I recently wrote about shopping for cheap guitars on eBay. Today I want to write about buying locally instead of over the internet including eBay.The benefits of buying locally are talked about and written about in many places:
- The money stays in your community
- You know what you are getting beforehand
- You have someone to turn to for service and support
- You don’t have to worry about shipping damage or loss
Of course there are downsides to buying locally as well:
- You might pay more
- Your selection might be more limited
Bottom line is it comes down to a personal decision for all of us. Its a decision that prior generations didn’t deal with to nearly the same extent.
Personally, I do some of both. I try to do enough local business to maintain those all important relationships. I don’t care so much if it costs a few dollars more to support my local music store. I figure in the hassle and potential cost should I have to return something bought online. Doing so often evens out the price difference.
But the selection thing is an issue for me. For instance, I like oddball strings. Brand names like Pyramid, Thomastik, and LaBella. Configurations such as flatwound, tapewound, and light bottom, heavy top. I can’t find that sort of stuff in Denver let alone Fort Collins! Most of the time the teenager behind the counter doesn’t even know what I’m talking about.
Having local stores special order things for me doesn’t get it most of the time. Why should I pay more when I can order it myself for less? Even more importantly, when I order it myself, I know when it gets ordered. When I rely on a store to do it, who knows how many days later the order actually gets placed?
When it comes to cheap guitars themselves, its pretty much a matter of where I find them. Most of the time we’re talking about a specific cheap guitar rather than one fresh of the factory floor along with a hundred others just like it. Remember, I tend to favor buying used guitars over new ones.