On­line Shop­ping Tips

WHAT TO LOOK FOR TO GET THE BEST DEALS WHEN BUY­ING MU­SI­CAL IN­STRU­MENTS ON­LINE. WORDS BY DAN ORKIN.

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

With all that’s go­ing on in the world, the one sil­ver lin­ing is that we have a lot more time to work on our hob­bies and in­ter­ests – and that might well mean you con­sider in­vest­ing a lit­tle more money in your gui­tar gear, too.

Given that most of us can no longer get to a phys­i­cal store for the time be­ing, you might have a few reser­va­tions about buy­ing on­line – but there’s no need to fear, as Re­verb’s Dan Orkin is here to dis­pel any wor­ries you may have, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the COVID-19 cri­sis.

Here, Dan shares his ad­vice for what to look for when mak­ing a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment pur­chase on­line – whether this is your first gui­tar, or a new ad­di­tion to your col­lec­tion.

GEN­ERAL TIPS FOR BUY­ING GUI­TARS ON­LINE 1. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS

Treat buy­ing a gui­tar on­line sim­i­lar to shop­ping for a gui­tar in-store. If you’re cu­ri­ous about how it sounds, what it feels like in your hands, or even what the head­stock looks like close-up – just ask.

Sell­ers are more than happy to pro­vide you with more in­for­ma­tion or ad­di­tional pho­tos if that means that it will help you feel more con­fi­dent about buy­ing a gui­tar from them. On Re­verb, you’ll see a “mes­sage seller” but­ton be­side ev­ery piece of gear listed for sale, mak­ing it re­ally easy to con­nect di­rectly with the seller.

2. NE­GO­TI­ATE

Many sell­ers on Re­verb ac­cept of­fers be­low the ask­ing price, so don’t be afraid to ne­go­ti­ate – it’s a com­pletely nor­mal part of buy­ing gui­tars, in gen­eral. Around 15-20% off orig­i­nal ask­ing price is the sweet spot for a rea­son­able of­fer, but we gen­er­ally see play­ers get any­where from 5 to 30 per­cent off by mak­ing an of­fer.

3. CON­SIDER PUR­CHAS­ING USED GEAR

If you’re look­ing for a gui­tar that sounds great and is af­ford­able, you should ab­so­lutely con­sider buy­ing used gear. Not only does used gear main­tain its qual­ity, but also you can save an av­er­age of 20 per­cent off the orig­i­nal price and of­ten even more.

Plus if you de­cide that you want to try some­thing new, you can typ­i­cally re­sell a used gui­tar for close to the same price you paid for it. Plus, there’s the un­de­ni­able cool fac­tor that comes from old gui­tars.

4. CHECK THE RE­TURN POL­ICY

On sites like Re­verb that fea­ture many dif­fer­ent sell­ers, shops are able to cre­ate their own in­di­vid­ual re­turn poli­cies. Take the ex­tra step to make sure you un­der­stand a shop’s pol­icy on re­turns be­fore you pur­chase. Again, it’s the sort of thing you can feel com­fort­able com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the seller about be­fore you fi­nalise a pur­chase.

REC­OM­MEN­DA­TIONS FOR FIRST-TIME BUY­ERS PRIC­ING

In terms of price, the tech­nol­ogy that goes into mod­ern gui­tar con­struc­tion has be­come so­phis­ti­cated enough that most of the big mak­ers can cre­ate con­sis­tently high-qual­ity gui­tars at a rea­son­able price range of $150 – $500 for an acous­tic and $200 – $800 for an elec­tric.

That said, when you pay a lit­tle bit more, there will usu­ally be a no­tice­able im­prove­ment in playa­bil­ity and qual­ity due to the use of higher-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, con­struc­tion meth­ods, and com­po­nents.

BRANDS

As far as brand se­lec­tion, there are some char­ac­ter­is­tics that have come to de­fine the rep­u­ta­tion of many of the big play­ers. When it comes to acous­tic gui­tars, Tay­lor gui­tars are known for their in­no­va­tive shapes and fea­tures, whereas Martin, the com­pany that in­vented many of the main styles of acous­tic, are of­ten the go-to choice for vin­tage-style in­stru­ments.

Big brands like Yamaha and Takamine of­fer dozens of re­li­able mod­els, as do other brands like Seag­ull, Breedlove, and East­man.

If you’re think­ing about start­ing with an elec­tric gui­tar, most pop­u­lar brands have fan­tas­tic in­tro­duc­tory of­fer­ings. Squier Stra­to­cast­ers are an ever-pop­u­lar first time gui­tar, and the Les Paul Spe­cial II and Paul Reed Smith SE Se­ries also give first timers a lot of bang for their buck. If you buy used on Re­verb, you can usu­ally snag some­thing a lit­tle higher-end like a Made-in-Mex­ico Fender model for prices sim­i­lar to the above men­tioned en­try lines.

CON­SID­ER­A­TIONS FOR BUY­ING DUR­ING COVID-19

Many lo­cal mu­sic shops, in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers, bou­tique gear mak­ers, and more that have had to close the doors of their phys­i­cal stores are still open via Re­verb and ship­ping with­out de­lays or is­sues. If you’ve got your eye on a new piece of gear, now is a great time to sup­port th­ese busi­nesses on­line.

Not only are most in­stru­ments ship­ping with­out is­sue, but the vast ma­jor­ity of items are also get­ting shipped within 72 hours and lots of sell­ers are of­fer­ing free two-day ship­ping. As ma­jor ship­ping car­ri­ers con­tinue to op­er­ate, the vast ma­jor­ity of pack­ages are ar­riv­ing on time.

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