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eBay (for guitar purchase)

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Fossil 21 Mar 11 - 06:21 PM
Gurney 21 Mar 11 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,Doug Saum 21 Mar 11 - 12:22 PM
Silas 21 Mar 11 - 10:31 AM
alex s 21 Mar 11 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Stan 21 Mar 11 - 07:05 AM
Padre 20 Aug 07 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 20 Aug 07 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,instruments bought on ebay 17 Aug 07 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,Bluesmike 17 Dec 04 - 02:57 AM
Gypsy 21 Nov 04 - 09:10 PM
HiHo_Silver 21 Nov 04 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Doc 20 Nov 04 - 09:01 PM
Mary in Kentucky 30 Sep 04 - 09:40 AM
fogie 30 Sep 04 - 05:32 AM
ThreeSheds 30 Sep 04 - 04:44 AM
PennyBlack 29 Sep 04 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,gunguitar 29 Sep 04 - 01:08 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Aug 04 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,marty31 01 Aug 04 - 03:31 PM
Richard Bridge 15 May 04 - 03:52 AM
guitarmn 15 May 04 - 01:45 AM
Padre 15 May 04 - 12:18 AM
GUEST 14 May 04 - 07:57 PM
Midchuck 08 Nov 03 - 10:55 AM
Richard Bridge 08 Nov 03 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,guest 08 Nov 03 - 08:35 AM
C-flat 08 Nov 03 - 03:37 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Nov 03 - 04:03 PM
IvanB 16 Jul 03 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,Lidy 16 Jul 03 - 01:16 PM
GUEST 16 Jul 03 - 12:55 PM
Richard Bridge 16 Jul 03 - 05:18 AM
IvanB 10 Jul 03 - 06:32 PM
wordfella 10 Jul 03 - 06:29 PM
clansfolk 10 Jul 03 - 04:34 PM
GUEST 10 Jul 03 - 09:55 AM
8ch(pl) 10 Jul 03 - 08:37 AM
Richard Bridge 10 Jul 03 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 21 Dec 02 - 06:51 PM
Steve-o 17 Dec 02 - 05:09 PM
GaryDon 16 Dec 02 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 16 Dec 02 - 07:01 PM
Willie-O 16 Dec 02 - 05:24 PM
Bobert 16 Dec 02 - 03:49 PM
Blues=Life 16 Dec 02 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 15 Dec 02 - 03:50 PM
John MacKenzie 15 Dec 02 - 05:48 AM
Mark Cohen 14 Dec 02 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 14 Dec 02 - 07:39 PM
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Subject: RE: eBay (for guitar purchase)
From: Fossil
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 06:21 PM

Like Gurney, I use the TradeMe website, a local New Zealand auction site, very professional and well sorted.

Have bought three guitars - a Tanglewood TW900, a Sigma D28-12R and a ColeClark FL2AC. No problems with any trade and the goods were exactly as advertised.

The ColeClark was in effect a new guitar in perfect condition which I got for about $600NZ under the local list price in the shops, and when I opened the case, I was blown away by the delicious smell of new wood.

The Sigma was a Japanese made 1982 model, advertised as having some small dings on the headstock (it did, but they were very small). The neck and body were flawless and it sounds great. Apparently it's an exact copy of a Martin D28-12, the R standing for rosewood sides and back. The top is one-piece spruce. It is the loudest guitar I have ever played and certainly the nicest 12-string.

I have also used TradeMe to sell two guitars, an Ovation Celebrity 12 and a Walden. Both trades went just fine.

I think the trick to using auction sites is to be very clear about what you want and how much you're prepared to pay for it. Don't tip off others by making your interest known at an early stage, leave bidding to the last minute. However, don't neglect the "Buy Now" option if the asking price is within your zone - I sneaked a very good brand-new surfboard because the bidding had got within $25 of the buy-now price with a few days left to go.

TradeMe has another useful feature, the "watchlist". This will give you a notification that the auction on your item is due to close in a predetermined time. Also, usefully, sometimes people who have put the item on their watchlist will be contacted if the item fails to sell in the regular auction and you will have an opportunity to put in a lower bid: which is how I got the Sigma.

And certainly, read the seller's reviews carefully, but don't put your faith in them. And yes, pay for insurance if you're having anything shipped to you.

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Subject: RE: eBay (for guitar purchase)
From: Gurney
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 05:36 PM

Not Ebay, our version is called TradeMe.
I bought three guitars, cheap ones bought very cheaply, in one week. One I liked a lot, a new-condition Jack and Danny Brothers, and two were working OK but not so good. All three Chinese-made. I fettled the two just a little bit and chopped them back out at the local folk festival, where they have a bring-and-buy. The guys who bought them were experienced players who wanted hacks. You'ld have to pay me more than the original price to get the J&D from me.

I would think carefully before buying an older guitar sight-unseen. I've learned buying other things online that it pays to carefully read the vendor's history. Between the lines as well.

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Subject: RE: eBay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Doug Saum
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 12:22 PM

I have purchased two guitars via Ebay from two sellers: Gibson 335 (new) and Gibson Chet Atkins CEC (used nylon stringed solid body). I'm happy with both purchases - no porblems. Doug

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Subject: RE: eBay (for guitar purchase)
From: Silas
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 10:31 AM

I have bought three guitars off ebay, a Martin Felix, a Martin DX1R and a Sigma DR28H. All have been first class with no issues at all.

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Subject: RE: eBay (for guitar purchase)
From: alex s
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 10:18 AM

I bought a new octave mandola - really pleased with it.

I also took a chance on "unknown 12 string" for £38 which turned out to be a Harmony Sovereign (see previous thread and pics). I've kept the receipt to show Doubting Thomases.....

My mate bought a Yamaha Compass guitar which is excellent.

I suppose you've got to work out whether it's worth taking a chance or not.

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Subject: RE: eBay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Stan
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 07:05 AM

I bought 2 guitars off ebay in the last 6 months. A Gibson LG0 and a G series Takamine. The Gibson was exactly as described, it had a plastic bridge which has now been replaced with a rosewood one. It had been refinished at one time and the tuning machines are not original but I knew all this before bidding. The Takamine had an appallingly high action and, as it turned out, an over tightened truss rod. (luckily it was not stripped.) After some internet research and an attempt to replace the saddle I found out that this model has shims under the pickup. After removing the thickest two shims the action was OK. Taking tension off the truss rod put a bit of relief back into the fretboard. Ive now got two good buys from ebay. Maybe I'm lucky.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Padre
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 10:05 PM

well, I did it again - bought a 000-15S (12-fret, slot head) from eBay - if anything, it sounds better than the D-15S I had bought earlier.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 20 Aug 07 - 02:47 PM

I have bought two guitars on e-bay. Recently a used Ozark Dobro type and, a couple of years age, a brand new Martin 00018. Both very satisfactory. You have to hope some b*****d is not selling duff or bent gear. (I can live with bent)

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,instruments bought on ebay
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 02:08 PM

I bought two deering banjos

a gibson gospel guitar

and no problems whatsoever
with the instruments.
If anyone offers money back guarantee
which is the best way to buy anything ,
I do alot of ebay ,
with only one bad experience ,
and that was with saltwater coral.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Bluesmike
Date: 17 Dec 04 - 02:57 AM

Recently bought a new Strat with a totalled neck for $105 Aus. It was exactly as described. Because I want a killer totally unique guitar I have bought a loaded pick guard- from Australia and a hand made neck- from a recognised Fender replacement manufacturer in the US. So far, my Strat has cost, including shipping $380 Australian which is about 10 per cent of its real value.
I play in a good working band and my lead guitarist and I have bought several guitars on Ebay- including a reso, some mind blowing pickups and a couple of necks. Caveat emptor- above all but we have no complaints. some screws were missing from one shipment and the vendor apologised profusely and sent them immediately. We happily continue to use Ebay- check the vendors history- it is visible and read the description of each . Be realistic about how much you are prepared to pay for an item and let it go if it goes above the figure- there are always more of the same thing out there.
I'm a very happy camper

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Gypsy
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 09:10 PM

We have been very fortunate with our instrument purchases on Ebay........but something that really helps. find out if the seller will accept Iescrow......if not, be suspect. The item listed should be identical to what you recieve, and if they are leery of using an escrow account for all but the most inexpensive of instruments, i probably wouldn't bid on it.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 02:00 PM

I purchased a guitar on Ebay recently. It came exactly as seller
described it and the transaction went completely smooth. Instrument is far superior to an instrument of the same dollar value in my area and I am totally satisified with the purchase. I also know a friend who purchased a Martin D35 on Ebay at far below market price and upon inspection I cannot find any problems with it. A Few dings and scratches but was exactly as pictured. It is like dealing in any mode. There are good and bad sellers. Do your homework before bidding. There are Always some risks in every purchase.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Doc
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 09:01 PM

I have been doing business on Ebay for several years selling medical surplus and live corals. I recently purchased a new Stellar copy of a 67 Gibson V. Nice Humbuckers and a solid guitar! Plays and sounds like the original! Just remember: Always get insurance and a tracking number on your package. Shit happens but most sellers that are regular users on ebay are on the level. With individuals and buying used parts or guitars - read the ad completely and if you have questions contact the seller to clear things up. If you get burned because the item was misrepresented use the ebay complaint system and demand a refund! I have done this once on a bad item and got my cash back! No picture - Don't Buy It!

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 09:40 AM

My son bought one on Ebay. I forgot the brand and the amount of money, but it was a really good brand for a good price -- not a steal, but nice.

He played it and loved it for several months, then noticed that the neck had been patched. He suddenly became very dissatisfied with it. Hubby told him he was satisfied earlier then asked what had changed. Hubby then offered to buy it from him for what he paid for it, and he shut up.

I think it was from a guitar store and not an individual. The repair job was very difficult to detect.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: fogie
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 05:32 AM

I just lost £1250 on a total scam, too complicated to explain -the police are involved - never again!

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 04:44 AM

Caveat emptor Its latin you know ( or pretty close)
Of course its a risk buying on Ebay but you can buy at a discount
My first attempt at buying on Ebay was to find a bass guitar for my lad. I went to pick up the guitar in person and was appalled at the condition the description had suggested normal wear belt rash et al (more latin)but the instrument had been deliberately distressed in a most child like manner (great lumps chopped out)It bore no relation to the photo I said the guitar was not as per description and walked away. Not discouraged I bid on another bass far end of the country and trusted the description this was a far happier transaction the guitar arrived in near mint condition very promptly. I have also bought a Mandola on ebay though I probably paid a trifle too much for it this instrument was as described and well packed.
These purchases have been in the sub GBP100 area if I was to bid on a top end instrument I'd certainly go see it not just to satisfy myself that it was as described but to make sure I liked it
I find that Ebay is excelant if you are realistic about your expectations

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: PennyBlack
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 01:50 PM

Too many!

Read the feedback, don't get carried away with auction Fever, ask questions of the seller (If he'she lives nearby ask to have a look at the Instrument and get yourself a bargain! I have bought many instruments on eBay and only had one I regretted buying (but it was cheap!) and made a lot of friends.



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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,gunguitar
Date: 29 Sep 04 - 01:08 PM

i have both bought and sold really high end guitars on ebay ..and have had really good experiences..i alway look at feedback of the seller and ask alot of questions about the guitar..before i bid also i dont buy from guitar stores on ebay.. just people like myself trying to buy gear and sell there gear i worry about the big guitar dealers on ebay..also if its over 1000 ask to call and speak with seller most sellers will speak with you over the phone about the guitar...

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 05:45 PM

Most stuff I got off ebay is fine. Ebay has some scam protention. Always get stuff sent insured.

I did just get a power amp that arrived damaged - bad packing and then a hard blow to the back, one broken terminal strip (it had screw connectors) fixed with superglue, one volume control had taken such a blow the actual pot was in two halves, and the circuit board held in by two edge mounted pots (not good design) was dangling from the unbroken one (as I found when I got the lid off) but I was able to re-bend the tabs that held the broken pot together and all was well.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,marty31
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 03:31 PM

thanks for easing my mind all,i recently purchased a guitar(accoustic) on e. bay,am still awaiting delivery of same.its my first ever purchase on e bay an i feel a little apprehensive now.
hope i dont get it in three pieces,tho the guy has excellent feedback.someone pleeeeeeease say something to ease mah troubled mind.will post back when it arrives ..................cheers.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 May 04 - 03:52 AM

Well I finally got a digital camera, but both hags are away at a local guitar fettler having bugs put in - the good one an LR Baggs I-beam, and the ebay one a Ashworth.

The X-braced sounds really nice, now playing D'Acquisto bronze Masters, 13-58, using brass bridge pins, rings like a bell.

The ladder-braced sounds, well, ladder braced. No real bass, honking B string, no "sear" to the top E string. Sounds like a honky-tonk piano. I use it if I want to play "Frankie and Johnny" and a couple of thinks of that sort of flavour. Not a lot of mellowing over the months. It won't take 13s, and at present I'm using Elixir polywebs which tamed the "honk" slightly, and it plays really nicely, just sounds nothing like a modern good guitar or even any of the late 60s good guitars.

I'm dangling after one of the Hag 12-strings too, a Bjarton BJ12E, It transpires that all these were 12 frets to the body (so, with the long headstock, about the same length as a Hag J-45, and all had squarish shoulders like most dreadnoughts). But it's not on e-bay.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: guitarmn
Date: 15 May 04 - 01:45 AM

I would be very careful purchasing on Ebay. Recently I purchased a Gibson C-1 Classical circa mid 60's. I asked the seller if it was all original. He said it was. He also said various times that it was a fantastic sounding guitar. To make a long story short - when I received the guitar the 1st thing I noticed was the finish looked like a baked potato. What the heck that won't affect the sound. Then I looked at the saddle - wow, someone had just took a big ass saddle and put it in the bridge. No shape and rough cut on the sides not to mention high. Then I looked under the bridge to see gobs of white glue. The nut was also poorly done and the low E and A string buzzed. I could go on and on. The seller wrote me to say that didn't know what to say. The guitar worked fine for him and that it just needs a set-up to solve the buzzing. So I wish I'd never purchased this guitar. I'm to blame for not getting very detailed pictures though. Expensive lesson learned. Maybe it'll turn out that out that he will co-operate with me on refunding some of my $. I'll wait and see.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Padre
Date: 15 May 04 - 12:18 AM

Bought a Martin D-15S (12 fret to the body/slotted headstock)and have been very pleased with it.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
Date: 14 May 04 - 07:57 PM

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 10:55 AM

I bought the guitar I use for gigs, most of the time, "blind" on eBay.

It's a Collings 000-2H from about '96.

I took the chance because:

1) I had played that model, and craved one.

2) I couldn't afford a new one, or an intact used one.

3) This one had a fairly visible ding in the top - typical dropping the case cover with the guitar not all the way in, and hitting the top with the latch, type of ding. This was in the finish only, and had no effect on the structural integrity or the sound, but people who buy Collings tend to be awfully picky, so I got this for about 2/3 of what it would have gone for if it were cosmeticly perfect. And the seller was very up-front about the ding - put a close-up of it in his add, etc.

4) I've never played a Collings that didn't sound good, and I've never heard of anyone else claiming he did, except one or two idiot rednecks with the knee-jerk claim no guitar that isn't a Martin is any good.

But I'm the first to admit that I gambled and was lucky.


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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 10:15 AM

Funny thing is the guitar I bought from Timson 23 did turn out to be pretty much a bargain - a slightly above entry level Morris, with a good hard case, a metal stand, an expensive leather strap, and brass bridge pins (and some pitch pipes that did not work).

It took me a day's play to sort the action out (truss rod, nut, saddle). It could still be lower, but it plays pretty OK, and I can use it for some alternative tunings that are not on on the better guitars with really low actions. A biggish sound for a cheap guitar. In short ideal for camping at festivals. ALl I need to do now is to put in an undersaddle and preamp in case I get invited on stage, and "sorted" for next summer.

The total cost of this Morris? 77 pounds steerling (plus my petrol to go and get it). Well, let's be frank, the case is nearly new and would have been over GBP40. The stand would have been over GBP 10. The strap is the sort that is usualy about GBP 7 to 10. I know brass bridge pins are GBP 10. So the Morris guitar itself stands me in at the equivalent of GBP 10. At the same time I bought a nice little Sigma DM2, spent a day's play fixing it up and put new strings on it and sold it for a profit (after strings and ebay commission) of GBP 10.

So the Morris was free!

Now the Hag was a bit dearer than that, but I'm still glad to have her, and my other 15 or so ebay purchases have been without problem, so it's really luck of the draw.

I did inspect another Hagstrom in due course, but no way was I bidding on that! It was a (worse) MESS.

So, yes, inspect first if possible if it's real money, and go to collect with cash, (and walk, never mind the feedback, if the item is not as described). If you trust unwisely, make sure you have a real address, and sue!

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Subject: RE :EBAY for guitar purchase.
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 08:35 AM


I WOULD NEVER EVER BUY ON EBAY AGAIN. The best bet is going to a reputable music store.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: C-flat
Date: 08 Nov 03 - 03:37 AM

I've been tracking a couple of guitars on e-bay recently, so this thread has come up as a timely word of caution.
Thanks for sharing your experience Richard, I'm pleased that your old Hag turned out well for you and look forward to seeing the pictures.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 04:03 PM

Well, we have a resolution.

I just got the Hagstrom back from the luthier underneath Andy's in Denmark street and Graham is wonderful. He put in a new trussrod, and got a load of patches off the inside (and the old plywood bodge inner bridge plate that had all been put in with evostick(!) - a very time consuming process - fixed the cracked ladder braces, put in some light longitudinal braces to straighten the top (almost) and did the nut and bridge slot, re-made the saddle (still notched, but now the right depth), installed an inner bridge plate, buffed the finish back up all over. He was so embarrassed by the delay he grossly undercharged me ( it would not be fair to him to say just how little he charged me) and would not take a penny more.

So I've been able to say to the seller that he does not need to pay me as much as he did agree to refund me when I showed him my receipt for the repairs.

The Old Hag now sounds very new - possibly down to the Martin 12 strings, in part, which are light enough in colour almost to be steels, not bronzes. A bright sound. Settling down slowly as the strings age. Now I need to play her for half an hour a day for a couple of months and then go back to get those new struts shaved (I guess mostly at the ends, not in the middle) to try to get that old bottom sound back.

She looks - well, not new, but nicely re-polished (old marks still show, but she's shinier and nicer than I thought possible, and there is almost no bulge in the front (the sinking in front of the bridge is completely gone).

After I get the reduced refund I'll have an interesting old guitar, not in museum condition, and not original, but nice, for about the right price.

If you want restoration work done on a guitar, I highly recommend Graham, underneath Andy's, Denmark Street, London.

When I get a digital camera, I'll send some pix of the two side by side to

What I need now are some original Hagstrom machine heads (not the steel-covered ones off the electrics) - and to complete the set, a Hagstrom J45-12 pegbridge. Oh, and some playing skill would be nice too!

Here's to dreams.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: IvanB
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 07:48 PM

Richard, eBay (at least the US version) works on a system of 'proxy bidding. Thus, if the highest amount bid by the current high bidder was $100, bidding $200 for the item would only raise the current bid to $102.50, $2.50 being the minimum bid increment at $100. Then, if someone bid $150, you bid would be raised to $152.50 and you'd still be the high bidder until someone was willing to bid more than $200. So, if I'm willing to pay $300 for the item and enter that amount in my 'sniping' program, a bid of that amount will be placed on my behalf in the last few seconds of the auction. If, at that time, your $200 bid was the highest anyone had been willing to go, I'd get the item for $202.50, not $300.

As far as the current situation you mention, I doubt that I'd bid. Especially for guitar auctions, there seem to be enough instruments for sale by people who know something about what they're selling that I usually avoid those that 'don't know a thing about guitars, we just found this beautiful and valuable instrument in grandpa's closet after he died.'

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Lidy
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 01:16 PM

He couldn't even answer the ones where you gave instructions about how to do it re: the action etc. How hard can it be? Sounds a bit shady to not let you inspect it but also to suggest that you might wish to pick it up to save them delivery probs... and what's with this "we just came by it"-huh??? grr, as an ebayer myself (I buy/sell vintage(+ vintage style) clothes there sometimes and reckon you should make every effort to describe/provide pics and answerany questions!!

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 12:55 PM

Pass ... If I were the seller and someone locally wanted to inspect it, I'd say sure. After all, I AM trying to sell it. I can't imagine that the seller would be swamped by local calls ...what are the chances that scores of people from the same area would be bidding on the same eBay item?

P.S. The seller can't answer your questions, either. Seller can't answer questions, and doesn't want you to inspect it: two strikes and the seller's out.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 05:18 AM

Three things

First, are there snipers that only just overbid previous bids? Snip, which is free, just puts in your bid, so if you were ready to go to GBP 200 and the bidding was only at GBP 100, you get to pay GBP 200 - not such a good idea.

Second, I'm about to phone that luthier again......

and back to the main issues,

Well, hope springs eternal and there's this guitar on ebay,

Title of item:          Acustic Guitar
Seller:                  timson23
Starts:                  14-Jul-03 19:45:43 BST
Ends:                   21-Jul-03 19:45:43 BST
Price:                   Starts at £30.00OK,

So I ask: -

"I'm near you and having bought a guitar
before on ebay and not had a nice experience (!) I wonder if it would be possible for me to come to you to inspect this before bidding on it?"

And they say: -

"Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, we do not wish people to inspect our items prior to bidding on them, imagine the amount of callers we would have if this was to be! If you look at our feedback, you will see that we are reputable sellers. The item is exactly as described and as seen in the photo. If you wish to ask us any questions, please feel free to do so. If you do wish to bid on this item and win, then please collect from us as you live locally."

So I said: -

"since you don't want me to inspect. But I will say that if after reading all the questions you think it would be easier for me to inspect, then I would still be keen to do so.

1.        Are all 6 machine heads the same, are they marked as being any make and if so what, and do they all work correctly?

2.        Is there a model number, if so what?

3.        Is there a serial number, if so what?

4.        What is the height of the action (ie how far in millimeters, fairly accurately please, do you have to depress the bottom E string (the fat one) at the 12th fret before it touches the fret), at the 12th fret?

5.        If you press the strings down as if to play them, string by string and fret-by-fret, are there any places, up as far as the 16th fret, where the string will not sound properly because it is touching another fret further up?

6.        Are any signs of it having been stored in the damp or got too wet?

7.        Is the neck straight?

8.        Are there any visible cracks in the wood or varnish, or any splits dents or dings?

9.        If you look inside the soundhole with a mirror, are there any cracked braces, or cracks in the top, or old repairs, and is the inner bridge plate original?

10.        Has the saddle (the white bone or plastic bit in the bridge) been filed? Is there still an adequate break angle where the strings cross the saddle, and do any of them touch the wooden part of the bridge on the soundhole side of the saddle?

11.        Is the top flat, and free from bellying (ie it does not bulge out behind the bridge, and dip in the soundhole side of the bridge)?

12.        Has it got an undersaddle pickup? (I'm expecting "no") If so where is the jack socket?

13.        Are any of the seams split? Is all the kerfing (the sort of seam round the front and back) flush and tidy?

14.        Has the missing string still got a peg?

Sorry to be awkward but the last guitar I bought on ebay was a real dog's breakfast!   I want one that is not too bad that I can take to folk festivals where I ought not to risk my fairly good one."

They replied with a pile of 8 jpegs (but not a close-up of the action), and the comments…

"Hi Richard

Wow what a lot of questions!!

I cannot believe that items put on Ebay for auction are inspected prior to bids being placed! It certainly is not our policy to do so. This guitar is being sold as we have described. We are not musicians or even able to play the instrument. We came by this guitar and are simply selling in on. I cannot believe that anybody selling a guitar on Ebay would go into such detail about the item they were selling.
I cannot even begin to answer some of your questions. I know that this is a real bargain of a guitar, and is certainly not a dogs dinner or been tarted up in any way by us. We are not out to con anybody and this is a fine looking guitar to us. The interest shown in it so far
has been phenomenal and to be quite honest with you, if we do not sell it on Ebay I am sure we will eventually sell it nearer to Christmas.

I am attaching some more pics for you and can answer the following:
Model no W 09004
Not been stored in damp or wet.
Neck looks straight.
Looks fine inside.
No repairs to the white bit.

If you are in any doubt, which I am sure you are, please do not bid on this one. I hope that you find what you are looking for soon."

What do we all think?

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: IvanB
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 06:32 PM

I've bought five guitars on eBay and been satisfied with all the transactions. I agree with Bobert emphatically on a couple of his points:

1. Check the feedback! I even try to read between the lines and I'm extremely cautious about buying from a seller with no feedback at all.

2. Snipe! I even use Bidnapper, an online sniping service, to place my bid for me as close to the end of the auction as possible. This practice makes me determine ahead of time what I'm willing to pay for the item and not get caught up in the bidding flurry that so often occurs at the end of an auction. If I lose the item because I wasn't willing to bid enough, oh well.

One thing I've done with fairly good luck is ask for a 48 hour appraisal period. You have to do this before you bid, but, if you have pretty good feedback as a buyer, the seller is often willing to allow this on the basis that you're a serious bidder who is likely to recognize the worth of the item. Whenever I negotiate an appraisal I stipulate that I'll pay shipping both ways if the item is returned. If the seller is unwilling, most of the time I'll just walk away from the auction without bidding.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: wordfella
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 06:29 PM

I bought an Ovation to use as a beater and classroom guitar (all my others are Martins.) The guy shipped it in a cardboard guitar box, so naturally it arrived with the top caved in. Fortunately, the postal insurance paid for it, but if it hadn't, I'd have been stuck.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: clansfolk
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 04:34 PM

Lots and lots..... guitars banjo's, mandolins flutinas etc etc Lots of bargains saved from the scrap yard.....

Been happy with every purchase.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 09:55 AM

If an anon. one may make a comment, it is the S/H part that should scare most people away. I once bought a 15" Altec woofer on eBay. Seller put it magnet-down on the bottom of the box and poured "peanuts" in to fill the box. I just walked over to the garbage and through it in. Most eBay packaging ranges from bad to atrocious.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: 8ch(pl)
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 08:37 AM

I bought 4 musical instruments from ebay. all 4 required work, 2 have been scrapped. I would not repeat the experience.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jul 03 - 07:46 AM

I think I'm going to get the price details from the luthier this week!

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 06:51 PM

Well I think I have an accommodation with the seller - involving different refunds in different circumstances.

Now I wait on tenterhooks for the luthier to tell me if the fingerboard is going to come off easily.....

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Steve-o
Date: 17 Dec 02 - 05:09 PM

Thanks for the kind offer, but I'm really not a "collector", I'm a player- I use all those instruments I described- and I probably wouldn't play the tenor SS Stewart. I appreciate the thought, and yes, I think those old instruments are some of the nicest of all the "cheapies".

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GaryDon
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 10:15 PM

I've had very good experences buying on Ebay. I have bought a number pickups one which I returned and was credited for 1 month late but credited for none the less. I admite to all the anxiety feelings every time I purchase from Ebay but the results have been good. I have trusted my feelings and the caliber of communication. For instruments I have bought only a Lowden 32 which I am very happy with especially after having the action setup by my own luthier.


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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 07:01 PM

Well progress so far is an offer of part of my money back and I keep the guitar, so I'm working on it. It won't make me any profits but it might get me a playable old guitar after extensive repair that would be - well - you know - "nice" (albeit still with a badly bowed front).

Hagstrom Acoustics are quite rare, and rather collectable if not such big names as the usual.   They were built for Hagstrom not by Hagstrom. A Google search and an hour or so following links makes an interesting read. Regrettably after Bjarnum went in the 80s there are no systematic records, and it has taken me a lot of internet rummaging to find out what I now know. The only ones I like are the J45s (very like the Gibson, but 15 frets to the body, not 14) and the 12-string equivalents sometimes called J45-12 and sometimes H-33. This one is a J45.The J45 comes in 3 versions plus the electrified equivalents designated J45E.

Tailpiece version - I think all ladder framed. One in Hobgoblin Nottingham at GBP550 sticker price right now. Serial number 6 digits starting with a 1. Year possibly 1976. I don't like tailpiece guitars. They don't sound "right" to me. I put it down to the absence of twist in the top. I once saw a heavily repaired tailpiece one in the shop of Andy Perkind (the UK Banjo maker). Did not sound right - no shimmer to the sound - but that might have been the repairs.

X-braced version - but A-braced in the minor bout. My wife has one. It is very well thought of by all who play it. It is insured for quite a lot. I have seen one other and it was in Andy's in Denmark Street in London at GBP400 in 1988, even minus the sidecappings on the neck and re-fretted. I'm told 6 came to the UK in late '62 or early '63. Serial number 5 digits starting with a 5. Current market price (original and first class) - about £300 less than what this one would have cost me if I got all the reapirs doen to bring it to that condition. "Worth" more, but the law of supply and demand is what it is. Hagstrom UK pages tell me that the x-braced mostly went to the USA. If you see a good one, and if you liked the round Levin Goliath sound, rather than the modern twangy sound, get it fast, in my opinion.

The Ladder braced one. I did not know these existed. That's what this is. I don't like the ladder-braced sound. I played an old Gibson ladder-braced dreadnought in Macari's in London the other day adn did not like it at all. But Hagstrom UK say that this is the one most favoured by players. Surprising, since ladder bracing is not a clever structure for resisting twist (compare the torsional stiffness of the Shelby Cobra with the Birdcage Maserati and you'll get my drift). Mostly as a result the tops sound dead and thuddy. Like the official Robert Johnson Gibson small-body. Probably good for blues if you can play delta properly. My guess is the market price here, if original and good would be about half what it would cost me to get this one to that state.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Willie-O
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 05:24 PM

Bobert, he made it clear that the guy had excellent ratings and feedback.

This sort of reminds me of what I decided for the last couple of used cars I bought: the object is to buy a car, not to make a new friend. Doesn't matter how great a guy other people think the seller is, and it doesn't matter if I think he's an obnoxious twit who couldn't tell the truth if he tried.   LOOK AT THE THING YOU'RE BUYING, NOT AT WHO'S SELLING IT.   Don't trust anyone. (All the other peoples' positive experiences didn't do much for you, did they? Guess they bought non-crap guitars.) Does it look right? Does it play or drive right? If you can't find that stuff out, then don't buy it unless there's a legally binding moneyback guarantee. I don't buy guitars or other instruments on eBay. There just seem to be NO real deals there, and the whole concept feels to me like getting a mail-order bride.

I have never seen a Hagstrom acoustic, are they common in Britain? I used to own a Hagstrom Impala solid electric with the toggle-buttons instead of pots for volume and tone control. My first decent electric, it was. Never seen another one, I have seen the odd Hagstrom III and the better known Swede here in Canada.


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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Bobert
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 03:49 PM

Don't buy nuthin' if the seller has no rating! Check feedback! Actually, from the feedback ya' can sometimes get email addresses of folks who have dealt with the seller!

If ya' find something, don't bid until there's only 1 minute left and bid according to what you are willing to spend and not the current price because it will go up in increments and msomeone may have more than the increment bid and then you won't have time to trump their bid.

Email the seller before bidding and ask lots of questions.

I have both bought and sold on ebay for the last two years and if you're smart, you do fine.

The only guitar I've bought is a Regal Resonator, which was new and I love it...

Steve-o: I see you like SS Stewert's. I've got an early 50's (maybe late 40's) F-hole tenor with an aftermarket pickup that I'm not playin' since finding a good deal on my '35 Gibson tenor. If you have any interest, PM me. I'll let her go relatively cheap.


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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Blues=Life
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 03:30 PM

I've bought quite a few items on ebay, but only one guitar. I picked up a Dean GCE electric resonator for about US$325. It was described as new, with one finish flaw on the back. I figured, since retail on these is over $600, I had little to lose, as I could always resell a lemon. Fortunately, I got lemonade. This is one of my favorite guitars, and the one I reach for when I REALLY need to play the blues. It's got that great oldtime blues sound.

Sometimes you get lucky.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 03:50 PM

Actually, ebay is a sale by description. The rules set out that descriptions must not be misleading. This item was not as described. The description was grossly misleading.

The seller said "Damage: one of the machine heads has been replaced. it needs a new set of string pegs. There is a hairline crack at the back of the head stock which I presume is in the varnish since it doesn't appear to be structural. Other than that it's just the odd scratches & wear you'd expect of a guitar this age. "

That description does not fairly disclose (amongst other things) a badly bowed front, a stripped trussrod, or a split brace.

If I really wanted to be a creative lawyer I'd go the route of damages for loss of bargain.

Sympathy I don't need (but thanks anyway). I thought it was an interesting cautionary tale.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 05:48 AM

I think that if you can frit him into giving you your money back, that's the best you can expect from this sad saga.

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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 09:19 PM

Richard, I'm no expert on guitars, but I know enough to be able to follow this discussion. It seems to me that the seller in this case did not represent himself as a luthier or an expert in evaluating the instrument. When he said, "There is some slight rippling to the neck but I would say that it is straight enough," and also tells you the intonation is off...that to me would be enough of a red flag to leave this turkey alone, unless you could get it for a song. Yes, it's quite possible that the guy knew this was a lemon, and was hoping he could foist it off on someone who wouldn't know the difference. But he didn't claim it was in great shape, and he told you about two big flaws that to me would suggest the presence of others. It doesn't sound like he did anything that would reach the realm of fraud...though I'm not a lawyer, either.

I understand your frustration, and I'm sorry you had such a bad experience.   


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Subject: RE: Ebay (for guitar purchase)
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 07:39 PM

OK, here's the luthier's verdict.

The truss rod is stripped, not sheared. It is stripped at the headstock end. A repair involves removing the fingerboard. If it comes off easy, under heatlamps, cost of repair £80 ish.

If it doesn't, then it can be approximated by putting thicker frets in to use the fingerboard as an expansion rod. It costs more and only sometimes works.

Ottherwise, you have to de-fret, shave the fingerboard off sliver by sliver, fix or replace the truss rod, and then make a new fingerboard. Very expensive.

To do the essentials inside - existing splits and broken ladderstrut, about £50 ish.

This will not straighten the front. Nor will it replace the lump of plywood that has been slapped on inside the bridgeplate.

To remove the inner bridgeplate - easy. To replace it, hard. This guitar never had an inner bridgeplate. The ball ends rested on the inside of the top. The struts are of course on the inside of the top, and an inner bridgeplate would have to be fitted by trial and error round the struts. Cost, anything from £50 to £150.

To straighten the front (or even approximately straighten the front) means taking the back or top off - cost upwards of £200. It's had too many previous splits and repairs to be done any other way.

The saddle slot can be shaved or filled without too much trouble - £15/20.

New Saddle, lift nut, re-cut and setup. £40.

It won't be possible to tell if it needs a neck set until the truss rod and front have been done according to their respective standards. Neck set, about £60.

So the minimum to get a playable guitar with a badly bowed front, but set up, if a neck set is not needed - is £170, and I reckon that the saddle slot will be essential too, which makes £190. Add what I paid - £246, and the total is £436.

With the bowed front and the plywood inner bridge plate, I reckon its resale value is nil, even after that work. To be frank, I think that the value at the time of sale was also nil.

With the front or the back off, the bridgeplate would be easy, but the extra cost about £250, making a total cost for a nice guitar (but still with a badly marked finish by the neck) about £440 plus £246, so £706.

Re-finishing, a neck set, or a problem with the fingerboard removal would keep it going up...

With a neck set, £746. Re-finish would take it to about £900. I'm ignoring my two £10 train-fares to London to get it to and back from the luthier.

There is a tailpiece one in Hobgoblin in Nottingham at a sticker price of £550.

I think my day job as a lawyer may get some exercise.

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