re in the Tampa, Saint Petersburg metro area*, you’re probably looking at one of Jeff’s, Dave’s or my ads.
* Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco counties, including Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Largo, Clearwater, St Petersburg, Tampa, Oldsmar, Dunedin, New Port Richey, Hudson, Holiday, etc.