If you’ve started by looking to buy guitars at a good pawn shop in Cincinnati then you’re off to a good start. You can get a decent beginner guitar retail for $200-$300, but you will likely find something better for the same price used or the same guitar used for much cheaper if you go secondhand. Pawn shops often have a good selection of affordable guitars. The trick is knowing how to differentiate the good ones from the bad.

Start by checking what material the guitar is made out of. A really good guitar will be made out of solid wood. The better the quality of the wood, the better the guitar. Cheap guitars are made out of laminates, which is another good reason for going used. You may find a better guitar secondhand for the same price you would pay retail for a laminate.

You should also do some research on good guitar brands. Some brands known for making quality guitars are Fendor, Gibson, Taylor and Martin. Some brands also produce the same guitars made a little more cheaply. For example, Epiphone is made by Gibson and is a decent quality brand, especially for a beginner, but it is a much more affordable guitar.

Most importantly, when buying a used guitar, pick it up and test it out. If this is your first guitar purchase you’re probably a beginner and can’t play much, but pick it up and make sure you’re comfortable holding it. Listen for any buzzing as you play. This is a bad sign. Hold the guitar and check for any warping in the body or neck. If you notice any bulges or any rust, don’t buy it.

When you’re first starting out on the guitar, you never know if it will become a lifelong interest or a passing hobby. Spending a lot of money just to find out isn’t very wise. Finding a good deal at a pawn shop in Cincinnati means saving money and picking up a solid instrument you can learn on.