• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!
  • If you are seeing this, you are on the new TGP servers. Bear with us as we work out any issues related to the move. The end result should be a far better snappier experience on TGP. *Notice: You can close this notice by clicking on the "X" in the upper right corner.

Buying used guitars online is a bad deal

66fuzz

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
255
I won't buy anything but used... Oh, wait, they're All Used in one form or another amiright! Lol. Dna on the axe? What about the setup from factory or the hunreds or thousands that have played stairway on it? Why take a $$$ hit on a "new" axe when chances are 75% of us will sell it anyways? YMMV obviously, and of course if you got lemons welll, make lemonade. :cool:
 

Ry@n

Member
Messages
278
I’ve given up on trying to buy used guitars online, at least from individual sellers. I’ve just never had a satisfactory experience with it. Condition is usually not as described, and returning one you don’t like playing can be a pain (for both buyer and seller, if even an option).

I don’t think I’ll buy another guitar until I can once again go check it out myself.
 

Jayyj

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,621
One or two bad experiences don't allow you to make any meaningful judgement about where buying used is a good deal or not, so let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Buying old guitars from non-professionals means knowing a bit about what you're buying and being able to make a judgement call, and it also helps if you have some experience in diagnosing and fixing minor issues when it turns up. In return for putting the work in, you get to own things for a lower price than you'd expect to pay a dealer for the same guitar. If you don't put the work in, honestly you're still more likely than not going to be ok but the odds change a little.

The idea that the used market is made up of all the duds that no-one wants is just silly - the guitar industry thrives on people wanting to buy the next shiny thing selling the previous shiny thing to pay for it, and the only thing that lets down the vast majority is they're no longer flavour of the month. Meanwhile, there are always people selling off guitars to pay for bills, school fees, houses, holidays, weddings, gambling debts and all manner else - there so many reasons to sell thing you don't really need too pay for something you do.
 

brobar

Member
Messages
429
Out of 10 electrics and 4 acoustics... all but 3 were used. While it's fairly easy to negotiate new prices down 10-15%... it's much easier to negotiate down used prices. That's where I have found my best deals. Outside of mostly setup issues that are quickly and easily rectifiable if you do your own setups as I do... the only non-fixable issue I have encountered with any of my used guitars is an acoustic with a perpetual under-arm odor that won't go away. Not quite sure how to fix that one. It plays way too well to get rid of it though. It sucks because I love the smell of that spanish cedar, but I can't get a good whiff of that without getting a whiff of arm pit!

If anyone knows how to get body odor off of/out of a Martin 000-18 acoustic... please let me know. :rotflmao
 

ZeyerGTR

Member
Messages
3,777
I've had really good luck buying online (ebay and TGP Emporium), but there's always some risk. So far I've gotten lucky and gotten some good deals over the years. I haven't bought much on a whim, though, and I know what I want and how much I'm willing to spend. There are lemons out there, for a variety of reasons, so it's going to be a roll of the dice to some extent.
 

motokev

Member
Messages
4,358
To my surprise, I've had good luck buying guitars online.
Amps, just two duds. One smelled like cigarettes the other got smashed.
 

AprioriMark

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,325
Why did this need another thread? The world doesn't come with training wheels, so you're going to fall a couple times before you learn... if you do. I choose to buy used in person mostly, or online for a price that I'm ok gambling with. Sounds like you didn't know enough to be buying what you bought, and honestly, it sounds like you're still guessing what the issue is.

Just because you *can* buy something doesn't mean you should, or that anyone owes you what you want out of it. On that guitar, I'd expect there to be an issue for it to be a couple hundred off the normal price. Turns out there was. I could fix anything on that guitar for less than what I saved buying it... but that's me. If you couldn't, then maybe don't gamble. Certainly stop making whiny threads.

-Mark
 

Jerrod

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,883
I dont think I’ll eve buy a used guitar online again. Ive had nothing but issues with a used 2018 Ibanez that never stays in tune despite having a setup and doing everything right. Two people before me had this guitar and sold it, clearly was a lemon.

Thats the problem with buying used online especially with no returns which is almost always the case. In most cases, the seller will never be fully honest and just wants to get rid of the guitar, always no returns. You can’t try the guitar and only go by photos. Its a bad deal. Sure, you’ll hear the stories of people who claim they got an amazing deal and the guitar was perfect, but also many get burned and what do they do? Sell it back again lol a lot of people think their positive anecdotal experiences somehow changes or negates the fact that many do experience the opposite, typical human nature.

just because you got lucky with good deal in a perfectly good used guitar does not mean this is the norm and is a good option for others especially with no returns available and not being able to test thing the thing

You have no idea what could be wrong with a guitar, could be a lemon, have lots of issues but looks nice in photos I guess. Sometimes is better to just buy new when it comes to items like this that you cant try. Makes sense to buy a used car, cause you can test drive, have a mechanic check it, even then you can still get a lemon, but a guitar online with no testing. You think people are honest?

I know a guy who paid over $1000 for a classical guitar on reverb, guitar looked nice in photos but has a warped neck and completely unplayable this cant be fixed and of course is not returnable, the seller is now gone and unresponsive and now he is left paying off this fail guitar


Sometimes for trying to save a buck, you get burned and end up spending more money later on repairs or losing money by having to sell the defective item at a lower price.

we dont live in this heavenly utopia where every person is honest and behaves the way you do especially on the internet where anonymity exist and one can get away with lots of things.

Sure, some may have gotten lucky with deals and the guitars were in perfect condition, but these are anecdotal and it doesn’t change the fact a lot of people on the internet get burned with used items and no recourse. As usual in life, you will always hear the happy stories.

If you’re selling a used guitar, if your so confident in how good its is then why not offer returns? That fact that they dont shows they trying to get rid of it at all costs and leaving you with no possible recourse . 9 out of ten, something is wrong with it.
Surely you’ll forgive me if I find you to be a not very credible source that arrived at a conclusion that I believe is faulty.
 

r9player

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,832
I've done many many transactions online buying and selling and there can be moments when something bad happens, sorry your experiences so far seem all bad.
I'd say 99% of mine have turned out good to great.
 

Vaibhav Joshi

Member
Messages
2,412
I'm scared too.
I'm not in the US so the used market is very different (mostly cheap, beginner gear) and 'Reverb' is mostly nonexistent.
Getting into gear not long ago, I couldn't understand why one would not buy used.
But I can see both sides of the coin now.

I can't fathom buying a guitar without playing it first (new or used). And that's mostly to check if the neck suits me.
Even if I do that, I don't know if I can make out if a guitar will stay in tune or any other issues with amps/ pedals that become evident over time.

Needless to say, lack of experience with gear in my case doesn't help.

[Only guitar I ever bought was used (PRS SE)
boarded a bus > visited an old couple > had breakfast with them > played the guitar > didn't have the courage to negotiate much > bus ride back home]
 

FlyingVBlues

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,092
I have had great new and used guitar online buying experiences with Dave's Guitar Shop, Wildwood, Mark's Guitar Loft, Wilcutt, Austin Guitar House, Humbucker Music, Chicago Music Exchange, Emerald City Guitars, Eddie's Guitars and Make'n Music. Also zero problems buying used guitars on eBay, Reverb, the Les Paul Forum and the Emporium.

I have returned two new guitars I bought from big box online stores. I purchased a new Fender Tele from American Musical which had terrible fret work and exchanged it for the same model guitar which had zero issues, and I returned a new baritone PRS from Sweetwater that had serious tuning stability issues at the recommendation of my guitar tech.

I have had problems buying used amps online. They almost always need to be gone over by Pete Cage, who does all of my amp repairs. Generally the repairs are either cap jobs for vintage amps or undoing very poorly done mods. I have purchased enough amps online that I factor in the added cost of repairs when making a buying decision.

I think that many times people return guitars due to buyers remorse rather than real issues issues with the instrument. Since PayPal, eBay and to a certain extent Reverb usually side with the buyer it's easy to come up with a not as described "issue" that results in the guitar being returned with the seller having to eat the return shipping cost.
 
Last edited:

Ry@n

Member
Messages
278
Id rather just buy new even if it means spending more and not have to deal with bull and other peopes dna and smells which can get impregnated the guitar

there is nothing like owning a new item, pristine condition, no cosmetic flaws caused by owners, no one else touched it
This is a primary reason I prefer to buy most things new, even beyond music gear. Just personal preference. I know a lot of people don’t mind that or can get past it to save some cash. I’d rather just pay the additional cash and get what makes me happy, even if it means I get to buy less things altogether.
 
Messages
4,036
I dont think I’ll eve buy a used guitar online again. Ive had nothing but issues with a used 2018 Ibanez that never stays in tune despite having a setup and doing everything right. Two people before me had this guitar and sold it, clearly was a lemon.

Thats the problem with buying used online especially with no returns which is almost always the case. In most cases, the seller will never be fully honest and just wants to get rid of the guitar, always no returns. You can’t try the guitar and only go by photos. Its a bad deal. Sure, you’ll hear the stories of people who claim they got an amazing deal and the guitar was perfect, but also many get burned and what do they do? Sell it back again lol a lot of people think their positive anecdotal experiences somehow changes or negates the fact that many do experience the opposite, typical human nature.

just because you got lucky with good deal in a perfectly good used guitar does not mean this is the norm and is a good option for others especially with no returns available and not being able to test thing the thing

You have no idea what could be wrong with a guitar, could be a lemon, have lots of issues but looks nice in photos I guess. Sometimes is better to just buy new when it comes to items like this that you cant try. Makes sense to buy a used car, cause you can test drive, have a mechanic check it, even then you can still get a lemon, but a guitar online with no testing. You think people are honest?

I know a guy who paid over $1000 for a classical guitar on reverb, guitar looked nice in photos but has a warped neck and completely unplayable this cant be fixed and of course is not returnable, the seller is now gone and unresponsive and now he is left paying off this fail guitar


Sometimes for trying to save a buck, you get burned and end up spending more money later on repairs or losing money by having to sell the defective item at a lower price.

we dont live in this heavenly utopia where every person is honest and behaves the way you do especially on the internet where anonymity exist and one can get away with lots of things.

Sure, some may have gotten lucky with deals and the guitars were in perfect condition, but these are anecdotal and it doesn’t change the fact a lot of people on the internet get burned with used items and no recourse. As usual in life, you will always hear the happy stories.

If you’re selling a used guitar, if your so confident in how good its is then why not offer returns? That fact that they dont shows they trying to get rid of it at all costs and leaving you with no possible recourse . 9 out of ten, something is wrong with it.
Yep, when you're buying used gear from a private seller you always run the risk of something going wrong...I think anyone who is buying anything secondhand (whether it's a guitar or a TV or anything else) is aware of that. There are various avenues to take to avoid being burned...I've seen Reverb and Paypal work things out for customers in situations like the ones you've described. My friend received a guitar from Reverb earlier this summer that had a completely stripped truss rod. Reverb stepped in when the seller became unresponsive and got him a full refund. You're not powerless in those situations the majority of the time.

That said, I'm not a person who likes to take risks (especially when it comes to a 4 digit price tag instrument), so I avoid all of these headaches by simply buying from places with easy, long, no questions asked return policies (namely, GC used). 45 days to check the guitar out, and if anything is wrong with it whatsoever you get a full refund including the shipping cost. I've probably purchased about 30 guitars there in the last couple of years and most of them were absolutely incredible steals. In many cases I've been able to grab guitars that cost the original owner $3K new for $600 or even less. A handful of times the guitar has been not as described or had an issue, simply handed it right back to the sales clerk and got a full refund.
 

King Marke

Member
Messages
21
I can kinda get behind buying new. Latest guitar I bought the factory sealed box was opened before my eyes, and I still got to confirm it wasn't a lemon before buying. Felt great to be honest!
 

Fowleri

Senior Member
Messages
405
This is a primary reason I prefer to buy most things new, even beyond music gear. Just personal preference. I know a lot of people don’t mind that or can get past it to save some cash. I’d rather just pay the additional cash and get what makes me happy, even if it means I get to buy less things altogether.
well people here take pride in being cheapskates and getting "good deals"

makes sense to buy old discontinued guitars that are no longer made cause you dont have another choice, but if the guitar you want is still made to this day and you want one that is not old, is always better to just buy new

the cheapskates will bring you down for it tho, cause they think is "throwing money away" lmao almost as if buy it used and getting lucky gives you a badge of honor and if you buy new, oh just another dumb consumer lol

sorry for wanting something new that no one has owned before and having the money for it

a lot of guitar players are hoarders and they just collect whatever just because, they dont realize it

they buy a bunch of old and beat up guitars just because they think is "cool" to own old stuff but rarely have anything new, all their stuff is someone elses, they arent any different from those old people in the hoarders show
 
Last edited:

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,593
the fact that every guitar is unique is kind of the fun of it. i've bought a bunch of guitars used and only one "dud" - which was a japanese acoustic from the 70s of indeterminate origin so i knew i was taking a risk. with acoustics especially i think you've got to factor in that all else being equal old guitars just sound better and the days of being able to walk into a shop and try out a dozen old guitars is basically over unless you've got a really really big budget. now buying say a used gibson or martin from the last 10-20 years is really easy online and you can get some nicely played-in guitars and generally decent quality control so you probably won't wind up with a dud - they also hold their value well enough that you can move it along if you don't bond with it. i think part of the value proposition of used guitars is that if you pay a fair price you can generally flip it without losing much so you do in effect have some sort of return policy.
 

Fowleri

Senior Member
Messages
405
the fact that every guitar is unique is kind of the fun of it. i've bought a bunch of guitars used and only one "dud" - which was a japanese acoustic from the 70s of indeterminate origin so i knew i was taking a risk. with acoustics especially i think you've got to factor in that all else being equal old guitars just sound better and the days of being able to walk into a shop and try out a dozen old guitars is basically over unless you've got a really really big budget. now buying say a used gibson or martin from the last 10-20 years is really easy online and you can get some nicely played-in guitars and generally decent quality control so you probably won't wind up with a dud - they also hold their value well enough that you can move it along if you don't bond with it. i think part of the value proposition of used guitars is that if you pay a fair price you can generally flip it without losing much so you do in effect have some sort of return policy.
until you get an acoustic with a warped neck and unplayable action but looked "fine" in photos and of course, no returns

of course you can sell and recoup some if not all of what you lost, but there's a kicker, you will have to lie about the condition of it, just like the person who sold it to you did, because if you are open about the issues, no one will buy it and if they do, it won't anything close to what you paid for it, so is up to you to decide if you want to continue this circle of dishonesty
 

Jim85IROC

Member
Messages
2,068
until you get an acoustic with a warped neck and unplayable action but looked "fine" in photos and of course, no returns

of course you can sell and recoup some if not all of what you lost, but there's a kicker, you will have to lie about the condition of it, just like the person who sold it to you did, because if you are open about the issues, no one will buy it and if they do, it won't anything close to what you paid for it, so is up to you to decide if you want to continue this circle of dishonesty
yes, there's always some level of risk. It's up to each individual to decide how much risk is acceptable. For me, the money I save buying used guitars is more than enough to absorb the occasional dud, which thankfully, I haven't actually gotten yet.
 




Trending Topics

Top