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damnyankee

Mail Order Sales

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Good morning, I'm new here so feel free to beat me up.

99.7% of you are better players than me but I have a pretty good ear.

Something I don't understand in today's Amazon / Ebay world.

How the heck do you buy an acoustic guitar without hearing the tone?

I bought a Yamaha 12 string 34 years ago. There were 3 of the same models

but the one I bought had a better sound.

I may be wrong, but I can sort of see it with an electric, but not acoustic.

Sorry if this has been covered before...

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There are simply no stores around where I live who carry the brands I'd be looking for. Guitar Center excursions are always a bit of a disappointing waste of time, closest ones are at least an hour away.

 

I'm not really looking for anything the stores around me would carry....

 

buy any Guitars from Amazon would be out for me, (that's just a little too iffy IMHO)

 

I'm not a fan of eBay much.. This Thread is one of the main reasons I steer clear of eBay.

 

I work with the same guy at the same online store, that I've been working with since 2005. He gets it right, and if there is a problem, he makes it go away.

 

 

And yep,, sure.. this has been covered many times but no one will (or should) dump on you for re-asking. if they don't want to join the discussion, they should move on to another thread...

Edited by kidblast

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Online mail order is really the only way to have access to a vast array of vintage acoustics, my predominant interest. I've been very fortunate and have managed to ask the right questions thus far.

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How the heck do you buy an acoustic guitar without hearing the tone?

 

Beats me. That is why I never have, and never will, buy a guitar without playing it first. I suppose you could buy from a well-known place like Guitar Center, since they give you a trial period where you can return a purchase if you don't like it. Driving an hour to a guitar store doesn't seem like much of a big deal to me. I live in a rural area where almost everything is an hour's drive anyway. ;)

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I went to the Guitar Center last weekend in Nashville. Hundreds of acoustic guitars but only a handfull sounded

good to me as far as new ones. Not talking about Gibsons, but the others. Epiphones, Taylors, Yamahas, Fenders....

Other than the Gibson's, the Martins and the Taylors were the only ones that had a sound I liked.

If money was no issue, I'd head over to Gruhns....

 

So, if I'm understanding. As long as you are getting a brand and model you know you like, it's ok to

buy without playing?

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it's ok as long as you're not stuck with a dud. This is why you'd want to use the right store with a reasonable return policy. eBay is a non-starter there if you wind up buying from a private seller, no one will "undo" the deal. The large online merchants on the other hand, will work it out with you as long as you're being reasonable and have a valid concern about your purchase.

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I'm guessing he bought it at a store and played the other two.

 

Yes I did. And after I bought it the guy that gave lessons there said, you bought my favorite 12 string!

So I guess I wasn't alone.

 

So you all have opened my eyes a bit to on line buying with good valid points! Thanks!

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When I shop old acoustics on Ebay or Reverb I enter into a long discussion with the seller. Serious buyers do that with me. I've found many/most are afficionados and will agree to give you a trial period, despite their return policy. All the conversations are through their site and they will back up any agreed upon condition. You just have to be able to communicate your bottom line. If you don't have a flexible seller you just don't buy and move on to one of the other hundreds of sellers. Is it worth the cost of return shipping to have an in home trial without driving somewhere? Works for me.

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I was able to play the one vintage guitar I own that I discovered on reverb since I happened to be in the seller's town for a wedding. For vintage purchases from a private seller I would be willing to drive up to six hours for a try out.

If the seller is a reputable dealer with a return policy, I'm willing to give it a go without playing the instrument first.

 

I have bought new guitars and newer used guitars without playing them and had no qualms about it as long as there is a return policy.

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In some ways, living here in far southern end of Australia is like living on Mars. The shops only sell what the overseas distributor gives them. For example, plain J45 or bird but rarely anything higher end. There is one ‘specialty’ acoustic shop in the whole of Australia and they do great business and get some great guitars...and while I appreciate, and love the shop....they charge like wounded bulls! [glare]

 

Another example - if I want that latest gadget, tuner perhaps, we are not going to see it on a shelf here for years. Mail order to the rescue!

 

Mail order guitars? Never again. Delivery people are ruining that fun.

 

I saw an analogy on a forum recently....which girl do you really love - the girl you bought online..ha ha.. or the girl you met locally who floored you?

 

I suppose there is a bit of the ‘grass greener over...etc’. I mean, one of my most played guitars is one made a short drive away and another is a custom made even closer! [thumbup]

 

Going to play some guitar now....

 

 

BluesKing777.

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I must lead a blessed life. My taste in guitars is so well known in certain circles that they refer to them as "Woof Guitars" meaning the type of guitars I am known to be drawn to. Having recently moved though I am pretty much cut off with emails and pics replacing the unexpected show ups. The last two were an early 1950s J-50 and a 1964 Epi Frontier. In this case, as I know the seller well, he would have shipped me one or the other for a try out but I decided against it. I was really just not in the mood to buy a guitar and did not want to go through the hassle. Had I still been living in my old haunts, yeah, both would have come home with me for a test run.

 

I have never purchased any guitar costing more than a few hundred bucks sight unseen although I have purchased guitars that were unplayable when I stumbled across them. On the other hand would I buy a Kopp K-35 or Walker Wise River, guitars I have little chance of trying out before buying? A Magic 8 Ball would say chances are good.

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a good return policy is helpful if online or mail order is your only option, choosing the right dealer can help a lot as well,also, the online choices usually include the most model and maker selection

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When I shop old acoustics on Ebay or Reverb I enter into a long discussion with the seller. Serious buyers do that with me. I've found many/most are afficionados and will agree to give you a trial period, despite their return policy. All the conversations are through their site and they will back up any agreed upon condition. You just have to be able to communicate your bottom line. If you don't have a flexible seller you just don't buy and move on to one of the other hundreds of sellers. Is it worth the cost of return shipping to have an in home trial without driving somewhere? Works for me.

 

 

^ This. I do the same. It's pretty easy to spot low ballers and tire kickers, when selling, through conversation. I have only returned one guitar

(at my expense) and that's a pretty good ratio. When selling, if I have someone who is legitimately interested, I will offer returns. I have never had a guitar come back that I have sold.

I have heard people say I tried the guitar and it had dead strings so I couldn't tell if I liked it. I can tell if a guitar has what I am looking for no matter the string age, type etc.

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Realistically, one has to face that there is no way a small music store can price match an online or big box store these days with a small volume. And, that is what it really comes down to and in this regard Henry had appropriately assessed the market. There is a small music shop by where I live and I began to notice that every time I asked about a deal price on something from them that they had in stock or had to order to get, I noticed the owner/manager would go to his office and look something up on his computer. Knowing him well, I finally asked what he is looking up. He told me Musicians Friend’s price. It was from that point on that he began to just tell me that as a loyal store owner to me, he would from there on in just tell me if he could or could not match their price. Many times it then began to be him telling me I can buy something more inexpensive from MF and that he could not match their price.

 

Just a few years later and the owner/manager now tells me that he has totally changed his business model. He said all customers had evolved to be doing is coming into his store to try a product and then going online to buy it cheaper. Or, he said, buying something from him and then returning it a week later when they realized they could buy it cheaper online because their prices are lower.

 

His store is now still in business, but stocked with only beginner guitars and the store’s main focus is now only on lessons. The Mgr/owner told he now openly tells the parents of his students and the students themselves to purchase musical equipment from MF to steer them to good deals as part of his relationship building as part of the music lessons he provides. He said his lesson business now thrives and he rarely sells one of the beginner guitars he stocks. Rather he rents them to beginners taking lessons and then steers them to MF for a better instrument as they progress with their lessons.

 

He is still in business with this new model. Time will tell how long.

 

So it’s not a matter of a manufacturer like Gibson selling to a small music store these days, It is a matter of they can’t match the prices that a buyer can easily now find and knows to look for on the internet at MF or big box stores and big box online stores.

 

This just is how it is now to a small music store. They can not directly compete against the large volume internet or big box stores or high volume sellers stores who buy in volume. And, the manufacturers can’t afford to sell a low volume store guitars at the same price as the volume stores because they’d have the costs of multiple traveling small town reps (like they used to before the internet and high volume chains or urban music centers whereas the others would be highly centralized) And, if they did incur those multiple small store sales rep expenses, customers still would check the internet stores and buy instruments cheaper after testing them in small stores.

 

It’s sad, but times have changed for small stores because of the internet and volume chains and volume urban center stores..But, it is what it is and Henry is smart to keep reassessing how guitar delivery methods are evolving to adjust his approach. And, he didn’t cause this to be, he anticipated it by seeing it coming and adjusting to it early because of his entrepreneur skills. And, now he is commenting on how many of the high volume big box stores, internet stores, and urban music center stores need to improve the buying experience not the small shop stores, which generally always provide such to stay in business. He’s now saying the volume stores need to do the same because that business and market-place is changing.

 

Just my analysis.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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Good morning, I'm new here so feel free to beat me up.

99.7% of you are better players than me but I have a pretty good ear.

Something I don't understand in today's Amazon / Ebay world.

How the heck do you buy an acoustic guitar without hearing the tone?

I bought a Yamaha 12 string 34 years ago. There were 3 of the same models

but the one I bought had a better sound.

I may be wrong, but I can sort of see it with an electric, but not acoustic.

Sorry if this has been covered before...

 

 

I've purchased 12 guitars online, 11 are keepers, and over half of those are awesome examples of those models. unfortunately for me, i always know exactly what i want before i start shopping, and usually what i want i can't find locally, with the exception of one store that is a 5 star Gibson dealer. once again, i am unfortunate enough not tone able to buy new. i do my homework, and communicate with the Sellers enough to get a sense of their ear, eye, and reputation. sometimes there is a return policy, sometimes not. i've purchased from Reverb, GC, and eBay, and couldn't be happier with my decisions. after the fact, i've sometimes had the opportunity to play the same models as mine, and honestly, mine are usually better. so... at least i'm fortunate in that respect, which is where it counts for me

Edited by seamonkey

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1520103873[/url]' post='1921176']

Realistically, one has to face that there is no way a small music store can price match an online or big box store these days with a small volume. And, that is what it really comes down to and in this regard Henry had appropriately assessed the market. There is a small music shop by where I live and I began to notice that every time I asked about a deal price on something from them that they had in stock or had to order to get, I noticed the owner/manager would go to his office and look something up on his computer. Knowing him well, I finally asked what he is looking up. He told me Musicians Friend's price. It was from that point on that he began to just tell me that as a loyal store owner to me, he would from there on in just tell me if he could or could not match their price. Many times it then began to be him telling me I can buy something more inexpensive from MF and that he could not match their price.

 

Just a few years later and the owner/manager now tells me that he has totally changed his business model. He said all customers had evolved to be doing is coming into his store to try a product and then going online to buy it cheaper. Or, he said, buying something from him and then returning it a week later when they realized they could buy it cheaper online because their prices are lower.

 

His store is now still in business, but stocked with only beginner guitars and the store's main focus is now only on lessons. The Mgr/owner told he now openly tells the parents of his students and the students themselves to purchase musical equipment from MF to steer them to good deals as part of his relationship building as part of the music lessons he provides. He said his lesson business now thrives and he rarely sells one of the beginner guitars he stocks. Rather he rents them to beginners taking lessons and then steers them to MF for a better instrument as they progress with their lessons.

 

He is still in business with this new model. Time will tell how long.

 

So it's not a matter of a manufacturer like Gibson selling to a small music store these days, It is a matter of they can't match the prices that a buyer can easily now find and knows to look for on the internet at MF or big box stores and big box online stores.

 

This just is how it is now to a small music store. They can not directly compete against the large volume internet or big box stores or high volume sellers stores who buy in volume. And, the manufacturers can't afford to sell a low volume store guitars at the same price as the volume stores because they'd have the costs of multiple traveling small town reps (like they used to before the internet and high volume chains or urban music centers whereas the others would be highly centralized) And, if they did incur those multiple small store sales rep expenses, customers still would check the internet stores and buy instruments cheaper after testing them in small stores.

 

It's sad, but times have changed for small stores because of the internet and volume chains and volume urban center stores..But, it is what it is and Henry is smart to keep reassessing how guitar delivery methods are evolving to adjust his approach. And, he didn't cause this to be, he anticipated it by seeing it coming and adjusting to it early because of his entrepreneur skills. And, now he is commenting on how many of the high volume big box stores, internet stores, and urban music center stores need to improve the buying experience not the small shop stores, which generally always provide such to stay in business. He's now saying the volume stores need to do the same because that business and market-place is changing.

 

Just my analysis.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

 

I think you've accurately, succinctly and concisely stated the problem. Or, should I say the "challenge".

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