Buying Musical Equipment Online
As with buying anything online, there is some risk associated with
purchasing music or equipment online. Due to a variety of fraudulent
techniques associated with credit cards and processing, people can be
easily exposed online or have their information stolen. Here are a few things that you should know in order to keep yourself safe online.
However, luckily for all of us, the larger companies that deal with credit card processing and financial details are getting smarter and smarter. The security is becoming tighter and tighter and it is becoming more secure to buy online every day. Although you do have to keep an eye out for a variety of scams, you can make sure that your information is more secure by following some simple rules and guidelines to buying online:
1. Don't give out more information than you need to.
This sounds simple, but there are a lot of fields and bits of info that companies collect for their records that you don't really need to let them know.
The only bits of info that you should feel compelled to give them are the areas that they tell you are required. Usually, there will be an asterisk (*) or something similar to let you know.
2. Try to stick to one or two main retailers.
Buying things from a lot of different retailers can spread your information out to the point where it isn't all that difficult to get a hold of it.
If you're going to be buying a lot online, try to buy from only a couple of retailers. That way, you know that only a few people have your info and no one else.
When it comes to musical instruments, you want to be sure that you are buying quality. Here are some things to consider before you place that order:
3. Try before you buy.
This should be a no-brainer, but if you're going to be buying a bass or an amp online, make sure you really want it.
Most retail music stores will allow you to use and play with their wares in the store for a while. Don't feel bad about asking them if you can try that bass on the wall and plug it into that amp you want. They should be more than happy to oblige.
The last thing you want is to get a new amp that sounds like a farting goat.
4. Not every bass will be as good off the shelf as the ones you've tried in store.
Yes, you'll find that there are a lot of great, off-the-shelf basses that give you what you want, but generally, you're going to have to do some tweaking and upgrading in order to get your new instrument to sound as you want.
So, when you do get that bass, make sure to spend some time with it and tweak it a bit to see if it will fit you. Don't send it back right away just because you don't like the way it plays out of the box.
5. Shop around.
Seriously, you might be getting ripped off big time if you don't take the time to look at all of the different places that are selling your instrument.
One site or shop might be selling the bass you're looking for much less than the first place you go, so I would suggest looking at a minimum of 3 or 4 places to get a better idea of what the item is worth.
6. Can you buy used?
If you can, you might be able to find a great deal.
There are many people out there who are looking to part with perfectly good gear that just doesn't suit them anymore or that they don't have space for, so take a look through the classifieds if you have the time since you might scoop a great deal that way.
If you are using a credit card and really want that new cable, or set of strings, or ash Jazz bass body, or rabbit-shaped chromatic tuner (any day now), many retailers now offer online financing that will allow you to buy these items and pay them off over time. Yes, it can be a bit more expensive in the long run, but you'll also be able to pay smaller amounts over time rather than everything all at once.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Malcolm Wanless is a Musician based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Besides playing in two local bands and taking on various composing projects, he is also busy with Full-time Music Studies in Jazz and various other jobs around town. You should visit his site at http://www.playbassonline.com/ for Lessons/Exercises/Video/Etc... that will help you become a better player.