First of all you'll want to look down the length of the neck of the guitar to see if it is warped or twisted, a little bow in the neck can be corrected but a twisted neck will need replacement. Next you'll need to examine the bridge to make sure all parts are functional there. This includes the whammy bar mechanism located under the plate on the backside of the guitar. Make sure the springs that hold this mechanism together are in good working order. Next you'll want to play something on it. Plug it in, turn on the amp and listen to see if you like the sound of it, fool with the pickup switch to make sure it is working and listen to the pickups to make sure they work and see if you like the sound of them. Next, you'll need to decide if you like the feel of the guitar when you play it. That's pretty important because if you don't like the feel of it, you probably won't want to play it very often. Aria has made some high quality guitars, and some that are also unimpressive, so you'll need to decide for yourself if this is the guitar you've always wanted to own. Best of luck!