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Buying a Guitar Online
How to Avoid Getting Burned

The internet has changed the way we do many things in our lives, including the way many of us buy guitars. Several years ago, the thought of buying and paying for a guitar sight unseen would be unheard of for many guitarists. This seems to have changed - a quick look at the E-bay guitar auction board will illustrate just how many instruments are being bought and sold daily.

This isn't to suggest, however, that guitarists should dive in recklessly, and not carefully consider the possible consequences of buying online. There are still many hazards associated with purchasing a guitar you've never seen, from a dealer you probably don't know. For those considering purchasing an instrument from an online music store, you'll surely want to check the Dealer Reviews archive from Guitar Notes. This handy site allows guitarists to submit a rating and detailed description of their dealings with specific instrument retailers. You'll find user submitted reviews here of popular online retailers like Musician's Friend, and many more. For more current vendor reviews, visit Eopinions.com, enter the name of the vendor you're considering purchasing from, and do some research.

Shipping instruments is always another hassle. As much as we'd like to think that everyone who touches your new instrument while it's being shipped will handle it with as much care as you would, it's just not true. In some cases, instruments will arrive damaged, due to improper packaging, or rough handling during shipping. Before shipping a guitar, you should consider getting the instrument packaged professionally, via stores like Mailbox Etc. A perk of using a service like this is that Mailbox Etc. allows the buyer to contact the store before the instrument is shipped, and confirm the contents of the package. For those looking to avoid additional expense, Guitarsite.com has provided an article on how to pack a guitar.

Dealer and shipping problems aside, perhaps the most intimidating concept of buying an instrument online is that you don't get a chance to play the instrument before you've paid for it. Anyone who has sat in a music store, and played various models of the same guitar, knows that quality varies wildly from instrument to instrument. Any product made largely from something as unpredictable as wood will have varying degrees of quality. The result of this is you might get your new guitar via the mail, and find that it's not at the level of quality that you'd hoped it would be. You'll be happy to know that most online retailers offer a 24 or 48 hour return policy to prevent you from being stuck with a lemon. What retailers will generally not tell you, however, is that they are usually required, by law, to provide a 30 day return policy. Read the details of this on the very informative How to Buy a Guitar page.

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