The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

August 2019 is the first KVR Guitar Month so here's a new forum for discussion of all things guitar!
tapper mike
KVRAF
5065 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:54 am

Me I think they each have merits. What about you?

User avatar
Forgotten
KVRAF
3121 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:58 am

I think I’m more likely to buy online now than I used to be.

However, some of that might be because of the demise of so many mom and pop music stores. Guitar Center is not my favorite place to go.

User avatar
Bombadil
KVRAF
4094 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Far From the Twisted Reach of Crazy Sorrow

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:08 am

Here, you buy in a shop, you get no right to refund. By EU statute, companies must provide 14 days right of return, provided the guitar is in its original condition, when you buy online. They aren't allowed to charge a 'restocking' fee, either.

I got burned a few times at a local shop. I don't mean 'ripped-off,' just the guitars revealed flaws I couldn't distinguish from playing them in a noisy shop for 15 minutes-½ hour. I was forced into exchanging these guitars for instruments I didn't want. They also didn't tell me that if I had bought online, I'd have right to a refund. I don't deal with them, anymore.

Getting a guitar online gives me the opportunity to put it through its paces, and give it as thorough an examination as I am capable of. Downside is shlepping guitars to the post office should I choose to send it back. I find that a better m.o. anyway.
“We're an Anarcho-Syndicalist commune”
Dennis

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
50008 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:41 am

shop: like an actual place you can walk in to? you still have those?
even dawsons has gone now (well the local one, not sure if lpool or manc are still open).
rushworths still exists in lpool, but it's not going to have a huge range of guitars as it's more orchestral stuff.

so, online it is.
although ive only bought the one online, the dan electro, but then that's the only guitar ive bought since internet was a thing.

User avatar
Forgotten
KVRAF
3121 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:53 am

Another way I bought a guitar was on Craigslist. Sometimes people want to meet somewhere public rather than give their home address, but it’s a great way of looking for a deal.

I bought one guitar from a guy who gave up when he didn’t make progress (a $250 Schecter for $100). All I could really do was examine it for damage and check that the neck was straight. I figured that if there was anything wrong with the electronics it wouldn’t be a huge expense.

Turned out to be in really good shape and well set up.

tapper mike
KVRAF
5065 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:19 am

GC has always been notorious for bait and switch. That happened to me not once but twice when I was looking for a Korg Krome a few weeks ago, which I then bought online.

When GC came to town many smaller shops went out of business. What's worse GC was peddling a lot of junk which required repair that they didn't offer. It turned to the mom and pops to do the repair work which was really annoying for them. GC would constantly move locations and downsize in the process.

Not all mom and pop stores were good before GC or prior to online businesses. There were quite a few that used various intimidation tactics and price gouging. (Your not going to find this anywhere else so deal with it) I don't miss the attitude at all. There are only two within an hour drive that I would consider going to. There are only two that are left where I take my business. Reasonable prices, good service, friendly staff. But they can't stock everything. This is in part to how manufacturers don't want to deal with small retail operations or distributors. As for the rest... good riddance.

Now for something Positive.... Sweetwater.

They too don't carry every brand or model but it's a pretty big selection. When you want to buy a guitar new. You want it new. No buckle rash, no odd nicks no demo models. And especially if you want an acoustic or jazz box you don't want it hanging on a wall with spotlights beating down on it.

https://youtu.be/CR4LVEvIkfc

Seriously, Never an issue one. I've purchased quite a number of things (Including guitars) Always perfect. Great Sales rep. There is nothing like going straight from unboxing to playing.

You as a purchaser are actually better served by youtube demo videos than you would ever be by trying a guitar in a store. Better sound quality (showroom floors really don't do guitars and amps justice)

Feel isn't everything, Though it's important. The first few guitars you own and your physical presence greatly affects your comfort. I love big jazz boxes. Many require higher action and some have bulky necks that I've never fully adapted to. I cant begin to tell stories of "dancing with the fat lady" when standing with a 17 inch box. Trying to get a firm grip on the neck and seeing my best licks turn to mush. I knew a lot of guys who were all about the chunky monkey. Lots of aggression little finesse but that's not me. That's why understanding specs is important.

User avatar
Forgotten
KVRAF
3121 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:56 am

Not sure if they did this near you, but years ago GC started buying the mom and pop places here, but the people running them remained. They usually got a year of life before GC closed them down.

User avatar
Bombadil
KVRAF
4094 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Far From the Twisted Reach of Crazy Sorrow

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:22 am

When I moved here late 2004, my wife didn't really know the online options. She found a relatively small local shop, downtown. I figured I would try to develop a good working relationship with the owner. First thing I needed was a replacement mic clip for my Rode NTK. So, we go in, tells me he can order it. It took about a month, but he lied to me regarding the cause of the delay. I then bought an AKG 414 from him, which turned out to be an expensive mistake, as it was pretty muffled. I bought a couple of other things from him, they were fine. Last straw was, in 2007, I was in the market for a Martin D-15. Went to his store to check it out, offered ma a decent price...except no case included. Looked it up, guitar comes with HSC. He offered me a generic case for another €45, which would've brought it up to the normal price. Further, when I was trying out the guitar, on the 2nd floor, I could hear him tell his salesman "go up there, tell him he's really good, blah, blah, blah." So the sales guy comes up and gushes over my playing. I just looked at him with a raised eyebrow. When I confronted the owner over the phone, he basically said 'take it or leave it. I left it. And that was my last time trying to deal with a small store. The owner was this oily old-school huckster, and I wasn't having anymore of it.

The other local shop, which has pretensions of being a big web retailer, I don't deal with anymore, either, but the reasons are too long for me to tap out here on my iPad. So, I generally deal with the big box sellers. I'm just a customer # to them, but anytime I've had a beef, they're pretty quick to rectify it. God only knows how much I've spent at Thomann. :help:
“We're an Anarcho-Syndicalist commune”
Dennis

reggie1979
KVRian
1384 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:26 am

If local stores carried anything worth buying, I'd buy from them. I have two that are store bought: My strat (Fender American Deluxe) and my MM bass. The other three were online (and the Caparison has to go, I'm not a metal monster, but it's really expensive so I'm nervous about selling it online)

User avatar
donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6074 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:57 am

vurt wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:41 am
shop: like an actual place you can walk in to? you still have those?
even dawsons has gone now (well the local one, not sure if lpool or manc are still open).

The one in Leeds is still open, quite big too. Pity the staff seem to be all poseur metel twats though. :x

User avatar
telecode
KVRian
1014 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:35 am

I usually buy guitar in store. I need to play them to decide if they feel right. I got a gretch lapsteel from a guy selling his on the equivalent of Craig's list here. It was a fine transaction. No issues.
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear

Image

jochicago
KVRian
590 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:47 am

I'd like to recommend shopping at a store because you get to play the instrument and walk out with one that you liked (action, finish, sound, etc) vs taking a gamble on something prepackaged. But the truth is I've had problems shopping at a store. I positively hate the obligatory conversation with a sales person that comes over to try to get me to play something so he can say I sound great and that guitar is a great fit for me.

At GC I feel I can get past that and have a real conversation with the guy, but he is not very knowledgeable. At Sam Ash there was a dude by the acoustics that seemed he knew enough to have a conversation but wasn't willing to have one, he just wanted to keep closing the circle and have me walk out with a Martin - and they didn't have the Yamaha CPX I was hoping to try anyway.

I bought my Yamaha CPX used at GC online. Got a great deal on it. But it came without the battery insert box. That was pretty annoying. Seems like the most basic level of inspection to notice that it's missing a part. I complained and tried hard to get someone to answer for it because I was hoping someone just took it off and maybe it was still at the shop. But ultimately nobody would answer or take responsibility. My option was to send it back but I was happy with the guitar so I kept it and borrowed the battery box from another Yamaha.

I do like to scout the GC online used section for treasure. They are so generally incompetent that I think you can find great deals regularly. Like a mislabeled mic, they just flat-out get the model wrong and price it as the wrong model, so you can just buy it online at the lower price.

But back to being able to shop at the store, I bought a Mexi Strat for $250 with upgraded HSS Seymour Duncan pickups. It was at a local-ish GC store within range, so I reserved it and went to check it out. If I had to do it online I would not have bought it, I thought there would be something wrong with it. But once I got there it won me over quickly. Perfectly fine player and in great shape, it was just missing the $10 plastic back cover. It sounds great, a gentle but expressive vintage 50's sound that plays to my style, much unlike a factory one. Best I can guess is they lowered the value because it was missing the back plate and because the pickups had been "altered".

User avatar
Aloysius
KVRAF
24413 posts since 11 Aug, 2008 from the Land of Soy

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:48 am

Forgotten wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:53 am
Another way I bought a guitar was on Craigslist. Sometimes people want to meet somewhere public rather than give their home address, but it’s a great way of looking for a deal. blah...
sounds well dodgy. are you sure it wasn't stolen?
Hi-de-Hi!

User avatar
Bombadil
KVRAF
4094 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Far From the Twisted Reach of Crazy Sorrow

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:01 am

That's another reason why I don't tend to buy 2nd hand. I've done it twice, both times from a long-standing member of a guitar forum, both in the €300 range.
“We're an Anarcho-Syndicalist commune”
Dennis

reggie1979
KVRian
1384 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Great Guitar Debate: Purchasing Online vs IRL

Post Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:42 am

Aloysius wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:48 am
Forgotten wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:53 am
Another way I bought a guitar was on Craigslist. Sometimes people want to meet somewhere public rather than give their home address, but it’s a great way of looking for a deal. blah...
sounds well dodgy. are you sure it wasn't stolen?
No I've done the Craigslist/Neutral location thing and it's cool. Gonna ditch all my guitars except the new one (unless I don't like it) but they are WAY too much money for Craigslist. (one of them is going to go for around 1700 bucks)

Return to “Guitars”