Cheap Gear Online

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by mljohn, Aug 12, 2000.

  1. mljohn


    Jul 16, 2000
    There are a lot of online music stores popping up. Many claiming to have the best deal. How about a thread where we can all pool our info together about different stores that give the best prices and good service.

    If someone is looking for a certain product, post a price request. If someone else knows a place to get it cheaper, post a reply. The more money we save, the more gear we can buy. :)

    I saved almost $80 at my local guitar store after I found a cheaper price online for a bass that I had bought. Took in an email price quote from the online store and they matched the cheaper price.

    I'm not saying screw over the online stores. If I would have found the online price sooner, I could have saved more by not paying sales tax.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I wouldn't buy a bass online without trying it first, no matter how cheap it was. In fact, I think that this would make me more suspicious.

    I would never recommend buying without trying first, as you don't know whether it will suit you - some basses I have tried have looked very good, but have been virtually unplayable when I tried them in the shop, because of the neck shape, thickness etc.

    There are also lots of possible problems with basses that you really need to check out before buying. Has it got dead spots, can you intonate it above the 12th fret, is the neck warped, does it slip out of tune frequently, is the B string "floppy" - etc. I could go on for about a dozen more things that I would consider essential checks which can only be done if you actually play the bass.

    And as to "gear" - in general my rule is quality over quantity. Who wants a load of poor quality gear that goes wrong all the time or is noisy, for example - just becuase it's cheap doesn't mean it's desirable. I would rather pay full-price and know I have got the best equipment I can get.
  3. I must respectfully disagree with you Bruce as i recently bought 2 basses off eBay and love them both. Of course, had i hated them, i might agree with you. I think the key is to e-mail the seller with any and all questions and see what kind of use the bass had if it's a used item. The 1 bass i bought was such a good price and was exactly what i was looking for, i couldnt pass it up and i love it. The other one is a MIM Fender P i basically put a token bid on that ended up holding up. I don't but gear just to resell it, but knew that i could do that for what i paid and not lose $ if i didn't like it. But i like the Fender alot too.
    Also, i want to make mention of what you said about being more suspicious about gear being cheap. Since i bought 2, i just sold my Applause AE-40 acoustic bass on eBay. I started the bidding at 5$ with no reserve cuz i wanted the auction to set itself. Not 1 thing wrong with that bass, i just don't need it anymore. I got 212.50 for it. Trent
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But Ebay is **not** an Online Music Store and not what this thread is about. Even so, I would be even more wary of this - you might have loads of spare cash hanging around just to spend on basses that you might or might not like and then resell - but I don't!

    I want to make the most out of any money I have, to get the best quality gear that I possibly can and I would insist that the only way to **make sure** of this, is to try first and for some time. I would never buy a bass without trying it for about an hour. I suppose I don't want lots of cheap basses - one really good one will do for me.

    It always amazes me on forums like this where people ask questions about dead spots, intonation problems etc. There must have been hundreds like this on this one alone. And I would like to bet that these people haven't checked the basses before hand.

    To me it's a complete waste of money to buy a bass and say "oh I can sell it if I don't like it" - all the time you have that bass, you don't have the money and you have no guarantee that you are going to recover this. This just sounds more like and addiction for buying and selling rather than anything to do with "making music".
  5. Well, eBay is obiviously an auction, but it IS a store to a point because so many dealers sell stuff on there now. Like i said, i don't buy stuff to resell it. These are the first new basses i've had since 1993. In the case of the Fender, i put a token bid that i was surprised held up. I bought it because i've been doing some studio work at a place lately and the owner likes the fender sound. I have, well actually my dad right now has, an old 65 Fender P that he is adamant against upgrading in any way. and it's not in condition to play out anymore. So, i am glad i got the Fender. I don't have plies of cash laying around here, but i knew before i bought it i could resell a Fender P with a case for 200$. I mean, sure, it's great to try anything out before you buy it, and every instrument is piece of wood so each is somewhat different. But, how many times have you picked up a bass at a music store that you thought sucked that actually only needed the proper set up? I mean, i wasn't worried about the shape of the body of the thickness of the neck on a Fender P because i already know what it's going to be. Trent
  6. The best way to go here is a combination of things that have been suggested. I agree with Bruce.. don't buy something without having played it, or played through it, first. Once you are sure it's what you want, start shopping for the best price. Go to the manufacturer's website, access the list of dealers, and get price quotes from as many as you can by phone or e-mail. This is what I did when I decided to get my SWR SM-900. I started out with the price at the local MARS, and by the time I was done pitting on-line dealers against each other for the lowest price, I had saved myself $300. If someone claims they have "the lowest price" or "will not be undersold," make them prove it, or move on.
  7. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    I think the keyword here is "cheap" gear. I happen to like trying out different basses and getting to know them firsthand. It's fun and keeps me out of trouble....:) However...I would never buy a more expensive bass without first trying it out. If it is to be my primary bass...then I am going to check it out thoroughly.
  8. mljohn


    Jul 16, 2000
    I think some of you are missing the point of my post. Let me try to make it a little clearer. Of course you should try out whatever piece of gear you are thinking about purchasing down at your local Guitar Center or whatever you have. What I'm saying is, once you have found something you like, ask around to see if there is a better price out there. This is just common sense consumer shopping(although common sense is not so common).

    Remember, I was referring to bass GEAR, not just bass guitars. That kickass amp or effects unit or whatever you tried out at the local store shouldn't sound a whole hell of a lot different than the one online. Not only are you saving money off the retail price, many places have free shipping and no sales tax for out-of-staters. If you prefer dealing with your local store and they guarantee the lowest price, take in a price quote from the online store and save some money. I am more than willing to wait a few days for the same piece of gear at a much cheaper price.

    Maybe I should have titled this post Cheaper Expensive Gear Online. I'm not trying to pursuade people to buy the cheapest(quality) piece of gear on the market so that they can own more of it, I'm trying to induce an information exchange for people to help each other save some bucks (yes, even on those high ticket items). If you would rather through away more money than is needed because you don't want to take the time to shop around, you are certainly free to do so. Some of us though could use all the extra cash we can get. I would much rather brag about how much money I saved on my brand new stack than on how much I over spent. Some people get off on flaunting how much money they spend, I don't(nor am I implying that you do).

    [Edited by mljohn on 08-15-2000 at 03:12 AM]
  9. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    From what I hear....more and more people ARE checking out gear at the store...and purchasing it at a better price online. I now buy all of my strings online. The hassle is....if it is something that needs to be returned. That is a lot easier to do at your local store.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't consider it throwing away money to play slightly more at a reputable store for good service and security. For example, I bought my last bass at the Bass Centre in London. They let me try any bass for as long a I wanted- so I got to compare loads of different "high-end" basses (Ken Smith, WAL, Alembic, Tune, Lakland, Sadowsky etc.) to find exactly the one I liked. They threw in a flight case and I don't have to pay for any future set-ups. I couldn't quite get the set-up to my satisfaction, so I took it back and not only did their tech fix the things I asked about, he gave me a spanner that fit the truss rod, to make it easier for me to adjust it in future.

    Now I would rather pay a small amount more for this type of service and the security of knowing that if there are any problems later, they will be fixed quickly and for free - no questions asked.

    So you buy something slightly cheaper on the internet and you have a problem a few weeks later - you are stuck and you have spent the money on something you can't use. This sounds like wasting money to me. Or if you buy a Fender on-line and find that it has deadspots - as so many do, from what I've heard on this board and the FDP - this is wasting money!
  11. Well, that's great if you have a music store there that gives you that kind of customer service. I know alot of people have had trouble with crappy cust. service from music stores before, during, and after the sale. I guess there is something to be said for living in the same town as a store if you are not happy so you can go down there in person and complain, but what good is it doing if your still not getting satisfaction? Online stores rely very heavily on customer feedback, so it is to their advantage to work with people who have a problem with gear after it arrives. Trent
  12. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    My problem is that I don't have a good music store, anywhere near me. I was back in Michigan for the weekend and one of the first places I headed...was my favorite music store to do a little shopping. I ended up buying a bit more than I intended....I suppose that is what a good store can do to a person....:)
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes but if the online store is in the US and I'm based in the UK, there's not much that they can do, unless I send the item back, at huge cost to me.

    And I's sure that they "say" this - about good customer service, but undoubtedly it is going to take several weeks to sort out any problem if you are dealing with this by mail back and forth. So for those weeks you don't have an instrument, say, and you also don't have the money. As I have gigs each week, I'm going to be in trouble!
  14. lowb


    Jul 27, 2000
    London, UK
    Hey guys,
    I gotta say that this idea about trying the gear out in the local shop, and then buying it online, is gonna hurt us (the customer) more in the long run, ie. who's gonna buy from the local shop!!!The shops will all go out of business and we won't have anywhere to try gear. This could well cause other knock on effects leading to perhaps higher prices. I also agree with Bruce that at places like The Base centre, The Gallery, and Overwater (I'm sure there is lots of places in the US like these), the level of customer care and attention is well worth the small extra cost, and in some of my experiences I've had better prices from shops than online!
    To summerise: Lets not use are local stores for demo-ing gear.

  15. mljohn


    Jul 16, 2000

    Let me try to make this easy for you.

    You are down at the local store trying out the latest and greatest bass, amp, effects, keyboard, cable, disco ball, whatever, and you decide you just have to have this item or your setup just won't be complete. Now assuming you're not the impulsive shopper type who has to have it right now or there is no way you will be able to gig tonight and you don't know how you even got by this long without it because it's just that awesome, then check around for a cheaper price. When you find that cheaper price, take it in and have your local store match it. Simple, isn't it? (Check out my first post for a real life example) No lost loyalty. Your shop owner can still afford that mansion on the hill. Don't worry, your local shop is not going to go bankrupt. They will make their money.

    Dave gets it. Trent-35 seems to be online with it (No pun intended. Well, maybe). :)

    Any other players?

    [Edited by mljohn on 08-17-2000 at 01:19 PM]
  16. Player


    Dec 27, 1999
    USA Cincinnati, OH
    Were you lookin for me? :D I like to support my local music stores. (I used to manage one) I will check out prices on-line, but I also realize that my local store may not always be able to match the price because of additional overhead i.e. stock so you can try before you buy, staff who can setup the instruments, power so you can plug in the amps, etc., that the online stores don't have. If they can get close to the online price (and they usually match it) I buy. I figure it's worth a couple of extra bucks to insure that they'll be there next year
  17. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    I ALWAYS buy local IF they have it and will come even close to the price. But with only a couple of stores here...the attitude is..."that's the price....take it or leave it."
    Guess which one I do?....:)
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    mljohn, I get it:D The larger local stores only carry a limited product line. Service is worth something but on a regular basis I see the take it or leave it attitude and I don't do much bargaining. I know of stores that will keep an instrument on the wall for an extra year while they try to get their price and not a penny less. That grumble about whether you're really interested enough in the bass you want to check out for them to break away from their conversation about "Survivor" with a fellow employee. I have yet been made to feel like I'm imposing with an online store when I'm trying to spend my money. Local stores have always had flexibility but until recently, with competition,they didn't feel the need to exercise it.

    Man, the assumptions are flying high in this thread. As usual.

    When I read this "I wouldn't buy a bass online without trying it first, no matter how cheap it was. In fact, I think that this would make me more suspicious." well,...I just don't get it. I understand why you say this... I just don't get it.

    I know the overriding issue here is comfort. How comfortable is someone in making a purchase from a new source, how comfortable does that new source make you feel when consider making the purchase, how comfortable are you with the "what ifs"?

    Given that, besides Bruce, who here would not purchase a high end bass online from a verifiable source, with a factory warranty for more than 60% off (if you had the funds, if you were in the market for a high end bass,etc., of course)? That's how I got a damn near new Lakland for less than $1500. I like to touch stuff, too, but I have confidence in my knowledge of instruments, the market and how to safeguard myself. I have more than one bass. I play more than one bass, in different bands, with different music, etc. If I can have several basses I am very happy with I don't see the harm. They're instruments, not spouses. Was the RB5 a painful divorce? :D
    Different strokes, I guess.

    Bruce apparently would have let the Tobias he found go if it were online in the same situation. In his case it's understandable, prior to that Tobias he hadn't really been "grabbed" by them. Myself, OTOH, would have my curiousity piqued if I saw a pre-Gibson Tobias 5 going for below half of it's market value.

    In a lot of cases the difference in price between online and local is not small. The digital camera I just bought was $360 online and $599 on sale locally at a Mega store. Which would you buy (if, of course you were in the market for a digital camera, yadda, yadda, yadda)?

    Frost, you're right, some local stores have an attitude. I figure...fine, it's their funeral. I don't try to force them to meet lowest price because lowest price should not be the deciding factor, the entire transaction should. I spoke to a small storeowner yesterday who said they realize that they can compete with the Mega-stores by offering service that is above and beyond the norm. Adapt or perish.

    lowb, above average service here is the exception, not the rule. Not just in music stores either. There's an overriding take it or leave it attitude here. I have no idea why. It was there well before the Internet.

    Dave, Bruce doesn't seem to be saying try a "like" piece of equipment, if he can't touch the specific piece he is buying, it's out. I understand why he says this... I just don't get it. In my case I had tried a couple of Laklands before, they were pretty good but not enough to justify over $2k at the time. Knowing the value of the basses, when one became available at well below market value for me it was a no-brainer (my normal safeguards still apply). I'll get one at home, string it and set it up the way I want, use it on gigs and really see if I like it. If I don't I can resell it at a profit if I wish,at worst..break even. It worked out well.

    I tried out one of the Toby 6's, I don't currently have a 6 and, with the low price and low risk (30 day return policy) not much exposure there. I don't like it, I'm sending it back, I'm out about $35 for shipping. And didn't have to leave the house.

    Bottom line...if you're comfortable with the Internet, go for it. That doesn't mean be stupid. If you're not....don't.

  19. mljohn


    Jul 16, 2000
    Brad, thanks for the support. Very well said. I even read the whole post. :D

    I think I need glasses now. :)
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Hey, brevity is a four-letter word for me :D