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Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

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Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:51 am
by Sam Spoons
:( I recall a news article about it now. Not that I'll ever get to NYC but another daydream shattered.....

Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:19 pm
by jellyjim
Thanks all, that's helpful

So how do I do it legit for a brand new instrument?

I can't recall how customs works coming back. Are there 'nothing to declare' and 'I bought swag' lanes or something? Can I pay there and then and continue my journey with guitar?


Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:36 pm
by Wonks
Yes there are, and you can pay then and there. If there's no red lane (for small international airports), there will be a red phone on the wall to bring customs officers to you. Make sure you have your receipt and any necessary CITES documentation handy.

Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:17 pm
by ManFromGlass
Almost related, not sure if this is a consideration for you.
I saw Sweetwater has a scratch and dent sale on Variax Customs. The SOS review made me lust after this guitar yet again. After shipping the guitar to Canada I would have saved $500 Cdn. The Sweetwater salesperson said the fingerboard was rosewood so the Canadian customs people would have seized the guitar.
I don’t know whether to be thankful the customs people saved me money or to be pissed :headbang:
Curses, foiled again!

Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:17 pm
by Sam Spoons
Now I'm really confused (yes even more than usual). I thought only Brazilian Rosewood was CITES (and a new guitar will definitely not have Brazilian RW as it has been protected for many years)? And then, as well, I'm sure I read something, on here I think, about a 10kg personal limit for such stuff but maybe I'm dreaming again?

Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:58 pm
by Wonks
All Rosewood (and several related species like Bubbinga) is now on the CITES Appendix 2 list (since early 2017), which means that new rosewood can be traded (it's not retroactive) but it must be proved to come from sustainable sources. Brazilian Rosewood is the exception, as it has already been on the Apppendix 1 list for a long time.

Pre-2017 (non-Brazilian) rosewood is fine to trade across borders (The EEC is currently classed as one big border area) but you are still going to need some way of proving when the guitar was made. Some manufacturer's serial numbers are easier to date correctly than others.

Yes, there is a 10kg personal limit for movement in person, not just shipped for your own benefit, so in theory you should be OK bringing a couple of electric or acoustic guitars in yourself with normal rosewood boards or bodies. But there are various country's own timber laws which can override this, so you really need to know the exact situation. I have a feeling that it's easier bringing stuff out of the USA than trying to bring stuff in to it.

Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:48 pm
by Sam Spoons
Good info Wonks :thumbup:

Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:21 pm
by Ben Asaro
The guitar scene here, unfortunately, has taken a SERIOUS nose dive with the decimation of 48th St and the migration/closure of 30th St Guitars and Ludlow Guitars. There is very little left now!

I would suggest looking in the Metro New York area for good, off the beaten track, guitar shops in upstate NY, NJ, or CT. It will be well worth the research. Hoboken has a great guitar shop and is only an 8 minute PATH train from Manhattan, plus about a 10 minute walk (Don’t quote me on the walk, I am a native New Yorker that doesn’t own a car and I walk fast).

My favorite guitar shop used to be 30th St, but the shop spiraled into a dumpy, dismal affair and then they relocated to a postage-stamp sized shop with very little selection.

My favorite then became Ludlow Guitars and I spent a LOT of money there! They migrated to Williamsburg (Brooklyn) along with most of the hipster places in the LES (Lower East Side). I think they have since closed down completely, not sure.

Rudy’s relocated to SoHo and went even further into the boutique end of things, a fun shop if you have lots of $$$.

Main Drag might be worth a look, they sometimes have diamonds in the rough there but their used guitars are rarely set up properly or appear to be sanitized (eww). It’s a dirty, hipster music joint, very Bohemian if you’re into that scene. (I am not)

If you need any more info, feel free to ask.

EDIT: The Guitar Center on 14th St actually has a good used guitar selection sometimes. There is another GC around Times Square but that’s midtown and best left avoided at all costs. (Not GC, midtown in general lol ;) )

Re: Used guitar shopping in NYC (and back again)

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:15 pm
by realcountry
Longtime NYC-based electric guitarist here.

Don’t even bother. Matt Umanov is gone. Mandolin Brothers is gone. Manny’s is gone. A few speciality dealers you can see by appointment sell ridiculously high end things. Otherwise it’s Guitar Center and Sam Ash just like everywhere else.

Most pro guitarists I know (I am one) just buy new guitars online from Sweetwater.

The quality used marketplace is also all online but you’ll need time, patience, negotiation skill, and a car. It’s

Good finds can be had on good old Craigslist but it’s hit or miss.

I can basically guarantee there are no “barn finds” to be had in the NYC area. People who know guitars scour the used marketplace constantly. Heck, good luck buying a 66 Strat off a little old widow whose husband uses it only for church music before he died in 79 in Bumf@&k, Missouri. She has the Internet too.

I’ve always found Europeans have a ridiculously romantic view of the American instrument market. Unless you ARE planning to spend several thousand on a collector guitar and pay the taxes and customs and get the CITES paperwork in order, just spend the extra hundred quid to buy the same guitar locally in Europe. They’re all there.