*UPDATE post #124* Would you PAY a store to open 3 or 4 guitar boxes and take pics, so you can choose the "best" looking one?

saleake

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I once went into a guitar store that had 6 Les Paul Customs. They let me play each one. I ended up buying the first one.
 

diogoguitar

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1,275
I asked a seller the neck depth on a used $4k guitar.
Here is his answer:

1669904430518.png
 

clothwiring

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6,873
No. I did work with one shop this year to compare a few guitars and purchased one of them.
 

aquanaut

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If they do this and you pick one and then they ship it, they are now vulnerable to you saying the photos don't match the guitar and you want to return it for that reason.
Your $50 a guitar toward opening the box is still a losing proposition for them. That doesn't compensate them for having to sell the guitars you didn't buy as open box items.
Then there is the matter of shipping. If you buy it and don't like it are you going to be willing to pay to ship the item back to them? Or do they have to eat that cost too?
A retailer I buy SCUBA gear from charges 25% to take back an item as long as it hasn't been used in the water. And I pay shipping both ways if I return it.
The alternative for the retailer? Add potential return shipping and open box discounts to ALL sales.
Otherwise, they are working at a loss.
 

datguytim

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I never buy a guitar without playing it first. Only exception are custom builds. I would never pay for someone to take a guitar out of a box to take a pic for me.
 

Koshchei

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472
For context:
  • Flame top import guitar model, some units come with great flaming, but quite a few units are a bit meh looking. So buying sight unseen is a gamble.
  • New price is 1000-ish bucks.
  • I'm not in the US, so I can't buy from Sweetwater
  • No stock in brick and mortar stores near me.
  • I would like to avoid buying and returning, if I buy sight unseen and the top happens to be meh looking.
I called a major online retailer, and told them I would like them to open a few boxes for me, and take pics, so I could choose the "best" looking one.

I told them I'm willing to pay for this service (but I didn't suggest any price).

They told me they don't normally do this, especially for a guitar in this price range, but they said write us an email, and we'll see if we can do something.

I was thinking of offering maybe 50 bucks per box opened (roughly 5% of the new unit price), so 150-200 bucks for 3-4 boxes opened.

BTW, I'm NOT asking them to weigh the guitars.

What do you guys think?
Is that ridiculous?
Would that price be too low? Too high?
Any other suggestions?

Thanks!
Why not apply that $200 to getting a better guitar?
 

Scott L

Gold Supporting Member
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2,359
An alternative would be using a forwarding service for shops that do post photos.

Check out www.MyUS.com

I've sold used gear to buyers all over who used them. They handle all the logistics and I only have to ship to their facility in the USA.
 

BPaulson

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Messages
170
How does opening the box make the guitar worth less? Sweetwater photographs the guitars they sell and it's not like there's a discount since the box is opened. I want to see the EXACT guitar I'm buying, not just an example of that model. I would never pay for the store to show me the exact guitar I'm buying. If I'm not happy with that one then they should let me see others unless they just don't want the sale. In that case I'll just go buy somewhere else.
 

Gwendolyn

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152
I mean, I do this kind of thing for free for customers as long as its something like a Les Paul Standard and I'm not unboxing 6 Squier Classic Vibe Strats to find the best looking one.
 

Gasp100

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27,170
If you’d be willing to pay $150-200 over and above the cost of the guitar and shipping, it seems like that same $150-200 might pay for a road trip or flight to a brick and mortar outside of your normal driving distance. It most likely would in the US, maybe not so much elsewhere.
I would increase my buget to $1200 and buy used and demand very specific pictures before purchase.
 

natmiss

Silver Supporting Member
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2,494
Wut?

Box opened for inspection and verification

I want an open box as I want them to make sure it arrived in one piece
We used to get guitars with footprints on them when i ran a store
Just speaking from my experience working MI sales for 35 years. I do like opening the box in front of the customer to make sure everything's OK. I learned my lesson when I sold a customer an amp in a perfect box. Forklift hole right through the amp! I suppose it's different with internet sales though as in the customers not right in front of you.
Apparently, not for sweetwater. I returned two guitars for defects last year and they were both relisted as brand new guitars with new pictures, still showing the defects I returned them for.
Sounds like Sweetwater alright. Their popularity baffles me. Just the high pressure sales tactics alone is enough to turn me off.
 

natmiss

Silver Supporting Member
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2,494
I mean, I do this kind of thing for free for customers as long as its something like a Les Paul Standard and I'm not unboxing 6 Squier Classic Vibe Strats to find the best looking one.
I had a customer one Christmas looking at a Samick child size guitar for 79.95 and he asked me how many we had in stock. We had about twenty. He wanted to open every one of them to choose the best one! Uhhhh. How 'bout no!
 

Gwendolyn

Member
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I had a customer one Christmas looking at a Samick child size guitar for 79.95 and he asked me how many we had in stock. We had about twenty. He wanted to open every one of them to choose the best one! Uhhhh. How 'bout no!
Yeah I don't care if it loses me a sale, I will straight up tell a customer "I'm not doing that for an $80 guitar".
 

Pantalooj

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3,865
First, I understand the dilemma of not being able to try because you can't get to a physical shop. But, in the $1000 range (US I assume) I would not expect to pay in order to see a photo of the actual guitar that I was buying online, if I was buying it from a musical instrument retailer that also has a physical shop. Especially if a feature of the guitar was a flame top. I would try alternative retailers, and ask to see a photo of the actual guitar that they were intending to sell to me, rather than asking them up front to open multiple boxes for me to choose from.

Second, and this is personal opinion only, I would be more concerned with the build and finish quality of the guitar than the goodness of the flame. Any rough frets, any dead spots, does the guitar ring out when played unplugged, etc. You're at the mercy of the integrity of the retailer, but I would at least ask those questions, again in relation to the actual guitar that they were going to sell me ... which might be most feasible with an unboxed example that's hanging on the wall in their physical shop.
 
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