Hi just wanted to know if anyone has purchased a brand new guitar online I'm in Australia and would like to purchase a 12 string acoustic . If I purchase one from the US I can get a better one for half the price . But am concerned about warranty and the actual set up of the instrument. Any thoughts?
It's not a good idea to buy online if you can avoid it. No 2 guitars are the same even if they are the same model and the same brand. So if you play, for example, a martin d15 in your local shop and you absolutely love it, so you buy a d15 online there is a good change you will be disappointed with the d15 that you get because it probably won't sound the same as the one in the shop.

So buying online is a gamble. It may be cheaper, but there is a good chance you won't be happy with the tone and then you end up selling it on ebay for less than you paid and buying the more expensive guitar from the local shop anyway.

I'm a big fan of getting electric guitars online because you can always fix a bad setup and you can manipulate tone by changing pickups. Acoustics are different. Fixing a bed setup is much more difficult and if it doesn't sound good to your ears there isn't much you can do about it.

The one exception is if you are getting a custom acoustic guitar. Luthiers will talk to you, find out what you want to sound like, and then voice the guitar for you. Those guitars are a pretty safe bet to get online.
Not taking any online orders.
But with that said brands like Martin and Taylor and Gibson produce consistent quality instruments, so while the d15 you get online wont sound the same as the d15 in your local shop, it will still be a very well made instrument and chances are it will be a wicked guitar.
Brands like Martin, Taylor, and Gibson work with averages to make a consistent product. They have based the size, shape, and thickness, and placement of the parts on the "average" piece of wood that they will be using. Unfortunately wood varies greatly from plank to plank so no 2 boards are going to have the same properties. The only fantastic instruments are the ones that land closest to the "average" which doesn't really exist. Most guitars fall within an accepted tolerance but are not using bracing and thicknesses that are ideal for the specific pieces of wood used. This causes a great deal of variation from all mass produced guitars no matter what brand. Sure there are specific tonal qualities that make you think "that's a taylor" or "that's a Martin" but just because it sounds like a Martin doesn't mean it sounds good.
Not taking any online orders.
i've bought several guitars online with very happy results. while what CorduroyEW says is true to a degree, if you can't afford a particular guitar or find one where you are, imo there are a number of brands that are consistent enough to buy online. sure, you may not get the very best one made of that make/model, but you can be assured of a good playable instrument.

set up of new guitars very rarely please me - i like very low action for 10's or silk and steels, so i always end up getting my guitars set up to my liking. i suggest you do the same.

as far as a warranty, that's probably a bit iffy but may also depend on where you buy from.
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I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Last edited by patticake at Apr 19, 2011,
I haven't bought a guitar online, but I have bought other things.

I think my biggest concerns would be 1) the cost of shipping, and whether it's worth it and 2) if you received the guitar and it was damaged or not working well, how easy would it be to return it or have it repaired?

Keep in mind, from the US to Australia is a long way for a guitar to go, and a guitar is sort of a fragile thing to ship. If it had to be returned for any reason, you have to pay those shipping costs too. It just seems to me like more of a hassle than its worth.

But then, I guess it depends on how great a deal you're getting.