Acoustic - Online vs. In Person

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by CajunJ, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    Sorry for bombing the acoustic board so much, waiting for registration at acoustic guitar forum.

    The “try before you buy” policy seems the most sensible especially with acoustic guitars. But how many can you really try? Within hours of where I live, I can maybe try a handful. Not every dealer will carry 10 of the model I’m looking for. So would the handful really give me a good enough sampling? Plus I have a 5-month-old, so I can’t really take a lot of time to search far and wide.

    What are your thoughts on buying an acoustic online? Good return policy required, of course.

    Would you spend a year or so searching for “the one,” or would you buy online and keep it if it’s not an obvious dud and it sounds like the model is supposed to sound?
     
  2. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    I lucked out and got a great J45 years ago..online..actually from a person in NC..
    after some chats back and forth I felt pretty good...

    that said...

    Sometimes if you deal with a store..selling online..they have a reputation to keep up
    and your odds are better...you can ask more questions..and have possibly a setup
    to your liking..
     
  3. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    So we're your second choice? Hmm..

    I haven't read all your posts but I see you have a D-18. What's wrong with it?

    If you want the ultimate guitar your quest may never end. Or you will find the "one" for you might be out of your price range. You have a family so you should already be familiar with compromises. I think you will have to in the guitar buying world too.

    I'm fortunate to own a bunch, vintage and recent. They all have an appeal, and are great for certain sounds and settings. I have found I don't want to limit myself to one guitar, and again am fortunate to be able to do that.

    My advice is if you haven't yet found friends to jam with, do that. Playing with other guitars is a great experience to me. And let someone else play yours, you may be amazed at what you hear and find a new appreciation for your current guitar. Then when you have a better idea what you actually want the search will narrow. I've bought in house and online, no difference if you know what you want.
     
  4. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    Haha, TDPRI is always my first choice! Where else will I argue about whether Bob Ross was a real artist or whether a sculpture of nothing is worth $18K?!

    I like my guitar, but I’ve always felt it was missing some depth. I’m interested in the newer D-18s with the new bracing. I like the appointments too.

    The reason I’m also thinking online is because of the discounts available (although not as much due to current circumstances).
     
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  5. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I will say there is a limit. Back in the days before the internet, did people travel all over the earth to find the "one"? Or did they have a general sense of what they wanted and then buy something from the local shop? As tastes changed, upgrade, switch, whatever.

    Is this a recent phenomenon?

    Now, playing other folks' stuff....it'd be just as hard to get a feel for the sound with the own right there waiting for it back IMHO. If you usually play alone and are borrowing gear in a picker's circle, it's not quite gonna give you what you need to evaluate. I guess.

    Now, I did play my buddy's maple Gibson. Sounded dead (no boom) to me coming from a Spruce Dread. But, then I learned that was exactly how it was supposed to sound.

    Frankly, it's taken me quite some time to train my ears properly. Too long almost.
     
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  6. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    There's nothing that takes the place of playing a guitar and deciding, THAT ONE! My #1 acoustic is a Simon and Patrick Showcase Rosewood Adirondack spruce over solid rosewood. I walked into a mom and pop in Claremont, CA, saw it on the wall, took it down and played it. It never went back up. I'd never even heard of the brand but in my hands, it was the one. There's really no other way to buy an acoustic. Each one is subtly different and subtleties count. Also, try to have someone else play the guitar while you listen. An acoustic sounds different in front of the sound hole. Do your shopping while your lady has your 5 month old or bring both of them along. My wife was with me when I found the S&P and she bought it for me.

    And most of all... love that 5 month old. You're in for an amazing ride. :D
     
  7. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    First of all - that kid will need a guitar one day. It won't hurt to have extras.

    I understand the difficulty finding guitars to play. Same here. Depending on where you live, I would consider leaving the kid with family, and take a trip to Nashville, Chicago, NYC, or LA, etc., and visit the biggest shops. You should be able to find at least a couple dozen guitars in your scope. It will give you a crash course and if you find one you can't live without, buy it. BUT I would not take the trip with the intention to buy - just to learn and narrow your search. You may find you actually want something entirely different.
     
  8. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I'd plan a trip to a mecca... one of the towns, cities, places that has a bunch of great guitars. So, like Nashvegas, LA, NY, Chicago, etc.

    Make it a 3 day weekend (but do it during the week) take the wife, provide spa days etc for her... and go with the idea that you may need to buy an extra seat for the flight home (unless you can drive to a mecca)

    In any of those cities you will find a stellar example of what you really want.... if you are clever, set up a little account where you trickle money in all year and you do the trip every year or so.
     
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  9. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    I’ll bring them along for sure. But no eating in the car! :lol:

    8E02E5EA-2853-46F2-BAAA-B6FFA404DA03.jpeg
     
  10. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    You mention looking for "the one" but don't mention your price range. If you peruse AGF you'll find that in acoustics, most guys searching for a "lifetime" guitar are expecting to spend $3-5k, if not more. If that's your niche, then Nashville should be able to meet your needs and not be too big of a drive. Carter's and Gruhn's have enough top tier instruments to get you drooling. If you're seriously in this range, I'd leave your 5 month old with family.

    If you're looking down a notch from there, Midwood Guitar Studio in Charlotte probably has a big enough selection to satisfy your needs. I bought an Eastman from them based on pictures and talking to a salesperson. It was a satisfactory experience for me. I'm sure there are others, you're smack dab in the middle of bluegrass country with lots of vendors and builders to choose from.

    Again, referencing AGF, you'll find that lot's of players buy acoustics online, all sellers offer a short trial period but you have to go through the hassle (and expense) of shipping the guitar back. It's always preferable to play before you buy.

    You're kid is too cute, cherish every moment!
     
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  11. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    If it’s for a vintage piece that you can’t just find anywhere you go, I buy online for sure. Or something that is marked down or at a really good price to begin with and you want to pounce on it.

    Otherwise, for new stuff or boutique stuff that either you can find at tons of places or that doesn’t move quickly, I’d make a point to try them if I really wanted it and wasn’t as concerned about it being scooped up immediately.
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would never buy a guitar that I hadn't played and had a chance to evaluate. Period.

    Which is kind of an interesting paradox because I build guitars, and obviously you can't play one of my guitars until it is done. One of the big dilemmas of custom instruments....
     
  13. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've been to the Northeast Guitar Expo in the past. Decent place to play a variety of instruments. Maybe look for something like that when they start back up again if the stores aren't doing it for you
     
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  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    And I'm going to add my personal rant. If you audition guitars in your local music store and go home to order the same thing on line because you can save a few bucks, shame.
     
  15. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's

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    IMHO, this is the way to do it if you are going to drop a lot of dough. I bought my last acoustic from Elderly. We happened to be in Lansing for another reason, and I took advantage. I played a ton of guitars that day. The thing that really sticks out in my mind was the guitars that I was interested in before I got there did not make it past a minute or two of playing. All the sound clips and internet research in the world doesn't beat playing a bunch. I ended up with a Martin 00-18. I wasn't considering a body that small before I played it.
     
  16. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    My online guitar purchases (electric and acoustic) are probably at best 1 out of 10 as a keeper. Just sayin'... I think acoustic would be a lower keeper ratio than that.

    I guess that has forced me to buy bargains or bargain hard, as I know i will be trying to re sell it. But online you have access to a ton of things to try!
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
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  17. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    It's a terrible idea, but I did it anyway. Once I became convinced I needed a DSS-17, the only way to get one was to order one and wait. I might have just got lucky, but it sounded just like I hoped it would.
     
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  18. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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  19. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    I can assure you the perfect guitar for you will be $2800.
     
  20. tfarny

    tfarny Poster Extraordinaire

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    Try before you buy unless you are sure you can flip for at least break even, is my rule. But rules are made to be broken! I concur that you might need to build in a guitar-buying trip but I imagine you won't have to leave your state to find a decent acoustic.
     
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