buying from mailorder

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by a e i o u, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. would you trust a mailorder like Music123 to buy a bass from? Would it be safer to pay the extra money to buy from a store?
  2. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Check around the forums, most of the mail-order shops are pretty reliable from what I've heard.

    I am a bit prejudiced about one though....

    (....see my signature.... :D)
  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    What you have to realize is that some companies with shoddy quality control coughfendercough will turn out two of the "exact" same instrument that play and sound differently. Personally, I can't imagine buying and instrument without playing it first. I did it once and I still regret it.
  4. i've bought through music123 and they're a solid company.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think it's to do with trust or safety - but I would never buy a bass without having tried it first.

    So - I have tried literally hundreds of Fender basses over 20 years or so and most of them I haven't liked, but just occasionally there have been good ones that play and sound like I wanted.

    I have also thought I would like basses, only to find I couldn't get on with them at all when I actually got to play them in shops. So - having seen a few players get great sounds out of Warwick Streamers - I thought I wanted one - but when I tried them in shops, they made my wrist ache after about 5 minutes or more of playing.

    Same with Wal basses - thought I'd like them, but couldn't get on with them at all when I tried them in shops. I've also been disappointed with many other basses - like Alembic, Peavey Cirrus etc. etc. and pleasantly surprised by some - like Tune.
  6. I dislike Fender basses but agree that Fender quality is high. They can come with bad set-ups, but that's a relatively cheap and easy fix.

    I've purchased instruments from Zzounds, Music 123, Musician's Friend, and Elderly (many of these purchases were keyboards). I made two returns for quality reasons, and my shipping was paid for. So I've been very satisfied.

    My favorite is Elderly (not mentioned much on this forum), then Zzounds (which I think is the same company as SameDayMusic), then MF, then 123.

    I'd rather buy mail order and take a chance then buy from some shop where some prepubescent Flea or Les Claypool wannabe has abused the instrument.

    I've never purchased from a bass boutique b/c they don't have liberal return policies.
  7. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    A lot of stores price match.

    Just let them know what price you saw and they should be able to make you an offer.

  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's not necessarily a valid argument! You just have to find good shops. So - in London, the two best shops are "off the beaten track", so it's usually only serious bass players who find them and try instruments.

    Also - good shops will have people who can maintain and repair basses - keeping them in the best possible shape. I've bought several basses from the Bass Centre in London and when you do, their resident bass tech will set the bass up, put new strings on and make sure it is in perfect condition before you leave the shop with it. :)
  9. I have bought from several sources, including 3 basses I have at the moment, that have been bought without trying them! In addition I;ve bought another 4 basses without trying that I've since sold.

    I think that I've been lucky - the 3 I still have are 2 Spectors (were ordered for me) and my Yamaha Attitude. I took a gamble on these instruments, and was impressed with the results - but I still think there is a level of luck in getting a good one that you haven't tried.

    I also have experience of this! Years ago, I ordered a g**tar (I know, it might no have happened had I ordered a bass.....). Whe it arrived I quickly realised that it was a Monday Morning or Friday Afternoon guitar - and probably one the shop had trouble selling when people tried it. After a big fight, I got my money back!

    I guess a good way to sum it up is if you buy mail order - let the buyer beware!
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yup - I appreciate that people may have to do it - but logically-speaking, it's always going to be better to go to a shop and try basses first!!
  11. Well, in the US where Guitar Center is king, you can't always find shops like that. Sometimes you can find a shop where they put the expensive basses high up on a wall, and that helps keep the bass from being played, but it's no guarantee.

    (The very last shop I was in in West Los Angeles had a Yamaha John Patitucci sitting not up high, but on a stand on the floor!)

    Ultimately, we're debating about nothing. Some players are of a philosophy that you have to play a lot of instruments to find the right one. Mail order is not a viable option if you're of that school.

    Others (myself included) believe that factory tolerances are sufficiently tight that playing a lot instruments is not necessary, and that "the right one" is more a matter of set-up. That's not to say, of course, that an instrument can't roll off the assembly line with a defect. If that's the case, you send it back and get reimbursed for your shipping (if it's a reputable outfit). But again, for this to work you can't be of the school that you have to play a batch of instruments to find the right one.

    My current bass came with a slight cosmetic defect. I decided to live with it. I could just as easily have bought this exact instrument in a store and not have noticed the blem. If I went to return it, guess what? The store probably wouldn't have had another of the same model, so I would have ended up keeping it anyway. Am I still glad that I bought it mail order, even though it has a slight blem? Yes.

    When you order a custom instrument from a luthier -- and that's a lot of people on this forum -- you don't get an opportunity to find "the right one."
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think it's a debate about nothing - so you haven't answered my point about how you find which bass suits you?

    There are many different types and as I say - I have discovered by trial and error that certain types don't suit me - like most Warwicks, MMs, Rickenbackers, Gibsons, Wals, etc. Some are OK - like Status, Tune and some I really like - like Tobias, Lakland, Ken Smith, Sadowsky etc. - and that I like the sound of a good Fender Jazz - but that virtually every Fender bass I have picked up in a shop cannot get that tone!

    So - how could I have done that by mail order? :confused:

    I mean you say factory tolerances are such...etc. and mostly I agree with you - so today's Fenders are of a pretty high standard, although in previus decades there were a lot more bad ones IME.

    But which bass would I order and how would I make the decision - what basis would I use to decide?
  13. I did answer your question. Mail order is obviously not a viable option for you. It is for others. You obviously have to have some idea of what you're doing. Like building a Warmoth.;)
  14. jieshi


    Mar 26, 2002
    i like nino brown's bass . i wanna get one of sadowskys or valenti basses ! when i have the money ! :) :D
  15. PhilMan99


    Jul 18, 2003
    US, Maryland
    I wouldn't. On the low-end, quality control is so poor that your chances of getting a "bad bass" are pretty high. On the high-end, the savings mail-order is quite small (if it even exists) as compared with the risk of getting a bad bass, although higher-end instruments do have better quality control. In either case, I'd say the risk/benefit ratio is not worth it, unless you live someplace with no (good) music stores around.

    An instrument is about the only thing I'd not buy mail-order, but that is only my *opinion*...
  16. bovinehost


    Dec 5, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball Music Man/Sterling By Music Man
    I have two basses right here that were purchased sight unseen from Bass Central: a honeyburst Stingray 5 and a Bongo 5 string. Would I do that with any brand of bass from any company?


    Ernie Ball has laser-guided quality control, and every EBMM bass I’ve ever owned has been nearly perfect – and what wasn’t perfect could be adjusted to perfection by slight tweaking of the setup. You can disagree with me, fine, no problem, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I myself believe this and so I have faith in the basses.

    Same with Gard and the boys at Bass Central. While I’m not a big shot, multiple bass buying customer, I know tons of people who have dealt with BC and been treated like kings. (This is how it should be when you’re spending over a thousand bucks on something you don’t need to survive, right?) A friend of mine here bought a Stingray 5 from BC, got it in and found it was heavier than he could deal with on long gigs. Guess what? They took it back and found him a lighter one. Weighed it for him, even.

    So that’s my outlook. If it’s a manufacturer you trust and a dealer your respect, why not? Music123 would not be on my list, by the way.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Buy how do you get that idea - how do you know what basses will suit you - if you only buy mail order? :confused:
  18. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    Know their return policy......

  19. Well, you can try out basses in stores. You can play your friends' basses. You can play your relatives' basses.

    You can rely on overwhelmingly positive word of mouth, which some people on this forum have done with, for example, Laklands.

    Then, you can mail order. Do you understand now, Bruce?:rolleyes:
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - if you're going to go into stores anyway - why not buy the bass there?:confused:

    I like the service a good store can provide and I feel it is only right to support good stores and buy from them - otherwise they will all die out and we will have nowhere to try basses - what then? :meh:

    I think it is a pretty short-sighted and in a way, selfish option - to use stores' facilities for trying stuff out and then not buy from them - it is that kind of attitude which will eventually kil them off and make it bad for all of us who buy basses.....:(