Posted by: worshipguitarguy | August 4, 2006

Buying Gear on ebay

ebay.gifDepending on who you ask, ebay’s been the greatest or worst thing ever for buying guitar gear.  The thing is, “it” lives up to its slogan.  Whatever “it” is, you can usually find it there. 

There are many different opinions on whether or not you should buy gear online… so my opinion isn’t the only one, or necessarily the right one.  But here’s mine anyway. 

I’m an ebay addict.

I love buying gear there, especially because you can get it anywhere from 10-50% off of retail (and sometimes more!)  That said, there are a few things you should pay attention to before you go bidding online.

1.  Do your research first.  That Buy it Now is awful tempting, isn’t it?  The thing about ebay is you’ll get the best deals when you know exactly what you want and know what the going rate is for it.  Since you won’t get the chance to use it ahead of time, go and try out the gear you’re looking at before you go shopping.  (If possible)  Know the pros and cons of what you’re looking at.  Going in with eyes wide open helps to protect you from being disappointed.

2.  Carefully Read the Title and Description:  There’s nothing worse than thinking you got a super deal on an American Telecaster, only to find out it was made in Southeast Asia.  When looking at an item, carefully read all the details about it.  This is especially true because some sellers place words in the titles for search purposes that may not accurately describe it.  (ex.  “Epiphone Les Paul not Gibson”, “Crate Amp not Marshall, Mesa”)  Remember the rule:  When in doubt, ask questions.

3.  Check the sellers feedback:  Does the seller have close to 100% positive feedback, and have they sold alot of stuff on ebay?  Nobody will have a perfect track record, there’s always one or two customers who will be unhappy.  But beware of excessive negative feedback.  Also, look for sellers who have volume in sales, because that will usually give you greater security.  I often look to see if the seller is an existing music store, since I’ve had the best experiences with them. 

4.  Check shipping charges:  When’s a great deal not so great?  When you buy it for $70 off retail and find the seller charges $65 for shipping.  Add the shipping costs for an item into the overall price of it.   

5.  Look for honesty in the description and pictures:  Good sellers honestly describe and show the product you’re getting.  Look for flaws to be pointed out in the descriptions and shown in the pictures.  If a item has a stock picture from the manufacturer’s website, and the manufacturer’s description, I’d be cautious about bidding on  it.   


I’ve bought three guitars, two amps, and a bunch of effects and misc. stuff on ebay in the past three years, and by following these rules I have yet to come across any of my purchases that didn’t at least meet my expectations.  But I also have limits.  For example, I will not buy an acoustic off ebay because of all the factors involved…  I feel much more comfortable buying it from my local dealer.  But  overall, I’ve been extremely happy with my experiences there.  Just remember a few things… first, if you have a good experience, leave feedback for the seller letting them know…  Second, if you sell stuff on ebay, follow the golden rule…  and third, if you see gleslie44 bidding on something, give me a chance to win it.  😉 


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