What to Look for When Buying an Acoustic Guitar

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How to Buy an Acoustic Guitar on eBay

Acoustic guitars have long been enjoyed by those who love music. Whether it's the sweet, relaxing tones from a classical piece, or soulful sounds from a bluegrass tune, acoustic guitars bring a unique, pleasing sound that's unique and distinctive. Aside from just listening to guitar music, many people enjoy playing music on an acoustic guitar. This instrument is fairly simple to learn, and requires no additional setup. It's easy to pick up a guitar and play next to a roaring campfire, or take one to an amateur night at the local cafe.

Those seeking to purchase an acoustic guitar should look to eBay. With thousands of listings available at any given time, eBay has the widest array of choices for any item of any Internet marketplace. Finding and purchasing an acoustic guitar is simple, and this buying guide will serve as a primer for buyers who want to purchase this instrument on eBay. Finding the guitar is the first step, and this guide will show buyers how to choose the right keywords for a streamlined search. This guide will also impart some basic tips for those who may be new to eBay, to ensure they have only the best shopping experience.

Searching for an Acoustic Guitar on eBay

Finding the right acoustic guitar on eBay is not difficult, especially if the buyer knows exactly what he or she wants. Most people who use the Internet know how to use a search engine and the eBay search engine works the same way. By entering keywords that describe or relate to the item they are looking for in the search box, buyers can find a set of listings that match these keywords. The best place to start is by using the keywords "acoustic guitar.." This will likely produce thousands of listings, which could be a good thing for someone who's thorough and wants to see all listings for acoustic guitars on eBay. Buyers can also limit their searches to certain parameters to find the exact guitar they want. They can specify the price they'd be willing to pay, the condition (new or used), the location of the seller, and more.

Narrowing Down Acoustic Guitar Searches on eBay

Buyers should take note that using a general term like "acoustic guitar" will produce anything and everything related to acoustic guitars, including guitar accessories, guitar books, guitar music CDs, and even guitar apparel. Therefore, the buyer should use other keywords that are specific to the guitar they want. This will allow for a more clearly defined set of search results from which the buyer can easily choose the right acoustic guitar.

Buyers can use specific guitar names and models in their search, and this will certainly result in exact matches. For example, if a buyer has an eye on a Yamaha acoustic F-310, then this will make a good search term. However, buyers who just have a certain type, size, or tonewood in mind can use the search engine to find a variety of guitars that fit the characteristics they want.

Searching by Type

There are several types of acoustic guitars available today, and each type is used for specific music styles. The Dreadnought guitar, for example, is the most common type of acoustic guitar. This guitar is suitable for almost all types of player, with a large body that produces a rich, deep sound. A classical guitar, on the other hand, has a smaller body with a wide neck, a flat fingerboard, and uses nylon strings. Another popular type of acoustic guitar is the steel-string acoustic guitar, which is favored by many bluegrass, country, and folk musicians, as it produces a distinctive bright sound usually associated with these genres of music.

Searching by Size

The size of the guitar is important as well, especially when buying children's guitars. The right size of guitar will ensure the person can play comfortably, and help develop his or her technique. Since guitar bodies and lengths vary depending on the type of guitar, manufacturers may offer different measurements and sizes, but the best way to measure a guitar is by its scale length, or the measurement from the nut to the bridge. However, to make it easier for buyers, manufacturers size guitars using a fraction that indicates its scale, such as one-quarter, one-half, etc. A full-sized 4/4 acoustic guitar is suitable for adults or anyone over five feet tall, so younger or shorter people should choose their size accordingly.

Searching by Tonewood

The type of wood used in a guitar is very important, as different types of woods produce different tones. Acoustic guitars don't use electric amplification, and therefore rely on the strings and the wood to create sound. The chart below summarizes the popular types of tonewood that most guitar makers use:

Wood Type

Description and Sound Quality


The most common type of wood used for acoustic guitars, particularly the Sitka variety of spruce; a lightweight softwood; spruce guitars produce a clear, direct tone


A resonant wood, able to emphasize bass and low tones; very responsive, rosewood guitars are known for rich, dark tones


Favored by country blues musicians for its strong tone; has a high velocity of sound, giving the guitar a much more varied and colored tone


A favorite among fingerstyle players; very responsive for a light playing style, yet produces a warm, balanced sound

Tonewood is just one of the factors that affect the sound and quality of the guitar. The skill of the maker, the design, and of course, the quality of the wood are factors that affect the overall sound of any acoustic guitar.

Searching for Accessories and Add-ons

Aside from acoustic guitars, buyers may need some additional accessories for their guitars, and eBay is a good place to purchase many high quality add-ons for a good price. It's good to have extra guitar strings on-hand, just in case of any accidents or emergencies. A good music stand is essential for the guitar player to maintain his posture and make it easier to read sheet music. Guitar cases come in all shapes and sizes, but people who plan to travel and check their guitar when flying should invest in a good hardshell case.

Tips for Buying Acoustic Guitars on eBay

For new users, a site like eBay may seem intimidating. However, eBay makes it as easy as possible for both buyers and sellers to use the site, which is why many buyers and sellers prefer the eBay platform to other similar services. Nevertheless, buyers can benefit from a few tips to ensure the eBay experience is pleasant for everyone.

Read the Listing Carefully

A good seller will create a comprehensive listing that has all the details about the item being sold. The buyer should be able to find everything about the item on this page. That way, the buyer can ensure he or she will be bidding on the exact item he or she wants. However, aside from just the item, the buyer also needs to read about the seller's policies, shipping guidelines, and other terms and conditions before placing a bid, as it is very difficult to retract a bid once it has been placed.

Check the Seller Feedback

Buying from complete strangers over the Internet seems like a risky venture to some, but that's why eBay has established the Feedback system. This is a way for buyers and sellers to rate each other, and allow other people to judge if a user is trustworthy. On the listings page, a number next to the seller's ID refers to the average feedback rating of that seller. A higher number indicates that many buyers have purchased items from the seller and left positive reviews. However, it's also a good idea to go to the seller's page and actually read the comments left by buyers, and see the historical score of the buyer as well.

Contact the Seller if Necessary

While sellers can create a comprehensive listing for their items, it's difficult to anticipate the needs of everyone who may want to purchase from them. That's why eBay has a way for buyers to contact sellers even before they place a bid. First, the member needs to sign-in to his or her account. On every listing page is a link called "Ask a question." Buyers can click on this link and be directed to a page where they can leave a question for the seller. A buyer can also use eBay Messages to contact a member directly. However, for buyers to send a message, they first need to bid on an item the seller is listing or at least add it to their Watch List.


Purchasing an acoustic guitar may not be as easy at it seems, as there many considerations to take into account. However, people who use eBay have an easier time finding and shopping for the right type of guitar, as the site makes it simple for buyers to find the items they need. The search engine is easy to use and almost anyone can find the guitar they want. All the buyer needs to do is think of the right words and phrases to use as search terms. A buyer should use generic, broad terms for a more comprehensive list of search results.

For a more targeted approach, the buyers should add the characteristics of the guitar they want. Some good examples of these characteristics are the type of acoustic guitar, the size, as well as the tonewood. People who may already have a guitar may also want to purchase their accessories and add-ons on eBay. When purchasing a guitar (or any item) on eBay, there are a few tips that can help out buyers, such as reading the listing carefully, checking the seller feedback, and contacting the seller if necessary.

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