Guitar Center used... I know it goes without saying but Caveat Emptor...

mattier

Member
Messages
180
When does this happen?
I wish I knew for sure, I just try and go often And refresh it once I see new items I take a closer look. for example i will look u dear effects and lowest price….if I see some new stuff that means they updated. Not sure if it’s all stores at once or whenever the expert photographers take a new picture and throw it up
 

bigtone23

Member
Messages
7,429
To be fair to them, the only way to check speakers in a 1960 is to remove those 15 - 20 screws in the back. And it can go both ways... I was once in a GC checking out a used Hamer Korina Artist. When I used the word "Korina", the sales guy thought I said "Korean" and assumed I knew something he didn't. I could have bought that guitar for way less than it was worth.

But as someone who has bought 95% of their stuff used, I'm glad I'm not in the market so much these days. The problem is not limited to scammers.
Or... pull a side handle (6 screws) or the jack plate (4 screws).
I'm in the same boat, really glad to not be in the market much at all. :)
I think the crucial question here is whether it's reasonable to expect anyone--GC, mom & pop store, private seller, etc.--to pull the pickguard/pickups on a non-vintage instrument.

Take an Am Std Strat, for example. it's a $1k guitar, give or take. if that guitar comes through the door used, should we expect the store/buyer to pull the strings and remove the pickguard in order to check if the pickups are original?

Or, for that matter, should they pull the neck as well to make sure the body hasn't been switched?

I don't have the answer, btw. It just seems like a lot to ask.
It certainly can be a lot to ask and expect, but sometimes turning 11 pickguard screws can be a deal maker or breaker. This is where experience is gold, or at least access to the internet to get the gold via doping. haha
For the American Standard, a decently trained eye can look at an American Standard and see the flat alnico poles cut sharp for the first 28ish years, or a later American Standard with the beveled pole Fat 50s which led into the American Professional with a similar appearance. Plus, looking at the 2 post bridge and a functioning micro tilt and seeing if it checks out is a good tell for the body.
Of course, there is always the less scientific vibe check.
Guitar Center/Musician's Friend has the laziest "method" (I use that term loosely) for listing used gear. Every listing has one picture that looks like it was taken by a 2005 Nokia flip phone. (How is it possible that so many employees at so many different stores all take the same terrible, low-quality photo?) The descriptions are non-existent. Is it really that hard to spend five minutes snapping a few decent photos and writing a quick ad with specs? If they did, they might actually manage to sell something...
True, but they also have long business hours and phone numbers to get a better, in-hand description or more photos. Plus, as mentioned before, the return policy is much easier than eBay or Reverb's returns.
 

Beyer260

Member
Messages
371
  • They do not care if items are modified in any way. If you sell an item with upgrades, they will not give you any value for the upgrades.
In fact, they seem to price items with modifications lower. LP Studio? $900. LP Studio with Duncans? $750. I've seen it more than once. In fact, I just bought a used Squier Jaguar from GC because it was priced below market and had Fralin pickups
 

krimson

Member
Messages
1,096
I wouldn't be surprised if the staff isn’t taking the parts themselves. I recently purchased a 1x12 Mesa Cab in mint condition. I couldn't take it home until after it cleared the waiting period. I played it even carried it to the counter to weight it.

When i finally was able to pick it up they delivered it to my car and put it in my trunk. I had a gig that night so it stayed in the trunk until i unloaded it at the venue. As soon as i picked it up I noticed that it weighted considerably less and something was rattling around.

I found a screwdriver and removed the input jack dish to find a cheap speaker barely even screwed in place. The speaker had obviously been switched out while it was in the back on layaway. I did return it and the manager let me keep it while refunding the cost of a new speaker from mesa.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,236
Awhile back I "traded in" an Ibanez in which I had installed used EMGs. I couldn't reinstall the stock pickups as there was routing involved. I got the standard anticipated amount for it (as with stock pickups). But they acted a bit excited about getting it and it never hit the sales floor or even their web site (at least the times I checked). I suspect one of the employees snagged it fast as a good deal. I'm OK with the transaction as I got my money back out of it, and I hope the new owner is pleased as well.

Another trick I've seen GC do; if an item is returned as defective in some way, they'll relist it labeled with the "Price Drop" tag from the start of the listing. Might be good to be wary of those.
 

BadAssBill

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,699
GC has a tremendous inventory, but I agree. I was purchasing a 68 Tele that I was assured had original pickups. He went in the back to get the case and the original pickups were in the case. :/ At that point, I had no idea what was original and what wasn't.
 

milli vanilli

Member
Messages
5,110
I can’t wrap my head around the photos GC uses. Have my eye on a somewhat hard to find guitar priced over 2k , and they provide a Polaroid taken in the dark 30 yards away and a really vague description. That’s more than I have spent on a guitar, and I’m supposed to take a gamble based on that pic?? I understand it’s a great return policy, but it’s basically a sight unseen purchase.
 

Chiefsfan15

Member
Messages
276
This is not at all what caveat emptor means.

Anything you buy from Guitar Center can easily be returned for a long period of time, even if issues are found after the fact. A caveat emptor sale means the buyer is responsible for doing all diligence before the transaction is consummated, and the item is being sold as is.

Buying used stuff from GC is the opposite of that.
 

wraub

Member
Messages
2,001
This is not at all what caveat emptor means.

Anything you buy from Guitar Center can easily be returned for a long period of time, even if issues are found after the fact. A caveat emptor sale means the buyer is responsible for doing all diligence before the transaction is consummated, and the item is being sold as is.

Buying used stuff from GC is the opposite of that.

True. Caveat emptor means "let the buyer beware". I think the proper term should be caveat venditor, which means "let the seller beware".

The person selling goods is accountable for providing information about the goods to the buyer. It is a counter to caveat emptor and suggests that sellers can also be deceived in a market transaction.
 

GreaserMatt

Member
Messages
113
And 99% of the advice to those beginners was, "Get a wrench and adjust the truss rod". Can't play an F? Adjust the truss rod. Action too high? Adjust the truss rod. Buzzing when you tuned your .008s down two whole steps? Adjust the truss rod.

The truss rod won't go any further? Get a bigger wrench and pull real hard. Something snapped? Uh oh, better return that one to GC. Nope, nope, nope.


YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

CC Overdrive

Member
Messages
4,374
I'd say 9.5 out of 10 the buyer knows more about any specific piece than the average GC salesperson.

Recently, I went in to check out an epiphone 58 V reissue. They had it marked as a 58 Joe B "Amos" epiphone model. I specifically informed them they were wrong, and detailed for them what it was. They said they'd "take care of it", whatever the he'll that means. I know for a fact they sold it a few days later as the Joe B model.

The case thing, and how they always go missing drives me fxxking bananas. Always assume thar "....with original case" is complete BS.
 

GreaserMatt

Member
Messages
113
My 'latest & greatest' was an early 90's Peavey Classic 20 in nice shape for $400 (included tax & shipping); a bit overpriced imho but maybe not in the current market; Had it shipped to my house. Unboxed it, plugged in a guitar & when I turned it on heard a loud POP! sound & smelled smoke! Aaaahhhh!!!! LOL Turned it back off and got a full refund from my local GC store, but still: I wanted the d*mn amp!!!!!!! LOL Mostly just for bragging rites of course LOL (isn't that the one everyone is looking for these days?!)....
 

fiveightandten

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,131
Last month, I ordered a used 2020 Les Paul off their website. The store indicated it was in nice shape and had the case with it, so I pulled the trigger. The guitar showed up with bubble wrap around it, in a case shipping box. No case. I think the fat 50s neck on it is probably the only reason why the headstock didn’t snap. It was flopping around in the box with a huge amount of space for movement.

I called the store, calm, but obviously not happy, and when they picked up they had me confused with another person who also ordered a used Les Paul, and was also upset because it was shipped bare inside a box. "Are you Dave from Ohio?", "No, I'm Nick from Connecticut". "Oh, some guy named Dave from Ohio just called and he got a Les Paul without the case and he's looking for it. I have to call him back too". The associate was apologetic, and told me that he had located my case and would ship it out ASAP. Ok, at least they were making right on it.

The next day I got tracking notification from UPS. GC sent the case out next day air. I was impressed. Well, impressed until I received it, opened the box...and saw that they shipped me a case from an SG. How a GC employee doesn't know the difference between a LP and SG is beyond me. You'd think if there was any doubt, he could grab a guitar off the wall and test fit it in the case before sending it next day air. Mind you, knowing what the case should look like, I described it to him (a newer style brown case with red interior, brass colored hardware, and gold logo). The SG case was 2010s, black with white interior, chrome hardware, white logo.

I called back...
"Nick from CT, yeah, I sent your case out the other day".
"You sent me *a* case, but it's for an SG, and I bought a Les Paul"
"Ohhhh, man...I have to find your case, I'll locate it and call you back"

After 3 weeks of phone calls back and forth with 3 different people at the GC store (each time not receiving a call back and having to reach out again), I finally was told that GC lost the case. I finally got to the manager, who resolved things by giving me a partial refund and sending me a package with some strings and other stuff. She was great and swift in her resolution. The refund didn't cover the cost of a case from Gibson. But GC wasn't interested in recovering the SG case they sent me, so I sold that and came out ok in the end. Dave from Ohio may very well have the case for my guitar, and whoever buys that SG will probably get my original case with it somehow.

I’ve generally had good luck with them. But when it goes off the rails, it can get really bad. Haha. I ordered a new case straight from Gibson and they got it out to me within a week.
 
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Otter351

Member
Messages
874
And, I just received a used Ethos Overdrive pedal from GC. Not a fantastic deal by any means, but still less than new and what you'd typically see them go for on Reverb. I open the box and what do I see? It's the 30w amp version which is a $200 option. Yay me!
 
Messages
170
Yeah unfortunately while offering an amazing return policy is a great thing for buyers it can also be a problem if/when people abuse it. There isn't much attention paid by the workers (unfortunately understandable given that they're not really paid enough to care) and they're certainly not going to take the pickups out of every returned guitar to make sure they're the same as the ones that were in there before. Many guitars get purchased from one store and returned to another locally where the buyer lives, so for many salespeople accepting a return its their first time seeing that guitar.

All that annoyance aside, I think GC Used is a true goldmine for buyers. I've gotten absolutely unbelievable steals from there several times a year for the last decade or so and it continues to be one of the only ways I'll purchase a guitar online.
I agree with your sentiment 100% and feel safe buying used from them (yes even remotely) because of their liberal return policy. And I have scored a couple of nice used guitars because they were a little loose with their pricing. Once you get away from Gibson and Fender with them, they're not always that sure where to price guitars like Reverend, Fret King, Danelectro, etc. so you can get some really nice deals on used.
 

jasons7

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,333
This is not at all what caveat emptor means.

Anything you buy from Guitar Center can easily be returned for a long period of time, even if issues are found after the fact. A caveat emptor sale means the buyer is responsible for doing all diligence before the transaction is consummated, and the item is being sold as is.

Buying used stuff from GC is the opposite of that.

Picking nits a little but OK, fair enough. FWIW, you have 3 days on items they categorize as "Vintage" which really isn't that long considering the investment being made.
 

Oinkus

Member
Messages
7,429
Very pleased with my recent purchase and quite surprised that GC removed the tubes before shipping an amp ? Wrapped very well in bubble wrap and the footswitch and tubes inside a separate box. They did forget to include the power cord but I have a couple dozen of those laying around in piles of junk.
 

RC Mike

Member
Messages
744
Very pleased with my recent purchase and quite surprised that GC removed the tubes before shipping an amp ? Wrapped very well in bubble wrap and the footswitch and tubes inside a separate box. They did forget to include the power cord but I have a couple dozen of those laying around in piles of junk.

I've got a PRS Custom 50 from GC showing up today. I hope they took care like yours did in packing it. We'll see.

My experiences with GC used items have all been really positive. Well packed, as described, and at what I consider to be below-market prices. I did return a guitar last fall, as it really wasn't what I'd hoped it would be. They got it back completely cleaned, polished, well-setup, and with a new set of strings. It was listed for a day before it was purchased by someone.
 




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