The Pro’s & Cons of Buying a Guitar Online
by Michael Gumley
Online shopping has changed almost every industry in the last 5-10 years and the music instrument industry is no exception. In this article I’d like to explore the pros and cons of buying a guitar online.
There are many benefits to buying your instrument online and but there are also many downsides. I’m of the opinion that you should always try out guitars before you buy them, what would be worse than spending working your butt off to save up for your dream guitar only to have it arrive and find it doesn’t meet your expectations. On the other hand if you’re saving a few hundred dollars by buying online it makes it a lot easier to get a new amp to go along with your new guitar. Let's start by taking a look at some of the Pros.
One of the best things about shopping online is that you can browse through literally thousands of guitars all at the click of a mouse. You can search for, find, and pay for your guitar and have it arrive at your front door a few days later without ever having to leave your house. Some brands such as Carvin Guitars and Ormsby Guitars are providing the ultimate service by letting you buy from their website directly and are shipping it from their factory straight to you.
There is so much competition in online retail that stores are buying in large volumes and selling at low margins in order to profit. This is great for consumers who can pick up guitars at much cheaper prices than traditional retail and can invest the money saved in amplifiers or other musical equipment. You’ll also get the bigger online retailers throwing in free shipping, cases strings and many other incentives to try and win your business.
When you go to your local store they can only display and hold so many guitars and while they can order in guitars for you, you’re often left to pick from what’s on the floor or in the warehouse. When you shop online most retailers will carry the entire catalogue of their brands in all configurations of colour and specs.
These are just some of the positive reasons for buying an instrument online. Hold your horses though as you should weigh up some of the negatives before making a decision.
No Try Before You Buy
One of the best experiences in buying a guitar is actually going to your local shop, pressing your nose up against the glass and having a good geese at all the treasures inside. When you try out your guitar at your local shop you get to see it, feel it, play it, smell it, and take it for a test run. If you spend a few hours getting to know your instruments before you decide to take it home you’ll leave knowing you bought the right one. The last thing you want to do is sink $5000 into a Gibson you’ve been froffin’ over online only to find out the neck is too thick for you or doesn’t allow you to shred comfortably. You’ll also miss out on getting the advice and know-how from the guy behind the counter who has spend years getting to know both instruments and customers and helping match each person to the right instrument.
Your guitar can get damaged or lost in transit
There have been plenty of horror stories about guitars arriving dented, scratched or outright broken. In the majority of cases the guitar left the warehouse in good condition and was roughed up by the postage company along the way. Fortunately most retailers make good on damaged goods but the frustration of going through the process has put many people off buying.
Having to wait
The reality is no-one likes being made to wait and for all the convenience of getting a guitar delivered to your doorstep it's simply much faster to visit your local shop and buy one of the guitars they have in stock. This will also save you a trip to the local postal depot as guitars have a habit of being delivered when you’re at work.
You may void warranty
Living in Australia has it’s own burdens as many of the bigger US based online retailers don’t ship here, or if they do, void all warranty when doing so. Several of the companies were taking advantage of this and shipping guitars they knew were damaged and blaming it on the post companies with no chance of refund. It was really dodgy and just as dangerous if you were having a friend in the USA shipping things to you.
Your local music shop will lose out
You might be saving yourself a lot of money by buying online but you're also taking the money away from your local music shop in the process. Online sales are really putting local retail under the pump and many shops have had to close down altogether. One day you’re going to need strings urgently before a show and Amazon’s 3 day shipping time isn’t going to help you.
So there you have it, some of the pros and cons about buying an instrument online. Be sure to weigh them up next time you’re in the market for a new instrument and pick the option that best suits you.
About The Author:
Michael Gumley is a heavy metal guitarists from Melbourne Australia. He has toured the world with his band Hybrid Nightmares and loves nothing more than exploring guitar shops. When he’s not touring he’s busy teaching guitar at his school ‘Melbourne Guitar Academy. If you want to learn guitar the right way sign up for the best guitar lessons in Essendon and improve your playing right away.