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Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!

JedMarum 29 Dec 02 - 12:29 PM
Rick Fielding 29 Dec 02 - 12:50 PM
Jeri 29 Dec 02 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 29 Dec 02 - 01:13 PM
Genie 30 Dec 02 - 07:20 AM
Barbara Shaw 30 Dec 02 - 09:18 AM
JedMarum 30 Dec 02 - 09:45 AM
JedMarum 30 Dec 02 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Don Meixner 30 Dec 02 - 10:04 AM
Spartacus 30 Dec 02 - 10:17 AM
UB Ed 30 Dec 02 - 02:02 PM
NicoleC 30 Dec 02 - 02:17 PM
Songster Bob 30 Dec 02 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 30 Dec 02 - 03:12 PM
Phil Cooper 30 Dec 02 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Claymore 31 Dec 02 - 01:26 PM
NicoleC 31 Dec 02 - 01:50 PM
Songster Bob 31 Dec 02 - 02:09 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 31 Dec 02 - 03:21 PM
Banjer 31 Dec 02 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Ray Bucknell 31 Dec 02 - 08:06 PM
JedMarum 10 Apr 03 - 10:27 AM
Wesley S 10 Apr 03 - 01:32 PM
Seamus Kennedy 10 Apr 03 - 04:15 PM
Spartacus 10 Apr 03 - 04:47 PM
dwditty 10 Apr 03 - 09:07 PM
Neighmond 11 Apr 03 - 10:23 AM
Ely 11 Apr 03 - 04:10 PM
JedMarum 12 Apr 03 - 05:44 PM
CraigS 12 Apr 03 - 06:42 PM
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Subject: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: JedMarum
Date: 29 Dec 02 - 12:29 PM

OK - I can see it now; some of you folks will be saying "I told you so!"

OK, OK I'll eat my words. I used to say that my local Guitar Center was a good place, and the chain itself seemed to have a good way of doing business. But all that has changed! And probably the reason I liked them a few years ago is part of the blame.

What I liked was they carried enough inventory of high quality instruments to be able to offer a variety of top shelf guitars, at a great price. They are a 'marketshare' based business, but since I live on the periphery of that world (acoustic guitars ain't a big pices of that pie, but they fit) that was enough to get into their stores, where I bought guitars (a Santa Cruz, a Larrivee Jumbo, a Larrivee Parlor, a Martin Backpacker) and gear (sound systems stuff, cables, etc). They did and still do have pretty good customer service.

BUT they have been pushed (I assume in order to grow profits for a publically traded stock) to increase profits. So they've gone more marketshare ... no more Santa Cruz (high dollar tag, low volume sales, low profits) no more Larrivee (they've been pushed out by Taylor) no good banjos (except they do carry the low cost, high quality Deering products). And now, you can't walk into the store without being accosted by some sales-type, professional greeter - I guess the store thinks I need someone to pretend they know me, like me and really care about my well being! "How're you doing today?" they insist, every time I walk in the door, "Leave me alone, asshole," I think, "If I need help I'll ask." But I know the same professional greeter is being paid well to say goodbye to me when I leave.

Then they started locking up their top of the line guitars! It's bad enough that they put them in a display case window - but to lock that display case so you can't play the good guitars is downright insulting! I always make 'em unlock the case, just to make the point, "No, I don;t want to buy one, I just want to try that one," I tell, "How does it comare to the other model." Once he tried telling me so he wouldn;t have to find the key - so I made him get the key anyway. I wanted to see for myself!

I have spent ove $10,000 at the Guitar Center in the last couple of years. Granted it was a period of investment that is over (translation; on a musician's salray I can't afford that type of expense anymore). I won;t be spending anymore there.

I guess the truth is, these stores are not impressed with the purchases of pros, they know there aren't a lot of us and we have to spend very carefully ... the truth is, they want the high dollar who have an interest in music and the where-with-all to spend freely. They want the telecom manager who used to play in college to rekindle his ineterest and come in for a beautiful new Taylor, plus a case, a strap, an amp and a cable ...

The recent discussions on Elderly made me think of this. I wish had them nearer my home, I'd visit much more often!

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Dec 02 - 12:50 PM

Jed.....what can I say? I agree with you SOOOOOOO MUCH (just like we agree on Trent Lott Ha ha!) it practically hurts to read this.

You are an infinitely more stable human being than I am, so you probably can deal with this in an adult way, but it just makes me wanna puke.

A couple of the downtown Toronto stores went this way (it's the 'New York' model) and eventually local pros just quietly fall into line, ask politely for cases to be unlocked, and worst of all...start thinking that the attitudinal assholes who earn their minimum wage stipend, actually KNOW something about acoustic instruments (other than what they've read in the manuals.) my....I'm not bitter, am I?

Anyway, if I keep going on this way Jeri (who's sitting behind me) is gonna think I've started my period!

I'll just leave it at ...."I know what you mean"!



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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Dec 02 - 01:08 PM

No Rick, you're always like that.

I'm new to this guitar store stuff, but Jed, what you've said bugs you bugs me too. I go in and they'll assume I don't know anything and stuff a cheesey low-end guitar in my hands and expect me to love it. (I probably look like a cheesey low-end guitar person to them. If I wore a suit and a pile of makeup, I'd probably find myself holding a Breedlove or Bourgois.) I find that how I'm treated depends a lot on who I'm dealing with. The expert guitar nerds just let me wander around and hand me stuff I'm interested in. They know that if I see something I like, I'll eventually be back. The folks who know even less than I do are the ones who act like salespeople and actually expect me to be looking for something to buy right then and there. I can either get pissed off at them and leave (done that) or drive 'em nuts and just act like I normally do.

The good thing is that if they can't answer questions, they'll find the real guitar geeks and life will be better for me. Of course, I've been places where they just start making the answers up too.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 29 Dec 02 - 01:13 PM

Wouldn't it be nice to see some alternative music stores that didn't hassle or hustle you and would display quality accoustic instruments for us folkies? There is one store here in Decatur, GA that does that. Midtown Music which is low-key and the proprietor David manages to find early Martins, Gibsons, Larivees, Taylors and some archtops. I think of it as a musician's store. David makes it a point to search out decent instruments that you don't see or find much and charges fair prices for them.

Guitar Center seems to still be the place for electronic gear such as amps, effects, mics and recording least here in Atlanta. But as far as the accoustic market is concerned, they don't get it.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Genie
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 07:20 AM

I heard at a jam today that Guitar Center is in dire financial straits right now, having trouble staying afloat. Maybe that's behind the changes you folks are talking about.

But here in Portland, the word is that as of last night you can still go in and take down the Martins, etc., from the wall and play them.

I've also appreciated Guitar Center's being willing to find items at their other stores all over the country and have them send to the store where I'm shopping, without charging me any shipping.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 09:18 AM

There are so many places where I could take offense in this thread that I don't know where to begin!

Being a former telecom manager who is now playing acoustic guitar in a bluegrass band, I fit the stereotype Jed starts out with. Having a son who works at Guitar Center (although in operations, not sales) I could tell you about what a talented musician he is on many different acoustic as well as electric instruments. Living in a small town where the local outstanding luthier has to compete with Sam Ash, I could comment on the free enterprise system and capitalism.

Instead, I'll just sit back and read with amusement and maybe learn something.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: JedMarum
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 09:45 AM

Well Barbara, I was such a telecom exec some few years ago, and had that sort of spendable income - which is why I used the analogy ... and in truth, I understand that is why Guitar Center caters to those kind of people, and I am glad for those kind of people. I am just disappointed they don't care about me anymore (two years ago I returned making my living at music - and therefore live just above the poverty level!).

I don't put all the Guitar Center folks in one basket, as I seemed to above. I know some great guys that work there - I enjoy their company and care about their opinions. But the Guitar Center has recently changed thie approach to sales and taken a page out of the car sales book. These days they are more interested in hiring the personality types that fit that practice.

I hope you don't take offense at those comments. I liked the idea behind the chain, and liked the way seveal of their stores worked, but I dislike their changes and realize they are not meant to cater towards the likes of me.

As to great small stores and businesses - mentioned by you and Frank?? I love these type of businesses. I live for these places. I find them all over the country and always spend time in them when I can. I mentioned Elderly (though that's grown ito a bug business, it still fits the small business mold in many ways) - I found a great little acoustic instruments shop in Fredricksburg VA - I found another great shop in St Loius - Rick's brought me to a couple in Toronto - I know they're out there!

I guess I've come full circle on this issue. I used to hate the big stores because they always had some yoyo sales guys tryig to impress you with his licks and his lingo - and sell you the hottest guitar on the market. Then when the Guitar Center came along, I found lots and lots of really fine guitars under one roof, and could sit and play anyone I wanted (stock market investment made the scale possible). Now the are finding stock market investors want return on their investments and they have foolishly chosen the conservative apporach; how do these other professional sales orgs work? what worked for them? let's hire a Harvard MBA with huge sales track record and let him set the tone! No surpirse, you get what we've been talking about.

BUT if they'd dared to be different, if they'd have analyzed and believed in their strengths, they might have developed a new kind of approach - they might have found a way to make their large scale model work without lowest common denominator products and high presssured sales tactics.

But I've been in big business long enough to know that they are frightened of innovation. They rarely choose the road less travelled, and they rarely know how to launch a long term "career" on the strengths that brought them into the forefront to begin with.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: JedMarum
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 09:59 AM

... no offense to Harvard MBAs, car salesmen or stock market investors!


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 10:04 AM

The big chain in my area is Daddy's Junky Music. I don't have to go much further with that.

I always visit a friends shop in Syracuse where the guitars are on display on hangers. They only ask that they take them down but you can play all the Ovations, Taks, Takomas, Alvarezeseses you can stand all day long. He also has some good electrics but his is a new instrument market and he caters to the local working musician.

The local highend used instrument people have such a high opinion of the instruments they sell that it is hard to play their stuff and they know I'm not gonna buy the Stromberg or the Prairie State they have for Umpty thousand dollars.

I go to a couple of shops in Rochester where I can play a pre war Gibson Jumbo or a new Larrivee when I wish. But saddly for every Jeri, Rick, Jed, and me there are there are hundreds of pre adult crash and burn guitarists out there who wear shredder belt buckles and wool hats over their ears in August and all they wanna play like is Dave Mathews ( Gimme that Martin..).

I don't blame the shops for being careful with their stock but I deeply am saddened by the Walmartization of America and especially seeing it in the music shops is disheartening.

An annual trip to East Lansing is revitalizing. In fact I think I'll take Greg and head off to Rochester and visit Bernie Lehmann.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Spartacus
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 10:17 AM

   You should only go to a "Musicians Guitar World Planet Friend" if you know exactly what you want, and you know that they have it cheaper. I went to one in Ohio a few years back (they had "Mars" on one side of the road, and "Guitar Center" on the other. They both had hired some 16 year old kids who "were really into the Ovations", and had no idea what they were talking about....

I won't even go into the local music shop that won't sell me one set of strings, because they're 2 for 1.

ME: "but i only need one set...i have a gig tonite and i'm broke."

THEM; "they are two for one, on sale"

ME: "that's not a sale, you just added the cost of two sets you think herb david (oops, i spilled the beans)
would want me to walk out of here with my $7 dollars, or do you think he would want me to give it to you for one set of strings?"

THEM: :they're two for one...i can't"

Me: (slam) *walks out of door...



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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: UB Ed
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 02:02 PM

Our Mars in Richmond just closed; served the freaking morons right. When I was searching for my ultimate guitar, Bevis grabbed me and said I really needed to play the warped takamine in the used section. Poor service, non-existent set up and no knowledge.

That said, I did go into a Guitar Center near King of Prussia, PA. They had a lot of stuff and you could play most of it, but the sales force was a bit out of it. Still far superior to Mars.

For my $ we are fortunate to have "Guitar Works" in the city and "Bang!" music up the road just north of Fredericksburg.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: NicoleC
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 02:17 PM

I've never been in a Guitar Center that didn't treat me like an idiot because I lacked the extra appendage most other customers had. It used to be funny: I would start asking questions about "single phase distortion attenuators" and such to see what the guy will make up. Or watch the dumb look on his face. But I don't have the patience anymore. I went to a demo there a few months ago... as I walked in with a friend, one of the employees stopped me to tell me that this was a digital recording demo -- could he help me find something?

We have a local Guitar Center competitor that is, if anything, worse. It's scary. They cop the Guitar Center attitude, but with less inventory.

I have a locally owned shop that is awesome. They treat everyone well, only carry high quality merchandise, and no one assumed I was an idiot the first time I walked in the door, even though I was asking some very basic questions and happened to be female. Unfortunately, they are always out of stock of whatever it is that I need ASAP, and they don't carry my strings :)

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Songster Bob
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 02:23 PM

My local GC is the former Veneman's Music, and they have an acoustic room where the guitars are on the wall, but playable. They have a few really high-class guitars behind glass, but I didn't want to play the "The Les Paul" anyway, you know? I don't worry about the salesfolks 'cause I ignore 'em, and they're big enough that I can usually duck the "professional greeters" by just nodding my head toward the department I'm heading for, and act like I'm an old hand at it. Now, I'm not memorable to them, haven't spent more than maybe $1500 there all told (and that includes a used Fender Deluxe Reverb reissue -- used), so I don't notice a change in attitude from before they were the GC.

My other local stores are Washington Music (RIP, Chuck Levin), Wheaton Music, and, my favorite because it's a real junk shop in terms of having lots of used stuff and unpushy staff, Atomic Music in College Park. BTW, my "local" area is Montgomery County, MD. I like Atomic but have to say that you won't find many Bourgeois or even Martins there, though they usually have one or two Gibson archtops, for some reason. But they have lots of middle-grade electrics and old tube amps. I bought my Reverend Slingshot guitar there, and no one else has any of 'em (being sold direct from the maker only). They had five of them when I went looking.

I think I'll be going over there later this week (if my plans don't fall through like they usually do) and look for a nice small tube amp that isn't a Fender. I played a nice Gibson there once, and they likely have another, if past history holds.

Anyway, GC is pretty much the "big dog" in music stores, other than the mostly-online stores (Musician's Friend, etc.), but price competition moves them toward the Mac-vanilla approach (i.e., you know exactly what to expect in each of them). In some ways, it's good (prices do stay lower) and some ways bad (fewer choices and less freedom to try 'em out). As for the an under-educated sales staff, that's an industry problem, mostly. Most sales doods aren't that "up" on brands and models, especially the higher-end acoustics.

Bob Clayton

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 03:12 PM

As a Harvard MBA with an investment porfolio, and currently working in auto sales....

I've never been in a Guitar center, I shop very little, try not to want better than I deserve, but I'm glad to have local biz the Guitar Emporium here in Louisville. A bit pricey, but everyone there is a known local player, nice enough--they don't really haggle but if you tell them your story, what you need and why, they seem to get drawn in and want to help. It doesn't take long to notice they always diss any instrument they don't own, just in case you might want to sell or trade-in, and to make you restless. so it goes.

I keep hearing women talk about the weirdness of many guitar shops, being asked if they know what their boyfriend needs, things like that. I remember the first time I heard of it, it struck me--so that's what that odd atmosphere is, a variety of guy-funk. Male funk though it may be, I suspect it's a fairly benign strain.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 04:34 PM

The only time I stopped in a Guitar Center, around Chicago, I was pretty much ignored by the sales staff (I think I looked too old to be a serious buyer). It gave me the chance to look around and not be impressed by the acoustic guitars they had. My vote for friendly shops in the Chicago area is Tobias music in Downers Grove. Ken sells a lot of high end acoustics, at good prices. And I can noodle on anything in the shop. If I want cittern strings, he sells me individual guages, puts the strings on while I wait, and charges me the same as a set of mandolin strings. However, last time he did that, I also walked out with a Taylor K14c that I was playing while he changed my strings.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 01:26 PM

Songster Bob, you might also want to include the House of Musical Traditions (HMT to the cognosenti). Their prices are a bit high, but they usually have a good selection of guitars as well as many varied instruments (from sitars to djembes to tongue drums to a massive number of accordians).

Located in the center to Tacoma Park, they used to reside out in Berkely Springs, WV. I now make a pilgrimage once or twice a year (as well as to Chuck Levins - RIP). Dave Eisner is the owner and personally knows almost any of the folkies that count, (having booked them for his own concert series). And his current general manager, sings with the Pyrates Royale. The best I can say about the place is that they will break up a package of Autoharp strings, just to sell you the one you need...

As for Chuch Levins, you have to know what you want before you set foot in the store, because the atmosphere is somewhere between a Jewish wedding and the Fall of Saigon. But there are no cheaper prices anywhere...

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: NicoleC
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 01:50 PM

"so that's what that odd atmosphere is, a variety of guy-funk."

LOL! You must be right. Maybe they should post a warning sign?

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Songster Bob
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 02:09 PM

I forgot about HMT, partly because I am not in the market for much that they have. I mean, I already have my high-end guitar (Running Dog, from Rick Davis in VT), my high-end banjos (1925 Gibson with repro neck, 1920s Silver Belle with repro neck, 1890s Stewart, 19th C. Geo. Mathews English fretless), ditto mandolin (1923 Gibson A-4). What I like to find are interesting or odd electric guitars, which HMT very seldom has, or vintage instruments that maybe need some TLC. I also buy to sell, which lets most of these place out.

Another one, if you really like vintage guitars at collectors' prices, is Southworth guitars in Bethesda, MD. Some loverly items there, but bring your Master Card.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 03:21 PM

Don't know if anyone's mentioned it but the store in Chicago with the Old Town School is called "The Different Strummer". They have some nice items you won't find at Guitar Center.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Banjer
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 06:29 PM

Here in St Petersburg there is the Bluegrass Shop. Go in a stranger, leave as a friend. The proprietor, Elson Smith, treats all like they are important to him. The professional and the novice alike are welcome to take any istrument for a test ride. No over bearing sales pitches. Love the place! There are several music stores within driving distance of me but when I get ready to plunk down more money for an instrument I don't need, The Bluegrass Shop is where I'll do it!!!

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: GUEST,Ray Bucknell
Date: 31 Dec 02 - 08:06 PM

I was in a Guitar Center the other day looking for a traditional acoustic Martin. The salesman took down a cutaway with a pickup and told me I should buy it. When I said I wasn't interested in that type of guitar, he disappeared and sent over another salesman "more versed" in acoustic instruments. The new guy tried to sell me a different cutaway with a pickup. I asked to see the Martin HD-28. He said, "Well, if you're gonna go for that you should just get this one (yet another cutaway with a pickup)." I started to get the impression that their commission is based on selling only certain models, or perhaps in getting people to buy stuff they just said they don't want.

    The next day I went to a local music store called MusicLand (I'm pretty sure it's a chain but they run more like a mom-and-pop) and they had the Martin I was looking at for several hundred less that Guitar Center. You can guess where I bought my Martin.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: JedMarum
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 10:27 AM

... just a quick update to this thread ... I looked in at the GC website and saw that they had a "contact GC" page with addressees at Customer Servce and Product Selection. So I told 'em what I think (constructively). I don't suppose it'll make a differnce - but who knows.

... as another update to this discussion; I've been going to a local Dallas shop (recently under new ownership) and have found it to be a great place; plenty of quality instruments - acoustic guitars by Collings, Martin, Bourgeois, and Gibson. They carry Deering (my favorite) banjos, and have a few mandos, and electrics. The place is called Charlie's Guitar Shop and is worth a visit, if you're ever in Dallas.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 01:32 PM

Jed - I'm hopeing that Charlies has improved since the last time I was there. Several years ago I bought a Mid-Missouri mandolin. When I picked it up the salesman I had talked to over the phone said he had a lot of trouble getting the thing tuned. It turned out he had tried to tune it EADG from low to high like the bottom four strings of a guitar. A mandolin is tuned EADG from high to low. No wonder he had trouble. Their pro NRA stance on their website leaves me a little cold too.

The Guitar Center in Arlington was equally clueless about mandolin instruments. For almost two months they left a nice Weber octave mandolin on the wall with only 6 strings on it. I pointed it out several times to a salesman. Eventually I saw they had only replaced the two broken strings - not the whole set - and the replaced strings were wrapped the WRONG way around the poles. It still makes me cringe to think about it.

The place I love is Mandolin Bros - and Dusty Strings is a close second. Both places manage to have salespeople that are friendly, smart, not condesending, and drop by often enough to see if you have a question without perching on your shoulder. Both stores are top notch. Great selection too.

Mt first purchase from Mandolin Bros was just after I had returned from the Dallas Guitar show. I had cash in my pocket and wanted to try an OM Martin. I couldn't hear it because the kid a few feet away from me was playing Iron Man by Black Sabbath at 11. I asked the salesman if he could ask the kid to turn it down for a few minutes. He said he couldn't do that because they didn't want to offend a customer. I got up, left with the cash in my pocket, and went home and called Mandolin Bros. I live in Texas but shop in New York.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 04:15 PM

Songster Bob, you need to get over here to Annapolis and visit Garret Park Guitars in their new location on West St. Owner Rick is a knowledgeable guy about their new and used instruments.
Also Appalachian Bluegrass and Bill's Music in Catonsville are 2 stores that I recommend highly.
I do a lot of shopping in all 3 places.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Spartacus
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 04:47 PM

You're not buying a car from these people. Who cares if they hire idiots? Here's the bottom line...Suppose I need a guitar. I go to the places near me who carry guitars and I play them until I find one I like the sound of that's in my price range. I'm not expecting that anyone there is going to be able to tell me something I don't know, and I don't expect a Christmas card after my purchase. If they lock up the guitar, they can get it out when I want to play it. Who's actually running around looking for guitars by model number? Do people acutally say.."I'm going to buy a Martin D-28 tomorrow from blah blah guitars because it's my favorite store"? Should'nt they be more worried about how that guitar sounds. I've heard D-28's that sounded horrible. I'd buy a guitar from Britney Spears if it sounded good and the price wasn't ridiculous. And who cares if some moron at the front of the store says "Hi" to you when you walk in the door? You don't have to take him out for drinks. Stores like Guitar Center are good for finding what you want, buying it, and leaving. I live near Elderly and I'm always amazed when people walk in the door and ask for an acoustic guitar by model number, play it for a minute and walk out with it. Every guitar sounds different. D-28's with consecutive serial numbers sound different. Your guitar store is a business. It's not there to make you feel warm and fuzzy.... jeez...i guess i'm a little grumpy today...


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: dwditty
Date: 10 Apr 03 - 09:07 PM

Ugh, we have Guitar Center, Daddy's Junkie Music, and Sam Ash - all within a few miles of each other. You'd think New Haven would have a decent music scene....Sheesh.

I am with you Wesley. Outside of a small shop   nearby, I go to Mandolin Brothers when I want to buy. You enter thru Stan Jay's cluttered office, under the hand made sign that reads "Dream Fulfillment Center," and into the showroom. The staff is friendly, but does not ask "if they can help you." They simply welcome you to enjoy yourself. I once played a guitar there priced at nearly $100,000 (had to see what all the fuss was about) - no questions asked. Another time I bought a 12 string, only to discover a week or so later that the guitar and I had absolutely no affinity for each other. I called Stan and,, without a second thought, he told me to bring it back and get the one that fit me - full refund. Some will say thay are priced high - high-end new and near-perfect (always playable) vintage instruments usually are. They know the market for their inventory and price accordingly. I have encouraged many friends to make the trek, and if you are ever in NY, do like Joni Mitchell did in the song and go to Staten Island to buy a mandolin, or a banjo, or an acoustic, or an electric, or.....


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Neighmond
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 10:23 AM

We got a little pop and pop (one owner has another store in Estherville and the other in Fort Dodge) store that is pretty good as far as that goes. What one owner doesn't know the other one will, their staff is helpfull in their way (they don't follow you around but if you ask they are around close someplace.) Most of their guitars and suchlike are geared towards the weekend musician, but are good enough for all of that, and they knoow their repairs. They get maybe $20-50 a month out of me, and treat me the same as their $1000 customers. Sometimes I don't even go in to buy...I just hang around and play the guitars.


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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: Ely
Date: 11 Apr 03 - 04:10 PM

I haven't been to Guitar Center in years except for really basic stuff (like strings). The last time I was there, I was looking for an amplifier for my Appalachian dulcimer. They pulled out what they swore was an acoustic amp and it couldn't do the job--the sound came out either muddy or grating. So, they said I needed one of those pedals you put on an electric guitar to make it sound more acoustic. Hello? The dulcimer is about as acoustic as one can get; I shouldn't need a pedal to make it sound right. They insisted it was the best thing available.

I went down to Rockin Robin and got a gently-used two-year-old Crate that cost less--wasn't cheap, but it was cheaper--and makes my dulcimer sound fabulous. AND they threw in a T-shirt and a demonstration of a hurdy-gurdy that was for sale in the "odd instruments" room.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 05:44 PM

Wesley - Charlies is definatey better then it used to be; better stock and knowledgeable sales folk. As far as NRA, maybe they'll give me a better discount if I show 'em my card. It helped me with Deering.

Spartacus I agree; I really don't care if the sales know what they're talking about. I do. I do get annoyed sometimes by the yoyos working at these store, but some are good guys and I can tune out the idiots if I want.

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Subject: RE: Guitar Center Doesn't Love Me Anymore!
From: CraigS
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 06:42 PM

I have a friend that made millions as a guitar dealer (he lost them dealing keyboards, but that's another story). He was the first music shop person I ever met that was laid-back enough to let the ABC guitar players try any guitar in the store. And he said "If you don't let them try, they've got nothing to dream about" , which is nothing but the truth.

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