With all the many merchants selling guitars online these days, it is very convenient to buy. It isn’t even necessary to leave your home. Simply enter your credit card details, and in sometimes less than a day, it’s on your doorstep.
But even with the trust level of consumers increasing every year, some people are still a bit nervous to buy. Guitars are a somewhat delicate item also, surely shipping one could damage it?
There are many questions to ask before buying a guitar online. There is also the decision of going new or used. .
Table of Contents
- Is Buying a Guitar Online a Good Idea?
- Can You Buy a Guitar Without Trying It?
- Guitar Purchase Reviews
- Which Website Is Best For Buying a New Guitar?
- Which Site Is Best for Buying a Used Guitar?
- Questions To Ask When Buying a Used Guitar Online
- Things To Expect After The Guitar Arrives
Is Buying a Guitar Online a Good Idea?
In theory, buying a guitar online is probably the best idea ever created, the convenience is brilliant! Plus there are far more options and better stock than most music stores carry.
But like most things in life, there are pitfalls. Now that isn’t to say your experience will be poor. A majority of people who buy online have great experiences! But it is best to keep the proper perspective and do some due diligence before you buy.
Trustworthy Guitar Merchants
There are plenty of trustworthy platforms to buy from online. Some are more trustworthy than others depending on if you are buying new or used. But even platforms that sell used guitars are designed to protect the buyer.
In a lot of cases, some relics or older classics can only be bought as used. So depending on what you are looking for, you may need to visit a used guitar platform. Reverb.com is a website that deals with both new and used gear.
They are trusted by millions of players to both buy and sell gear. They have created their platform to make sure both parties are satisfied before any money changes hands.
And because you can buy and sell from anywhere in the world, the selection of guitars is so much better!
There are plenty more platforms online that do similar things for their customers. We will touch on more later in the article.
Risky Guitar Purchases
On the other hand, there are also platforms that are a bit more risky. Classifieds in some cases offer delivery of used gear that may not always be what it seems. We have all heard of scam artists online who fool people into shady deals.
Classifieds are not always a bad idea however, as they can sometimes land great deals! Not everyone sells on platforms like Reverb.com and will in a lot of cases hit the classifieds.
And so when dealing with any online classified ads that are not able to be vetted, make sure to do a good deal of due diligence. Ask a lot of questions, and if anything seems odd, move on.
- Ask questions about the guitar
- Ask the location of the guitar
- What condition is the guitar in
- How old and what shape
- Find out where it originated from
- Ask about the seller
- Find out what the terms are
- And make sure to know the payment options
Can You Buy a Guitar Without Trying It?
Trying anything first before buying is always preferred. There is no doubt. This is the method to which we can rest assured that we are getting what we expect and nothing less.
And so whenever possible, I would always suggest that you try it first before you buy.Trouble is, this is not always the case.
We have bought and received PLENTY of guitars and gear over the years that were bought online. Yes it is true, sometimes we have gear arrive that has been damaged. Whether during shipping (which is normally the case) or damaged during manufacture.
But in almost all cases these issues were resolved quickly and efficiently, by the other party or the shipping company.
But what if the guitar itself is just no good? There are ways to find out for sure before you buy!
Guitar Purchase Reviews
If you have ever shopped for anything online, you know the power of the review! Normally the first thing most people do before even reading the description is look at the reviews. This lets us know whether or not the product is good.
But are they always accurate?
In my experience, there are a lot of people who leave negative reviews for silly things. I’m sure you know this to be true as well.
But what happens when the product is a killer guitar but was damaged in shipping? Is that worthy of a bad review? I don’t believe so. The fact is, the instrument might be one amazing instrument that might fit you like none other!
If we take the review at face value, we might lose an amazing experience from a great guitar!
Guitar Review Examples
Let’s take a look at a few reviews that people have left on some Amazon listings. These are decent guitars and have their place for certain players. Beginners are less likely to want to spend a few thousand on an instrument before they learn how to play well. And so there are some that are priced accordingly that are great instruments.
But when people leave bad reviews for silly reasons, it may make us miss a good buy. Let’s look at a few and see how we should handle them.
In this review, the buyer doesn’t really share why he left the negative feedback. What exactly was wrong with the guitar that it needed at tech to look at it?
If he is claiming this to be a beginner model then he obviously has some requirements for his play ability. And that is good! But a seasoned player should not be surprised that a set up would be required.
The guitar has probably begun to adapt to the new climate which would deem the set up necessary. This is not something that deserves a negative review. It doesn’t help potential buyer at all! What he should have done was leave a review based on the over all quality of the guitar after the set up.
This type of review is one to disregard in my opinion.
While it is unfortunate that this buyer had issues with the guitar, there are some problems with his review. Discrediting the brand completely because of the issue is just not called for.
A beginner looking for a guitar will now assume this brand is producing poor quality instruments. When in fact the opposite is true! The buyer also doesn’t mention whether or not they gave the brand anytime to resolve the issue.
This would be another review to disregard. Unless they are also confirming customer support problems, it isn’t worth considering.
Another review with no actual helpful insight. Now i can understand that it is inconvenient to have issues with a product, but a review like this is just not worth it.
I am sure i don’t need to explain this one to you, there is no information here to consider this helpful.
So when considering guitar reviews, and you see negative feedback, always take it with a grain of salt. There are some very helpful negative reviews, but they need to be thorough and descriptive. Blowing off steam doesn’t help potential buyers.
Which Website Is Best For Buying a New Guitar?
Today there are countless places to buy musical instruments online. Some are better than others, but in almost all cases you will have a good experience. Depending on where you live, your choices might be lighter. But almost everyone can be reached by a delivery service.
We are going to look at a few of our top choices for guitar purchases. These are companies that strive to make sure their customers have the best experience. And so if you’re buying an instrument, you may want to look into one of these companies.
Guitars At Amazon
Amazon is pretty much a household name these days. Most people in the world have a credit card saved with them. Their customer service is top notch and they strive to make sure the experience is a good one. Even at the expense of the seller.
So as a buyer, not only can you find a huge selection of guitars on their website, but they will make sure you are satisfied to the best of their ability!
Not only that, but Amazon now has a location in most parts of the world. So the possibility of getting a great guitar is almost endless.
Because Amazon does such a great job in treating their customers right, we like to suggest instruments from them. And so If you are looking to buy a guitar, be sure to look at our gear reviews as well. We have done the heavy lifting so you can grab a great instrument much faster!
Sweetwater is located in the USA and is another great option for a guitar purchase. They are one of the largest online musical instrument retailers in the US.
They are another company that strives for customer satisfaction. They have a review rating on sitejabber of 4.5 (at time of writing). And over 900 reviews!
There are hundreds of players who trust them because of the great service they get from Sweetwater. And most of the sales engineers are well educated about the products.
Guitar Center has the biggest chain of stores in the USA! They have been around for a long time and most players know the name. If you have been playing for a while you have more than likely been in a store.
Guitar center serves many players monthly with online sales. Hundreds of players buy gear online and have pleasant experiences.
Because they offer a great return policy and a trade in program, they have become a well known and safe place to buy instruments.
Thomann is another secure website that is safe and offers great customer support. They are a family business that has grown into a mega online retailer serving over ten million customers annually.
In most cases, if you live on the other side of the pond, you will use them or have done so already. They do serve customers from all over the world but are better known in the EU.
You will be well pleased when dealing with Thomann and their great customer service and selection of guitars.
Which Site Is Best for Buying a Used Guitar?
When buying a used guitar, most people think of classifieds almost immediately. And while the only way to get anything used was to use classified at one time, this has changed.
We still believe that purchasing from classified is still a great way to get gear, but only if you’re looking locally.
If you are buying a guitar online used, chances are you will be looking at something farther away. In this case, you will need to be protected.
Buying Used From Guitar Center
Guitar Center sells both new and used instruments. They have a wide range of instruments from different time periods. So if you are looking for something specific, they just might have what you’re looking for.
And the nice thing about buying used from Guitar Center is that they still honor their customer service policies.
There are many players who sell them great gear, and so if you’re looking for a used instrument, you will want to see what they have in stock.
Reverb For Used Guitars
As we mentioned earlier in the article, Reverb is also a great place to buy guitars. Not only do they sell used, but new ones as well.
They have set their website up to be somewhat of a classified type system with some added protection built in. When you purchase a guitar from them, you are buying from a 3rd party. This can be great when purchasing both new and used.
We however like to use them for used guitars primarily and keep new purchases to Amazon.
Questions To Ask When Buying a Used Guitar Online
In all cases when buying, you are under the assumption that you are getting a new guitar. And in most cases you do get what you expect, a new instrument. If there are issues, it’s easily resolved with good customer support.
But when buying a guitar online used from a classified or another player, it is good to ask many questions. You want to make sure that the deal is safe and there are no hidden elements.
Begin with some simple questions:
- Are you the only owner of the guitar?
- Has it ever been damaged or repaired?
- Has it ever been upgraded?
- Is it completely stock?
- Is it worn and if so how badly?
- Is the owner a chain smoker? (the smell may never come out)
- Are the frets in good shape?
And the list can go on. It’s also best to get some good quality pictures to help you understand the condition of the guitar. If it is only strings that need to be changed that’s easy. But if the neck is warped when it arrives, that could be a problem!
Things To Expect After The Guitar Arrives
One of the things that buyers seem to be surprised about when the guitar arrives is the set up condition. It is very possible that it won’t need one when it gets to you, this is true. But it is very possible that it will.
Guitars are sensitive to temperature and humidity levels. So much that the frets can be much sharper if the neck begins to dry out for example. This then requires redressing and probably a set up.
So you may want to budget for a set up when the guitar finally arrives. This isn’t the fault of the seller or the manufacturer, but just a natural issue of the environment. Wood responds to the environment and as a result will eventually need a set up.
So you may want to keep this in mind, a good guitar tech can do it for a small fee. Then you are sure to enjoy your instrument for the rest of the season. Depending on where you live of course.
Guitar set ups are just a part of the hobby, they all eventually need one.
So to wrap it up, yes buying a guitar online is well worth it and can provide you with a great instrument. But just like all sales and deals, you must do your due diligence first. Make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing and should expect.
If that is all in place, the odds of having a great experience are better than in person deals. But it all comes down to protecting our hard earned money by some good old research. I hope you enjoy your new guitar!