Hello UG!

I'm planning on buying my first electric guitar very soon.
There are two guitar shops near me, but I'm also interested in some guitars that they don't carry.

I already know that buying a guitar without trying it can be a bit stupid, especially for a beginner like me. I won't know how the guitar feels before I get it, I won't know if I like the neck, the weight or the pickups and it might not be properly set up. So it could be a dud. But a lot of stores also have a return policy in case this happens.

I don't live near a lot of big cities, so my choices are limited. And online stores will sell me almost every brand I can think of. Basically, I'm having trouble making up my mind about this.

Guitars I have been looking at are semi-hollowbodies, like the Epiphone Dot and Hägstrom Viking and solidbody guitars like the Höfner HCT Club, Eastwood GP and some telecasters. My budget is around 500 euros, but can stretch a bit. My first amp will probably be a Fender Mustang, but I'm open for some low-wattage tube amp suggestions. I will be playing everything from blues to metal.

What are your experiences with buying guitars (or amps for that matter) online, and would you recommend it, or not?
Last edited by Minimum92 at Jul 24, 2011,
Depends, really.
If you can avoid it, try to.

Shipping companies dont give a dead moose's last shit what's in your box, and how much its worth, and how much you want it. Everytime I've gotten something online (accept once) its came smashed to shit and I've had to send it back. Maybe these are just my experiences, and maybe things are different in the Netherlands, but I would say not to.
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Honestly if you can make the trip to a store with the guitar you want it would be worth it.
How far away do you live from a store that carries your choices?
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If you are going to buy a guitar online. Do as much research as possible and read reviews. Of course you still won't know how it sounds to YOU, and feels. When it comes to amps..ummm I would not suggest buying one online. Just my personal opinion. I bought my amp from musiciansfriend.com and when I took it out of the box it had a crack on the side panel and on the inside corners where the sides and front come together is splitting. So if I were you, I would buy the amp from a shop. You definitely want to know how the amp sounds before you buy it seeing how most of your tone is determined by your amp.
Well if you buy from musicstore.de or thomann you will have 30 days to see if you like the product. If you don't just send it back and you'll get your money back.
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You can also try marktplaats :p I got my jackson ke3 used. few scratches but for 350€ less than a new one.
I never had problems with Thomann, nor with music-store. Bought lots of pedals online, my amp too. Basically if you've heard some good stuff about the guitar, just go for it. Thats my opinion.
Thanks for the quick replies!

The stores near me are quite close, so there's not really an issue there. I think because of all the research I have done, I have seen so many great guitars, that I'm really having trouble choosing right now.

I've mainly checked Thomann, and I know they have a 30-day return policy. But I don't know if it's worth it. That's what I'm really trying to find out.

My choices in the stores are mainly limited to the "big brands": Epiphone, Ibanez, Squier and Fender, but there are some rare brands. One of them also carries Michael Kelly and Schecter, but the one's I like are really at the very top of my budget.

GAS is such a horrid disease. Is there a cure?

Websites of the stores near me (beware, Dutch language!):
Last edited by Minimum92 at Jul 24, 2011,
Well I bought a PRS SE singlecut 22 a while back online. Never playing a PRS before. But I saw that it was "New" and really cheap for an Import into Australia. So I thought "F@ck it.. It's a PRS, It has to be good, everyone says it to me". So I got it.

BIGGEST WIN EVER I LOVED IT!!! It's like the cheapest PRS out, but It plays better than a 6K Les paul IMO (please don't be hatin' just my preference. hhaha)

Just remember, Sometimes the brand name should be taken into consideration if you've never played one. But tbh I'd only ever do this with PRS... All the other companies are just unreliable like Jackson's custom shop where they ignore your chosen specs and implement their own... Bastards.

EDIT: Got it off Ebay btw.
I bought a guitar from www.themusiczoo.com and had it shipped 1300mi. It arrived undamaged. Most if not all retailers will insure the guitar when they shipped it in case it is damaged in transit. I also bought a guitar on eBay from an authorized ESP retailer and it also arrived undamaged. If you buy a case as well with your guitar you can ensure no shipping damage by having it shipped in the case.
Last edited by Finger Cramp at Jul 24, 2011,
Find the guitar you want by visiting the local shops, that way you'll know if it's right for you or not. Then compare the prices at those stores to the prices you find online for the same model. If your local store wants your business, they'll match the price you can get if for elsewhere.

As for all the stories about smashed kit etc - there are always horror stories out there, but thats because people only tell stories, you never hear about the 1,000,000s of things that happen everyday where it all goes to plan.

I've ordered loads of stuff online - not just guitar kit, but stuff for my house, car & motorbike as well. 100s of online purchases, only 1 or 2 where something went wrong. So long as you deal with a decent company they'll be able to sort it for you if it goes wrong and if they're sending something as valuable as a guitar, any decent company would have it insured so you're guaranteed not to lose out.

If you get a better deal by shopping online, do it.
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6 of my pedals came from the US, all from eBay (I'm in Australia btw). Haven't had any problems. My dad's actually getting me a Gibson SG from a store in Portland in a few months, so I have no problem buying stuff from overseas. Especially when I can save $50-$100 a pedal!
I bought my Gibson SG off of Musicians Friend and it is still my favorite guitar I've ever played. But, that is due to me being a lefty. I have never found a quality lefty in any guitar shop, even Guitar Center.
Buying from a well known online retailer is pretty safe. I bought lots of stuff from MF and Sweetwater with no problem.

Before you get set on the Fender Mustang amp which is a fine amp take a look at the Vox VT20+ first.
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go for it if it's thomann... i've purchased several items from them and always recieved GREAT customer service...
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I got my latest guitar from music farm and it came in great condition, the only problem I had was that they copied my post code incorrectly, so it was sitting in another state for a couple of weeks longer than it was meant to.
i buy online often, but only from reputable companies with good history of customer support. I agree that buying locally is best but if there is a huge price gap or they cannot get what i am looking for i have no problem going online.
I always buy online because there is only a small music shop where I live and it's ****ing expensive (double the online prices to get an idea). Never had a problem. If you buy from trusted sites like Thomann you will be fine.
every piece of equipment i have ever bought online has arrived just fine. from guitars to tubes. make sure the package is insured and you're golden. also, it's better to buy guitars from ebay online in my opinion than big box stores because you can actually see and ask about the condition of the instrument.
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So I can conclude from this that most people don't mind buying online. But when you do, do you always try it first in a store, or do a lot of you buy "blind"?

This is my biggest concern. I can try some guitars in the store and see wether I like slimmer or fatter necks, but it still is a bit of a gamble. If I do buy online, I will definitely buy from a reputable seller.
I bought a lot "blind" but I've done researches on 'em. You have a good idea trying out necks at the locals and you can use the descriptions of the neck off the sites in choosing your guitar. Also the body styles can be considered such as SG, Les Paul and strat.

Researches and reviews goes a long way. I've done plenty of 'em and has never been dissatisfied with what I've picked.

Good luck on your adventures.
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I have ordered many products online and have never been dissapointed yet and I use just about all the major USA web sites. Make sure the site has a good return policy and oyu should be ok.
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If you can get what you want in your local music store, go for it. You can usually knock them down a bit in price or get something small thrown into the bargain (tubes, strap, soft case, cable etc...) but if you can't find what you're looking for then Thomann has never let me down!

There was one occasion where I was sent the wrong package, but I sent it back, free of charge and had my order in a week!

I've bought my amp, most of my pedals and my Tele there and everything arrived in perfect condition. No damage to the amp, the guitar was set-up great... Their customer service is great. 2 days max for them to respond via e-mail.

I buy from musiciansfriend.com and ZZsounds.com an have yet to have a problem. Everything I have ordered have been in great shape when it arrives from either place.
Last edited by Austin174 at Jul 24, 2011,
So what about set-up of the guitars you ordered?

Were they all ready to play out of the box, or did they need some extra care before that? Are the strings on there really low quality, or just okay? Did you make any changes whatsoever after you took it out of the box?

Thanks guys. I really appreciate all the good input so far. Great forum!
Almost every guitar needs a set up out of the box.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate