Jadin784 wrote:I bought the $70 black guitar last time. You simply can't play music with it. No reply from customer service even though I emailed three times. WOOT has really gone downhill offering junk from scam companies like this. I won't be using them again
Your expieriance is not an uncommon one in the web world of cheap musical instruments. As a musician for over 40 years now I can offer some good advice. Stringed instruments (as well as others) even at the top of the line and name brand can and do very one to another. It can be from a subtle difference in the wood in the body and/or neck, in which case the difference will always be there, to who set the thing up at the store. Set up would be the minor adjustments to raise and lower strings and can be later changed if wanted. So even when it is a brand you know you can trust and an on line dealer you can trust, going into a store and putting your hands on the instrument you are deciding to lay a wad on has some advantage and validity. But also there are some well known and well respected dealers out there both web based and others that simply have a web site in addition to their store that offer some deep discounts. Most of those however have a decent return policy including, your simply not satisfied and it may be worth a thought to buy that way. The fact is, even the brand name guys let something get past quality control now and then so you need a good return policy. Also, some of the stores that have web sites you can call and do your deal on the phone with a musician salesman rather than a rep with a head set on the phone. In that case you can express you want him or her to go ahead and do a good setup before shipping. The above is about the top to medium end stuff from known reputable dealers. Some of that stuff is at very good and lower prices also. Now for the nightmare. You know the saying, "if it's to good to be true?" Well that goes double in ultra cheap musical instruments, stringed or otherwise. Buyer, BEWARE! Many times the instrument looks great on the surface but is either unplayable or has terrible sound, or both due to crap materials and horrible workmanship. And then once you do have it in your home and you find it is junk, the seller is either AWOL or has a horrible return policy that between your shipping cost and the "restocking fee" he charges you are still out almost what you paid in the first place. This is obviously done to keep you from sending his junk back to him. One person in this discussion stated and suggested to just go to a music store and get a good used instrument for $100. I totally agree with that advice. That C note well spent beats the crap out of $50 to $70 totally thrown away. Best part you are not looking at the sad face of what was an excited child when they thought you were getting them something they had wanted and wanted. Also, there are many good low end but decent made guitars that can be found in legitimate music stores for around $200 give or take a few bucks. But these are found in legitimate stores that are known for less than suggested retail value sales every day. So do not fall in to the thought hole, 'I'm going to get him something real cheap at first to see if he stays interested and if he does, I will then spend more money on something nicer'. If you give someone that is excited about learning say guitar (and they are a total novice)and the thing is so poorly made that Eric Clapton could not play "three blind mice" on the thing, the kid will be frustrated beyond ever wanting to touch a guitar again, thinking it is his inability to play and never knowing it was the junk you put in his hands. Also, now you can't get rid of if for less than $10 in a yard sale because, it is junk! Pay more, get something that is usable and you do have something of some real value. Kid gets better at it, you want to invest in something on up the line, guess what? Your better purchase now can be used as a trade in or sold for a decent return on at least a good chunk of your original investment.
On electronic instruments, key boards, amplifiers, public address systems, etc., they are made more closely the same as they are not crafted wood parts but rather more like computers and such. But still beware, the ultra cheap stuff, that's right the stuff that the price is just, "to good to be true", stay away from. Things will not work and pieces will be falling apart in a short while if not right out of the box. Good news is there are some brand names out there that run the full gamut as to price and bells and whistles. This includes decent entry level equipment at an affordable price that can also get at least part of your money back on a later trade-up or out and out sale. An on line reputable and known dealer can save you some cash. Also use your computer for research. Check out the equipment you are looking for. Read reviews, and check out the BBB rating of any company you are thinking about spending your cash with. I hope this long winded SA is a help to some of you. If just one does not step in the pit of doom after reading this, it was worth taking time to write it.