I'm an avid buyer of used/new guitars and one of the most common questions people ask me is "should i buy on eBay?"

eBay is the definition of hit or miss.

PROS Ability to acquire rare, vintage or country specific products.

-FAKES: unfortunately online marketplaces are flooded with fake guitars that are replica's made in China. There are sites that help you identify if it's a fake, but fraudsters are getting better. Everything from swapped pickups to fake certificates of authenticity. Personally the only product i would buy on eBay would be an amp head. Even speaker cabinets are risky, they could have pulled out the quality speakers and replaced them with others.

-Misleading Information/Photos: Before fakes flooded the marketplace, one of the only ways to rip someone off was to display photos that only show the quality features and nothing that shows the dents, repairs, etc. How do you know hes the original owner?

EX: There was once an eBay ad for a Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom. Fake and selling for about $4000 USD. The description said "this was left behind by my ex-boyfriend. it needs to go ASAP!". Ad was pulled later that day. Need I say more?

-Returns: Never going to happen, so when you get the guitar, your stuck with it.

-POOR PACKAGING: Can't stress this enough. I had an JTM45 amp head sent to me in 1 sheet of bubble wrap in a very large empty box. I was very nervous to open the box, but fortunately nothing was wrong. THIS IS RARE. There are youtube videos, blog posts etc. showing horror stories of poor packaging resulting in damage.

-THE GUITAR: Would you buy a car without test driving it? There are those who believe you can buy any quality guitar in any condition, and with a professional setup will bring the guitar back to life. Completely false. I have rented many Fender's/Gibson's and I will tell you that even though they are quality guitars, I did not enjoy the playability of many of them. You will never know if you like it until you pick it up, even if its a Gibson Les Paul 1959 VOS. Everyone 1959 VOS is different, you just never know.

So now that you know the dangers of eBay, I would highly advise that you check out the used department of your local store or chain. Kijiji and Craigslist are good for the odd purchase, but you need to REALLY know all the features and value of the product your about to purchase.

I'm a Gibson guy and i understand replica's have been around for ages, but today's push by the Chinese has made buying a privately sold quality guitar quite a procedure. I also dont support people who own replica's. Im sorry, i'd say out of every 10 replica's listed on a site, 2 are displayed as replicas. Maybe a couple people out there are honest, but i guarantee passing it off as real Gibson has gone through their head.


Hope this helps the UG Community.

Good information, but this is not the right place to post it.

I invite you to go to our home page and submit this as an article, you will most likely get more responses if you add more about how to spot fakes, etc. Don't make it out to be an advertisement, as it almost seems here (obviously, it's not, but the wording could be cleaned up a bit to be more professional and informative). Make it more as a guide to buying used gear; I'm sure a lot of people could benefit from the insight of someone who does so regularly.

This particular part of the forum is for discussing gear, not eBay and other gear websites. If you have a rant about eBay sellers in general, though, feel free to post in The Pit
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