I've heard tales before of people finding guitars in the garbage and always wondered why I couldn't have such luck...until this weekend when I found this 1999 Yamaha CG-90SA. (before and after pics included).
I went out on a bike ride in the morning. I actually wasn't planning on going for one but it was an nice out and I didn't want to waste it. At about 40 minutes in, I'm cruising down an alley and what do I see lying on the ground next to some trash cans? A guitar.
I stop and think, "No way. This must be a piece of junk." I look at it and see it's kinda nice, actually. I see the tag in the sound hole and see it's a Yamaha. OK, not bad. I race home to google if it's worth it. I found scant info, but I decided it was. So I raced back with my car and sang it.
I could tell from the dust on it and its dryness that it hadn't been outside for very long (oh, good). There was some pencil or crayon on the back, some other gunk, the fret board was nasty, it had rusted steel strings on it, and there was a name illegibly scrawled on the front of the headstock in ink. Couple of dings, but nothing terrible.
I spent a good hour and a half giving it some TLC (which I will skip now but can detail later if anyone really cares). Then I needed strings. I've never owned a nylon string guitar, so I didn't have any lying around. It was either go to guitar center, with OK prices and a selection 20 minutes away, or go to the dumpy independent store with slim selection 5 minutes away. I called the closer store, they had a set of what I looked at but more expensive ($8 + change compared to the $5 at GC). I decided to go with them because I'd burn the difference in gas. Well, I'm glad I did because they rang up the strings wrong and I only paid $3.69 for them! The guitar gods were in a giving mood this day. Anyway, I strung it up and it sounds pretty good. It plays nice, but I might shave down the saddle piece a bit.
I've wanted to get a classical for a couple years now, and for the low investment of $3.69 for the strings and some elbow grease, I've got a nice one. Not top-of-the-line or anything, but nice. So thanks to whoever tossed this out. I'm glad I was able to save it from going to the dump. I'm glad I decided to go on that ride and not be a lazy ass all day.
TL;DR: Found guitar in the trash, cleaned/fixed it up. Now have cool free guitar.