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I've decided it's finally time to cure my Les Paul itch, and I've been looking for something used to try to get the most bang for my buck and because I like something with a little wear. What I'd really like is a Custom, although I'm not totally stuck on it if the right deal comes along. I've been checking these forums, local music stores, Kijiji, and reverb.com.

Despite playing for a while, I've never actually purchased a used guitar, so I was looking for some tips regarding what to look for in the guitar itself, how to approach bargaining with sellers, and other places I might find deals. I'm located in the Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge area, so if anyone knows of any places that stock a decent amount of used instruments in this area, that would be helpful too. Any comments are appreciated!
 

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A start would be to identify the specs you want in a Les Paul; neck carve (slim, chunky), weight (if applicable), tuners (ex. grovers, Klusons), type of pickups (burstbuckers, '57 Classics, etc).

If you are not sure, it would be better to try out some guitars in a shop and get a better idea of what works for you.

When buying from a private seller, try to get the history of the ownership (how many owners, serial number verification).

Pricing: check Marketplaces like Reverb.com and EBay.com to get a general idea of pricing, those sites typically have "blue book" estimates that can help.

Good luck and enjoy the ride.
 

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Theres really no magic secret --- try it, look it over, like it...buy it. Try it, don't like it...don't buy it.

The main thing I always look at is the straightness of the neck. If it's bowed a bit (too much relief) but buzzing at the first fret or open strings....I'll pass.
 

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With the above mentioned Reverb check, make sure you look to see what the instruments actually sold for. I find asking prices there and EBay to be inflated.

Don't know about used, but Long and Mcquade in either Cambridge or Waterloo have a good selection in new guitars. Thier website may have used in thier Deals section (used or ex rentals)

Are you looking for Gibson or Epiphone? Or are other brands of LP style guitars open to consideration?
 

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Some good suggestions here. I would add setting a budget and look for guitars in that range. It will help narrow down the field. If you are close to the border, you might consider this as another option.

Used Solid Body Electric Guitars | Guitar Center
 
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Discussion Starter #7
With the above mentioned Reverb check, make sure you look to see what the instruments actually sold for. I find asking prices there and EBay to be inflated.

Don't know about used, but Long and Mcquade in either Cambridge or Waterloo have a good selection in new guitars. Thier website may have used in thier Deals section (used or ex rentals)

Are you looking for Gibson or Epiphone? Or are other brands of LP style guitars open to consideration?
Probably just Gibson--I was looking at some other singlecut-type guitars like the Heritage H150/157 but since I started playing I've always wanted a real Les Paul.

Some good suggestions here. I would add setting a budget and look for guitars in that range. It will help narrow down the field. If you are close to the border, you might consider this as another option.

Used Solid Body Electric Guitars | Guitar Center
Thanks for the tip--any experience bringing stuff back over the border?

Not trying to scare you off but ensure you know what to look for to spot fakes, there are lots out there....
I found this site: Gibson Guitar Music News: How to Spot a Fake, Gibson Leads Industry Fight Against Counterfeit Goods

However, I see that article is 10 years old. Anything else to consider nowadays?
 

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Thanks for the tip--any experience bringing stuff back over the border?
Take gear with you and bring it back as if you took it down to perform, audition etc. It's not brand new.

Been years since I've been across, but I don't recall ever being asked what I'm. binging in, only what I'm bringing back. Though I guess things are probably much different now. Could always take a guitar to trade in so you had one going in?
 

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Check out Long and McQuade. They have a Gibson sale on now and the price of the Standard may make you consider buying new. $2400 iirc.
 

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Has the year of make been mentioned. That can be important in certain instances. Might just be me, but I heard a lot of bad things re: 2015 models. So I went to L&M to check one out. Worst LP experience of my life. I'm sure there were good ones, but it may be worth considering.

Are you looking for any particular year or Model (Standard, Trad, Custom, Deluxe, Studio etc)?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Check out Long and McQuade. They have a Gibson sale on now and the price of the Standard may make you consider buying new. $2400 iirc.
I was in Long and McQuade the other week and did try some of those out, but none of them felt quite right.

Has the year of make been mentioned. That can be important in certain instances. Might just be me, but I heard a lot of bad things re: 2015 models. So I went to L&M to check one out. Worst LP experience of my life. I'm sure there were good ones, but it may be worth considering.

Are you looking for any particular year or Model (Standard, Trad, Custom, Deluxe, Studio etc)?
I tried out what I believe was a 2015 Studio and had pretty much the same experience. Are there any other years to avoid? I believe I heard the 90s were fairly good in terms of quality.

As for the model, I am trying to find a Custom (love the black with double binding and block inlays), but am not 100% set on it if I can find the right deal. I will say that I do find the Studio's kind of odd looking without the binding, although the new 2018 models are kinda cool to me.
 

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I was in Long and McQuade the other week and did try some of those out, but none of them felt quite right.



I tried out what I believe was a 2015 Studio and had pretty much the same experience. Are there any other years to avoid? I believe I heard the 90s were fairly good in terms of quality.

As for the model, I am trying to find a Custom (love the black with double binding and block inlays), but am not 100% set on it if I can find the right deal. I will say that I do find the Studio's kind of odd looking without the binding, although the new 2018 models are kinda cool to me.
I'm sure a few here can chime in about years of make and model with much more know how than myself. I have very limited experience with any other LP besides the one I've owned since the 80's. But it basically comes down to if you know what a "keeper" should play and sound like, it's a goodun. Sorry I can't expand on that more.
 
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