Your Worst Online Guitar Buying Experience

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Gold_topped, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. Roberteaux

    Roberteaux Alien Hominid V.I.P. Member

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    Never bought a guitar online, but if I did I would probably go with somebody like Sweetwater.

    I've bought a lot of stuff off ebay, but it was mostly inexpensive merch to begin with. Never got burned, but always saw the potential.

    Oh, wait! I did buy a guitar that was custom-made for me by Lt. Dave... but then, I know the guy well enough to realize that he'd rather take a beating himself than to screw over a client. And that Telecaster he built for me has been my #1 since the day I got it. Uncannily high-quality work, marvelous really...

    I can think of a couple of other luthiers I'd never do business with, however. Too many horror stories coming from people who did business with them and ended unhappy.

    Mainly, I want to see expensive items in person before I'd ever purchase them, though. Not into rolling the dice when there's thousands of bucks involved.

    --R
     
  2. Uncle Remus

    Uncle Remus Silver Supporter

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    I bought an Ibanez artist expressionist ar720 fm from AMS. It was missing a tiny nut that goes on the bridge intonation screw. I tried for 3 weeks to just get them to send me one as the guitar was awesome. They were USELESS! I had to just call Ibanez and I got a whole new Gibraltar bridge in 3 days and got to keep the other one. It was amazing that 1 call from an individual took care of the problem that a company that sells thousands of Ibanez guitars could (or would) not. Sweetwater for me from then on. I knew better.
     
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  3. TheWelder

    TheWelder Senior Member

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    I must be lucky, but I don't think I've had a really bad online shopping experience for a higher ticket item. Not one that jumps to mind, anyway. I've had more than one bad and/or awkward CL transaction, however.

    The best online experience I've had was back in 2004 or '05 when eBay was still somewhat of an unregulated crap-shoot. I was in a band and the keyboardist wanted a Hammond B3 and Leslie cabinet. Being young and dumb, we went to eBay and used Buy It Now on a great (and expensive) organ from LA. The seller immediately emailed me and asked to talk about the transaction over the phone. He was pretty concerned that we bought it with no previous communication. We worked out shipping fees over the phone and he shipped it to us using a piano moving service. We got it a couple weeks later. My bandmate powered it up and it sounded absolutely incredible. The seller wanted us to call him when we received it so he could rest assured that we were happy. My friend put him on speaker phone and played it for him - he actually got a little chocked up. It was a pretty cool experience.

    FWIW, I still play in that band and my buddy stills rocks that B3 and Leslie.
     
  4. lemmy loud

    lemmy loud Senior Member

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    Mine was a fake Tokai off of Reverb.
    Obviously, I didnt know it was fake when I bought it, but 5 minutes after I got it, I knew I got burned.
    Contacted the seller--lots of back n forth--had to get Reverb involved, and I got my money back, but
    when I put a warning up on the Tokai page, a few other people contacted me and said the seller was
    still selling them. Not sure why, but Reverb was vary lax about making the vendor take them off of
    their page.
     
  5. James R

    James R Premium Member

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    I've had no bad luck buying online.
    (Edit: aside from an unusually long wait because of shipping screw ups when I bought my '13 Traditional)
    The only time I'll buy online is if I'm buying new and I know that I can return it hassle free if there's an issue.
    If I'm buying used I always buy in person, and have walked away from many guitars that were not as advertised.
     
  6. 57special

    57special Junior Member

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    I bought an amp from a guy in the Pac NW. It arrived OK, in spite of the mediocre crumpled up newspaper packing. While trying to pull the newspaper out of the back of the combo, I noticed some brown lumps. Was somewhat mystified as to what they were...some bits were also in the back of the speaker between the frame and the cone.

    Turns out that the seller had some Pug puppies, who decided that the combo was a great place to do their stuff. Don't ask me how they got into the back of the amp. Maybe the owner accidentally used newspaper that had already been...."used".

    Needless to say, not impressed.
     
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  7. Easy Wind

    Easy Wind Senior Member

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    Wow, that totally sucks; Cat piss is the worst! I'd get that seller's name out there all over the forums & Facebook - there is NO excuse for how that guitar was shipped that way!
     
  8. Dick Banks

    Dick Banks Senior Member

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    I'm starting to think that people don't know what the term "mint" refers to.
    Mint: As in when they make new money at the US Mint, that no one has even touched. Mint
     
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  9. Uncle Remus

    Uncle Remus Silver Supporter

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    Pugs are sneaky a$$holes. I had one for 12 years. Great companions and very smart though
     
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  10. omm

    omm Junior Member

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    Has to be the time I ordered a Airline Bighorn from Eastwood Guitars a few years ago:
    https://eastwoodguitars.com/products/airline-bighorn
    Pre-order, the guy running the company was helpful with some questions I had.
    I went ahead and ordered it - a first for me - and a painful lesson.
    It arrived sometime before Christmas and was put aside until after the season, when I could spend some time with it.
    When this time came, I realized it was set-up very poorly and needed attention.
    That's when the messages stopped coming; it was like I was bothering this person.
    Every message I sent fell on deaf ears.

    I decided to bring it to the local shop for an adjustment.
    I got it back, and there was no improvement - the frets buzzed and the strings bottomed-out higher up.
    Another trip and the luthier told me he 'did all he could do.'
    It was not a guitar that was easy to adjust, so I just left it in a corner for years and never touched it.

    As a postscript, I took it out a few months ago, and realized the pick-ups went dead.
    They sent a new pair, which shocked me; a total contrast to their earlier attitude.
    Only problem is, they buzzed loudly when installed.
    They offered to repair the guitar, but when they saw the purchase date, they reneged.

    Lesson - never buy on impulse late at night; no matter how many drinks you've had...
     
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  11. dubster82

    dubster82 Senior Member

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    After not playing guitar for a bunch of years I decided to get myself back into it by buying an Epiphone Les Paul custom (used - eBay). When I got it I thought it was great. I wasn't as 'into' guitars properly at the time and was more taken away by the excitement at the time. As time went on I realised it wasn't actually all that. It felt a bit cheap and when you look along the fretboard it seems higher at the bass side than the other. Kinda wondered if it was actually fake but it's fine according to Gibson. Since that I bought an Epiphone Nightfall from the states (I'm UK based) and it was 'refurbished' stamped used on the back but the description was scratches that's been buffed out basically. When I got it and compared it to my other guitars I noticed that the tuners were actually drilled too low in the headstock, something I'd instantly notice these days. It didn't affect playability though and otherwise I was happy with the guitar so I kept it.

    Since then I've bought an 83 Gibson Les Paul Custom in a shop whilst working in Australia that knocked me off my seat. It was only when I got it home I realised the (very) upper frets on primarily the bass side were very buzzy and a truss rod adjust helped for a bit but then a fret level and crown from a Luthier brought new life to the 30+year old and it's spot on now. It's easy to get caught up when you're hands on.

    Now I'm very particular about description and photos. I've bought a Gibson Les Paul from Japan which is just and amazing guitar and a brilliant MIJ Epi Flying V also from Japan. Both sales were perfect. Great pics, good descriptions. Except when I picked the Flying V up it was rattling about in a box. The box had a massive whole in the corner and you could see the headstock rattling around but it ended up being totally fine.

    Bought my 82 Gibson Goldtop from Thunder road in Seattle and that experience was fantastic. Frank got it touch after I'd tried to buy one from him the year previously. We came to a deal. I sent money, he sent the guitar which I got practically NEXT DAY! Guitar is hands down the nicest Les Paul I've ever played and it looks 100% as it does in the pics.

    I bought a 91 Gibson Flying V from a well known seller in San Diego. I'd been after this particular model for a while but they hadn't been coming up... Like buses, this guy gets 2! I went for the slightly rougher of the two. It had character, it was a player. It also made it slightly cheaper (gotta think of the import tax) and the case was smaller (form fit Vs massive rectangle). I was however concerned about the playability by the pics (like i say, it looked like it was well played). I asked how the neck and frets were, action ,bow etc... To get a short (in attitude) reply of ' it says in the description it's been setup'. Given his inventory, feedback and amount of his ads I'd seen over the years I trusted him and let it go. When I first got the guitar, all seemed well (my usual). After some playing and it settling I realised the neck was quite bowed. I had never dealt with a Gibson truss rod before as I'd never had too. But I couldn't get the nut to move. Did some reading and found out it had been adjusted so much it had reached the end of its travel then overtightened. My luthier warned that it could snap even if he tried to loosen it and it would be a fretboard off job if worst happened. I took the time myself over hours to get it undone with various methods. Finally I got it loose and the nut packed. I couldn't get the neck straight still though but it must of been lack of confidence by this point as I didn't want to break it. I got it to my luthier who got it adjusted up properly then left it with him for another fret level and crown job which left me with a great playing guitar now...

    Bought an LTD Iron Cross from eBay from a pawn shop. It arrived at my wife's work just wrapped in polysheeting stuff if I remember but it ended up being fine. Delivery driver didn't appreciate being asked to wait.

    All in all I'm happy at the end with some great playing guitars. The first two Epiphone guitars don't get used now but that's mostly down the upshoot in quality my collection went through rather than the individual guitars. I'd still have no problems buying online.
     
  12. Malikon

    Malikon ジャンプアップ V.I.P. Member

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    Interesting I didn't know there were Tokai fakes being made.
     
  13. lemmy loud

    lemmy loud Senior Member

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    Yeah, who woulda thought? But in my 15 minutes in the world of Tokai, I found out they are faked a lot.
    The thought process is "who fake a low-end Tokai?" This guy (see link) has his own line called Fishbone. Obviously,
    the Fishboners build the Fakais. I sent Reverb pics of two companies sharing the exact same color.
    Coincidentally, colors Tokai never used according to Tokai nerds.
    http://www.musicexpresscanada.com/product-category/guitar-bass/electrics/tokai-guitars/

    According to Tokai Japan-- Single cutaway guitars are not supposed to be in North America. This dealer is
    not a Tokai dealer and there are no legitimate vendors in our part of the world.
     
  14. Malikon

    Malikon ジャンプアップ V.I.P. Member

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    *sigh*

    And now I want one.

    Thanks Lemmy. :laugh2:
     
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  15. Andysaxedom

    Andysaxedom Junior Member

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    I have had shipped, and shipped, well over 100 guitars in the past year( not to mention all the parts, pickups, pedals etc...) and I have to say regardless of the carrier used some really crazy crap can happen to a guitar regardless of the packing, stuff that just has no explanation ... Unless it comes in a hardcase( yeah !) I worry from the time it leaves until the delivery. Most folks I've dealt with were sincere in trying to make sure I was happy after the fact...
     
  16. Andysaxedom

    Andysaxedom Junior Member

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    ouch ... It is (mostly) repairable though ...
     
  17. Death Incarnate

    Death Incarnate Premium V.I.P. Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    I bought a used Jaguar HH off Ebay back in 2009. Mint condition with hard case.
    [​IMG]

    It was accurate. Totally mint with hard case. Except he shipped it in the case, no box. Just packing tape around the case and the packing slip sticker on top. Even with adhesive remover, I never got the glue off the case and sold it like that. Guitar was great, though. I used it in the studio recording for years.

    That’s been the worst, so I think I’ve been lucky. I’ve bought dozens of guitars new and used online over 20 years and that’s the only issue I have ever had.
     
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  18. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    Bought a used Ibanez hollow body from Island Music. I have no doubt the guitar was fine when shipped. It was in its original case, but this was put in a box that was much too small. So both the head and tail ends of the case touched the end of the box. Zero packing material at each end. Just a bit of paper on each side of the neck of the guitar case.

    As received wood tailpiece was broken. No excuse for this other than them being too f-into lazy to pack it properly.

    While that was bad enough, they wouldn't refund my money until they settled there claim with UPS. I have no way of knowing if UPS paid out on that. I hope not because it wasn't UPS's fault. I did get a full refund after many weeks. Just piss poor service.

    Makes me really appreciate dealing with the big boy online sellers.

    Only other disappointing experience was a new Joe Bonomassa LP gold top studio I bought from Wildwood. Their service was fine, but Gibson used a dull nail to scrap the finish off the sides of the fingerboard. A rasp would have been smoother. So I returned it. Not a high end guitar, but no excuse for that to leave the factory in that condition.
     
  19. {JAKE}

    {JAKE} Senior Member

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    Ebay...Japanese seller...partly my fault...party theirs. Im humble enough to admit that.

    "Guitar is a playable instrument in good conditions."

    I pick the guitar up out of the case and the 12th fret inlay falls out of the fretboard.

    "sigh"
     
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  20. DagerOne

    DagerOne Senior Member

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    My worst experience was here. A member had posted an Epiphone G400 for sale. A good number of pictures and a fair price. It showed up, and the first message I sent to the seller was "Is this the same guitar?"

    The original sale thread:
    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/selling-my-epiphone-sg-g-400.67986/

    Here's the thread where I asked for help getting it back to being playable (most of the pictures are long gone, though):
    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/help-me-make-lemonade-from-this-epi-sg-g-400.68902/

    I should have sent it back and hit his mom's PayPal account immediately, but I instead tried to negotiate a solution. Ultimately, I fixed what I could, refinished it to the best of my ability, and traded it locally at a significant loss.
     

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