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Buying Used Guitars Via Internet


NighthawkChris
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I have been looking into some guitars that are of interest on websites like eBay and Reverb - the usual I guess you might say at this point in time. FWIW, I live in US if this is a mystery what part of the world I live in. Particularly I was looking at the Les Paul Studio Gems... and of course Nighthawks. What I have noticed that there are a lot of offerings for these guitars but they come from places listed as Japan or Korea, etc. Places very far from where I live in general. Sort of makes me weary - especially since there are multiple of these ads all of which have the same photos and varying price tags... I don't know if it is a rip-off, I don't have pictures of the exact guitar... Just seems too high risk to go forward with. And the prices seem to vary for some reason - so if you want a more pristine guitar, pay more? Has anyone gone this route before? Intuitively, returns seem like they would be a pain to deal with too (if applicable)... But hey, if someone want a certain guitar, they would have to try something I suppose...

 

Here's a couple eBay shortcuts for those interested in what I am seeing here in the US...

 

Nighthawk:

https://www.ebay.com...ssPageName=GSTL

 

Les Paul Studio Gem:

https://www.ebay.com...ssPageName=GSTL

 

What are others' thoughts I wonder... If it's not a rip-off, interested to hear about shipment timing experiences and if there was involvement with US customs? Thanks in advance!

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As everybody who reads my crap knows I only buy online... Reverb and Ebay because I only care about pre-'62 acoustic instruments. Also, I've had nothing but good fortune, apparently asking the right questions. Nevertheless, once in a while I get to an Ebay search that contains page after page of Japanese offers. It surprises me. Maybe I'd gamble on a newer model electric, but would never buy a vintage acoustic from an overseas seller. Are they that much of a better buy than finding the same guitar domestically?

 

Looks like there's a decent lot of domestic sellers. Remember too, that a seller with great feedback will be wanting to protect their status.

Edited by jedzep
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hey Chris!

 

 

I don't think the question can have a blanket thrown over it for an answer. I am leery of international transactions, that's true. I buy most of my guitars online (Sweetwater these past few years, Musicians friend also) I have never had a problem that wasn't resolved. Not to say i have never had a problem, just one that was NOT resolved properly. My J200 came from sweet water, those aint cheap Was it perfect ? Nope! needed a setup (They all do no matter where you buy em) and my first one had to be returned due to a defective LR Baggs Anthem. Once I found this was a problem, the guy I work with at Sweetwater went out of his way to fix it I had a replacement 24 hours later. Just like that.. That one needed a setup too cost me about 30 bucks and it plays like a million.

 

My SG, one of my strats, es-135, Emperor all came from online purchases. Nothing wrong there. Great guitars, (set up properly after the sale.)

 

There's also one of my best friends with close to 1,000 ebay transactions buying and selling. he has only had 2 issues with buying and 1 with selling, this is over a 12+ year cycle. He's bought many great guitars (all used) and he's had good luck selling them when he's on the hunt for something else. Any problems and he's let ebay and paypal do their thing. No issue he has had was not resolved.

 

The bottom line is you have to know what you are looking for and you have to be reasonable in expectations. For example, any clue on how many guitars are returned to online stores because of fret buzz? Answer - MANY. maybe the most common issue. I don't care what any one argues, this is not a defect in the build most of the time. it's a setup issue. but for the uninitiated, they don't know any better.

 

As long as you are careful with who you deal with on eBay, should be ok eBay and PayPal have lots of systems in place to protect both sides. Places like sweetwater and musicians friend have very good if not excellent customer service. from there. if one chooses to go off the grid, and expect to get something for nothing, than you're gonna get burnt. sounds too good to be true? 20 bucks bet says it aint true..

 

On the other side of this, it's hard to find the stores in places where I live that stock anything other than imports. No USA made dealers any where within an hours drive. and then when you DO take the drive... you are often quickly disappointed in the selection on hand, and the condition of what's there. Never mind the jacka$$es that are working there to "help you"

 

So the only option is online. I'd love to have a nice mom and pop place down the road where that was a 5 star dealer, but they don't exist. So for those who say.. Play before you buy? Where do I do that? That was great 35 years ago when everyone had stuff in stock, before all the builders started putting high demands on the retailers. These days? the online stores the only SURE option I can use.

 

if you have a local place that offers this,, that's awesome, I'd probably be doing bizz at one here if there was one. there isn't.

Edited by kidblast
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Yes - agree with the above.

 

Have done it twice, from USA to UK with my LP Custom and then my L4S. One was ebay, one through the website of a well-known American shop.

Both times I was certain that the instruments were very good, I was dealing with good guys and would have no trouble. I managed to get the shop to pay the freight!

So then there was UK customs duty and VAT which all put another 23% on what I paid. Expensive!

Glad I did it both times as they're both great guitars; less likely to do it again now because of CITES complications, but if I had the money and saw something I really liked, I'd certainly investigate....

I think most of the more prominent USA-based sellers I can see on eBay UK are totally reputable although descriptions can sometimes be a bit inaccurate.

 

Still got big GAS for a good condition 25/50 LP or a 3-pickup Artisan for instance, but they're getting harder to find and double what they were 10 years ago.

 

I would not buy from a Japan-based eBay seller.

Edited by jdgm
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Personally I just don't like the idea of buying a guitar online in general. I have to play a guitar to even determine if I want it or not

You can do it any way you want and get no criticism from me. Needing to play before you pay does, however, reduce considerably the number of guitars available for your consideration. Especially missing are guitars that are rare or hard to find. I would never have been able to get a new (used) Songwriter 12-string if I hadn't got it online.

 

Yes, if you're disappointed with an online purchase, returning the guitar is a pain, and costly. So you do everything you can to check out the guitar before purchase. Ask for more and specific photos. Have the seller measure the string height, bridge/saddle height, etc., etc.

 

While "play before you pay" is a longtime maxim, "interrogate before you compensate" usually works pretty well.

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Yeah - I've been looking for a P-90 Gibson and there's lots of them in Japan. I'm just leery. Some of the dealers have good feedback but I still don't want a problem, like what happens if I want to send it back? (How's that for a sentence?!) It costs hundreds of dollars to ship back to Japan. There's going to be a problem there if things don't work out. [unsure]

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I am leaning on the side of not even entertaining buying from these Japanese and Korean sellers....

 

Yeah, I totally agree. Most of those Japanese offerings are overpriced anyway. I note that ebay has a checkbox down the left side for "US only" or "North America only" that screens out everything else when you're searching.

 

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I've had my hands on most of the guitars I've owned. I did, however, buy my 2017 Tribute at americanmusical.com and it's an amazing guitar after I did a setup on it. I played the Tribute in Guitar Center a lot before purchasing one online. I don't have a problem buying guitars online as long as it's from a reputable source that has a verified return/money back policy. Ebay or Craigslist, probably not unless it was close enough for me to see the guitar and play it first. Sweetwater is fantastic to work with and they'll do a setup for you before delivering as well.

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One problem buying internationally is the cost of shipping, which ups the ante more than is comfortable, and makes for difficult returns especially if there's shipping damage. The listings from Japan on eBay are a waste of time unless you want to pay absurd speculator prices. I've had only good results buying online myself, because, as others have said, I do my due diligence and stay away from anything iffy. Most buyers follow their impulses (and their wild imaginations) which is a recipe for disappointment.

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  • 1 month later...

When I do a search for "Gibson Nighthawk" on eBay, I find several - and I mean quite a few several - ads for a Gibson Nighthawk CST from Japan. These several ads all share the same photos and different prices... I mean, what crazy MF will want to pull the trigger on one of these? I counted 13 ads all featuring the same photos... This is the crap you have to deal with today apparently. Do your homework boys and girls and don't be a sucker! No matter how badly I wanted one of these guitars, I wouldn't have the balls to attempt this purchase. God only knows who or what it funds... and what you may or may not get in return. My guess is you get a headache for sure at the very least...

 

 

I agree. I too see the same things listed with the guitars in Japan and wonder how they can get away listing the same one over many different auctions. Ebay does not even allow you to have more than one listing of the same item. I also do not understand why all of a sudden every guitar your interested in is over in Japan. WTF? They seem to have every option or color you would want of a particular model for some reason where as there may be 2 used models here in the USA for sale. Now I must say, I have sold a few guitars on ebay that have went over sea to France and Australia. Both buyers were as good as gold and it was a pleasant experience for me as a seller too. I would consider a purchase from the UK or another European country before I would buy one from that place in Japan that has the listings your talking about. However if I were in the market for a Prestige Ibanez custom, I would not have a problem buying it from Japan because that is the main factory for them. It seems shady to me though with those listings your talking about in Japan.

Edited by bigtim
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Caution should definitely be used when buying via the internet. Are you aware that Gibson sometimes releases certain models only in the Japanese market. Quite a while ago I tried acquiring a really nice Tak LP which were only available in Japan. Sometimes you have to go directly to one of the authorized Gibson dealers there to make sure you get what you pay for.

 

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