Talk to me about importing from Japan

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simplybensimplyben Frets: 14
Basically, I’m after a Yamaha SG again, and the ones that are really catching my attention are all from Japanese sellers on reverb/eBay.

Anyone had any experiences, positive or otherwise that they could share? I’m not really sure how to start beyond clicking “buy”.
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  • WhitecatWhitecat Frets: 4111
    Never imported from Japan but it should be the same as anywhere else - estimate that you will pay about an additional 25% on top of the total cost of the shipment (which means the price *after* shipping has been added) and you won't have any surprises. With most couriers you get sent the bill before you receive the parcel, unless they use FedEx in which case you usually get the bill a few days after.
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 6843
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  • Bennyboy-UKBennyboy-UK Frets: 811
    edited July 26
    You need to be careful - there are piles of chancers in Japan who list items on ebay that are in Japanese shops, and try to win a deal with a buyer and broker the deal - selling with a considerable markup.

    I'm in the process of doing this having found the actual shop in Japan thats selling and getting in touch directly.

    I was able to get an even better price from the shop as they ditched about 5% of their internal tax as part pf my quote.

    This will be my first import from japan, but its going well so far - happy to have a chat if it's helpful? Drop me a PM as applicable.

    Cheers,
    Ben.
    I'm always looking for interesting USA Hamers for sale. At the moment I'm looking for Virtuoso, Watson, SS2, Vintage S, Vanguard, Centaura HH/2HB, Vector. Drop me a message.
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 3000
    I would only buy from a real shop rather than an individual.  These are good guys.


    There was a great SG on here a couple of weeks ago that went for a silly price in the end.  About £1500 for a brand new SG1820.

    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • jeztone2jeztone2 Frets: 1726
    edited July 26
    Right.

    I've done it loads of times. With both Guitars & Camera gear

    So let’s say the guitar you want is £600
    The cost of shipping will be say £200

    Thata £800. But whatever method you pay. There will bound to be a minor currency charge. Usually £18-30.

    So take the total of £830 and add 23% to cover import duty & VAT and that is your final legally landed figure. 

    So £830 + 23% = 830 + 190.90 which equals

    £1020.90 so that is your final price to import. 

    Do bare in mind currency fluctuations. The Japanese government have spent decades trying to unsuccessfully devalue the Yen. So it can vary. When I imported my Kotzen Tele the Yen was at its lowest value for about twenty years. When I imported my first Yamaha SG it was considerably higher. 

    I’ve done it with dealers only from Japan. Although I’ve bought stuff off private individuals in Europe. Never had an issue.


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  • underdogunderdog Frets: 8260
    I've imported a car from Japan, I'd think shipping on guitar should be slightly cheaper, and quicker :D
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  • breezytelebreezytele Frets: 147
    I’ve just bought a lefty SG Special. (eBay)

    Yes, there are lots of eBay ‘brokers’ but I chose the one with 100% +ve feedback and the service was perfect.

    I did find the guitar on the shop Facebook page, and bizarrely, it was slightly more than the eBay price.
    The shop website was entirely Japanese . 

    I decided to stick to a seller who regularly ships abroad, I.e., the eBay dealer

    Interestingly, FedEx took the import tax , whilst the guitar was still in Japan,
     and the whole trip , from ‘buy it now’  to arrival, was just 6 days.

    Prior to this, I was very wary of these middlemen, but this was a good experience 

    Happy to answer further questions via pm
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  • simonhpiemansimonhpieman Frets: 477
    Didn't we sign a trade deal with Japan that'll benefit us more than being in the EU?

    Shouldn't we all be swimming in duty free imported Japanese guitars?
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  • kentuckyklirakentuckyklira Frets: 589
    Got a guitar from Japan via eBay, worked perfectly but this is 20 years ago.
    Wer nicht für Freiheit sterben kann, der ist der Kette wert.
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  • wolsnahwolsnah Frets: 143
    edited July 27
    All good from my side, details of my second direct import here: https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/210410/ngd-ishibashi-content

    Prior experience was through an ebay shop front whom were equally as good. As mentioned, do some searching online as there'll be a shop/person that has the instrument, the others will effectively be brokering it for you and charging you for using them. The Edwards in the above link was available on ebay for up to £200 more than what I paid, but I'd happened to check Ishibashi first anyway.

    Also check out Whitstable guitars who often has a healthy Japanese based selection in stock and has taken care of the import cost side of things already. My Japanese telecaster came through Whitstable with no issues.

    Just noticed Ishibashi have this in https://www.ishibashi-music.jp/category/select/cid/561/pid/41993. Prices/charges around what my V was so you could gauge overall costs from that. I'm not sure on the accuracy of the description though :lol: 
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  • gavin_axecastergavin_axecaster Frets: 424
    tFB Trader
    Didn't we sign a trade deal with Japan that'll benefit us more than being in the EU?

    Shouldn't we all be swimming in duty free imported Japanese guitars?

    The guitar must be made in Japan to benefit from 0% preferential tariff.

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  • RaymondLinRaymondLin Frets: 7970
    Didn't we sign a trade deal with Japan that'll benefit us more than being in the EU?

    Shouldn't we all be swimming in duty free imported Japanese guitars?

    The guitar must be made in Japan to benefit from 0% preferential tariff.

    MIJ Fender !!! Woot !
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  • simplybensimplyben Frets: 14
    This is all hugely helpful, thanks all!

    I see a lot of guitars on eBay with “free shipping” which is what put the fear in me, surely they can’t actually be offering free shipping?

    I’ll be keeping an eye on ishibashi and guitar planet for that tobacco burst SG1000 that’s haunting me.
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  • Garold86Garold86 Frets: 11
    Didn't we sign a trade deal with Japan that'll benefit us more than being in the EU?

    Shouldn't we all be swimming in duty free imported Japanese guitars?

    The guitar must be made in Japan to benefit from 0% preferential tariff.

    Just to be clear on this one, you still have to pay 20% VAT on purchase price + shipping, plus 3.5% import duty when getting something into the country from Japan. There's also a waiver on goods under £1000 regarding country of origin.

    I'm regularly trawling Zenmarket for a decent MIJ JM, but keep having to remind myself of the extra costs, which is why I've not yet pulled the trigger.
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  • gavin_axecastergavin_axecaster Frets: 424
    edited July 29 tFB Trader
    Import duty on goods made in Japan is 0% preferential tariff. That's the whole point of the trade agreement.
    Prior to the EU/Japan Trade Agreement (which UK and Japan rolled over in January 2021) it was 3.7% on electric guitars.
    VAT is an entirely different matter.

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  • tomjaxtomjax Frets: 11
    Great thread! What’s the insurance situation? Is it best to sort your own out or trust to the DHL etc cover?
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  • simplybensimplyben Frets: 14
    Garold86 said:
    Didn't we sign a trade deal with Japan that'll benefit us more than being in the EU?

    Shouldn't we all be swimming in duty free imported Japanese guitars?

    The guitar must be made in Japan to benefit from 0% preferential tariff.

    Just to be clear on this one, you still have to pay 20% VAT on purchase price + shipping, plus 3.5% import duty when getting something into the country from Japan. There's also a waiver on goods under £1000 regarding country of origin.

    I'm regularly trawling Zenmarket for a decent MIJ JM, but keep having to remind myself of the extra costs, which is why I've not yet pulled the trigger.
    Zenmarket is a great tip! Out of interest, are these private sellers that might sniff at sending the guitar so far, or is it assumed that everything on there is fair game for international delivery?
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  • OffsetOffset Frets: 563
    wolsnah said:
    All good from my side, details of my second direct import here: https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/210410/ngd-ishibashi-content

    Prior experience was through an ebay shop front whom were equally as good. As mentioned, do some searching online as there'll be a shop/person that has the instrument, the others will effectively be brokering it for you and charging you for using them. The Edwards in the above link was available on ebay for up to £200 more than what I paid, but I'd happened to check Ishibashi first anyway.

    Also check out Whitstable guitars who often has a healthy Japanese based selection in stock and has taken care of the import cost side of things already. My Japanese telecaster came through Whitstable with no issues.

    Just noticed Ishibashi have this in https://www.ishibashi-music.jp/category/select/cid/561/pid/41993. Prices/charges around what my V was so you could gauge overall costs from that. I'm not sure on the accuracy of the description though :lol: 
    Very nice guitar.  I've heard of guitars being described as 'killer', but this one appears to be a 'cereal killer'.
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  • Garold86Garold86 Frets: 11
    simplyben said:
    Garold86 said:
    Didn't we sign a trade deal with Japan that'll benefit us more than being in the EU?

    Shouldn't we all be swimming in duty free imported Japanese guitars?

    The guitar must be made in Japan to benefit from 0% preferential tariff.

    Just to be clear on this one, you still have to pay 20% VAT on purchase price + shipping, plus 3.5% import duty when getting something into the country from Japan. There's also a waiver on goods under £1000 regarding country of origin.

    I'm regularly trawling Zenmarket for a decent MIJ JM, but keep having to remind myself of the extra costs, which is why I've not yet pulled the trigger.
    Zenmarket is a great tip! Out of interest, are these private sellers that might sniff at sending the guitar so far, or is it assumed that everything on there is fair game for international delivery?
    My understanding of Zenmarket is that it acts as a local intermediary, buying the goods on your behalf and sending to their warehouse. From there they package up and ship internationally. Hence the local private sellers don't have to deal with the international elements. However, caveat emptor and all that.
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  • Eviltwin14Eviltwin14 Frets: 56
    edited August 5
    i've just dipped my toe in the Zenmarket puddle. A relatively small risk to see how it works. I've been looking for an olympic white strat, 70s headstock and rosewood board for a while but prices here are a bit inflated so I've taken a punt on a Tokai Silver Star SS-38, Won the auction yesterday so waiting to see how the next part plays out. I've heard shipping can be unpredictable in cost but as I 'm in no rush I'll wait and see what quotes I get from Zenmarket once they have the instrument. If freight is silly then i'll get it put on a boat and wait. It's quite exciting in a strange way, waiting to see what turns up - a bit like the lottery really but with perhaps greater odds of hooking a winner.


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