How do you guys afford buying guitars???

Ruben Bernard

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Joined
Jan 3, 2022
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106
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London, England
I'm 19, I'm broke because uni :/
But my sister works part time maximum manager shifts at this bar that she's been at for a while and she's got like 12 grand in the savings (pure personal savings, no car payments, other things to pay off etc. all of that just for whatever she wants to do with it . The cores are like 4 grand, and a lot of you have multiple. some people get private stocks. Some of you EVEN get custom made private stocks which is awesome. As well as the minimum 2 beautiful cores that I aspire to have (a tobacco McCarty Singlecut and a light charcoal Tremonti) I'm recently super into some other big expensive stuff. I'm a music person, I'm studying music stuff, and my career path is leading me into a life in the music industry and all that. Half the time buying all this equipment seems damn near impossible, and then other days when I see other things a 12 grand customised private stock doesn't seem like as much wishful thinking as possibility. I'm kinda just curious how u guys justify every music purchase you make when it's so goddamn expensive... or is it? I CAN'T TELL I HAVE NO PERSPECTIVE ON THE VALUE OF MONEY

Edit: I'm not looking at buying hundreds of guitars now at my age. I have my 2 SE Tremontis (they are different) one that my dad got me for my 18th bday, and one that I bought myself. But my perspective on money is wayyyy off I think. Just from what I see around me, I'm curious how people who have been doing this for longer than me lmaooooo and how it's turned out for you guys.
 
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I’m 44. I’ve worked with a salary for 23 years. At 19, I could eat for a week on $20. You can probably finance or get your folks to buy you a new SE or used SE/S2 right now. Even I can’t justify a true core or private stock right now, but that’s a prioritization decision more than an affordability decision.
 
I’m retiring this year. I’ve worked part or full time for 50 years. My wife and I have 5 or 6 degrees between us. We have a daughter with special needs. My wife has always been smart with money, I’ve been smart and dumb. Being smart means you end up with enough for what you need, and some of what you want. I bought and sold a new SE, bought a new S2, a used ‘03 Core Santana III and a used Yamaha acoustic. I probably won’t buy any more guitars for quite a while.

My point? Be smart with money. Start saving early and regularly. Buy used to start with. Get what you need, and less of what you want. Do this, and later you can get more of what you want. In other words, skip the core, get a nice used SE, swap pickups if you must, and you have what you need. Start buying cores when you are 40, have your education or trade or business and a job, or a few jobs, or whatever, and a house or other solid living arrangement.

Oh, and GTFO my lawn!
 
At 19 I had a Ibanez Saber. Took me a couple of years to save up for it. Sold it a few years later and bought a Les Paul but that was when they were not popular. It was all about the super strats back then. A few years later I added a Tex Mex Stratocaster and that was it for many, many years.

Like the others have said. Be patient. Don't go in to debt for gear. Get your education and/or career started and gear will come.
 
I’ve had a career job, but gigged on the side for decades. That has paid for more equipment than I can use. It’s tough when you’re younger, but once you get your “have to pay” bills squared away, getting out and performing can open lots of doors to gear.

Give yourself some time. It gets easier.
 
At 19 I had an epiphone 12 string acoustic and a 74 Fender Stratocaster , The Acoustic was a gift from my parents and the Fender I saved every penny I made delivering newspapers , mowing grass , anything that paid it was $400 in 1974. I did not get another guitar till I was 21 ( 75 LP Custom purchased used in 1982 for $500 ) really didn't start getting lots of guitars till I was 40 or so and my PRS addiction started early , mid 2000s and continues today.
My advice start used !!! with some shopping under 2K CEs , S2 and some Cores , There are also some great SEs ( Pauls , Silver Sky , DGT etc ) that are below $1000 and great guitars.
Happy hunting
 
When I was 19 I was in my second year of university, and for the first time I'd had a summer job (graveyard janitor at a local hotel). I was still living with my parents during the summer, so I saved up that janitor's wages for the coming school year. I sacrificed about $330 of it for a Kramer Stiker guitar and a miserable little solid state Peavey amp (this was 1985 IIRC). So that was my first guitar, and my pride and joy for the next few years. I had squat for money at the time -- I had enough for a six pack of cheap beer and maybe half a delivered pizza a week.

The thing nobody's saying out loud here is that if you get employed (I assume that's the point of University, right?), your income tends to go up over time. Granted, inflation is lousy right now, so prices are going up faster than wages for a lot of people. But that doesn't last forever -- or if it goes on long enough, everything collapses, and let's just not go there... Once I got out of school and collecting a white-collar paycheck I could afford to do things like fill my gas tank all the way up, or go into a grocery store and buy the good ramen instead of the cheapest. Or put a new guitar on a credit card with some confidence that I could pay it off. Those were things I could only dream of just a year or two before.

My starting annual salary was 10 times what I made on that summer job, and a lot of years later, even with not-great raises, I make about 6 times that figure. I bought my first PRS secondhand about 4-5 years after I started working. Started buying new ones several years after that.

The point of all that rambling: Hang in there. By the time some years go by, you should have more money than you can imagine right now. Sounds like you sister could give some pretty good tips. Be careful with your money, keep an eye out for good deals. You'll get there.
 
Hey! When I was 19 I actually bought a Gibson LP custom. It was hard as my parents were not on the best income level. Everything I made went to my parents. So what I did was talk to my Burger flipping employer that I was going to do work at a seasonal job (in my case a Grain elevator) for a couple months in the summer...so for two months all I did was work, eat and sleep. I met my obligations with my parents and saved the money to buy my guitar.

Find some summer job that might generate massive income....that might put you in a good position. Ask your relatives, friends, friends relatives and let them know what you are trying to do...you might just find something.

I own many guitars...and I also can confirm some SEs are freaking great. I love early 2000s singlecuts, used cores are also good options. Reverb has some really good deals sometimes too. Go to shops and play a few and start narrowing down what you like and don't like. Finding a good SE can really let you use other money to buy a really good amp that you like too.
 
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I'm 19, I'm broke because uni :/
But my sister works part time maximum manager shifts at this bar that she's been at for a while and she's got like 12 grand in the savings (pure personal savings, no car payments, other things to pay off etc. all of that just for whatever she wants to do with it . The cores are like 4 grand, and a lot of you have multiple. some people get private stocks. Some of you EVEN get custom made private stocks which is awesome. As well as the minimum 2 beautiful cores that I aspire to have (a tobacco McCarty Singlecut and a light charcoal Tremonti) I'm recently super into some other big expensive stuff. I'm a music person, I'm studying music stuff, and my career path is leading me into a life in the music industry and all that. Half the time buying all this equipment seems damn near impossible, and then other days when I see other things a 12 grand customised private stock doesn't seem like as much wishful thinking as possibility. I'm kinda just curious how u guys justify every music purchase you make when it's so goddamn expensive... or is it? I CAN'T TELL I HAVE NO PERSPECTIVE ON THE VALUE OF MONEY
You gotta start somewhere! So buy an SE, become "irresistible" musically and you will be given the finest guitars you can imagine by sponsors, maybe even PRS ;~)) Or, get a degree (or not), get a 9 to 5, save your money, argue with your spouse about spending another 10k on another guitar (that is what Cores will cost when you reach that point) and get them that way!! How did I get mine? I spent money that should have been going into a retirement account!!! Considering that the retirement account did not exist, and the guitars did, I chose the guitars. I recommend taking my advice never, including in this sentence and paragraph! Best of luck, looking forward to pix of your used SE that you snag for $400!!!!!!!
 
I'm 19, I'm broke because uni :/
But my sister works part time maximum manager shifts at this bar that she's been at for a while and she's got like 12 grand in the savings (pure personal savings, no car payments, other things to pay off etc. all of that just for whatever she wants to do with it . The cores are like 4 grand, and a lot of you have multiple. some people get private stocks. Some of you EVEN get custom made private stocks which is awesome. As well as the minimum 2 beautiful cores that I aspire to have (a tobacco McCarty Singlecut and a light charcoal Tremonti) I'm recently super into some other big expensive stuff. I'm a music person, I'm studying music stuff, and my career path is leading me into a life in the music industry and all that. Half the time buying all this equipment seems damn near impossible, and then other days when I see other things a 12 grand customised private stock doesn't seem like as much wishful thinking as possibility. I'm kinda just curious how u guys justify every music purchase you make when it's so goddamn expensive... or is it? I CAN'T TELL I HAVE NO PERSPECTIVE ON THE VALUE OF MONEY
well, with 19 I had a Charvel Mod 4, An Ibanez AS 50, a Classical Guitar, a Mesa Boogie MK 2c, A Roland DEP 5 FX Unit, a TS 808 which I all financed by giving Guitar lessons and saving like mad. It helped that at that age I was not into getting intoxicated but was already aiming for a professional guitarists life.....which I am to this day......in a nutshell: get a job, save and then buy your dream guitar....
 
I wasn't able to afford core PRS at the age of 19. I wasn't financially privileged, and at that age, I was working nights at the book factory to afford my university. At that point, I was still playing a Squier Affinity I bought on finance. My first decent new guitar resulted from buying, selling, and trading guitars for years. It took me a while to get that EBMM JP7 - it was the best production seven-string guitar on the market back then. I was 25, and I already had a steady job. I'm 43 today, on top of my NHS band, and I still needed to go on five years finance plan to buy my recent Custom 24. So to answer your question from my perspective; I could never afford any of my guitars. My rig is a culmination of trading my past gear and the result of determination mixed with giving up other financial temptations, which of - I don't have many.
 
Similar to others here, I am in my mid 40's which provides significantly more financial options than when I was 19. While I have a few PRS guitars now, at 19 while I was drooling over a CU22 (with no hopes of ever affording it) while playing a cheap LP copy (with a plywood body!) and a Jackson RR guitar. It took many years of working (and 3 university degrees) before I could afford a core PRS and it made it that much more special when I could. Every time I take one out of the case or grab one from a stand I remember what it took to get here. Enjoy the journey and embrace every stage along the way.
 
Start with a used SE. Play the hell out of it until you get a job with a little more money. Then keep going. Once you have an income, budget well, and buy wisely it all comes into place. I’m lucky, because I prefer used guitars that someone else has broken in and taken the financial hit on.
 
I aquired mine over a 47 year period, saving slowly for each iconic model, then starting building ones combining the best of what I had.
My advice ...save your money , buy one REALLY special guitar that you play and fall in love with . Even with a large collection , if I had found my Westie first , my search for an electric would have ended there.
 
Start slowly, buy smart. At 19 I was te lucky owner of a LP studio and a jackson PS4. My first PRS was my present for getting my first real job after college. Being 26 I bought the cheapest core I could find. A clean, but plain CE24 from 1992. Tricolor sunburst (always hated the color), but played and sounded great. Limited supply in Europe does not help.

Now (at a non disclosed age) I have a lot more options, because I lade some carreer, but always bought smart. Only once I bought a new PRS (last year, NOS 57/08 limited at a criminally outrageous bargain) but other guitars always used, mint condition and the great catches that were the last 'cheap' offered guitars of that series. My used starla: 1100, mint. My korina McSoapy: 1600, mint. Just wait for the right guitar.
 
It has already been said, but it is worth saying again. Don’t go into debt. Your sister seems to be on track with generating some savings. Ask her how she manages her money.
The good news is, the more affordable guitars today will be better guitars than most of us older players started with. Core and private stock guitars are nice, but not necessary. Practice and knowledge will get you farther than gear.
 
Some good stories and advice in the responses here.

At 19 I was on my second guitar. I had replace my Memphis Les Paul copy with. Fender MIJ Contemporary Strat and still played through my Distortion+ and Marlboro 30A amp.

I'm 56, sold my dental practice at the end of last year to focus on my specialty practice that does not yet support me. Looking at taking out a loan to finance a new office as the building I'm in is slated for the bulldozer treatment. So I'm struggling internally to grab or not to grab a new NF-53 or snag one of the "80s Charvels I've been watching on Reverb, even though the funds are there.

I've been setting aside money into my "Gear Fund" for years to finance my purchases...that's how I paid for my Private Stock earlier this year. I run a dental study club and lecture, and always target that money to the Gear Fund. A divorce, kids went private school, a new marriage and house have all put a burden on my finances over the years. One year the gear fund paid for a new furnace.:(

What has been working for me and what I advocate to all starting out is to read the book "Profit First" by Mike Michalowicz. The gist is save money for specific things, and only spend when you have the funds. Set a guitar target, and do the work to get the funds to afford it.
 
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