Dos and Don’ts of Shopping Online for Music Instruments

It is far riskier to make online purchases than to walk into a music shop and get to see and touch the instrument. Without this direct contact, visual viewing, and a chance to play the instrument, your certainty of the product you buy online will be low. We look at the dos and don’ts of shopping online for music instruments so that you can increase your confidence in your purchase.

Dos of Shopping for Musical Instruments Online

Do make an offer when purchasing a musical instrument. Even retailers can be persuaded to drop the price. This results in savings of 15% on the asking price, according to studies.

Do get your gear insured. Find out from your delivery company if insurance is waived for packages above a certain value. You can’t afford to pay good money for an instrument and then have it get lost or damaged without insurance to claim from.

Do get feedback ratings. The big sites, such as eBay, can provide these to the seller. The latter must send this to you.

Do check with the seller about the instrument’s characteristics. For example, even a famous name guitar can have as many as five variations to the shape of the neck. This will affect the quality of sound the instrument produces. Also, get information on the instrument’s weight, pickups, and fret size.

Do find out if there are any interesting stories attached to the instrument. 

Dos of Shopping for Musical Instruments Online

Don’t overlook gear that has been in use by previous owners. You can save almost a third on parts for used items. Of course, there are certain instruments like the Yamaha Clavinova piano that you want to buy brand new.

Don’t purchase an instrument on the strength of one or two poorly snapped photos. The seller must be requested to take the photos in natural, outdoor lighting and should not use a flash. If you are buying a vintage instrument, have the seller disassemble the instrument and take pictures of serial numbers, date stamps, and the internal workings.

Don’t neglect to discuss the seller’s return policy. Have the seller commit the return policy to writing. Don’t transfer any funds until you have this.

Don’t be fobbed off with vague descriptions. Ask the right questions to determine if the electronics are scratchy or the instrument hasn’t been touched in years. Similarly, you will want to know about wear and tear on the frets and if it has a straight neck.

How to Assess an Instrument’s Condition

Here are some tips on how to assess a pre-owned instrument’s condition:

Do research on the type of instrument you want to buy. Find out about problems unique to that instrument, how often they occur, and how to fix them. If maintenance is going to be expensive, don’t purchase an instrument with those faults.

Find out from the music store if they had to carry out repairs on the instrument to get it ready to sell, and what work they did. A private owner will usually be able to answer many of your questions, such as what routine maintenance was done. Ask how long the instrument has been standing idle. 

Get a warranty. Push for a longer period than what is offered. When you start playing the instrument, you will quickly discover major faults and want to return it.

When you get a good, honest deal you will want to spend a lot of time becoming familiar with, and enjoying, your new instrument.