Is Buying A Factory 2nd / B Stock Guitar Or Bass A Good Idea?
Usually, they’re absolutely worth looking into. There are a few considerations you need to make in order to make this a worthwhile purchase..
A brief review of what I’m talking about when I say “Factory 2nd” or “Be Stock.” When musical instrument manufacturers produce products, the product should go through a final inspection before leaving the factory. In the case of guitars and basses, the instruments are examined for performance, electronics, fit and finish and color. If a problem is found in the electronics, it’s sent to a technician, corrected and shipped out and the same is true for an adjustment or hardware problem.
If there’s a blemish, blotch, flaw or nick in the finish many manufacturers won’t send it out as a new instrument. What they do is stamp the back of the headstock “USED” so it can’t be sold as new, sell it to a licensed refurbishing center who will either correct or reduce the blemish and in turn sell it to a dealer. The dealer then offers this guitar as “USED” although its never been owned by anyone before: essentially a new guitar with a minor flaw.
This can be a great deal for the buyer. A brand new Fender Geddy Lee Pass sells everywhere for $999.00 and I saw a refurbished, factory 2nd Geddy Lee for $749. A few years ago I purchased a Crate 100 watt 212 guitar amp that normally sold for around $300 for $150 because it had some damage to the body and molding. The damage was relatively minor. You can save a lot of money buying a guitar or bass this way, but it is used, sold as used, no manufacturer warrenty applies to the instrument and sometimes it’s sold “as is” with no returns allowed.
Some manufacturers sell these 2nd ‘s to dealers who resell them at a discount. The reduction in price isn’t great but if you can live with a minor flaw, it’s still good to take it. An ESP LTD KH-202 Kirk Hamnett Electric as a factory 2nd was selling for $299 normally sells for $349. A Seagull Coastline S6 as a factory 2nd was selling for $399 and normally sells for around $450. A very cool Italia Torino electric bass was selling for $629 as a factory 2nd, if you bought it as a new, perfect unit you’d pay around $679. You get about $50 off the price of these instruments, they’re sold as new with warranty and the retailers examination period and return policy should be in effect too.
If you’re going to buy a factory 2nd that is stamped used, here’s some advice:
- Look for, or ask for, a 10 day return policy so you can play and inspect the guitar or bass.
- Check the asking price of the guitar or bass by looking on ebay or amazon – for a factory 2nd that nobody else has owned, you can expect to pay toward the high end of the used instrument market. For example, you may find a Fender Aerodyne Bass used for $500 – $550 and so you could expect to pay $550 for a factory 2nd of that model.
- Get specific information on the exact nature of the flaw, don’t settle for “a little blemish.” You’ll want to know where the blemish is, how large and if possible see a photo or even better, examine the instrument before buying it.
Any other thoughts, ideas or experiences? I’d like to hear about it. Reply on This blog is Prof Dave’s Guitar and Bass Buying Advice. If you have a guitar or bass and you’d like to post an opinion, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – if you disagree with my opinion or have an opinion or review on an instrument I haven’t reviewed, as long as it isn’t too foul (language that is) I’ll post it. I’d love to hear from all you guitar & bass heads. Prof. Dave