Are people NUTS to buy a guitar they've never played or heard?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by mmasters, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. mmasters

    mmasters Senior Member

    Mar 24, 2008
    Richmond, VA
    In my opinion they're nuts because no matter how a guitar looks or it's specs there's zero guarantee that it's going to sound spectacular. Odds are as well that the best sounding guitars aren't the best looking ones if rock and roll history tells anything! I think the best strategy when hunting for a guitar is to have a general idea in mind and play tons and tons of guitars until you find something very special that fits you. In my experience I've probably played over a million dollars worth in guitars in the past 12 years and only found perhaps 3 or 4 of those to be extra special (of which I own one). Maybe the goal isn't to find a magical guitar for some, rather they're looking for something beautiful to look at? maybe they haven't figured out the tried and true formula for finding a substancial ax, or they like the possibly never ending journey towards finding the one? :)
  2. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

    Jun 13, 2004
    Mineola, NY
    Maybe their "perfect" guitar specs-wise can't be found off the shelf, so they have to order something custom, or buy it used off eBay or someplace in order to see if it works for them? It doesn't really have anything to do with looks as far as I'm concerned although, if I'm going to order a custom guitar (which I did), it's sure as hell going to look good (which it does), although my definition of looking good won't necessarily match anyone else's.

  3. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    i've done it a few times with excellent results.

    ibanez john scofield model
    jeff beck strat
    PRS hollowbody spruce
    rickenbacker 325

    of course i'm an impulsive asshat and sold them all eventually, but sight unseen they were excellent guitars.
  4. matte

    matte Senior Member

    Nov 16, 2003
    my body.
    i've had several guitars built to my specs by hamer, tyler, prs, tcm, saul koll, gene baker, johan gustavsson, michael stevens, etc. not a dog in the bunch.
  5. jtees4

    jtees4 Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    I've done it at least 10 timers. All except one has been a winner after a proper set up....I set them up myself, so that is no problem or expense. I have bought both new and used this way and will continue to do it. BUT I like variety and trying different types of guitars, some people are set in their ways and only like certain things, and certain feeling guitars...those people should not buy this way.
  6. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    -- agreed. Not much of the good stuff (for the right price) is available near me and I like to try out a lot of different guitars on MY gear as well. Also, I'm not that picky ;)
  7. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    I've had mixed results buying site unseen. Since I decided to try Hamer's however the last two guitars I purchased have both been steller and the last one might possibly be the best humbucker guitar I've ever played.
  8. billstets

    billstets Member

    Jan 15, 2003
    Boston area
    I'm not wild about the idea of buying a new one that way, but I don't see the problem buying a used one this way as long as I pay the right amount. I could always resell it and get my money back if it isn't right.

    I don't have the time to play millions of dollars of guitars to find 3 or 4 that suit me. For example, I disagree with all the Gibson hate on TGP. Based on my experiences, maybe there really are only two magical specimens out of 100, but I also think there are probably only 2 dogs in that 100. The rest are fine for me. I just want to play and enjoy the "average" guitars that I own. Who has time to obsess over this?
  9. Lewkk

    Lewkk Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    Where the cheese rolls.
    petrol costs too much!
  10. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Mar 20, 2005
    No. The opposite. They're the smart ones, as long as there's a good return policy it's smart. I do mail order, and ask a million ?'s, then if it's not what I want, I'm out some shipping. Cheaper than a plane ticket and way cheaper than gas driving across country.

    Unless you're in NY or CA you won't really have access to all the cool guitars to choose from. I can't fly/drive all over the country trying out guitars.
  11. Adwex

    Adwex Member

    Jun 15, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I feel somewhat fortunate with my R7 goldtop I got on Ebay. It sounds great, but I'm not bonding with the fat neck.
  12. scottlr

    scottlr Member

    May 14, 2006
    Born & raised in Texas; stranded in Iowa
    I may be nuts, but out of 15, only 2 were seen, held and played first, photos and good descriptions aside. I have no problem with it.
  13. lukeII

    lukeII Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2006
    Nuts?? maybe but I have 8 guitars and only 2 I played before I bought them. All 8 sound great and about 2 or 3 are just unbelievably good. Strangely enough the best one's were all bought unheard and untried.The guitars I bought without playing I bought from reputable dealers who ask you what your looking for and then try out the guitars they have in stock to tell if they have one for you or not. If you don't get to try a guitar then you need to have a really good idea of what you want sonically and feelwise and deal with a good dealer or very honest experienced seller otherwise disappointments are bound to occur. In any case there is always some pot luck involved.
  14. Powderfinger

    Powderfinger Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2005
    NYC area
    No problem here if price is right and especially if return policy. Like others, my favorite guitars were bought that way.
  15. snarkle

    snarkle Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    I probably AM nuts, but I don't have a problem buying a guitar without playing it. In fact, living in a semi-rural area as I do, most of my guitars arrive that way.

    There are a few contributing factors, though. I've been at this for some time, and think I know what questions to ask of the seller. I'm also careful not to get into too many things I can't recoup my purchase price from, although it has been known to happen. Not often, though.

    But here's the crazy thing: sometimes a guitar will show up online that just screams "Buy me! Buy me!", and when that happens, I've rarely been disappointed. It's a Zen thing: listen to the guitar!
  16. ivers

    ivers Member

    Jan 19, 2005
    The guitars I'm interested in can't be found anywhere nearby, so I always buy without trying. I usually buy guitars that cost 500-1000$ so it's not that big of a tragedy if the instrument sucks, and if it's a good instrument but sounds different than I thought it would, I'm not very particular, so I'll usually adapt to what the instrument gives me.
  17. KennyM

    KennyM Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    Burbank, Ca.
    I would agree in theory, but the few I've bought of Ebay have all been keepers. Sometimes you can just get a vibe from a picture and I'm more trusting of it now. What really makes this strange is that I can go play 25 guitars at Guitar Center or somewhere and not find a single one that I care to own and yet with Ebay I'm 3 for 3. It probably helps that I'm not really a one neck kind of guy or very anal about a lot of things that piss other guitarists off. If it makes me feel like playing then it's a great guitar.... even if it's got hello kitty all over it.
  18. LavaMan

    LavaMan Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    Owasso, OK
    I have done it once now with a Tom Anderson Cobra S and was very pleased with the results.

    When you have a guitar custom made to your specifications you cannot play it first typically...

    I think after awhile you know what your preferences are - neck size, fret size, number of frets, types and brands of pick-ups, type and size of strings, solid vs. hollow body etc....

    So with that in mind there's no reason its "NUTS" to purchase a guitar that meets your specs or that was custom built for you without playing it first...
  19. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    Boston, MA
    Having a return policy is great, but how many private sellers offer that?

    For me, I've bought literally hundreds of guitars over the past twenty years, most of those (maybe 75%) by mail. Most have come and gone, but every once in awhile one gets added to the "keeper" pile. If I look at the keeper pile today, the overwhelming majority (about 90%) are guitars I bought in person, where I could see and play before deciding.

  20. Terry Hayes

    Terry Hayes Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    I've done it 3 times and each time worked out great. I still have 2 of those guitars over 10 years later.


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