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What's your hit rate on buying untried guitars?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by soldano16, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    British Columbia
    It's been a disaster for me overall. A couple were nice but only one has turned out to be a keeper. And that's the only one I ever bought where I had return privilages (having learnt somewhat from previous experiences)

    The problem is access. So many guitars I could never get to unless I waited years and years and even then maybe no. So I risk it.

    Maybe the keeper makes up for all the rest. At least I buy used.

    It's that quest..........
  2. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    Is the problem that you haven't tried the particular model or the specific guitar or you are choosing rarities that you can't check locally?
    I prefer to try before I buy AND have return priveleges.:AOK
  3. XKnight

    XKnight Member

    Apr 8, 2007
    Republic of Texas
    About 50/50. I keep telling myself I'm done buying before trying, but there are just so many interesting guitars on that darn thing called the world wide web.
  4. The Pup

    The Pup Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2005
    50/50 for me...but I can make any guitar right if it's not a total wreck.

    I've bought over 20 guitars sight unseen and only had to throw two of them back (sold or traded to GC for a profit). :Devil

    The rest I was able to make right (fret dress, refret, setup or minor hardware changes).
  5. straightblues

    straightblues Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    The LBC
    I have done really well. Just make sure you don't overpay and you are fine. All you will be out is $25 shipping cost if the guitar doesn't work for you. You might even make some money. You can try it out and find out if you like it or not. $25 for "renting" a guitar for a month or two isn't too bad is it?
  6. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Member

    Jan 6, 2002
    Trenton, NJ
    In the last 15 years, I've bought all but two of my guitars (out of probably three dozen or so) via the internet. And while I haven't kept them all, none have been dogs. Only had a problem with one production Fender, which had a problem with the neck/trussrod. All the others were great pieces.

    I kept the ones that tickled my fancy the most, but the ones I sold were all very decent axes, and I'm sure someone is enjoying the hell out of them.
  7. shredtrash

    shredtrash Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    I've done well. Bought my Gretsch 6120 & G&L Legacy without playing them and both are really good. I just bought a Les Paul Standard from a fellow TGPer yesterday so I'm hoping for another lucky bounce.
  8. smorgdonkey

    smorgdonkey Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    Well...I guess I am very fortunate...
    I purchsed the following having never laid hands on them:
    G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Tele
    G&L Tribute Invader
    G&L Tribute Legacy Premium Strat
    1988 Kramer Pacer Custom I American Series
    1988 Kramer Pacer Custom II American Series
    2004 Taylor 214
    2005 ESP/LTD EC400AT
    1987 Kramer Pacer Custom II American Series
    2002 ESP/LTD H-1000
    2004 ESP/LTD EC400
    Seagull S6+CW Cedar
    2006 Fender U.S.A. 60th Anniversary HS Telecaster
    1984 Kramer Pacer Series Patent Pending Deluxe
    1985 USA Jackson Soloist
    1987 Charvel Model 1 (white)
    1987 Charvel Model 1 (black)
    2006 ESP/LTD Viper 1000
    1999 Fender USA ash Stratocaster
    1976 Ibanez Les Paul

    Every one of those guitars is fantastic so I guess I'm 100%. The G&L Tribute guitars really opened my eyes to how good Korean manufacturing is and the ESP/LTD guitars iced that cake. There are many that were 'the guitars' in the 1980s that are really only available in any numbers online. I couldn't be happier with the good fortune I've had buying online.
  9. gdomeier

    gdomeier Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Same here. All the guitars I have purchased online have been fine axes, with none being dogs.

  10. Dave

    Dave Member

    Feb 15, 2007
    I'd say about 50/50 for me too. I can't resist custom ordered guitars. Being able to spec out a guitar down to the last detail is just too attractive. The down side, obviously, is that you're committing to buying a guitar that doesn't even exist yet.

    The ones that didn't work for me weren't bad by any stretch, just not exactly what I was after. The gems I've hung onto over the years are worth the expensive trial and error to me.
  11. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    Some guitars that I've bought untried have been quire good.

    I ordered my '79 Hamer before anyone around me had even heard of them, and none of us had ever played one. That guitar's unusually good.

    I got my '98 Les Paul Junior/Special off ebay, from a dealer. That one's got good mojo.

    I bought my Epi Elitist SG over the phone from Elderly. Very impressive craftsmanship, and it's generally a good guitar, but if I was in a music store trying out guitars, I would have passed that one up. Nothing really special, even if it's a good player.

    My Dillion '58 Junior knockoff is another good player. I would have passed on that one too.

    Parts Telecasters tend to be rather hit or miss, but I can juggle necks and pickups, and rewire them. Those can usually be improved if the first build is iffy.
  12. hemlock

    hemlock Guest

    Two for three. I bought a Reverend Slingshot Custom that was a cool guitar but just not for me. My Melancon P90 Pro was an awesome guitar. I think my Koll Fullerton is as good an electric guitar as I'll ever own.
  13. musicman1

    musicman1 Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    2 out of 3. No issues with anything on the third but really not liking the neck pickup too much. Might be an easy fix but with a 24 fret neck it might not. Kind of not liking the 24 fret thing.
  14. devinb

    devinb Member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Cleveland, Ohio
    2 out of the 3 I still own were purchased sight unseen...an amazing Legacy from Wildwood, and a 1964 Gibson F-25 which I'm not yet bonded with, but was never meant to be my #1 acoustic.
  15. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Under the whang whang guitar star
    I'm 1 for 1. Likely I'll stay that way. I did okay the one time I did it, but still don't like the idea. I won't say I'll never do it again, but it would take a special circumstance.
  16. TestierWheat

    TestierWheat Member

    Jan 14, 2005
    Baltimore, MD by way of Louisville, KY
    My luck has been ok. Out of the 19 or so guitars I've purchased sight unseen, 5 have gone back.

    I sent back a Baja Tele because a few frets were actually pressed into the fingerboard. I ordered a replacement and it was perfect.

    I sent back a CIJ Fender Jaguar. It looked the part, but had no game.

    I sent back two Gibson Firebird V's. They both had a very noticable drop in volume from the B to the E strings on the bridge pickup.

    I sent back a Floyd Rose Discovery I purchased after having a few glasses of wine.

    Guitars I've kept:

    Gibson VOS '58 LP
    Gibson SG Classic
    Gibson LP Junior
    Gibson Explorer
    Gibson U2
    Fender American Series Stratocaster
    Fender American Standard Telecaster
    Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster
    Fender Baja Tele #2
    Hamer Newport
    Epiphone Elitist Les Paul
    Kramer (MusicYo) "1984"
    Seagul S12
    Paul Reed Smith Swamp Ash Special
  17. NatDeroxL7

    NatDeroxL7 Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    5 bought unplayed.

    1 Stunner :D. 2 keepers. 1 almost-keeper. 1 helllll-NO!
  18. jeffwith1f

    jeffwith1f Member

    Sep 19, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    dude, I have enough trouble with instruments I do try out before buying.
    of course, I get closer when I try, but I think it behooves anyone who is going to drop more than $1000 on an instrument to try it first. Obviously this makes buying over the internet on anything rare and valuable difficult.

    as above, though, even when I try first, and then buy thinking "yeah, that feels nice, sounds good..." once I get it home and really play it in context with the music I play, the tones I use, and the other instrments that I own that have become my own personal benchmarks, sometimes I still find that while it may be a cool, and good guitar, it will never likely be a go-to guitar. developing that sort of relationship with an instrument takes some time.

    and who knows, just because it doesn't work for me, does not mean that for the right person this instrument could be a #1.

    a) try
    b) try to stick to items that have resale value (blue chip guits, Fender, Gibson, Martin) so that if it ends up not speaking to you ultimatly, you can get your money back and try again.
  19. digthosetubes

    digthosetubes Senior Member

    Jun 13, 2007
    Well said. Just look around on this site to discover the tremendous scrutiny we subject these instruments to. Same goes for amps. And then to consider buying them without hearing them or touching them? But for some this just happens to work out well. And it might not work out well. But the same can happen for an instrument you try out in a store. I have a guitar that is 20 years old. It is starting to sound stellar. Didn't always sound this good. That's what's so cool about wood. Of course this is an acoustic classical guitar. But wood has a big effect on electric guitars as well.
  20. theHoss

    theHoss Member

    Aug 10, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I am battin' 500. I ordered a custom one and I haven't bonded with it. Bought a used from TGP, loved it.

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