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Author Topic: Buying guitars direct from the USA  (Read 1576 times)

fbloke

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Buying guitars direct from the USA
« on: October 17, 2009, 05:53:08 PM »
Hello folks.

Has anyone tried this?  I'm looking at buying a guitar from Sweetw@ter in the USA and having it shipped to the UK.  Any pitfalls to avoid/tips from anyone out there?

Thanks,

Mike.

Antag

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2009, 06:21:50 PM »
Yes, I've bought several guitars from the US.

Shipping: get them to ship with UPS or Fedex, because both of those companies will handle the package end to end, are fast, reliable & offer decent tracking & insurance.  If they ship via USPS (=US postal service), it gets passed to Parcel Farce over here or some tinpot local courier who will do their best to break it.

Packing:  make sure the seller loosens the strings before packing (assuming it's going by air), that the guitar is securely packed in its case which is in turn surrounded by padding & in a box.

Import tax: you will need to pay import duty & VAT on your purchase.  Last time I imported a guitar duty was 3.7%, then VAT (@17.5%) goes on top of that. So, for example, if you paid 1000:
(1000 x 1.037) x 1.175 = 1218.48, so VAT + import duty will be 218.48 (there's often a 10 or so admin fee too)
Another good selling point of UPS & Fedex is that they take care of the paperwork for you.  UPS will expect a cheque or card on the doorstep, Fedex will invoice you later for it.

Hope this helps.
BKPs: HD, MM, NB, PK, CS, Ab (b&n); Am (b only); VHII, Tril (n only); IT, Slow, Sult (m&n)

fbloke

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2009, 06:54:00 PM »
Yes, I've bought several guitars from the US.

Shipping: get them to ship with UPS or Fedex, because both of those companies will handle the package end to end, are fast, reliable & offer decent tracking & insurance.  If they ship via USPS (=US postal service), it gets passed to Parcel Farce over here or some tinpot local courier who will do their best to break it.

Packing:  make sure the seller loosens the strings before packing (assuming it's going by air), that the guitar is securely packed in its case which is in turn surrounded by padding & in a box.

Import tax: you will need to pay import duty & VAT on your purchase.  Last time I imported a guitar duty was 3.7%, then VAT (@17.5%) goes on top of that. So, for example, if you paid 1000:
(1000 x 1.037) x 1.175 = 1218.48, so VAT + import duty will be 218.48 (there's often a 10 or so admin fee too)
Another good selling point of UPS & Fedex is that they take care of the paperwork for you.  UPS will expect a cheque or card on the doorstep, Fedex will invoice you later for it.

Hope this helps.

Antag,

That helps a great deal as it would become more expensive to buy from the USA once you've added import duty and VAT, so there's no point in doing the transaction.  I can just order one from a UK dealer instead.

Antag

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2009, 07:24:40 PM »
It depends on the guitar, whether there are UK dealers that actually stock them at decent prices, & the exchange rate (right now it's around 1.60 which isn't great), but sometimes you can save a fortune: my Jackson RR1T was <1100 (including shipping, duty & VAT! :))

Double check my figures for duty though - it was a few years ago so it may not still be 3.7% & wasn't VAT dropped to 15% for a while after the last budget?
BKPs: HD, MM, NB, PK, CS, Ab (b&n); Am (b only); VHII, Tril (n only); IT, Slow, Sult (m&n)

Jonny

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2009, 07:51:27 PM »
It seems to 3.7%, I'm more certain on it. However VAT is going back up to 17.5% in January time so we're all screwed after that for buying anything.
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hunter

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2009, 08:02:35 PM »
I have to object regarding UPS. They treat fragile goods like shite. I had some bad experiences.

I had my Axis sent via USPS though and it arrived nicely.

Packing is vital!!

But I gotta say, it depends a lot on the guitar. I wouldn't buy a Gibson type in the US, but a Fender type with maple neck anytime. Do those actually break ever?
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Philly Q

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2009, 01:10:00 AM »
But I gotta say, it depends a lot on the guitar. I wouldn't buy a Gibson type in the US, but a Fender type with maple neck anytime. Do those actually break ever?

I did once buy a terrible US Strat which turned out to have a cracked neck heel, probably because the neck was a very poor fit in the pocket.  It may well have left the factory like that, though.
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WezV

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2009, 10:00:51 PM »
Do those actually break ever?

you so see the odd cracked heel from the screws and occasionally cracked headstocks around tuner holes... but even these are usually a quick fix and not often fatal

Tomcaster

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Re: Buying guitars direct from the USA
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2009, 02:50:53 PM »
I would never buy a guitar blindly. From one series, one factory one guitar can sound excellent and the other like a POS. You have to knock on wood to know. Same goes for fretting and general setup.