eBay Question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by knotty, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. knotty

    knotty New Friend

    Jun 8, 2009
    San Francisco, Ca.
    In looking at a lot of trumpets on eBay, I noticed many of the photos are very poor, they look like they were taken from 8 feet away, too dark, and fuzzy too. Yet, there's quite a few people that will bid quite a bit of money on these instruments "sight unseen" are they just taking a gamble or what?

    (There are some great photos too, extreme closeups and many different angles)
  2. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    Only horn I've ever bought on eBay was a steal :D
    If the pictures look suspicious, email the seller for better ones
    If they don't respond, don't bid. Some people are looking for a steal, and end up getting something a lot worse than they thought, you have to be careful. I'd stay away from ads with bad photos - they may be covering up for something and its better to be safe than sorry
  3. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    If it is not a clear photo, or the description does not line up with the item, then avoid it.
    The seller has a transaction history, and that can be seen, so you can tell if it is reasonable. You can also review those comments.

    Ebay is generally good, and I have bought a lot of good items, and will ask for clearer photos or more details, usually the seller is happy to do this... if not, or anything feels wrong, then do not bid.
  4. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I have purchased a number of trumpets/cornets on ebay the past few months. Most were in the 'lets see whats behind door #3' category. I did not pay too much for them so the risk was minimal. After awhile you can figure out ways to try and correlate the description with even a poor photo. Also, if I locate the listing with enough lead time (more than a day), I ask for additional photos (though only rarely do they have any better ones) and also I use ASK SELLER A QUESTION to request specific, pointed, details about the condition of the slides, valves, what they mean by 'scratches and dings', whether it sits flat on the end of the bell, and so forth. That way, if they answer the questions they cannot later claim that they did not know to point out certain things. Also, their feedback rating is a key to whether they are trying to hide something or simply do not know how to describe it.

    So far, I have been pleasantly surprised on about 25% of them, found 50% to be as described, and 25% were worse than described. Only 3 have been so bad that I had to complain to the seller. So far, all 3 have offered an adjustment or refund based on my evaluation of their description vs the actual device. The cases are something else. Most of them are worse than described because they figure if it latches, it is OK. Also, nearly all of the mouthpieces show plier jaw marks so I realize they will need to be reworked. In the end, I have not received a single one that is not playable. In fact, when it comes to an Olds, I know that unless it has been run over by a truck (at least twice) I can make it play just with my own skills (minimal) and make it look decent with a not-to-expensive trip to the repair shop. Also, I have purchased Conn's, White/King, Holton, Yamaha, Blessing in addition to Olds and they all seem to recover nicely without too much fuss. The only ones that I have purchased with the expectation that they were a '9' were my Andreas Eastman and my Overhauled Olds. They were well documented and had good return policies so there was minimal risk. The rest have all worked out OK in the end and I have paid as little as $20 for some of them in which cases the shipping was more than the horn which actually has a significant impact on the average price that I have paid but it is still less than running around looking at horns on Craigslist or browsing pawn shops (unless you just like to do that sort of thing).

    So, ebay can work but, like anything else, it takes some time to figure out the patterns in how items are listed and how the bidding goes to have confidence that things will work out.

    Good luck.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I feel that your "main" instrument should be bough with the classical "play before you pay" method. Once you have a decent axe, all the E'bay collecting only involves money, not the stability of your playing.

    Make sure that you do not take chances on that main axe. It is the only way you can completely relax with E'bay!
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    What they all said - I've always thought that if you can't afford to lose the money entirely, then avoid eBay. I have taken that approach and only once been disappointed - it wasn't a trumpet.
  7. knotty

    knotty New Friend

    Jun 8, 2009
    San Francisco, Ca.
    Another collection of great info. Well if I'm able to start playing simple tunes, (a while yet, just two weeks into it so far) I'll start looking for a decent trumpet. As it stands, I wouldn't know a good sounding trumpet one way or the other, so I'll probably just have to get my first trumpet going by a good brand name. Unless, I can have someone at the store play a few trumpets and I listen, maybe that'll work.

    Thanks all..
  8. Darthsunshine

    Darthsunshine Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 19, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Excellent advice from Robin, and well worth following. I have taken a chance on some horns that were poorly photographed and/or described, but it was not for the purpose of buying a main axe. It paid off... with two out of three of them. Of course, it's just like gambling, you should not bid more than you can afford to lose, and it helps if YOU know what you're doing before you start. Got my LA Ambassador cornet for less than $20 and an excellent Benge 5x for a couple hundred less than the going value. However, I had actually played other horns of the same model before bidding. Also, with the Benge I figured if it wasn't as described upon arrival I could probably get out of the deal because of PayPal's current policy of not given sale funds to first time sellers until the positive feedback comes in (The 5x is so nice it may yet become my main axe!). I've also gotten bitten though too. Again, I already had a main axe, so I was only risking a little $$ on the outcome as a collector, not the "stability" of my playing as a musician.

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