Acoustic Guitar Buying Negotiation Tips & Tricks

Hey there. I’d like to kindly welcome you to the Tone Taxi. This happens to be our fourth episode. Today we’re on Story Mill Road. We’re heading out past town a little bit. It’s pretty hilly. It’s nice. I’ve actually never been on this road. Today I want to talk about one of the most crucial things you need to know and need to have in your back pocket when you’re buying a guitar. That’s negotiation skills.

The ULTIMATE Guitar Practice Routine

Just show up every day, and I'll tell you what to play!

I’m not talking about negotiating with who’s selling the guitar. I’m talking about negotiating with your significant other, your spouse, your friend, that person that says, “Hey, I don’t think you need another guitar,” to which you would reply, “Yes, I do need that other guitar, and here’s the reason why.” Those are the negotiating skills that I’m talking about.

Now, some people say, “Hey, I just sneak it in. It’s a black case. I just put it right next to the other black cases and nobody ever knows.” That’s a great tactic. We call that the ninja tactic. There’s other people that say, “I know this guitar looks the same as the other one but it sounds totally different.” That’s the “Hey, I know guitars more than you so I’m going to use that tactic.”

I’ve used a lot of these tactics before, but I want to hear your tactic. I want you to tell us which tactics you use, maybe which tactics you have used in the past, and of course, stories of the tactics, successes, or failures. Thanks a lot for jumping in the Tone Taxi with me. I’ll see you on the next episode!

I want to hear your tactic(s) — Leave a comment below!


  1. Profile photo of Thomas S
    Thomas S

    If it’s 500 or less I save my spending money buy it set it up and when she says is that new I say oh no I’ve had it awhile. Then she asks how many guitars do u need. That’s always a tough answer. Tony told me to say whatever I have plus one. So if it’s pricy I tell my wife she tells me I have enough what do I need another guitar for that’s when I start talking about wood tone and so forth which leads to me playing for her that she likes. I actually put out three guitars and played all 3 separate and now she can actually tell the difference .

  2. Daffy

    Well I got my new Ibanez Aew by selling my phone…………………….teeeheeee

  3. Shodai

    My secret had been to get most of my guitars in the same color. When I first started out she’d notice an extra guitar from time to time and I’d use the old “I’ve always had that, but it’s been in the case”
    Now, they’re are so many in the collection that the only way she notices is if there is suddenly something in a color she hasn’t seen before.

    The secret: just get more guitars.

  4. Ed

    I have 8 guitars not that I can play that well but the wife says they look nice
    around the house as ornaments I kid you not except for one they are all in pristine
    condition which is more than can be said of me…

    All the best from not so east anglia U.K

  5. Pecos Bill Jarocki

    When the fireworks start, you can always tell this joke…

    A man was walking down the street when he was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless man who asked him for a couple of dollars for dinner.
    The man took out his wallet, extracted ten dollars and asked, “If I give you this money, will you buy some beer with it instead of dinner?”
    “No, I had to stop drinking years ago,” the homeless man replied.
    “Will you spend this on guitar strings instead of food?” the man asked.
    “Are you NUTS!” replied the homeless man. “I haven’t had a guitar in 20 years!”
    “Well,” said the man, “I’m not going to give you money. Instead, I’m going to take you home for a shower and a terrific dinner cooked by my wife.”
    The homeless man was astounded. “Won’t your wife be furious with you for doing that?”
    The man replied, “That’s okay. It’s important for her to see what a man looks like after he has given up drinking and guitars.”

  6. Profile photo of Tony P
    Tony P

    100 comments and counting!!! Thank you all for chiming in here, this has been an incredibly entertaining thread to read, and ultra timely with the holidays and all 🙂 Great stories here and some wonderful tactics indeed!!!


  7. Liana I

    Simple: When my husband still smoked and I had long since quit smoking, I came home with a new guitar – he asked if I really needed “another” guitar. I told him- you spend your cigarette money your way and I’ll spend mine my way”

  8. Paul Bradley

    Great discussion Tony. An old school friend of mine said that having more guitars was like having more kids: the more you have, the less attention you pay to each one of them. I would hope my kids would say I cut the cake equally but I have to agree that it’s best to keep things manageable otherwise you end up having favourites; that’s guitars not kids! All the best from sunny Manchester, UK

  9. David

    I just use the same reason to buy a new guitar as I use to buy a new fishing rod…

  10. Thomas Budd

    Wrap that sucker up and give it to her for your anniversary! Better than a vacuum…

  11. Chris

    As I am currently in the market for another guitar, I am also currently in a battle with my wife over it. Although ours is not an argument over money (not entirely anyway), as much as space. We live in a one bedroom apartment with our daughter here in San Francisco (location being important as the average price for a 2 bedroom apartment is currently $3653/month, per, and there is no way we are moving to a bigger place). But my argument is totally legit. You see, I have recently discovered Flamenco by way of Paco de Lucia, so I genuinely need a nylon string guitar. Of course, what I want, a Conde Hermanos of any year/model, and what I end up with is the great unknown. So, when my wife says we don’t have the space or “another guitar”, I have to explain this is a totally different type of guitar. And since I can’t bear to part with my ’99 Martin DM, just because it’s so beautifully broken in and has a piezo saddle pickup, or my 2013 D-28, just because it’s so hefty, durable, and badass, or my 96 Strat, cuz it’s American made and in pristine condition, or my no name beater that has no case, because it’s my daughter’s first guitar, or the now defunct, and hanging on the wall, 86(ish) Fender Gemini II, because it accompanied me on many beaches in many countries, over the course of many years. So my argument? I’ll keep it in the closet and you won’t even miss the space it occupies. Kind of an anti-climactic ending, but that’s how it goes when you’re married with children (child).

  12. John Borak

    Hi Tony,
    I loved this subject. In the past I have used the stealth approach of waiting for my wife to be out and sneaking the black case into the basement, All of my equipment is relegated to the basement. But at least it is my area!

    I recently bought a Taylor 414ce though and I had saved $25 to $75,00 per month for about 2 years. It still wasn’t enough but I told my wife I really wanted a new acoustic (and this is my first acoustic/electric). I have a Guild D-40 from 1971 but it needs its neck reset and new tuners and probably a fret job. I plan to take it to a local luthier at my local music store, Player’s Bench in Chrystal Lake, IL. But since I spent about $400 more on the 414ce than I planned. I need to wait to save up more money (an d clear down credit cards unfortunately).
    I had planned to buy a 214ce Koa Deluxe, but when I played it and played the 414ce, the 414ce had more of a ring to it. So I had to spring for a little more.

    Thanks for you tips and show!
    Love you,

  13. Daniel Hamilton

    I’m sending this “tongue in cheek” suggestion. I was able to run all the numbers on my trade and purchase yesterday. I calculated (excluding tax considerations) the 60% (of original base price) trade in. I determined the number of months I had owned both my trade in guitars. I then divided the 40% by the numbers of months respectively……to determine my monthly rental on the guitars.
    Taylor 12 string = $15.00
    Taylor K26 = $54.32
    Why is this important, you may ask?…….This is how guys like me who just have to have that one instrument…..NOW…….can explain it to their better half. She bought it!!!!!!! Of course, to avoid any possibility of being perceived as misogynistic you must make this optional excuse available to all of your customers in your upcoming seminar on “How to Justify Discretionary Spending on Must Have Instruments and Gear”…..*:)

  14. Larry Chisholm

    Hi Tony, I have always gone with the saying : My back up guitar.
    My travel guitar. Of course everyone needs a 12 string guitar. Yes! I have four (4) acoustic electric guitars. If I may list them:
    1. Guild D-55 acoustic electric
    2. Guild JF65-12 string acoustic electric
    3. Takamine GD93CE acoustic electric
    4. Fender CD140CE acoustic electric
    I still feel like a need another acoustic electric guitar. What should I use for a reason? Give me a list of ideals!

  15. Norman Milan

    I haven’t played professionally for a number of years now although I still get up and belt out a number now and again for the fun of it. I do spend copious time tinkering with home recording tunes I have written over the years (and the odd cover). I don’t collect guitars but I have a variety to suit my requirements (1 classical, 2 six strings, 1 twelve, 1 electric 6, as well as a bass and a mandolin). My wife doesn’t get the difference from one guitar to the next so some tact is required when adding to the herd. Most recently I picked up an SS-D35-13 (#6 of 30). I had been shopping for a second acoustic 6 string (besides my classical) to compliment the tone of my older model Taylor 614CE on recordings using 2 acoustic guitars. This Martin was one of the first I played in my quest and it was hands down the best sounding guitar that I have ever played (a sentiment echoed by literally everyone to try it since) but the price was prohibitive so it was back on the rack. Some weeks later I happened into the same store to inquire about possibly ordering a custom Taylor-Big Body and while there picked up the Martin and had my breath stolen again briefly before, once again, replacing it on the rack. During my conversation with the sales rep I noticed some other folks taking it down and playing it and was sort of bothered by that like the father of a 15 year old girl when the boys come calling. As it happened it was Black Friday so everything in the store was 15% off. In addition to that factor, my wife was out of town for a few days visiting her sister in California. The stage was set so I seized the opportunity and bought it then and there.
    When I got home I sent a text to my wife thanking her profusely for her “unbelievable kind thoughtfulness and generosity”. “It’s the best early Christmas gift ever!!!”
    “What did you do?” she asked.
    I explained and she told me I was out of my mind. However, since she was out of town, I did not get a frying pan up side the head and since she had a couple of days to digest it, by the time she got home she was already to the “acceptance” stage. Soon she even took to liking it, probably because it looks nice but hey…

    There is also the logical justification:
    I recently bought a car for my wife which cost about $35,000. My guitar was just over $7,000 after tax and Black Friday discount.
    I have absolutely no doubt that I will spend more time with and get more mileage out of the guitar which is likely to appreciate in value while the car already has and will continue to depreciate. The guitar will be around to be enjoyed by generations to come long after I have faded from all memory while the car is likely to be scrapped in my lifetime.
    Any questions?

  16. John

    A number of years ago, I traded in my Martin for a new and better Martin. My then wife, now ex, would not have been to pleased at the extra $1,000.00 that I spent on the new one so I simply brought the new one up nto the cottage with me on Friday night and began to play. She of course did not notice any difference. Because I am honest and have a great deal of difficulty not telling the truth, I did finally told her on Sunday as I was leaving for home. She was not too pleased but all was well in the end.


  17. Rick Andersen

    I proudly showed my wife my new Martin one afternoon and she looked at me and said, “if you bring home another girlfriend, we’re getting a divorce.” Even though she would spend an amount equal to my guitar purchase, a few months later, I was served. That was 11 years ago and I no longer have to beg for permission when I want a new guitar. Thank goodness!

  18. Marcel Gauthier

    The strings on all my other guitars are completely worn out…

  19. Jeremy G

    This is a great piece, Tony. My primary negotiation tactic is : ” I’ll pay for it with the money I make playing in the band”. That usually gets me through most of the time, but I have to be careful not to over play my hand. I have scored a barely used Taylor 414ce and an Amercan standard shawbucker strat this year with that very tactic. I got the bug for the Taylor by watching your reviews, so my fall back is to blame you. Keep up the great work!

  20. Tony

    I used the sad puppy dog tactic as well as the “see how cool it is” tactic. Then I inherited a banjo from my dad and my best friend gave me his first electric guitar. As I live on a boat it soon became apparent that I could not fit anymore guitars on board. So now her plea for a house is making more sense to me……Hey wait!!! I think she just used her “I want a house and when we get one you can have all the guitars you want” tactic…..Now for house hunting 1 0 1.

  21. Jim W.

    I may be old but I have never forgotten my inner child. When negotiating with the wife and fielding the obvious “You already have several, and you don’t need another” reasoning I just back off. I then start constantly researching the desired item, leaving music store magazines open to that page and playing YouTube videos of it anytime she is in the room. I appear to be deeply engrossed, and yet somewhat depressed. Eventually she will inquire as to my demeanor and realize I am truly struggling with this. It is then music to my ears. “Honey, if you want it that bad go ahead and get it. I don’t like to see you this way.” I am now working on a new amplifier and I have just about worn her down.

  22. Ju

    My husband is amazing! He either lets me buy my new need or will ask questions about what could be my new need and it will appear in the house…

    I don’t have to be a ninja negotiator yet!

    1. Mike Ollendorf

      Wow ,another “enabler ” I feel better knowing I’m not the only one! I’m trying to talk her into a cigar box guitar now. She doesn’t play slide. …..yet!

  23. glenn

    Have a friend call and leave a message on your answering machine saying that you have won the free guitar from Joe’s Guitar Shop…..then all you do is buy the guitar you want and proudly bring it home

  24. Alan S

    Well, it was my 20th birthday this september, and I bought myself a Gibson SJ200. It was my perfect excuse for loaning almost $4000 as a gift for myself. However for the past 2 months, I also got myself a Southern Jumbo, a Gretsch Duo Jet, and a White Falcon.. My parents were so pissed since I bought everything through loan… And My excuse was… “These are investments, its all made of wood! And do you know what does that mean? After 10 to 20 years, these will all costs double in the market! These will be all vintage friggin guitars!”….
    My parents faces was so shocked, and my dad told my mom “i told you, it wasnt a bad decision!” Hahaha

  25. Tim Hansen

    It was a very cold Christmas season, and my wife and I were very poor. We had no money with which to buy each other even the least expensive bauble. But my wife had long beautiful hair that flowed down to her waist, and I had a beautiful ancient solid gold pocket watch which had been in the family for generations. My wife was always lamenting the fact that the watch was attached to a cheap worn out leather fob that seemed liable break at any moment. Well, she got the idea to sell her beautiful tresses in order to buy a fabulous solid gold fob and chain for my precious watch. And I in turn mortgaged the house to buy a prewar 1942 martin D-45 for her to play, even though she’d never played a lick in her life. And you were probably thinking that I had sold the watch for some stupid hair combs didn’t you?
    Not a chance. I’m going to miss her……

  26. Rob

    First off, I think this board might make for a nice singles bar. Imagine if the men and women of this board were to join together in marriage, why there would be guitars in every room of the house with price tags still on them!

    Fortunately, my SO never says much. She has her own art projects taking up space in nearly every room and I have guitars on stands and in cases in my office and in the living room and she never says a word about it, except to compliment the beautiful burst on one or how she loves the new strap I picked up to go along with it. When I’ve suggested, perhaps, I should sell one, she actually says, “Well, only if you won’t miss it.”

    Because she’s so accepting of my interests, I’m accepting of hers. And it makes me police my own impulses. I have roughly 20+ electrics and acoustics and I’ve sold a few in order to make room for others. I buy largely Martin, Gibson and Fender because the resale prices are excellent, often resulting in break-even or even a profit.

    Getting a decent chunk of change for a guitar that I enjoyed playing–but am no longer in love with–makes it even easier to obsess on a new one. Of course, some are keepers right from the start and will never leave the fold, but finding one you’re no longer in love with is a great way to ensure new wood (or vintage wood, as is more likely) is always on the way in.

  27. Bruce

    First, NEED has nothing to do with it. It’s about WANT. My ex wife told me I could only have 7 guitars. Now I’m happily divorced and have 30 guitars:->

  28. Jay Woffnbos

    Hi there all – I´m from SouthernBavaria/Germany………….

    I do have about 35 guitars – sometimes I try to sell one, but instead I buy a new one.
    Shure – thats no tactic at all……in the first moment….but its a tactic, if I´d like to have more guitars. If not, its a bad tactic at all I guess.
    Its like drinkin beer……….I better should drink less…..instead drinkin the nxt one now.
    Thank God – I´m a brewer …………… but what makes me thinkin is…….im no guitarplayer .
    I play the piano……………..
    I hope that passes…………..

    good luck to you all…………Dschaei

  29. Scott Hunter

    My guitar acquisition problem (GAP?) is a little different — and worse. Because, for medical reasons, I haven’t been able to work for about 25 years, my wife pays for everything, while I plug away at making sure the house is clean, cooking the food we eat, and, when they were still at home, serving as chauffeur, at-home counsellor, etc. to our two boys (“boys”!; they are 34 and 31!). Still, to give you an idea of what a wonderful wife she is, I now own ten guitars, including three excellent Martins, the Garcia classical I played for 40 years, a mini-jumbo (I call it an “oxymoron”) that I built for myself, and three old cheapos from the ’60’s that I restored (I’m not counting the two other axes that I am still restoring for others).

    This does not prevent the “Do you really need a new guitar” question (actually, it’s more like “You DO NOT need a new guitar!”), so I have formulated a compromise strategy that has worked pretty well. Now, when I buy a new guitar, I sell one of the old ones, keeping my GAS satisfied, while keeping the numbers the same. If I can manage this during a time when she is especially busy at work (she’s the founding head of a school in San Francisco, so busy!), sometimes I can replace a less expensive guitar with one that costs considerably more. I have hopes of doing this next, replacing a lower-end Recording King with some kind of resonator guitar. Wish me luck!

  30. doug

    About 3 years ago, I walked into the music shop and fell in love with the Martin d-15m. I couldnt afford to drop $1200 on a guitar at the time, so i just left the shop. Depressed. That guitar stayed on my mind for the next 2 years. I had to have it. So I explained to my siginificant other that my my 20 year old samick was my first acoustic, but that it wasnt much of a guitar, and that when i turned 40, id like to at least have a really nice guitar.
    Basically my Martin d-15m was my 40th birthday present to myself. Went over with no drama. She was actually supportive and agreed.

  31. Vince

    At my age,62…I’m going to get what I want.Didn’t get this kinda stuff when I was younger.Couldn’t afford it them.Now that I can…..don’t know how much longer I’ll be around,so live life to the fullest…enjoy!

  32. Ju

    My husband is the most understanding man ever. He lets me buy them or will get me one. All I have to say is vocalize the model…

  33. Diane

    My husband has always been good about things. But my problem is a bit different now. I’ve started building guitars and I’ve got the bug and I have to justify buying the wood and components. Luckily he’s into wood working, and I’ve found a treasure trove of really old, cured, native woods with great figure and outstanding tap tone. Now, I have HIM hunting the wood. It’s called reverse psychology, and it works every time!

  34. Jeff

    I just added a new Taylor 320e to my collection. My tactic was simple. I mentioned to my wife that our flatscreen tv cost us the same ($1200), and it will only last 10 years. My Taylor will last forever and will be passed down to my children.

  35. Brian Keeton

    I’m lucky enough to have two sons who also play guitar (17 & 10). I always say that I’ll pass on a certain guitar to my boys when they outgrow the last one, graduate high school, or whatever. It works great! And I might just follow through…if I have to 🙂

  36. Richard

    My wife has more shoes than a department store. That has always been my bargaining chip. I used the ninja tactic once 3 years ago with a j-45 custom. Got caught, did not go well!!!

  37. Chris H.

    Last winter, my wife and I were at the mall and found ourselves in a toy store. We are both in our 50s, but neither of us has grown up. We were browsing the jigsaw puzzles and found a 1000 piece one that was a collage of Fender electric guitars and a tweed covered amp. We figured it may be a good way to pass away the cold winter evenings. She asked me if I had a Fender guitar. I simply said ‘No’. As we continued on the puzzle, she asked me about the largest guitar in the collage (a Fender American Standard Stratocaster). I told her the names of the big 1970’s rock bands that played Strats. Nothing more. As we completed more of the puzzle, she asked me about the other models, but kept coming back to the AS Strat. Again, she asked me if I ever thought about getting a Strat (looked beautiful to her). Again, I downplayed it and simply said ‘No’. She asked me if it came in other colors besides brown sunburst, since I already had a brown sunburst (Gibson Les Paul). I said I wasn’t really sure (YES!!! in Sienna Sunburst, Rosewood fingerboard, Custom Shop pickups…etc.). But I never let on. By the time the puzzle was finished, framed and hanging on the wall, I had a Fender American Standard Stratocaster – Sienna Sunburst, Rosewood to play while admiring the new puzzle picture.

    The Fender amp was a real challenging part of the puzzle to put together. The tweed pattern was very tiny and repetitive, so finding the pieces that matched was hard. It was the very last part of the puzzle we put together. I explained to her the old style tweed vacuum tube amp is a throwback to the 1960s and is still popular today. Once framed, it really looked good.

    Then, my wife said, ‘You don’t have a tube amp, do you?’ I simply said ‘No’….

    And THAT’s how you do it.

    1. Brad C

      You my friend, have style, patience, and cunning. You made HER want that guitar for you!! Check out my answer below. I kinda do the same thing, but not as good as you did!

  38. Jim

    As a session cat, I have to please the person(s) writing the check. Sometimes, even if I can get the sound on a Junior (one P 90), I would bring an Esquire (one single coil). If the producer or the artist smiled when I brought out the “right” guitar, my job was halfway finished. Due to this, I have aquired a lot of guitars.
    Then there was the time I went out and bought two Korina guitars (Hamer USA) I really didn’t need them, but since I couldn’t get the real deal *Gibson”, this was close enough, and the sound is close, besides, when was the last time you played a ’59 V or Explorer? This would fall into the ninja style.
    By the way, this works for any other instrument as well.

  39. John Collyer

    This is brilliant because the question keeps cropping up here in the house. I have 21 fine acoustics and my wife always says….’do you REALLY need another guitar. How many can you play at the same time’, and my answer is ‘how many pairs of earrings can you wear at the same time, or watches, or rings? It doesn’t seem to get me anywhere though. But, hey, I don’t smoke (20 fags a day equals one new high end guitar a year), I don’t use dope of any kind (significantly more new guitars each year), or gamble, or drink (well, no more than my doctor). So, the only problem with my addiction is not the guitars but the space that the cases take up.
    But I said to my wife I have had this little ‘problem’ for the last 40+ years so I aint gonna change any time soon.
    Keep picking it and it will get better!

  40. George

    I use the same tactic as my wife uses with me when a Dress comes out of the wardrobe and I say that I haven’t seen that one before. To which she always replys , ” I’ve had it years just never worn it”
    Mmmmmm had it years love just not played it much

  41. Will C.

    I have GAS. I can’t help it! The good part is, my wife is supportive of this!? Can you believe it? Only have four guitars which I tell myself is certainly enough. Right.

    1. John Collyer

      Wrong……..its a simple rule ……..if you know how many you have, you don’t have enough.

  42. Jim Snyder

    I’ve pointed out the investment value of a cared for instrument compared to the stock market, which has been basically flat this year. I’m relying on this tactic for sweet little 12 fret small bodied beauty.

  43. Maurice Condie

    Live in a separate house and financially independent of your partner, and then you can answer the question “How many guitars do you need”? with the answer “One more”! Works for me ☺

  44. George

    Perhaps I have an addictive personality. It used to be handloading and shooting. Now it is plalying and “investing” in guitars for future appreciation. My wife loves me. That’s the most important thing. Next, I have used many of the techniques already mentioned. However, I have had to keep getting creative as nothing works forever. Confusion works now, as she can’t keep one from another. One creative long term solution is to encourage your children to have more grandchidren. That way, each one needs a guitar legacy as they will be a great guitar player because grandpa passes on a family heirloom. Actually each grandchild now is getting 2-3 guitars . . . . . (of course each of my kids and in-laws will be getting one or two)

  45. Jack

    This is the best topic I have seen in a very long time! My wife often replies…why so many guitars, you can only play one at a time!
    List of Reasons:
    1. I don’t play golf.
    2. I don’t gamble.
    3. I don’t go to strip clubs (rarely).
    4. I don’t drink heavy.
    5. I don’t watch sports all Sunday afternoon.
    6. I don’t care about expensive clothes, watches, etc…
    7. I don’t go to the spa with my friends and get my hair done every week.
    8. I do make a good living.
    9. I do play music together with my 14 daughter and 11 son. -Something they will remember forever!
    10. If you take care of them (quility guitars), they will take good care of you!

    I have at least 10 more but I think I have made my point.


  46. luc

    Just de-tune and un-set your guitar so that it sounds aweful. Then sing her favorite love song. Say Nothing, but wait for her reaction. It might take a little while, but eventually she will ask you what’s wrong. And of course you have the solution!
    Love is a dirty game, but if you play it right, you will both benefit

  47. Robert

    Believe it or not, I never have a problem with this. My wife and I have a music ministry that she is the keyboard player. I never have to give a reason, but I do have to make sure that the funds are available, and not taken from monies needed to survive

  48. Jon-Nolan Paresa

    It’s my Christmas gift, but she says Christmas is six months away. I answer, I know!

  49. Jon-Nolan Paresa

    If you have to ask, you’ll never understand!

  50. Gary

    OK how about this?
    I really need this guitar and if I encounter any interference, they will never find the body parts.
    A bit radical but effective.

  51. BigPapaK54

    I’m single. My fourth Martin lefty is on order… 🙂

  52. Profile photo of David C
    David C

    This worked for me: A friend of mine needs cash to move house. I bought his guitar with the understanding that he will buy it back when he has the money. She ultimately forgets all about it.

  53. Profile photo of Wendy M
    Wendy M

    Alrighty, I just had this opportunity crop up. I have been obsessed with the GS mini ever since this wonderful owner of a music store in Ashland, Or took one look at me and practically threw the GS mini mahogany into my hands. Love at first sight, I tell you. My sweetheart was there and she actually took an interest (for the record she could care less about guitars and I hear the “You already have 4 guitars you hardly play” every time I bring up the GS mini). Step 1: Make sure to leave computer open with reviews of the GS mini and always have some amazing guitarist on youtube playing the blues on the GS mini looped on repeat. Step 2: Talk about all the details of how different the guitar is until she glazes over and starts flipping through more interesting things on her phone. Step 3: Explain how the cost is no where near the cost of bigger guitars and how this one is perfectly made for my itty bitty hands. Step 4: Talk about how this guitar is the link to me fulfilling my dream to be a blues guitarist ;). Just for the record, I am getting the GS mini mahogany for Christmas. I found out she was plotting with friends to surprise me. In order to make sure I got the one I wanted (remember she doesn’t know anything about guitar differences). I practiced a ninja move, took one of my guitars for a trade in and put that beautiful sounding guitar on layaway. I saved her some money and all she has to do is go pick it up!!!

  54. Profile photo of Tony P
    Tony P

    To all who have commented and those that will, this thread is awesome!!! I have continued to laugh every day since this was posted 🙂 I am loving the tactics and the stories that go along with them you have all shared. You all are incredible!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share!!!


  55. Bill v

    We have an open. agreement I get what I want and I get her what she wants no questions asked. Were equal.

  56. Profile photo of Bob R
    Bob R

    I just had to explain to my wife that the guitars I’ve resumed buying after my D-18 during HS in 1971 are actually less expensive than some of the high end wrist watches I had my eyes on a few years ago.

  57. Profile photo of Mackeye

    Please keep in mind that I’m new at having to explain why I have a new guitar coming next week, but I went whole hog with my explanation. My wife and son believe I was the lucky winner of the many contests that I apply for. Yep, I told them I won it! Not sure if I’m going to hell for it or not, but I love the heavenly sound my guitar makes until that day comes.


    1. Profile photo of David C
      David C

      Awsome!! Tony is giving away two guitars in December. Guess who’s getting a new guitar in January? Now if I can just get him to send me a confirmation email. Haha!!

  58. Profile photo of Glenn A
    Glenn A

    Begging is good but not my style.
    I sent letters to Santa Clause but that didn’t work either.
    Finally, I was going to give a burnt offering to the creator. But when I picked up her cat and headed for the back yard she went nuts so that didn’t work. I did the next best thing, I sent her packing sans the cat and now both the cat and I are happy. I keep the cat in catnip and I buy what I want. There is more to this but I won’t go there right now.

  59. Mattias Wendel

    I never tried this one but I listened to Eric Clapton once and he said: You should be aware of that a really good guitar makes actually a whole lot easier to learn playing.

    1. Taylor Gibson

      And then your wife says, bmw says you should be aware that a good car makes it easier to drive.

  60. Profile photo of Ray W
    Ray W

    I use the same tactic as James T, only I call it the persistence effect. I tend to research quite a bit and play quite a bit before I decide (with one minor exception which is no longer here). When I’ve figured out what I “need” I constantly have another review or demo up on the computer. I go to the local stores to play and drag her along. And I constantly say that it’s out of the budget. Eventually, she convinces me to buy it anyway.

    It helps that my wife is a musician (flute, piano) who is learning guitar now and has a better ear for detail than I do.

  61. Steve S.

    I have settled on the “don’t ask, don’t tell, act clueless” method. I don’t ask her about her new shoe purchase, and I don’t tell her about my new guitar purchase, and if she does say something, I just act clueless to what she is talking about! This has worked perfectly through 41 years of marriage!

  62. Profile photo of jeffd

    hello all. I am lucky in a lot of ways .As my guitars have grown in price so has my playing skill.SO it is somewhat easy for me to convince my wife to go for that just one more honey.I have met some resistance with my latest efforts to buy a 714ltd. made of Black heart Sassafras .Tony’s remarks have gone a long way but at almost 6k U.S. Dollars which in Canada is closer to 8500 .I find my self having to work a little harder at getting this guitar into my collection.Maybe i should drop the 12 string i also want.Anyway i will be using some of the words of wisdom i have seen here.Thanks to those folks for some great ways to get this done

  63. Profile photo of Steve H
    Steve H

    My wife is supportive of this burgeoning addiction, so I have to convince myself that I NEED that guitar before going further. I recently bought a travel guitar on that basis. We’re away for long periods a couple of times a year and I simply miss playing too much not to have a guitar to hand.
    Of course, this doesn’t work if I ever want another high-end guitar to join my Taylor 712ce at home. I might need to try Garrett’s method on myself! 🙂

  64. Profile photo of Marty

    During the past 39 years of our marriage, we’ve learned that we are complete opposites in our likes and dislikes so, when we plan things together, we are confident that every possible outcome has been thought of and planned for. It’s comforting.

    Material stuff, after all, is just, stuff. It’s transient and hopefully will somehow enrich our lives for a time before its passed on for others to enjoy.

    So, I always buy with this in mind … that I am actually buying it for the next owner!

    With this in mind, I keep a file for every guitar, camera and computer, which contains all of the promotional documents, instructions, sales receipts, etc. as well as a write up for selling it including photos, description and pricing. I do this on the first day that I own it.

    This is how I protect our ‘investments’ and my wife has no concerns about them!

    Personally, I am very picky and do all my own, fine tuned setups of my instruments, both acoustic and electric. So, they are actually better than new.

    And I play each one of them, every day … All 13 of them, and counting! Several of these were what I’d call, “rescues” … Amazing older instruments that have fallen out of favor, or were abused, but that I’ve carefully restored back to their original glory! It’s amazing how much they seem to ‘perk up’ once restored? You don’t have to spend a lot of $$.

    Combined with TAC … Life is very GOOD and I’m enjoying it more, every single day!

    Thank you Tony et al.

  65. Profile photo of Anna K
    Anna K

    I’ve been using a “research” tactic. Kind of like Garret, but maybe a little more honest. Maybe.
    I play Tony’s guitar reviews literally everywhere. While I’m cooking, while hubby is driving, least 3 X’s a day if not 10. Hubby hears me say “Look how cool this is! But not that one, it’s too much $$$$. ” He knows when I finally say “I gotta have that one” it will be THE one. -At least until the next one. But don’t tell him.

  66. Profile photo of Brian B
    Brian B

    What a timley subject!! Im in the process of saving up for a Martin HD 35. Why you ask? I currently own a 40 yr old Guild D 40 and a 15 Yr old Guild D 55 and a Yamaha Silent Steel String Guitar ( for travel and when im on call at work – very protable ). All 3 sound great and all are different in tone. I’m learning to finger pick better and noticed that im missing something. I think the Martin has that something I want in tone and neck playability. So here comes the Tactic. ” Hey hon; Im thinking about getting a new guitar and I have saved more that 1/2 fo it. She says ” why do you need another one you already have 3 and you dont play them equilly as much – why another one? Because I looking for a sound and the Martin has it! My wife sighs and says ” I guess so ” . So the seed has been planted. My next tactic.” I work a crap load of hrs ( 50 – 60 / wk ) and will retire in 3 to 4 years and wont be able to afford it so now is the time.” ( need to be careful with that one because she will say i won’t have time to practice. ) Its a good hobby and keeps me sharp. Anyway its a way to keep her thinking while i save.
    Brian B. – Connecticut

  67. Profile photo of James T
    James T

    Pretty funny article. I use the long con tactic. I talk about the guitar non stop. Show my wife pictures, make her come to local music stores so she can experience the difference, explain in intricate detail how it’s different from other guitars.

    But I always finish by telling her it’s too much money and I’m not ready to buy it yet. Eventually she becomes so fed up with all of my talking that she is begging me to buy the guitar. Wait a couple of months and repeat.

    1. ekim

      Just go buy the guitar and say nothing. Do what I do….that is, lay a towel or old T shirt over the top edge to protect the finish from your arm & to protect your arm from the corner of the binding. Let a lot of the towel hang over and cover half or more of the top of the guitar. Do this each time you practice…soon enough, she won’t know one from the other. Be sure to clip a tuner and or capo over the logo on the head stock to create distraction & for effect…. use both if they will fit. … To most who are not into guitar, they all look pretty much the same anyway. This way you don’t have to be untruthful and you never have a fight with your girl. Cool, Calm & Collected is the way…. And just in case you are found out, say this…… “This Old Junk?….I’m thinking of getting another guitar in the next week or two, what do you think, can we swing it ?”

      My Martin 000 18 Norman Blake Signature Model arrives tomorrow 11/20/15………..

  68. Profile photo of Janet H
    Janet H

    My husband never questions anything I buy ever. I mean ever. So it puts all of the burden on me to not be crazy and mind the pennies! He is actually kind of a bad influence in that if I just browse guitars in one of our favorite music stores he will tell me “that sounds great you should get it!”. So the negotiation is with myself and I seem to have a 5 to 6 guitar limit (that includes both acoustics and electrics). If I go over that number I feel the need to sell one to make room for the new one. I think this is the happy number that I feel like I can take care of and play in regular rotation.

  69. Profile photo of coobie

    this tone taxi was hilarious because i am guilty of both tactics of which tony was referring to! lol.

    Iv had my standard martin d28 for while when i felt like “investing” in a mahogany guitar. so that’s when i purchased my 000 18 in 2014. still over a year now along with my other guitars and those black cases blend nicely together lol

    i know people here wont get fooled by these tactics!

  70. Profile photo of jeff s
    jeff s

    I trade strictly in gift futures. I go out at least one year(these hold the highest value) in all categories: anniversary, birthday and Christmas. I will put up to 3 years on the table but any more and the traders in my family find it too abstract, those far distant futures seem to have very little value. It seems that with good behavior I get credit for time served and suspension of future encumbrance. I currently have one year liability so GAS is becoming acute.

  71. Mike B

    Let me start by saying that I have a wonderful, very understanding wife. That being said, I tend to use the “I never buy anything for myself” defense when it comes to a guitar purchase. I also try to be extra helpful around the house for awhile after said purchase!

  72. HarleyJ

    I have to admit I considered using the “ninja tactic” but always felt the consequences outweighed the benefits of that plan. Now her response to my buying another guitar is “Seriously, another one?” My kids respond by saying I need an intervention. So I have used the “different tones/sounds for different genres” a few times. But seriously I have to relate this recent conversation between my wife and a good friend of mine. They ran into each other at the grocery store and when he asked what I’d been up to she told him that I’d just bought another guitar. His reaction was,” Another guitar? Really?” ( I’ve since counseled him on more appropriate responses.) He said she told him that I’d worked hard all my life to earn my retirement and she wanted me to enjoy it. God bless her. She’s a keeper.

  73. Profile photo of DeeDee L
    DeeDee L

    I negotiated by saying “Come on baby. You have 4 guitars (Kenny is his name and has been playing for 30+ years) and talking about buying another surfboard and I have 1 guitar. That’s not cool. ” It worked. Now I have to decide on the guitar. I am going to check out the Christmas sales.

  74. Donald Littlejones

    My wife and I are both retired and secure ( as long as we don’t go nuts ) although we do spend thousands on our horses every year), so when I told her that on retirement I was going to study music and learn guitar I( again),,,,their were no complaints….besides it keeps the aging grey matter active. No ninja action here…just mutual discussion and convincing.I have 2 at the moment….my original Seagull Entourage ( which I am trying to sell ) and my beloved Guild F30 Maple. A 12 string is in the works .

  75. Ave Topel

    This one came up as the honest truth. Several years ago, when my wife was questioning my need for another guitar (I keep between 10 and 12, buying and selling as I go), it dawned on me and I told her “I am a songwriter; I am an artist, and guitars are like paint brushes and paints to me. In creating my art, sometimes I need a different brush or color to achieve what I need to express.”
    The truth is, we don’t just buy guitars at a whim; rather, we have to buy guitars because that’s how we’re built. While some may call this a character defect, we who know take pride in knowing that having the right tools builds character. Guitars are my tools.
    And yes, call me guilty, but I’m proud to be a character!

  76. Profile photo of nowhere man
    nowhere man

    This is going to be a boring one. My wife is at least as smart as me, I think smarter in lots of ways, and she keeps our finances, and she is more frugal and careful with our money than I am. So my tactic is to be totally honest and talk to her about it. And by the way, this has kept me from buying several guitars that I thought I really needed.

  77. Scott Wilson

    I’ve found using the “it’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission” tactic has produced the best results (i.e. got the new toy). BUT, it has also resulted in my coming home to a bunch of new furniture a time or two has my much better half plays the game well too!

  78. Profile photo of Dom T
    Dom T

    Simply put, and as many TAClanders already know, my wife WANTS me to have more guitars, or whatever I want. We aren’t rich, by any means, but we are secure, She still works very hard and very long stressful hours in IT support as a Sr Manager, for a top-end online company and the holidays are coming. People at her company have been divorced over the hours they been forced to work for ‘peak period’. I am retired/disabled IT. I did the same thing for my whole life. Bottom line is, we want each other to have whatever we want, within reason. I am better off (safer) in a musical instrument store, alone than with her. I have walked out many times after just browsing. If Sharon is with me, I am usually carrying a black case out the door with me. God I love that woman 😉

  79. Profile photo of Jeff K
    Jeff K

    I’ve done my share of ninja work, but in a small apartment, that has its limits (effects pedals!). When I got my Martin, I had just cashed a stack of 40-year-old savings bonds from when I was little, so I was able to cushion the blow. I also do a lot of selling on Amazon and eBay, so I’m pulling money back in from past purchases, and I’m always sure to tell my wife when an old out-of-print book suddenly sells for $120. All that “free money” (which is really just a partial refund on junk I’ve already bought) helps.

    On my soon-to-be-ninja’d list: a McKinney-Elliott capo, and maybe a couple too-expensive picks.

  80. Profile photo of Melisa R
    Melisa R

    I use the “I know more about guitars than you” tactic. I’ve whipped out the old “but this guitar does totally different things than the other. I need it to balance out the other guitars.”

    It has worked, so far anyway.

  81. Profile photo of Karol D
    Karol D

    I got my husband into golf and I never complain about how much money he spends, in fact I encourage it. That way he can’t complain about my hobby.

  82. Profile photo of Stephen M
    Stephen M

    Guilt: “But I haven’t bought a pair of pants or even new shoes in years. My truck is a 1997. I could easily go out and buy a new car which would cost 10 times as much as this moderately priced three thousand dollar guitar and no one would think twice about it. ”

    Honesty; “I have mental problems.”

    Enticement: “Think about how much happier we will all be if you just look away. Just pretend this isn’t happening. I mean, we’re arguing right now, aren’t we? We don’t need to argue. We can just be happy if I do this.”

  83. Profile photo of Carol M
    Carol M

    When I bought my Taylor 812ce, my sister took one look at it and said, “It looks exactly like your other one!” (A Taylor 110). I didn’t argue with her, but I played them both for her and I think she heard a difference….
    Seriously tho, since I am single- there is no hubby or boyfriend that I need to convince. Actually the person I get the most grief from lives in the mirror! I have to convince myself that I need another guitar, and justify it. Some of my reasons have included- “My 40 year old guitar has a broken neck and I need a decent guitar to learn on now.”, or- “I’ve always wanted to learn a 12 string”, or- “I like classical music, so gotta have a nylon string”, or- “I deserve just one really high end guitar and the Taylor 812 is the most stunning and beautiful thing ever made!” Or, “I can’t take any of my guitars on a plane, so gotta get a small travel guitar!”
    OK, well I have 6 guitars now and the cats don’t seem to mind, but my spare room is getting a bit crowded with guitars. I am starting to feel “maxed out” finally…. But I still hear that inner voice shouting, “But you don’t even own one Martin guitar yet!”… And there’s that small bodied Gibson that’s still hanging in the guitar store, with the sunburst top and dark one peice back, that plays like a dream and feels like it was made just for my hands… Haven’t thought of a good reason why I need that one, except that I am totally OBSESSED by the thought!!
    I work alot of overtime and can somewhat justify the expense, but at times I think I have gone a little loco for having too many guitars? What are they going to say at the nursing home when it’s finally time to check in?? LOL!!

    1. Profile photo of Jeff K
      Jeff K

      Carol, can I help you negotiate with yourself? If you get a Martin CEO-7, you’re getting that Martin you’ve always wanted AND it’s practically a cousin of that small-bodied Gibson. Problem solved!

      1. Profile photo of Carol M
        Carol M

        Jeff, you are AWESOME!! That certainly does kill 2 birds with one stone- I will have to check that Martin CEO7 out…. As I still have a touch of GAS, even after just buying my Taylor GS Mini. I would probably have to wait until the new year since I have already purchased 3 this year… I will just have fun shopping for a few months while I am saving my overtime checks!!!!

  84. Profile photo of Steve A
    Steve A

    One tip I have is your SO’s concern or objection might not be what you think it is – turned out my wife didn’t care so much how many guitars I had, as long as I wasn’t creating ‘clutter.’ So my challenge is to keep them neat and tidy; which isn’t easy at this point but at least I am focusing on her core issue.

    1. Taylor Gibson

      Bingo! A man who actually listens to his wife! My worst nightmare is the guy above who has 15 guitars and he plays them ” all” “every” “day”. Yikes!

      If they aren’t all over the livingroom, your wife probably doesn’t care.

  85. Profile photo of John White - Canada
    John White - Canada

    I have prescribed to the “ninja” practice with success in the past but now I just point out “I don’t have any bad habits and it makes me happy”. Response……wait for it……….OK dear.

    John – Canada

  86. Profile photo of Lou Q
    Lou Q

    Hi Tony

    My wife and I use the same phrase, ” Hey! I have a Job.” Nuff said.

  87. Profile photo of Garrett

    Good topic. I came across this technique by mistake because I was actually thinking about saving up for a Collings OM2H with Adirondak. After much research however, I went with an om-21 ambertone for a variety of reasons many of which don’t involve the money (she doesn’t need to know the actual reasons). The Collings OM2H with Adirondak was just an expensive decoy.

    Now the whole situation is reversed and the other interested party believes I’ve come to my senses and am saving money instead of spending it. The key here is genuinely convincing the other person of your plans to blow the budget out of the water, and then actually having them “talk you into” buying an OM-21. In the end, instead of talking your significant other into it, they are the ones actually encouraging the purchase of an OM-21 ambertone (in my case).

    Call it the bait and switch, reversal, or decoy, but the key is convincing them of genuine intent of blowing your budget out of the water, “changing your mind” after “the talk”, and then getting full support for the OM-21 (or guitar of your choice that is less money than the more expensive decoy).

    1. Profile photo of Garrett

      After you’ve sold her on your intentions to buy the decoy, it helps during the talk to say “you’re right” many times. She might even pay for the OM-21 if you say “you’re right” enough times.

  88. Profile photo of Michael R
    Michael R


    The definition of negotiation suggests that there is something in it for both parties. When I buy my new Custom MV D-28 Martin with Golden Era bracing tomorrow from Chad, I know right up front that there is another price to pay other that the cost of the guitar. Since I am spending over even my own perceived spending limit, I know I will be paying for some time in marriage currency. This means that I will do what I am told without argument for about 2 to 3 weeks. I will take my wife shopping for cool clothes that look great on her without complaint or attitude. All of this will be worth the prize of flat picking on my new bad boy Martin. I am cashing in all of the chips on this one and doubling down. Gingo big or going home! No risk no reward, right? A small penance to pay for a musical addiction .
    Mike R. California

    1. Joe From Chili

      It will give you one more thing to bust over my head when you’re pissed at me.

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