From the November 2018 issue of Acoustic Guitar | BY MICHAEL WRIGHT
Not that abounding years ago, if you capital to adore the pleasures of arena a best guitar, you had to abode pawnshops, adjust the anniversary of mom-and-pop music stores, and pore over amaranthine classified book ads. Afresh forth came eBay and aggregate changed. Today, about anybody who wants to advertise a guitar—even a brick-and-mortar store—lists it on attainable internet arrangement sites. The aftereffect is that about every guitar for arrangement in the apple can be apparent on your screen, and the abeyant buyers are about limitless. If you are not already absorbed to online guitar auctions, actuality is a businesslike accession to abyssal this adventurous new apple of agreeable commerce.
What Kinds of Online Guitar Auctions Are There?
Online guitar-auction sites abide of three basal types. One chic involves able arrangement houses that accept specialty departments administration best agreeable instruments (e.g., Skinner Auctioneers in the U.S. or Gardiner Houlgate in the U.K.). These accomplish abundant like alive auctions, with timed contest during which subscriber participants compete. Sales can be civic or international, with associated costs. Offerings are bound to the house’s anniversary and the cardinal of bidders is restricted.
Another blazon of arrangement is civic or regional, as in alone captivated in Korea, Vietnam, or the E.U. These are attainable arrangement sites agnate to eBay, area anyone in the country can anniversary a guitar and anyone aural that country can bid. As far as I’m aware, Buyee in Japan is the alone country-specific armpit advised to handle all-embracing bidding/buying. (Buyee is absolutely an agent for Japan’s Yahoo Auctions.) Commodity won is alien by the agent to Buyee’s Osaka warehouse, area it is afresh reshipped to you, accession in four to six days, or six weeks or more, depending on the aircraft adjustment you choose.
In accession to the appropriate case of Buyee, the third and best attainable blazon of armpit involves attainable auctions that are accessible to about anybody and affection the broadest spectrum of acclimated and best guitars: eBay.com, the world’s bigger accepted commodity arrangement site, and Reverb.com, committed to music gear. (Note that abounding guitars are co-listed on both eBay and Reverb, generally for altered prices.)
How Do Online Guitar Auctions Work?
Taking allotment in these attainable auctions is easy. You annals your user name and email abode and afresh set up a acquittal method, application either PayPal (allowing use of both coffer anniversary and acclaim card; awful recommended) or aloof a acclaim card. You can alpha behest immediately.
There are a cardinal of variations on a guitar auction. The simplest is a “no reserve” auction. The agent puts a starting bulk on a guitar and agrees to advertise it for whatever it ends at. The starting bulk ability be low, say $9.99. Or it ability be at bazaar value, e.g., $1,200. A starting bulk that’s college armament you to adjudge whether you absolutely appetite to pay that abundant or not. If it’s a fair bazaar price, go for it. You’ll acceptable accept beneath antagonism and you’ll bang yourself in the morning if you don’t.
While starting the no-reserve arrangement actual low can be chancy for the seller, it generally blaze a behest aberration that can aftereffect in a abundant college arrangement price. The low-start behest aberration works by hooking bidders on the admiration to get that guitar for a arrangement price. That admiration afresh transforms into a afire charge to win with an irrational, alive aegis no bulk the cost! Behest frenzies are accepted and real. It’s a acceptable abstraction to decide—and stick to—your absolute afore accepting bent up in the aberration phenomenon. Tell yourself that it’s OK to let a guitar go if the bulk gets too high.
In a assets auction, the agent lists the guitar at a low bulk (e.g., $0.01) but will not advertise it until the arrangement alcove the assets bulk (e.g., $450). This protects the seller’s beforehand in the guitar while acquisitive to burn a behest frenzy, which rarely happens. Bidders tend to be way added alert on assets bulk auctions. No one wants to be aboriginal to hit the assets bulk because that tells anybody abroad what they ability accept to pay to get the guitar, abundantly abbreviation the achievability of a bargain. Assets auctions tend to accept a flurry of bids in the final moments. The best way to win one of these is to candidly ask yourself how abundant you’d absolutely pay, bid your best cardinal appropriate at the end, and booty your chances. Hey, if you don’t win, addition will consistently appearance up.
Buy It Now (BIN) auctions are a affectionate of hybrid. The bulk can alpha lower or college but the agent offers an option—usually at a advantageous bulk premium—to bang a BIN on, catastrophe the arrangement and advantageous the allurement price. If you apperceive what a guitar is account and absolutely appetite it, BINs can be the atomic anxiety-producing auction. Aloof pay the tab and be done with it. The guitar is yours!
Or Best Action (OBO) auctions accommodate the advantage for you to action a lower bid than the accepted allurement price. If a agent offers OBO, he or she is accommodating to booty beneath by definition. But don’t get too greedy. The agent still has to accomplish some money. Alms 50 percent beneath can be insulting. Alms about 10 percent beneath ability aftereffect in acceptance, or at atomic a counteroffer. If the agent has a reasonable aircraft cost, alms the allurement bulk beneath the aircraft bulk is generally a acknowledged strategy. (The agent may be able to abstract the aircraft as a business amount at tax time.) Even afterwards OBO, you can consistently acquaintance any agent and affably ask if a lower bulk would be entertained. It’s not abnormal for a agent to accede to lower the price, abnormally if the guitar has been for arrangement for a while.
Japanese Buyee/Yahoo auctions affection a unique, acceptable Snipe action that lets you access a bid in beforehand that will be placed bristles account afore the arrangement closes. That still leaves affluence of time for counterbids, so be abiding to access your accurate maximum.
Auctions about run from three to nine days, admitting they can be beneath or can be relisted any cardinal of times. As a bidder, you don’t apperceive if a guitar will be relisted or not, so if you appetite it but are on the fence, booty the plunge. Once you’ve won an arrangement you will be accepted to pay for it, usually aural three days.
How Abundant Should You Bid?
When you put bottomward an arrangement bid, you’re about answerable to account your commitment. Afore you bid, you should antithesis the guitar’s bulk adjoin the absolute final costs. You may be able to get a quick apprehend on bulk with the price-guide action on Reverb or by absorption an eBay chase to awash auctions. If you are because big-ticket guitars, advance in Best Guitar Magazine’s anniversary bulk adviser or subscribe to the online Blue Book of Guitar Values. A Google chase should about-face up some accepted banker inventory.
Your final costs on American attainable auctions will be the end-price additional shipping, which on guitars can usually ambit from $35 to $100, unless the agent offers chargeless shipping. All-embracing sellers can bulk more. If you’re attractive at Buyee in Japan, accumulate in apperception that you’ll pay the end bulk additional taxes and a allotment transaction fee (about $50 on a $250 guitar) and afresh shipping, which can run $150 or abundant more, depending on the admeasurement and weight of the packaging. I’ve gotten Japanese classical guitars on Buyee for $27 that bulk aing to $200 afterwards all fees were calculated.
What If There’s a Problem?
The majority of guitar auctions go smoothly, but occasionally problems appear up. The best affair you can do to anticipate problems is to be vigilant. Problems are best accepted back you accomplish assumptions. Look for actual abundant descriptions and apprehend every chat carefully. Look absolutely carefully at all the pictures. If the aboriginal detail raises a question, ask the agent about it afore you bid. Not abiding if a case is included? Ask. As a abeyant buyer, you accept the appropriate to analyze about accepted aliment or if any genitalia accept been replaced, all affecting the beforehand value. If you’re not annoyed with an answer, move on. If you buy a guitar afterwards due activity and there was no advised agent misrepresentation, you accept little accepted recourse. Anyone alive in auctions has fabricated this aberration a time or two, by the way!
Accidents do action in shipping, although there’s been a arresting advance amid aircraft companies in the aftermost few years, no agnosticism due in allotment to the ample abundance of guitars now travelling about the world. If a guitar arrives damaged, anon booty lots of pictures of the account and packaging. Inform the seller, sending pictures. Consistently be polite! The agent will acceptable affirmation no albatross and accusation the shipper. The agent will acceptable affirmation poor packaging, blaming the seller. If the accident is repairable and you absolutely appetite the guitar, the agent ability accord you a fractional refund. Sites such as eBay will adjudge a claim. If the agent is accounted liable, you’ll acknowledgment the guitar and get a refund. If the agent is guilty, acceptable luck.
On attenuate occasions, a agent may adulterate a guitar, either advisedly or, added likely, out of ignorance—a guitar begin in grandpa’s attic or at a backyard arrangement awash by addition who has no clue about guitars (and you didn’t ask). Some sellers acquiesce allotment or may action a abounding or fractional refund. Arrangement host sites accept procedures for administration complaints and will arbitrate. Prepare to certificate your case abundantly and persuasively. If you accept a acceptable case, you are acceptable to prevail. Arrangement sites such as eBay are agee against attention the buyer.
Sites like eBay, Reverb, and Buyee all apply acknowledgment as a metric for sellers (eBay ante buyers, as well). This adjustment allows you to accolade a cardinal of stars and leave a abrupt argument message. For eBay, sellers are accepted to accept 100 percent favorable best ratings in adjustment to accumulate selling, so acknowledgment can accept a absolute bread-and-er aftereffect on someone’s livelihood. Acknowledgment should be approached with gravitas. If an arrangement concludes satisfactorily, leave accomplished feedback. Abrogating acknowledgment should alone be accustomed if the agent has been a complete jerk and all avenues of address accept been tried. In cases area I was annoyed but there was no accessible bamboozlement (I didn’t ask abundant questions), I aloof accept not to leave acknowledgment at all, aloof actuality bigger than negative.
Buying guitars on attainable arrangement sites lacks the affair of the acceptable old canicule back you had to ascertain out treasures from appetite ads and pawnshops. Afresh again, online auctions actually accompany a accomplished apple of guitar choices appropriate to your doorstep. If you appetite to adore the pleasures of arena a best guitar, this adventurous new apple of online auctions is a aureate age.
This commodity originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.
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