ebay has like buyer protection and stuff but forum's dont. so how do i buy a guitar from someone on the forums and make sure i am not going to get ripped off once they have my money?
Get references and talk with them a bit beforehand to make sure it's legit. The first few deals I did online I got their phone numbers and talked with them a bit before I sent money. Most legit sellers are happy to do whatever to make you comfortable.
If your uncomfortable doing paypal gift or other methods of payment, do normal paypal with the goods option and ask for references of who they have dealt with before. It's a pretty rare thing to get ripped off if your careful.