80 King Street · Route 2A · Littleton MA 01460 · (978) 486-0112 · I495 Exit 79 (Old Exit 30)
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What's In Zach's Attic Today?

As of June 23, 2021 we have the following used and vintage instruments in Zach's Attic:

Click on one of these instruments or just scroll down for photos and more information.

Zach's Archives

Want to peek at the extraordinary range of cool and interesting instruments that have passed through Zach's Attic? Just click HERE!

Contributing to Zach's Attic

We're always looking for interesting used and vintage guitars, basses and other fretted instruments that need new homes. (Sorry, we don't accept used band instruments.)

If you have a used or vintage instrument that you think Zach might be interested in, bring it in and show it to him. (Call ahead to make sure he'll be in the store when you come.) If he likes your instrument we can work out a trade or buy it outright.

You can contact Zach by phone at the number above or via our Ask Us! page.

Our Guarantee

Buying a used or vintage instrument can be a scary process. If you don't know what you're looking for, you can easily overpay or end up with an inferior (or even unplayable) instrument.

When you buy a used or vintage instrument from The Minor Chord we guarantee it to be as described. If there are flaws in the instrument that we know about, we'll tell you. If there are significant flaws we didn't notice and disclose, tell us within 30 days and we'll cheerfully give you your money back.

The Minor Chord is a music store you can trust!

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Our Used and Vintage Instruments

Zach is our store manager and head instrument buyer. He hunts down the top quality used and vintage instruments that we feature here in "Zach's Attic".

Fender Blues Jr. Amp

With 15 watts of all-tube power, genuine spring reverb, and clean and fat channels, the Blues Jr. is one of Fender's best-selling amps. And for good reason, because it's a perfect portable size with the right amount of power for either quiet practice or loud enough to jam in a band.

This particular amp was made in the U.S.A. and the tubes have all been upgraded to JJ tubes, giving the amp a 'warmer' tone overall. It's in excellent condition. Offered at $499 including a nice custom made amp cover.

The specs:

  • Made in U.S.A.
  • 15 watts all-tube power
  • 2x EL84 power tubes
  • 3x 12AX7 preamp tubes
  • Replacement set of 'JJ' tubes
  • Genuine spring reverb
  • Single 12 inch US-made Eminence special design speaker
  • Black Tolex with silver grille
  • 'Fat Channel' button for extra grit
  • Volume, treble, bass, middle, master, and reverb controls
  • Black chicken-head knobs on silver panel
  • Custom made amp cover included
  • Excellent condition

Fender Vintage '52 Hot Rod Telecaster

Telecaster fans check out this Butterscotch Blonde beauty! The Fender '52 Hot Rod Tele has a lot of great features going for it. This was a top of the line U.S. production model Fender offered for a few years and has become a harder to find collectible Tele over time. 50's appeal with the classic Butterscotch thin nitro finish, 1-ply black pickguard, chunkier 1-piece maple U-neck.

he brass barrel bridge saddles have extra adjustments for each individual string which makes for way more accurate intonation. We love the combination of the classic Tele bridge pickup paired with a neck mini humbucker. Noticeably more output than a neck single coil but it balances very well with the bridge...still maintains that desirable Tele sparkle. The middle pickup position is a wonderful combo of both pickups.

The previous owner paid to have the guitar professionally aged and relic'd and they did a great job. The guitar looks like it's been around the block for a while but still plays great and is not worn down. They even got the classic cigarette burn on the headstock. Fresh setup for .010's, asking $1,499.00 in the original tweed deluxe hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Made in U.S.A. in 2011
  • Ash body in Butterscotch Blonde
  • Thin Nitrocellulose finish
  • 1-ply black pickguard
  • Special 60 years of the Tele neckplate (1951-2011)
  • 1-piece maple neck
  • 50's U-shape neck profile
  • 21 med/jumbo frets
  • Black dot fret markers
  • 25.5 inch scale
  • 9.5 inch radius
  • 1.650 inch nut width
  • Fender/Gotoh vintage-style tuning machines
  • Vintage style bridge
  • 3 brass barrel saddles with extra individual adjustments
  • Custom vintage Tele bridge pickup
  • Seymour Duncan vintage mini humbucker neck pickup
  • 3-way selector switch
  • One volume, one tone control
  • Chrome knurled knobs
  • Good condition
  • Professionally aged and relic'd
  • Deluxe tweed hardshell case included

Vintage 1977 Ampeg B-15N Portaflex

It has been a while since our last Ampeg Portaflex model was in the Attic. We are very pleased to offer to our bass customers this very nice 1977 B-15N. Featuring 30 watts of all tube power, accept no substitute for the real deal tone.

The previous owner really went the extra mile to make this particular amp rock solid. The speaker was replaced with a 15 inch premium Altec 421-8H which was what Ampeg offered as the official upgrade at the time. The fiberglass insulation was upgraded to a modern polyester fill, the gasket was replaced and improved, and the latches are genuine replacements as well. The previous owner even made a bag to house the power cord so when the amp is flipped and put away, the cord doesn't damage the back of the speaker.

Many famous bass players have used this exact model amp, and countless legendary tracks have been recorded with it. Motown legend James Jamerson and the Band's Rick Danko are just a couple that quickly come to mind. Overall in very good condition, rock solid, fully functional and ready for it's next bass journey! $1,499.00.

The specs:

  • Ampeg's Portaflex flip-top line
  • 30 Watts tube power
  • Tubes: 5AR4, 6L6GC, 6L6GC, 6SL7, 6SL7, 6SL7
  • Upgraded premium Altec 421-8H 15 inch speaker
  • Two channels: Bright and Normal
  • 4 inputs
  • Ultra Hi and Ultra Lo switches for each channel
  • Volume, bass, treble controls each channel
  • Genuine replacement gasket and latches from fliptops.net.
  • Cabinet has wheels
  • Very Good condition

Breedlove Stage Parlor LTD

Just as our last parlor guitar has left the Attic, another arrives! This Breedlove Stage Parlor LTD was a limited run guitar featuring some higher grade tone woods. The solid Sitka spruce top along with the solid Indian rosewood back and sides is a winning combo producing plenty of volume, sustain, and articulation.

Well cared for by the previous owner it's in excellent shape with only some very minor play wear in the finish. Fresh setup for lights, the guitar has a really nice balance of sound and plenty of sustain. Ideal for light strumming and fingerstyle playing it's super comfortable on the lap. The LR Baggs system has a built in tuner and plenty of E.Q. for tweaking. Asking $699.00 in a brand new gig bag.

The specs:

  • Made in Korea
  • Parlor 12-fret body size
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Solid Indian rosewood back and sides
  • Cream body binding front and back
  • Herringbone purfling
  • Abalone rosette
  • Mahogany neck
  • Bound rosewood fretboard
  • Pearl 'wing-style' inlays
  • Short scale neck
  • 1-11/16 inch nut width
  • Compensated saddle
  • Open headstock with rosewood veneer
  • Open gear tuning machines with chrome buttons
  • LR Baggs LR-TCV pickup system with E.Q. and tuner
  • Excellent condition
  • Gig bag included

Gibson 50's LG-2

A small-bodied Gibson with some attitude has arrived in the Attic. At only a year or two old, this 50's LG-2 is in near mint condition with only some very minor cosmetic finish swirls. A comfortable shape to sit and play with, it has a warm and punchy sound with a focused mid-range...certainly a "Gibson" quality.

The historic V neck profile is not very big, rather slightly larger than a typical modern C shape. This guitar really shines with fingerpicking, blues, folk, etc. If history tells us anything, don't hesitate on used Gibsons, they go fast! Save a bit off the new price, offered at $2,099.00 with the original Gibson hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Made in Bozeman, MT
  • Slope shouldered LG body shape
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Solid mahogany back and sides
  • Scalloped X-bracing
  • Tortoise pickguard
  • Cream binding front and back
  • Nitrocellulose finish
  • Mahogany neck
  • Historic V neck profile
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Pearl dot inlays
  • 24.75 inch scale
  • 1.72 inch nut width
  • Bone nut and saddle
  • Gibson supreme nickel tuning machines with white buttons
  • LR Baggs VTC pickup system with volume and tone wheel controls in soundhole
  • Near Mint condition
  • Original Gibson hardshell case included

Fender Std. Telecaster

For decades now Fender's Standard Series guitars have been the affordable go-to workhorse instruments. This Olympic White Tele is overall in very good condition, there's a couple good size dings on the back of the guitar but from the front it appears very clean.

Fresh setup for .010-.046 strings it plays great. The weight of these can go either way, this particular one is a bit more lightweight. Snap and twang away your favorite licks, or go for that famous cut-through clean tone. Asking $425.00 with gig bag included.

The specs:

  • Made in Mexico in 2014
  • Alder string through body
  • Olympic white finish
  • 3-ply white pickguard
  • Maple neck
  • Black dot inlays
  • 25-1/2 inch scale
  • 1-5/8 inch nut width
  • Chrome bridge with 6 individual saddles
  • Two single coil pickups
  • One volume, one tone control
  • Chrome knurled knobs
  • 3-way selector switch
  • Chrome tuning machines
  • Very good condition
  • Gig bag included

Fender Custom Shop Custom Classic Strat

Fans of the Fender Strat check out this new arrival to the Attic...a stand-out Custom Classic Strat with ash body in Sunset Orange Transparent finish. Not a common finish to find, the transparent orange nicely highlights the grain of the ash wood.

Beautiful flamed maple neck with a large 'C' profile. Not super-duper chunky but certainly larger than your typical modern 'C' profile. Really sits nicely in the hand in first position and plays great all the way up the neck, freshly setup for .010-.046 strings. The Custom Shop single coil pickups sound bright, snappy, and clear as a Strat should. The guitar market is very hot right now, it's not too often we get Fender Custom Shop models coming through. If you've been thinking of a sweet unique Stratocaster, don't hesitate on this one! Excellent condition just a few small marks, C.O.A. and original spec sheet included.

Offered at $2,199.00 in original Fender Custom Shop hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Made in Corona, CA in 2008
  • New Old Stock
  • Ash body
  • Sunset Orange Transparent finish
  • 3-Ply white pickguard
  • Flamed maple neck
  • Abalone dot inlays
  • Large 'C' profile neck shape
  • 9.5 radius
  • Med/Jumbo frets
  • Bone nut
  • Schaller chrome tuning machines
  • Straplocks
  • Custom Classic neck/middle/bridge single coil pickups
  • 5-way selector switch
  • One volume, two tone controls
  • Custom Classic Strat bridge
  • Ultra snap-in tremolo arm
  • C.O.A. included
  • Fender Custom Shop hardcase included
  • Excellent condition

Taylor 615

Lately we've had a string of early 1990's used Taylors come through the Attic. Here is another fine example, a jumbo 615 built in the Santee, CA factory in 1992. If you feel that current Taylor guitars play great but sound a bit too bright for your taste, this would be a good guitar to consider.

At nearly 30 years old now, this one has aged nicely - to our ears, it delivers a noticeably richer sound than today's Taylors. The jumbo size body produces tons of volume but the maple/spruce tonewood combination produces great clarity on each string.

Overall it's in very good to excellent condition. Some normal play wear marks on the top, body, and some very slight finish checking. The tortoise pickguard is peeling a bit on the bridge side but otherwise it is intact. No major cracks or structural issues, freshly set up for lights, it plays awesome.

This instrument was bought from us used shortly after it was built and has been with the same local owner ever since.

Offered at $1,699.00 in the original Taylor hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Made in Santee, CA in 1992
  • Jumbo body shape
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Solid figured maple back and sides in Amber finish
  • Tortoise pickguard
  • Abalone rosette
  • Cream binding on body and neck
  • Black/white purfling
  • One piece mahogany neck
  • Ebony bridge and fretboard
  • Mother-of-pearl leaf-style inlays
  • 25.5 inch scale
  • 1-3/4 inch nut width
  • Schaller chrome tuning machines
  • Active pickup installed
  • Very good to Excellent condition
  • Original Taylor hardshell case included

Almansa 401-OP 'Señorita' Classical

It can be hard to find quality classical guitars for the younger or petite player. Most guitars in fractional sizes are meant for beginners, so they have all-laminate construction lacking in resonant tone.

For the last several years, The Minor Chord has been addressing this problem by stocking Almansa guitars from Spain. This guitar is an Almansa 401-OP in their "Señorita" (7/8) size with a 636mm scale. That's only slightly smaller than a standard classical guitar, but more comfortable for the young or petite adult player. With its solid cedar top, it produces a richer, more satisfying tone than the typical laminate-top fractional-size classical guitar.

This is the perfect guitar for the serious younger classical student. It was originally sold here and has had one local owner. It was recently traded back to us when its owner was ready for one of our full-sized Spanish classical guitars.

Offered at $449.00 including an Access brand rigid nylon case.

The specs:

  • Made in Spain
  • Classical shape in a slightly smaller "Señorita" (7/8) body size
  • Solid cedar top
  • Laminate mahogany back and sides
  • Open-pore (satin) finish
  • 636mm scale length
  • 50mm nut width
  • Access brand rigid nylon case included

Taylor 514ce-FM-LTD

A versatile Taylor Grand Auditorium has found it's way into the Attic. This 514ce-FM-LTD was a limited run model in 2015 featuring very rare figured mahogany back and sides. Along with the more unique Capstone m.o.p./rosewood fretboard inlays, rosette, and gold Gotoh tuners, this is a stand out model.

The mahogany gives a punchy sound with strong mid-range focus. Great shape for both strumming and fingerstyle playing. There's a couple top crack repairs, and some finish damage where the right arm goes over the guitar. Structurally stable and ready to go, offered at $1,499.00 in the original Taylor deluxe hardshell case.

The specs:

  • 2015 Limited Edition, made in El Cajon, CA
  • Grand Auditorium body style with Florentine cutaway
  • Solid Figured mahogany back and sides
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Adirondack spruce CV bracing
  • Rosewood binding
  • Maple purfling
  • Gloss body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony bridge and fingerboard
  • Satin finish neck
  • M.O.P/rosewood Capstone inlays
  • M.O.P/rosewood rosette
  • 25-1/2 inch scale
  • 1-3/4 inch nut width
  • Tusq nut
  • Micarta saddle
  • Gold Gotoh 510 tuning machines
  • ES2 electronics
  • Volume, bass, treble controls
  • Good condition
  • Taylor deluxe hardshell case included

Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II Pro

A popular choice for those seeking a comfortable and versatile full hollowbody, the Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II Pro is a nice addition to the Attic. We've sold them over the years, warm jazzy tone with the dual humbuckers and full hollowbody. Fresh setup for flatwound .011's to bring out the 'jazz' a bit more.

One local owner, it's in excellent condition. Save off the new price at $599.00 with a hardshell case included.

The specs:

  • Full hollowbody with single cutaway
  • Laminated spruce top
  • Laminated maple back and sides
  • Vintage Sunburst gloss finish
  • Maple neck with 60's slim taper
  • 12 inch radius
  • Pau Ferro fretboard with pearl block inlays
  • 24.75 inch scale
  • 1-11/16 inch nut width
  • Vintage scroll tailpiece
  • Rosewood bridge
  • Grover tuning machines
  • Probucker 2 neck pickup
  • Probucker 3 bridge pickup
  • Two volume, two tone controls
  • 3-way selector switch
  • Gold hardware
  • Setup for flatwound .011-.049
  • One local owner
  • Excellent condition
  • Hardshell case included

Fender Joe Strummer Telecaster

Perhaps London is calling on you to check out this awesome limited run Fender Joe Strummer Telecaster. Modeled after his famous beat up 1960's Tele, Fender gave this one the road worn body, neck, and aged parts. A vintage-style feeling and sounding Tele, the neck is super smooth from the worn in finish and the single coils are nice and bright.

This guitar was only made for a couple years and is already climbing in value and has become more collectible. We remember selling this model new at the store back in 2007. Offered at $1,299.00 in the original hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Limited Edition, made in 2007
  • Made in Mexico
  • Alder string through body
  • Tinted maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • White dot inlays
  • Revolution Rock neck plate
  • Vintage-style bridge with 3 saddles
  • Ping vintage-style tuning machines
  • 25.5 inch scale
  • 7.25 inch radius
  • 21 vintage-style frets
  • Two vintage-style Tele single coil pickups with Alnico magnets
  • One volume, one tone control
  • Chrome knurled knobs
  • 3-way selector switch
  • Aged and distressed body and parts
  • Excellent condition
  • Hardshell case included

Schecter Omen 6

Rock out on this excellent condition Schecter Omen 6, built in Korea in 2003. The walnut satin dual cutaway body is ultra sleek, the dual humbuckers with the 3-way switch and one volume and tone control make it easy to dial in your sound.

Slimmer, fast neck profile with 24 frets to easily hit that high 'e' note. $299.99 including a brand new deluxe gig bag.

The specs:

  • Schecter's Diamond Series
  • Made in Korea
  • String through Basswood body
  • Walnut satin finish
  • Maple neck with volute
  • Rosewood 24-fret fingerboard
  • Pearl dot inlays
  • Two humbuckers
  • One volume, one tone control
  • 3-way selector switch
  • Adjustable bridge
  • Black knobs and tuning machines
  • Excellent condition
  • Deluxe gig bag included

Fender Standard Jazz Bass Left-Handed

Lefty's alert! Here we have a made in Mexico Fender Standard Jazz bass from 1998. It's in very good condition overall with a few marks here or there. Classic look of the 3-tone sunburst and rosewood fingerboard. With it's slimmer nut width and neck profile and dual single coil pickups, the Fender Jazz bass will give you an easier to play neck and solid sound. It's certainly not often we get them used left-handed, fresh setup for .045-.100 lights it's ready to rock! $499.00 in gig bag.

The specs:

  • Made in Mexico 1998
  • Alder body in 3 Tone Sunburst
  • 3-Ply white pickguard
  • Maple neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Dot inlays
  • 34 inch scale
  • Slim nut width and neck profile
  • Two Fender single coil jazz bass pickups
  • Two volume, one tone control
  • Black knobs
  • Chrome bridge with individual saddles
  • Chrome tuning machines
  • Very good condition
  • Gig bag included

Vintage 1965 Fender Jazzmaster

A vintage beauty has found it's way into the Attic! This particular Jazzmaster has a lot going for it. Only for a short time period starting in 1965 and ending in 1966 did the Jazzmaster feature the bound fingerboard with dot inlays. Block inlays were soon to follow. Although Fender was sold to CBS in January of 1965, it's well documented that no significant changes took place for a while. The body has been refinished in Burgundy Mist Metallic over the original sunburst. The finish has darkened and aged very nicely over the years. Even with the refin, this is still a very hard and desirable color to find on a vintage example.

How does it play and sound...like a dream! The guitar was well played and well loved. The maple neck has that smooth, broken in feel that no new 'relic' neck can possibly duplicate. The soapbar pickups and electronics have seasoned beautifully and truly sound great! The rhythm circuit is nice to jam your warmer/jazzier chords on, and it's surf's up! with the brighter lead circuit. Although Fender designed this guitar with jazz players sitting down in mind, over the years it's been embraced by surf and alternative/rock musicians alike. Besides the refin it's in overall very good original condition. Offered at $4499.00 in a new deluxe gig bag.

The specs:

  • Neck date 4Nov65B
  • Serial number L97786
  • Volume and tone pot 19th and 21st week of 1964
  • Older refinish Burgundy Mist Metallic body over Sunburst
  • Asymmetrical alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Fender transitional headstock logo
  • Bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard with dot inlays
  • 21 frets
  • 25-1/2 inch scale
  • 7.25 inch radius
  • 1-5/8 inch nut width
  • Tortoise pickguard
  • Lead and Rhythm circuits
  • Rhythm circuit volume and tone wheel controls
  • Lead circuit Volume and tone knob controls
  • 3-way selector switch
  • Fender soapbar single coil pickups
  • Tremolo lock bridge with long whammy bar
  • Kluson tuners
  • Original hardcase and bridge cover not included
  • Very good condition
  • New deluxe gig bag included

Vintage 1969 M.G. Contreras Classical

We are very excited here at the store to offer this vintage 1969 M.G. Contreras classical guitar. Manuel Contreras Sr. was a Madrid native who excelled in guitar building both at the Ramirez workshop and his own. This particular example has an unsigned label, so it was likely made by one of his shop apprentices under his guidance.

The guitar is in fantastic condition, it was well-loved and cared for by a local resident who adored it and even made some reel to reel recordings with it. Now that the tone woods are well-seasoned and broken in, it projects beautifully. Anyone in the market for a vintage Spanish-made classical, come check it out! Asking $5,499.00 in original case.

The specs:

  • Label reads: Constructor de Guitarras Calle Mayor, 80 Madrid, 1969
  • Indian rosewood back and sides
  • Spruce top
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Rosewood bridge
  • 656 mm scale
  • 52 mm nut width
  • Lacquer finish
  • Photo of original owner meeting Mr. Contreras with guitar
  • Original hardshell case included
  • Excellent condition

Almansa 401-1/2 Half Size Classical

It can be difficult to find a good step-up classical guitar for the young player. Most small classical guitars in this country are starter instruments with laminated tops. The improving young classical player requires a guitar with a solid top for better tone and a higher level of workmanship for responsiveness.

The Almansa 401-1/2 is just such an instrument. Crafted in Spain with a solid red cedar top, this guitar has a short 544mm scale and slightly narrower 48mm nut width. That means it will fit the younger player comfortably but still deliver satisfying tone.

This guitar was originally purchased at The Minor Chord and has had one local owner. That player later graduated to an Almansa 'Senorita' (7/8 size) guitar and traded their 1/2 size model. It's in excellent condition. Offered at $399 with a padded gig bag.

The specs:

  • Made in Spain
  • 544mm (21.4 inch) scale
  • 48mm (1.88 inch) nut width
  • Solid red cedar top
  • Layered mahogany back and sides
  • Open-pore (satin) finish
  • Indian rosewood fingerboard
  • Binding around top
  • Gig bag included

Vintage Squire by Fender 80's Telecaster Japan

It's been a little while since our last made in Japan vintage Fender has come through. This mid 80's telecaster is in great shape and should make someone looking for a tele very happy. Only a couple very minor marks, it looks almost new. The black finish with the maple neck and fingerboard is a solid visual look. Twang away with the two single coils, slimmer neck profile on this one. All original $699.00 including a hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Made in Japan ca. 1984-87
  • Alder body in black finish
  • 1-Ply white pickguard
  • 1-Piece maple neck and fretboard
  • 21 frets
  • Black dot inlays
  • Slim C neck profile
  • 25.5 inch scale
  • 1-5/8 inch nut width
  • Two single coil pickups
  • Six individual bridge saddles
  • One volume, one tone control
  • 3-way selector switch
  • Gotoh chrome tuning machines
  • Excellent condition
  • hardshell case included

Rickenbacker 4003 Fireglo

A classic electric bass guitar has found its way into the Attic. Immediately recognizable and played by countless players, the Rickenbacker 4003 is a must-have in your collection. Slim body, attractive Fireglo finish, signature Ricky cut-through bass tone. This one dates to 1997, has only a couple of very minor scuffs, and is in excellent original condition. Offered at $1,699.00 in hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Made in Santa Ana, CA in 1997
  • Maple body in Fireglo finish
  • Maple neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Shark Tooth triangle pearl inlays
  • Cream binding body and neck
  • 1-ply white pickguard
  • Rickenbacker bridge with dial up mute
  • Two single coil pickups
  • Chrome bridge pickup cover
  • Two volume, two tone controls
  • 3-way selector switch
  • Standard or Ric-o-sound stereo inputs
  • 33-1/4 inch scale
  • 1-11/16 inch nut width
  • Schaller Deluxe open gear tuners
  • Excellent condition
  • Hardshell case included

Michael Kelly ST-AB4 'NA'

We've had a few Michael Kelly used instruments come through the Attic, here we have an excellent condition steel string acoustic bass. It's nice to have the option to be heard unplugged if you're just sitting around jamming or songwriting. The Fishman Classic 4 pickup system is now out of production but it does the job well with plenty of E.Q. tweaking if need be. With the cost and size of an upright bass, give this affordable more manageable ST-AB4 some thought. Offered at $399.00 in a hardshell case.

The specs:

  • Made in Korea
  • Acoustic steel string bass
  • Solid spruce top
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Cream binding
  • Abalone rosette
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood bridge and fingerboard
  • Abalone dot inlays
  • Chrome tuning machines
  • Fishman Classic 4 system
  • Volume, bass, mid, treble, brilliance controls
  • Excellent condition
  • Hardshell case included

Common problems with used instruments

We see a lot of used instruments at The Minor Chord and a few common issues seem to show up in many of them. If you are thinking of buying an instrument on the private market, make sure you can spot these common flaws.

Lifting bridges

Most bridges on acoustic guitars are simply glued to the guitar top. If the glue joint starts to separate you are looking at a dangerous guitar. Six steel strings exert a huge tension on the bridge, and if it suddenly comes loose it can seriously injure anyone nearby. The staff at The Minor Chord has seen this happen - so we always inspect the bridge of an acoustic guitar before restringing it.

Piece of paper under a lifting bridge

Piece of paper under a lifting bridge

If you can slip a sheet of paper under the bridge of your guitar (see picture) you should relax the string tension immediately and bring the instrument to us for inspection.

An experienced luthier can remove a bridge and reglue it, but the time and labor involved makes the process too expensive for beginner and intermediate guitars.

High action

The distance between the strings and the fingerboard is called the action height. If the action is too high the guitar becomes hard (or even impossible) to play because it takes too much effort to press a string against the fingerboard. In addition, the guitar will probably not play in tune because each string has to be stretched so much (which raises its pitch) as it is pressed down.

Proper action height depends on two factors: The alignment of the neck and the height of the saddle (the point at which the strings rest on the bridge).

Electric and steel-string acoustic guitars usually have a truss rod running down the neck that can be used to adjust neck alignment. Classical-style guitars with nylon strings typically do not have a truss rod, and the only way to realign the neck is for a luthier to remove, shim and reinstall the neck - a major operation. The same operation is required on electrics or steel-string acoustics if the truss rod doesn't have enough available play to achieve the needed adjustment.

Saddle height is easily adjusted on electric guitars using a very small allen-head wrench. The saddles on acoustics and classical nylon strings may simply lift out of the bridge and can be shaved or shimmed to achieve the correct height. If these adjustments cannot bring the action height to a playable level, an expensive neck reset is required.

A low action height is desirable for easy playing but the action cannot be lowered so much that the strings start buzzing against the frets. Inexpensive guitars tend to have uneven frets, which means that the action height cannot be brought very low at all. Resetting or dressing the frets can even them up but it is a time consuming and expensive process, worthwhile only for valuable guitars.

All of these adjustments related to action height are fussy and interrelated. It's best to leave them to an experienced luthier, which means it is usually not economical to rescue an inexpensive guitar having these problems.