So, you decided to learn guitar and you are ready to get a decent instrument. Now you will likely ask yourself: Should I buy a guitar online or am I better off going to a music store? As usual, there is no straight forward answer because it all depends on a number of factors that are specific to your individual situation. In the following, I tried to sum-up some online guitar shopping tips based on my experience as a guitar teacher and guitar buyer.
Online Guitar Shopping – The Pros and Cons
As I’ve mentioned in the video below, my personal threshold for buying a guitar online is at $200-$300. Anything above that, I would likely not consider. However, I will readily admit that this is an arbitrary amount and reflective of what I am personally willing to spend on a guitar that I would have to buy without having had a chance to play it first. You may feel differently.
So, I just brought up the first point that is something you need to keep in mind. In most cases, in practically in all instances when you buy a guitar from an online store (vs. a private person), you will not be able to look at the instrument, or be able to play it, for that matter. That is a risk. And that’s the very reason why I wouldn’t pay more than a couple of hundred dollars on an online guitar purchase. On the other hand, it is also true that in most cases, online guitar sellers offer better prices than music stores. Not always, but often.
For beginners, buying a guitar online vs. a store purchase is definitely a viable option. Especially, if you’re on a limited budget. A good example is the Yamaha C40, which is a great instrument for guitar starters. I bought the C40 online from amazon to do a review on it and I paid $149 for the guitar which came as part of a starter kit. I’ve seen the very same kit at a large local music store (part of a chain) for $189. So this case is a perfect example where online guitar buying makes sense. Conversely, would I want to buy a guitar online with a price tag of $999? No, definitely not.
One last word of advice: I’ve seen it way too often when students of mine showed up with what they thought was a decent instrument, but in fact it was just an overpriced toy in the shape of a guitar. Therefore, please make sure that you get yourself a REAL guitar. Go with a reputable brand (Fender, Gibson, Yamaha, Taylor, Martin, etc.). Do your research or ask somebody who’s knowledgeable – or send me an email via the Contact Form, I’d be happy to help.
In sum: ordering guitars online can make sense, as long as you make sure that you get yourself a decent instrument and don’t spend too much. Go with a reputable model/brand, avoid ‘exotics’ and toy guitars. Ideally, buy from an online vendor that offers a guarantee and reasonable return policy (e. g. amazon, Sweetwater, etc.)