what does factory second mean?

I was looking at this guitar and i didn’t understand what this meant:


This item is a Factory Second. Generally, Epiphone #2 product has been down-graded from a #1 due to a cosmetic flaw that in no way impacts the playability of the instrument. They are stamped on the back of the headstock as a “second”. This inventory is purchased as is and cannot be returned because of the cosmetic flaw but all normal warranty issues are covered.

is this a bad guitar???

5 Answers

  1. Depends on what your purpose in buying it is for. If you want a good first guitar to play and don’t care that it has a slight (or occasionally major) blemish, then it could be an incredible bargain for you. If you a collector and want a guitar in mint condition, this is a non starter. Since you are buying online, you really want to get the guitar inspected by a luthier as soon as you receive it. Sometimes a guitar that is advertised as having a blemish, will also have a warped neck, improper join, or something worse. Get it looked at right away, but if it plays and that’s all that you really care about, in the words of Garth and Wayne, ROCK ON!

  2. Factory Second

  3. Hi,

    Factory seconds are items that have small flaws that prevent retail stores from buying them, but don’t usually affect the item’s performance.

    Based on your description above, ‘cosmetic flaw’ means that there’s something about the guitar visually – it might have a scratch or a dent – but nothing that makes it ‘bad’.

    Factory seconds are sold at reduced prices and sometimes greatly reduced prices. See if you can call and get more details on that cosmetic flaw. Even if you can’t get more detail, if you can accept this as ‘character’ or something making your guitar unique, (and keeping in mind that you’ll probably add more scratches and dents anyway over time), you’re likely getting a good price.

  4. No, Epiphone Les Pauls are nice guitars. Epiphone is Gibson’s less expensive line.

    A “factory second” is a guitar with a minor flaw or blemish in the finish. As the ad says, there’s nothing wrong with the sound or playability of the guitar, its just a small minor problem with the appearance (maybe some bubbles in the finish, or something like that). But because of it, Epiphone sells these “factory second” guitars at a discounted price to Sam Ash, and Sam Ash is selling them at a discounted price to you.

  5. https://shorturl.im/axajW

    Check them over carefully. Factory seconds means that they were rejected for some minor defect.

Relevant information

Nothing in life is ever perfect. This is a truism that applies to manufacturing as much as it does to everything else. Serious flaws in the manufacturing process result in a product that’s unusable, but smaller flaws may only represent an inconvenience. Products with these minor flaws can still be sold at a discount as factory seconds, which is great if you’re the buyer but not so good if you’re the manufacturer.


Factory seconds are typically products with minor manufacturing flaws that mean they can’t be sold for full price.

A Working Definition of Factory Seconds

Every industry and every company has its own standards of what’s acceptable in a product. Those standards vary pretty widely depending on the product itself. Inexpensive plastic toys may have very broad standards of acceptability, for example, while parts destined for a nuclear reactor or an orbital vehicle are manufactured to very high standards of precision.

For most products, being classed as a factory second is the result of minor cosmetic flaws that don’t affect their function or durability. More serious defects generally result in the product being scrapped or, where possible, being melted down or broken down and reused to manufacture new products.

The Example of Tires

Tires provide a fine example of the difference between manufacturer seconds and outright factory rejects. Tires are made through a high-heat, high-pressure molding process, and when the tires are unmolded, they’re given a stringent inspection to identify any flaws. If there’s a flaw affecting their function or performance, the tires must be scrapped by law. In that case, the rubber is recycled as raw material. If the flaws are cosmetic only, the tires can still be Department of Transportation certified and sold to consumers, though blemished tires, or “blems” for short, are treated as factory seconds and sold at a discount.

Seconds Can Provide Great Value

For value-conscious buyers, the frugality of buying seconds is compelling. Usually, the products’ flaws are not much different from the normal wear you’ll put on them within the first few weeks. Factory second shoes and clothing may have the smallest of imperfections in their stitching or molding, for example, which can only be seen from up close.

Electronics may have discoloration or scratches from the molding process or from being previously unboxed. The savings can be substantial. On the websites of Dungarees.com and popular retailer Sierra Trading Post, seconds can be found at discounts of 40 percent or more.

Businesses Can Benefit as Well

Factory seconds can be a great money saver for businesses if you’re prepared to dig for them. When you’re first setting up your office, you can save on your computers and electronics, your desks and office chairs and decor pieces for the office and reception areas.

On the practical side of things, you might find discounts on anything from the tires on your vehicles to the coveralls you provide to your maintenance staff. Almost anything you can think of is available from someone as a factory second, from the wristbands sold at amusement parks to the molded plastic handholds used for indoor rock-climbing walls.

It’s Not Ideal for Manufacturers

Although seconds are great for the customer, they’re not so pleasant if you’re the manufacturer. Any product that’s sold at a discount represents lost revenue and reduced profit since their cost of production is just as high as it is for the flawless products you’ll sell at full price.

Outright factory rejects are even worse since you pay the full cost of manufacturing but get nothing back except potentially the product’s value for scrap or recycling. There’s no easy answer to reducing or eliminating manufacturing flaws, though there’s a wealth of information and a raft of new technologies to help you refine your production processes.

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