How Long to Wait Before Buying your Second Guitar

If you’ve been playing your first guitar for a while, then you are probably starting to feel like you’re due an upgrade. There are so many reasons why you may want to get your second guitar. You might want a different tone, an upgraded model of the guitar you currently own, or you just feel bored with your current instrument!

But how long should you wait before buying your second guitar. Well, this depends on a few things.

If you want a second guitar, it’s obviously because you feel like something is lacking with your current guitar. Was it a cheap entry level guitar that just doesn’t sound that great. Or do you want a completely different kind of time? 

In this post, I’ll go through all the main factors to consider, so you can decide if it’s the right time to make the plunge and get your second guitar. So let’s get started!

How Long Have you Been Playing?

Firstly, think about how long you’ve actually been playing the guitar. If you’ve only been playing a couple of months and you feel like the entry-level guitar you purchased just isn’t cutting it anymore, then it probably actually isn’t the time to upgrade.

A lot of beginner’s blame their equipment for their sound not being all too great. But it’s usually not the case. If you put a cheap guitar in a professionals hands, it probably won’t sound all that bad. Unless you bought a really battered second hand entry-level guitar that has major flaws that can’t be fixed on the cheap, then you probably won’t benefit from getting a second guitar. Instead, it’s best to work on your technique instead, and wait until it’s actually the guitar holding you back, and not your playing. 

It’s best to wait at least 6 months, but more often, a year before purchasing a second guitar. This is when you’ll start to see the biggest difference when you upgrade, because your technique won’t be holding you back at this point. Providing you’ve put plenty of practise in!

Why Do You Want a Second Guitar?

Another thing to think about when deciding if it’s the right time to buy a second guitar, is your reason for wanting another guitar. Most people tend to want to get a second guitar for the following reasons.

  • To sound better. This is the case if you’ve purchased a very cheap entry-level guitar, and you feel like the tone just isn’t good enough anymore.
  • For something different. If you currently own a Strat, but you prefer the tone of warmer and darker humbucker pickups, then you may just want a second guitar to give you more options.
  • To look better. It’s not just the sound that’s important when it comes to guitars. If you’re not a fan of how your guitar looks, then you may want a second one that you prefer the look of.

So let’s start with the first reason you may want a second guitar, to sound better. This one is tricky. A lot of entry level guitars are actually pretty well made and sound decent, so in a lot of cases, it’s not the guitar that’s holding you back, but your technique. 

What you really don’t want to do, is splash $500 on a second guitar, only for it to sound basically the same when you play it compared to your current guitar. I’d say you should wait at least 6 months to a year before getting a second guitar to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. 

If you want a second guitar because you’re looking for something different, then this changes things. I’d still say to wait at least 6 months from starting playing, but I think this is a better reason for a beginner to want a second guitar. After you’ve been playing for half a year, you start to figure out what kind of tone you really want, and if your current guitar can’t achieve it, then it’s probably time to upgrade.

Finally, if you’re wanting a new guitar because you’ve seen one you like the look of, then I completely get it. Of course, you need your guitar to sound and feel good, but looks are important to. I’d still say to wait at least 6 months from starting playing your first guitar, before buying a second one though. 

What is your Budget?

Another thing you should really consider, when deciding if it’s time to upgrade your guitar, is your budget. 

Take an example. If your current guitar cost around $150, and you only have $250 to spend on a new one, then I’d say it’s not really worth it. You want see a huge increase in quality between a guitar that costs $150 and one that costs $250, unless of course it’s damaged. 

On the other hand, if you have a budget of around $350 or more, then I’d say it’s worth it at this point to get a second guitar, if you’re really not happy with your current one.

When I was purchasing my second guitar, I bought a PRS Custom 24 which was around $700. This was a huge upgrade from by Squier Strat which cost be $130. I noticed a huge difference between the two guitars.

So I would say, try and wait until you have enough money to afford a mid-range guitar. Don’t go wasting money on something that’s just a minor upgrade. 

Should you Upgrade your Amp or Guitar?

One of the biggest questions guitarists ask when they’re looking to upgrade from their entry-level rig, is if it’s best to upgrade the amplifier or guitar. 

This is a tough question to answer. It really depends on your reasons for wanting to upgrade your rig.

For example, if you want to start playing live, and your amp is only 10 watts, then you should definitely upgrade your amplifier instead of your guitar. But if you want a completely different tone, for example you want to start playing heavy metal riffs and you’re using a Squier strat, then you’ll see a bigger benefit if you get another guitar instead.

This is a pretty big question, so I’ve written a whole post on it. If you want to find out more, then check out my article on how to decide if you should upgrade your amp or guitar

Second Guitar Buying Guide

With all that said, I thought it’d be a good idea to go through some quick tips to help you make the right purchase. 

Be Clear About your Budget

The number one thing you keep in mind when buying pretty much anything, is your budget. Now, as I said before, I only really think it’s worth buying your second guitar if it costs significantly more than your current one. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. 

If you’ve got a budget of $300, then that’s fine! Just make sure you stick to it. Go online and set the price filters to $300 and don’t look at anything more expensive. If you’ve already seen a guitar you really fancy that costs more, then looking into second hand options is a good idea. 

Try Plenty of Guitars

So, if you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy your second guitar, then you’ve got an exciting time ahead. Now you’ve been playing a while, and you know what you like and dislike a bit more, you can go into some guitar stores and try some guitars out. 

Make sure you try a variety of different makes and models. It’s a really good opportunity to purchase something that’ll take your playing to the next level. So take your time, and try plenty of guitars. Don’t rush into purchasing anything and impulse buy! You’ll end up regretting it when a month later you see a guitar that you actually prefer.

Test the guitar properly

When you’re trying out some guitars in the store, make sure you do it properly. Always do your research beforehand, and try and go into the store with an idea of what guitars you want to test out. Go through all the controls, check for flaws and play stood up and say down. 

I’ve written an entire post on this topic, so head over to my guide on how to test a guitar in the store to make sure you make the most of your trip. 

Ask Plenty of Questions

Another thing I think is really important, is asking plenty of questions. Players who are buying their second guitars will usually be pretty clued up, but they don’t know everything. So, make sure you ask plenty of questions when you’re in the store. 

Every guitar store sales assistant I’ve ever met has been super helpful and friendly, so pick their brains, it’ll help make sure you make the right purchase. Head over to my article on the 18 questions you need to ask before buying a guitar for some ideas on what to ask. 

Shop Around for Good Deals

Just because you’ve tried a guitar you really like in the store, doesn’t mean you have to buy it there. It’s really worth looking online when you know what guitar you want.

Guitar Center are always the first place I look at when I’m interested in a new electric guitar because have a huge range of models for sale and always have some excellent deals on. Here’s a link to take you directly to Guitar Center’s electric guitar range so you can see all the offers available at the moment. 

So there you go! That’s how to decide if locking tuners are actually worth it for you! I hope you’ve found this article helpful, thanks for reading. Here are some other posts you might find useful:


Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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