Check the Online Reputation of the Guitar Shop
Check Google and Facebook reviews of any website where you are doing your window shopping. Most guitar shops will do their best to offer you a positive experience, but you want to be sure you find a reputable dealer and avoid any scammers operating fake websites.
Keep in mind that many websites will have some negative reviews. So how does the business handle them? Are they ignoring their customers, or are they attempting to work with the unhappy customer?
Ordering online does have some risks. For example, your order can get lost, stolen, or damaged during shipment. Therefore, you want to be certain whoever you buy from can be trusted post-purchase to resolve any issues that might occur so that you don't get stuck with a problem.
Choosing a Guitar Online
Choosing a guitar online can be difficult for the novice. There are many choices, and it's hard to know if you're choosing the right one. Luckily, some guidelines will help you through the process. First, you want to consider what style of music you want to play. Many different body shapes are suited for different genres. Telecaster-style is famous for country music, Les Paul and Stratocaster styles are popular for rock and blues. Super Strats and pointy guitars are popular for Heavy Metal genres. Next, ask yourself, who is your favorite band or guitarist? What kind of guitar do they play? You might want to get a guitar with a similar look and features. Many smaller brand names make great copies of the more expensive iconic guitars that can get you started in the world of music. It's not quite as tough to get started as it's been in the past, and a great entry-level model can make a huge difference in your guitar-playing life!
Are the Photos of the Actual Guitar?
A lot of the pictures for guitar listings are stock photos lifted from a manufacturer's website. This practice is common for a new guitar, but there could be variances with the instrument's actual color or wood grain pattern. Ask the dealer for an actual guitar photo to confirm the color and grain.
If it is a used guitar, there should be actual photos of the guitar so that you can inspect any blemishes or flaws.
The Size and Weight
You want a comfortable guitar to play. Anything over 8 pounds might be uncomfortable for some people with back issues. Find out the weight of the guitar before you buy it. If it's an acoustic guitar, the size comes into play. A Dreadnought size sounds great, but it might be too bulky and uncomfortable for a smaller person. Consider a Concert or Parlor guitar if you have a small frame.
Is the Guitar Neck Thin or Chunky?
Thin necks are preferred for guitar solos or a great choice if you have smaller hands. Chunky necks offer an excellent tone and sustain notes well. Chunky necks can also tolerate heavier string gauges if you plan to use drop-tunings. Ask your dealer about neck profiles before purchasing.
Is the Guitar Setup?
Not all guitars purchased online are set up well, and most factory setups have room for improvement. Try to find yourself a reputable dealer that sets up the guitar for free before buying it. But keep in mind that your guitar might need some adjustments after being shipped to you. The rigors of travel and climate change from one destination to another can degrade the guitar's performance. Let the guitar acclimate to its new surroundings. Try to keep it stored at 50% relative humidity for the best performance.
What is the Shipping Policy?
Always check the shipping policy to ensure that you can return a guitar for free and get a refund or replacement if it arrives broken or defective. A 30-day window is standard for returning a guitar if you are unsatisfied with it. But in cases of buyer's remorse, be prepared to pay return shipping and cover the dealer's outbound shipping expense. Depending on size and travel destinations, it is expensive to ship a guitar, anywhere from $35 to $100. It's difficult for a guitar shop to absorb those costs from folks who just want to try out the guitar. Do your research so that the chances are you will be happy with your guitar purchase.
Buying guitars online can be easy and convenient if you know what to expect. However, it would be best to research the websites you are considering buying from before you make the purchase. Also, do not make any purchases before you read reviews. There are a lot of post-purchase complaints in the world of Google reviews; you want to know that you will be taken care of by the shop owner after the sale if anything goes wrong with your purchase.
Make sure you communicate any questions before you buy so you can be sure what to expect when you finally take ownership. For example, how long will it take to ship? Will it be packed securely and insured? What is the return policy? Will it be set up? Is it used, refurbished, or new? The more you know about the guitar, the less chance you will be unhappy with your purchase. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you have them; most dealerships will be happy to guide you on deciding if you are unsure.
We hope this article has been helpful. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions.