Ok so I was looking at guitars on sites like musiciansfriend and music123 (American sites) and they were a lot less expensive than any UK site or store. They only ship used guitars to the UK from the brands I am interested in such as ESP Ltd and Schecter. So its a lot cheaper than the UK prices, even with posting prices considered. The used guitars are listed in different conditions - i would only really consider buying a 'mint condition' one which means that apparently "This instrument or product has been carefully played/used and returned to us in virtually new condition; however its packaging may not meet the standards set by the factory." (musiciansfriend description). Should I trust this? I would be pleased if it arrived and had just minor scratches, even a few dints but was in perfect working order. But if it had huge spoils and wasn't in perfect working order i'd be raging. Has anyone ordered a guitar in this way before? If so I'd just like to know your experience and if there were any problems.
Not worth it. VAT and taxes.

Not to mention return shipping policies/costs if something were to go wrong
Last edited by xFilth at Jan 3, 2012,
It's only worth doing if it's significantly less in order to make up for VAT.

My guitar was imported but I still saved over £800 on English prices.
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You really need to find someone going on holiday to the USA and claim they brought the guitar with them from the UK. I bought My Gibson LP, Fender Tele and my Takamine in New York over different holidays and saved a fortune from UK prices. I will never buy a guitar in the UK, we get royally screwed.
It used to be worth it, but a few years ago the laws surrounding these sorts of imports were tightened up so now you end up paying import charges which make it not worthwhile - by the time you've paid for the international delivery and the import tax, you could have made the same purchase within the UK.

If you can find a private sale, the seller may agree to send it as a gift which can avoid charges, but not always. Professional sites don't provide that as an option.

The best bet is if you know someone over there who you trust to make the purchase for you. Even better if they occasionally visit the UK and can bring your guitar as part of their luggage on the plane - if you can find someone going over there on holiday you can ask them to do the same for you.

Another option is to keep your search within the EU. I've no direct experience of it, but I believe European sites like Thomann can save a lot of money on UK prices and because of the different European laws relating to the promotion of trade between countries that is often the best option as there are no hidden charges. I think eBay has a few different European sites as well, I don't know what others there are out there.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Jan 3, 2012,