Tutorial on Japanese guitar auctions and importing?

Central Scrutinizer

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Talked to Brazilnut here on the Forum a while ago.
Any experts out there that can write-up a simple tutorial about purchasing and importing Japanese guitars and how the Japanese auction system works, and the best auction sites?
Thanks in advance.
 

BadMongo

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Advice from someone who just got into this - shipping sucks and I mean sucks right now, so maybe don't dig in too far yet. I've been using Jauce (and have been extremely happy with them), but their only option to the US right now is DHL - apparently guitars are too big to travel by sea now and EMS is on indefinite hiatus in terms of sending here - so DHL ends up being north of ~$350 to pack and ship two guitars. They are willing to hold stuff indefinitely for as long as EMS isn't running, but my countdown of stuff I have in their warehouses sure does keep ticking down anyway.
Alternatively if that doesn't scare you off, it might actually be a good time to hop in because prices on MIJ goodness have definitely gone up in the ~3 months I've been looking, and have been rising pretty steadily before that.
Also watch out for things that are mis-labeled as MIJ that are not, learn to tell the signs of MIC or MIK for brands that produce those places too.
 

my59

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I’m curious about what costs were incurred at customs. Is there any cost when re-importing a used made in USA guitar? I’ve been told that re-importing a new made in USA guitar does have a customs fee, but not used. What was your experience? Thanks
 

Central Scrutinizer

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I started to write one up a few months ago, but got pulled in other directions. Maybe I'll pick it back up.
That would be great.

Recently bought a History SH-LCV from a MLP member. It is a wonderful guitar. Very well made. Would like to explore other brands and models of Japanese guitars as well.
 

Roxy13

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Yes, prices have gone up quite a bit in the past year or so and shipping does suck right now. Other than that choose a proxy (but NOT Buyee; read the warning thread here from the members they've been screwing over), sign up and bid. Just bear in mind if you aren't happy with the guitar you really don't have any recourse. The proxy isn't responsible for what you bid on. They are just a service to allow you to bid and to ship you the guitar. So in a way it is kind of gamble. Less so with newer, high end guitars than with old guitars, but still, there may be a problem that you weren't expecting.

As for customs all I know is that if the item you buy costs less than $800 USD there shouldn't be tax. However, some members have been taxed anyway despite proof the guitar cost less than that and my understanding is good luck fighting them on it.
 

Roxy13

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Also read all the information on the proxy's site so you know all the costs involved. Generally there is a fee to the proxy for providing the service, a small bank fee, the Paypal fees for your transactions, possibly a packing fee at shipping time. Make sure you know how long the proxy is willing to store the guitar for as this varies from 30 days to the indefinite storage by Jauce right now while EMS is down to the US. They aren't storing indefinitely for all countries as many do still have EMS service right now. There is usually a domestic shipping fee to for getting the guitar from the seller to the warehouse. Sometimes that is listed on the auction and sometimes it isn't. Looking at the location of the seller compared to the location of the warehouse can help you determine how much that might be. When I was new to the auctions I bought a guitar on one of the remote islands so that domestic shipping fee was quite high compared to usual lol.
 

Central Scrutinizer

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Sounds like a learning curve straight ahead for me.

Sure do appreciate the responses so far.

Thanks
 

Dino Velvet

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These days they all suck. Buyee is of course a joke. Rinkya and Jauce now charge over $200 to ship an LP to the US. DHL will sometimes come with added custom fees. Fedex will leave guitars sitting in Tokyo for over a week. Of course everybody blames everything on COVID. Just like here in the US. Right now I wouldn’t buy anything from Japan if you are in the US. Just wait.
 

currypowder

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These days they all suck. Buyee is of course a joke. Rinkya and Jauce now charge over $200 to ship an LP to the US. DHL will sometimes come with added custom fees. Fedex will leave guitars sitting in Tokyo for over a week. Of course everybody blames everything on COVID. Just like here in the US. Right now I wouldn’t buy anything from Japan if you are in the US. Just wait.
And yet, I've still been finding decent deals and buying using From Japan without issue. In fact, their service seems to keep improving. They are responsive to requests. Shipping via FedEx priority has been efficient and reasonable.
 

m5570

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Fedex will leave guitars sitting in Tokyo for over a week. Of course everybody blames everything on COVID. Just like here in the US. Right now I wouldn’t buy anything from Japan if you are in the US. Just wait.
BS. I just got a guitar delivered FE. Paid Wed night, guitar was here Monday am & 1 day early.


Are some of you even buying guitars right now? Because you get the same people answering these same Qs with the same answers & a half a dozen randos that are just negative and don’t need to put it in their 2 cents. This is like the 3rd or 4th thread we’ve had in the last month over this it seems like.
 

currypowder

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Look, I'm no FedEx fan boy, I've had my issues with them. But if you had anything coming from Japan that went through or is going to go through Memphis or Indy, it's going to be delayed. Last week's storm basically shut them down. It's going to take some time to work through the back log
 

JDZ

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Have had no issues with Fedex at all.
Four guitars delivered today, shipped them last week.
Took a couple extra days because of all the snow we've had.
 
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goodvibes

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I bought a Gibson Custom Shop guitar from Nico Nico Guitars in Tokyo in 2019 and they took care of CITES forms and all the shipping for me. If you are buying more high end U.S. made guitars I can highly recommend them. They also speak English. You will not get "ripped off" going through their shop. I paid zero customs fees, as it should be on an U.S. made guitar returning home, Good luck.
 

Ph03n1x

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I have used Rinkya in the past and they charge more than most of the others and seem to profit off shipping. I then went to Sendico. It seemed like a great deal and I have bought a few guitars from them. However, they use shitty boxes that literally seem to collapse and disintegrate. Was fine for Fender style stuff but I recently went with Rinkya again because I bought a set neck guitar. Their fees are even more insane now and their customer service sucks. Highly suggest you avoid them.

I would have a look at the classifieds section of the Other single cuts part of MyLP. The alternative is to listen to the recommendations of an intermediary service here in this thread. TBH, I have seen a general trend where things are going up across the board (even before COVID). I feel lucky to have Ornetts, Navigator and Greco LPs. I totally regret selling my Seventy Seven 335.

You might come across the odd deal still. It really depends what you are after. If you want some thing specific, ask advice in the other single cut section. Plenty of people here that have been buying stuff for years.
 

Central Scrutinizer

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Thanks everyone for your input.
I do believe buying used is the way to go, at least for me.

Thanks for all your help.

The next step for me, will be to learn the different grades of guitars from specific manufacturer’s.
 


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