Anyone else only buy guitars that you’ve played?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Figaro, May 22, 2019.

  1. Winterwind

    Winterwind Member

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    For my tastes in instruments I generally have to have the dealer order it then when it comes in, I go to the store, check it out for 30 minutes or so then either take it home or wait for another one.

    I deal with Long and McQuade and sadly 90% of what they stock in the stores are Fenders, Gibsons and Epiphones. I don't care for Fender or Gibson so if I want a Gretsch or Ric for example I wait for it to come on.

    That seems to be the norm with most brick and mortar stores in SW Ontario these days. It's rare seeing a Proline Gretsch on the wall and I haven't seen a Ric in a store around here for about 10 years... And I've been quasi obsessing over a 620 and 1993Plus for the last few months but I'm 50/50 in the Ric QC area so I haven't pulled that trigger.

    Heh. Kinda funny. I've known the manager at the one L&M store for 25 years, just a great guy, and one day I popped in just to get some strings and he smiles, says there's something I should check out, goes behind the counter and takes a simply gorgeous Country Gent down and hands it to me. I didn't get it. My wife would have killed me but it was fab that he thought of me.

    I think it's a good thing to have that kind of relationship with your local store. I could order things online and possibly pay a little less but I paid my dues in retail management years ago and will always support my local store. I won't even order from L&M online and pick it up in the store. To me, it'd be a dick move because the store doesn't get credit for the sale.
     
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  2. zweston

    zweston Member

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    I would definitely lean towards yes. Went bass shopping with my girlfriend the other day and ended up choosing between two mustang basses—on the website the only difference was the color, but one had an unfinished neck and played much, much better. Easy to make the wrong choice if you can’t get your hands on the instrument.
     
  3. supersoldier71

    supersoldier71 Member

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    Nope. I’ve personally chosen none of my six electrics, one acoustic and one bass. I live in a small city, one small Guitar Center and one other music store that keeps all the good stuff behind the counter. And nothing behind that counter is stuff I’d want anyway.

    I know what specs I like and most online sellers tell me what I need to know.

    I may make an exception for the Squier JM Jazzmaster at my GC though.
     
  4. Laketta

    Laketta Member

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    Pretty much, because of inconsistent quality. If I buy a Tom Anderson, then I would feel comfortable, but a Gibby or Fendy...no way! I gotta play one first.
     
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  5. Tom Fontaine

    Tom Fontaine Member

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    I’ve only bought one without having played it from reverb. Seller was an hour away and I did run a few scales on it before heading over the cash.

    Feel is everything, I could tell the one on reverb was right though. Don’t know how.
     
  6. monwobobbo

    monwobobbo Member

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    me. sorry have to play a guitar before i can buy it. i'm lucky in that we have several music stores in my area so i can find different guitars to try. i also have patience and never just go out to buy a guitar cuz. if i stumble across something i really like then i figure out how to pay for it.
     
  7. Magnets And Melodies

    Magnets And Melodies Member

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    Honestly if it wasn't for Matt at CME I probably wouldn't buy online. Like you I think there are too many variables that could be "wrong" for me that I would never want to buy completely blind. I need someone to be straight with me on everything and listen to what I'm looking for and help find a match.

    Build trust with someone you're working with and it makes it a whole lot easier / better. Especially if you live somewhere where you don't have access to play a lot in person like me. Having someone I trust at a store with a mega inventory of my dream guitars is invaluable. Without that, I wouldn't be buying online at all. I'll sell to people on Reverb, but I won't buy from anyone I don't know.
     
    Figaro likes this.
  8. mvsr990

    mvsr990 Supporting Member

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    On a modern Fender (the only new guitars I've bought online aside from a cheap Danelectro), I haven't experienced much variation. I know what the neck carves are, if you look at some place that measures them all (like Wildwood) there's rarely more than .02" swing in either direction. If weight matters it's easy to buy from a shop that weighs them. Mass produced pickups don't vary much.

    I live in one of the largest metro areas in the country and the selection is still small and boring. At some point I'd like to get one of the new Squier Classic Vibe Jaguars to modify - no one around me carries them, not even the 6-7 Guitar Centers within driving distance. Never saw an Ed O'Brien Stratocaster in person. Those are relatively cheap guitars - you get into more esoteric stuff and you're SOL - boutique/custom shop, even most of the higher end Fender line isn't available locally.
     
  9. Magnets And Melodies

    Magnets And Melodies Member

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    L&M is like the MacDonald's of guitar stores. Only a helluva lot more expensive. We used to have 4-5 smaller independent guitar shops in the city, but L&M bought them out. I'm sure the store owners made good on the deal, so I'm not worried about them, but for customers it sucks.

    Those shops used to sell guitars from local luthiers, and their inventory was usually way more interesting - rare stuff, vintage, some NOS, different brands. The prices are generally lower than L&M... And most importantly, they negotiated and made deals with you. That's something that even the big stores in the US still do. L&M doesn't budge, you might as well not bother asking.

    From my experience at the 4 locations we have in our city, the staff generally aren't very knowledgable about the products either. I don't blame them - they're typically pretty young and making close to minimum wage with no commission. They'll hover around the Epiphone and Gibson stuff, but the second you start talking Custom Shop I usually see them get overwhelmed. A lot of the stuff isn't labeled properly, and just asking "what year is this one?" Is usually a big ordeal where they have to go to their computer behind the desk to check.

    I could probably write multiple pages of bad experiences I've had with L&M in Nova Scotia, Alberta and BC. Hell I've even have bad experiences with their online reps... I was looking at buying a $4800 guitar and asked if it was possible to see a picture of the top since it was figured, I wanted to make sure it looked the way I want, and they said.... "Sorry we can't do that, if we did it for you we'd have to do it for everyone and it's not so easy" (funny how it's still for sale over 1.5 years later)....... Meanwhile CME, Sweetwater, Wildwood etc all give you detailed photos, specs, weight, neck width and ask that for each individual guitar.

    L&M is the worst music store out there from my experience.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  10. mc5nrg

    mc5nrg Member

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    No mail order brides for me so far.
     
  11. kor

    kor Member

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    Nope. I roll the dice everytime. I've had far more really great guitars than mediocre ones and even fewer bad ones.

    There's not many good places around me to try things out. Sam Ash is OK I guess but that's about it.
     
  12. Winterwind

    Winterwind Member

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    I actually used to feel that way. When they started buying up all the independent stores I really was thinking "wtf I'm supporting the little guy" and kept going to that last independent shop in town until they were gone unless they simply didn't carry a particular product.

    And I agree with you, I really do, when it comes to the product knowledge and professionalism of most of the sales reps I've dealt with. I've almost always been disappointed. I even had an experience in my buddy's store, when he wasn't in, with five reps standing behind the counter all looking anywhere but at me when I was standing by the guitars and very, very pointedly looking at them and waiting for someone to come over and there was only one other customer there.

    But I've know the manager for 25 years, since he was in an independent store, which was bought by L&M, so I've got a great relationship with him and pretty much deal only with him.

    And honestly, he's never disappointed me. He even went to another store on his day off once to pick up a synth for my wife so it'd be there for us when we came in (a synth for her, another guitar and pedal for me). I guess he's "old school" like me as far as going that extra mile for the customer. I used to do that myself in my retail days.

    Not trying being ageist but I don't think a lot of 20something kids understand that. I also get far better service from people that are 40+.
     
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  13. The Opera Panther

    The Opera Panther Supporting Member

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    I’ve got a total of ten guitars - electric, acoustic, and a bass.

    Of those, 1 is a custom order, 1 parts build, 2 bought new online, 5 used online, and 1 that I played in a store and had to have.

    So, 9 of 10 bought without having played a note prior to purchase.
     
  14. monty

    monty Member

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    I always play 'em first.No 2 are the same and I don't like to gamble online.
    Plus I really like our local shop and I try to support them.
     
  15. TP Parter

    TP Parter Member

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    Depends, some itches can only be scratched that way. When trying to find a rare vintage piece you are most likely resigned to it. Custom order, the same.
     
  16. monty

    monty Member

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    I agree, I love my local L&M. I dont mind paying a bit extra for stuff there, no headaches when something is sideways with the product.
     
  17. Scrapperz

    Scrapperz Member

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    I bought a few online, still have them and play them but I’ll play any guitar.
     
  18. erikzen

    erikzen Member

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    I've only purchased one guitar without playing it first, but there was a decent return policy. It was risky in one way and a no brainer in another. It was a 2015 Les Paul Special that I bought as new in a blow out in 2017. I say it was risky because of all the bad reviews and negative press on the 2015 models. It was a no brainer because the price was so low, I was pretty sure I could get my money back if I hated it. I actually love the guitar, robo-tuners and all.
     
    mc5nrg likes this.
  19. Rockin J

    Rockin J Member

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    I’ve done both.
    But 3 of my favorite guitars were bought through MF with free shipping, no tax and an extra 20% off.
    CS strat
    PRS 58
    Hot Rod tele
    All are excellent.
    Local stores don’t have much of interest and don’t want to cut a fair deal on anything.
     
  20. RicardoDiazHimself

    RicardoDiazHimself Member

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    If you know what you want/like, and buy them from great builders then there's nothing to worry about. Online you have the ability to get the best deal, the best looking one, best service, etc.
     
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