Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

What happened to Guitar Center?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Gary in Boston, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

    Apr 17, 2003
    OK so in an office Xmas grab I got a gift card for GC.

    Great I thought I hadn't been the one near me in 10 months or more (Framingham)

    So card in hand i head on over.

    I walk in and things look a little....... sparse?

    I wonder to the right hand side of the store where the better guitars are, Fender, Gibson, PRS, Gretsch etc.

    There is maybe 5 of the better Gibsons where 15 hung before with the remainder of spaces taken up by the low end Gibson Les Pauls and the like. Not that even the low end LP aren't pretty good but what the?

    Then the Fender section looks more populated so I walk over and most of the guitars are Squires, again nothing really wrong with the Squire line but there are maybe 15% Fenders in the pack. I only saw 4-5 PRS's and the Gretsch's were the Electromatic line.

    OK I think something is wrong hereI check out the amp section and there is one new VOX and two tweed Fenders some Line 6 amps small Bugaras and that's about it.

    Off to the acoustic room (often a true indicator of expensive guitars in stock) and here again most everything is either low end, picked over or in one case with a nice sunburst Martin damaged with broken strings.

    The area that had strings, pedals, parts etc is been moved and condensed and they've installed sound proof teaching booths in that space. The only area that was really stocked, and even enlarged was the swag section. It actually took up booth sides of an isle divider.

    I'd like to think everything was sold out from the post Xmas rush but it didn't feel that way.

    It's true I had not been there in 10 months and I'd heard they were "trouble" but this was just plain sad.

    I was in CT. 3 months ago at a GC there and all seemed pretty good and as expected.

    Is this the way it's going to be?


    FrontPU, bcorig and Straydogger like this.
  2. LocoTex

    LocoTex Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 16, 2018
    Waxahachie, TX.
    Sounds like my local GC. But if I go into Dallas or Ft. Worth the pickings are somewhat better.
  3. Gmountain

    Gmountain Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jun 7, 2015
    What were you hoping to buy? How much would you have spent there?
    noah330 and boris bubbanov like this.
  4. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Meister

    May 3, 2018
    Northern Virginia
    Post-holiday lull in inventory?
  5. bluesky1963

    bluesky1963 Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 1, 2011
    Glendale, AZ
    Major manufacturers have priced themselves out of the market. There's only so many $1K+ US made guitars people are going to buy, especially when you can get perfectly serviceable Asian made guitars for half the cost.
  6. problem-child

    problem-child TDPRI Member

    Nov 30, 2018
    Fresno, CA
    My local GC has been similar to what you describe for a few years now. I rarely go now and do most shopping online. I went to the West LA GC last week and they were nicely stocked. Not everything was there, but they had a nice selection.
    etiquettemona likes this.
  7. HappyHwy1owner

    HappyHwy1owner Tele-Meister

    Feb 7, 2011
    Independence, Mo
    My local GC had done some revamping not too long ago, and it seemed they were a little short on inventory. Found everything I needed though, and a couple of things I didn't! Maybe they're just getting more organized...
  8. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

    Jun 24, 2004
    Anderson, IN
    Do people complain when Wal-Mart stocks more Dirt Devils and less Hoovers?
    Geo, Hammerdog, Kreepy and 3 others like this.
  9. Vintage Fan

    Vintage Fan Tele-Meister

    Sep 10, 2014

    Three things going on...

    1. Haven't got new stuff in to restock after Christmas sales.

    2. More merchandise is now being sold online. Better service & more competent sales reps online.

    3. Guitar Center has a major problem running customers off with incompetent staff, lack of helping customers, bad attitudes, and just in general bad staff nationwide. Not all of course.

    There is a huge number of former GC customers who go to GC to see & play stuff, then order online from online competetors who will negotiate a lower price, and have friendlier manners. GC's lack of good help is epedemic.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    Obsessed, Straydogger and OldGuy6873 like this.
  10. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 15, 2006
    The trend is set


    just need to sell off the ol' stuff ;):cry::lol:
    Skamania, MrGibbly, Geo and 10 others like this.
  11. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2010
    Fullerton CA
    Having worked in retail for many years, this is not surprising in any way, as it's right after Christmas. This is the worst time to shop if you are expecting selection. The only inventory in stores is going to be customer returns and stuff no one wanted in the first place.
    Geo, TeleBrew, Greggorios and 7 others like this.
  12. Gmountain

    Gmountain Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jun 7, 2015
    If you just use GC for showrooming, but then plan to buy online, why should they stock the high end stuff? I don't think their target market is the guy that is looking to spend $2000 or more. They like that, but it is not their everyday customer.

    I don't mind GC. I've bought a few amps from their used website, an SG, a DuoSonic and a Telecaster, but those were impulse buys because I happened to be there on the right day. But even those guitars were not what sells the most.

    But I understand why they don't keep the expensive stuff in every store. It just won't sell, and they are in business to move inventory and make money.
    Telemarx likes this.
  13. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 21, 2006
    I think it's just a sign of the times. They pay rent on their retail space, so they want to use their space for what they figure will actually sell. I'd rather stock my store with $100 Squier starter packs that I'm guaranteed to sell a few of every week rather than give some of that space to $2k guitars that will sell maybe one every few months.

    I suppose it's also possible that people willing to buy higher end guitars tend to be more willing to order one and wait for it to come in. They probably wouldn't want the one that's been hanging on the wall for anyone to play, anyway.
    preactor likes this.
  14. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    OH NO!!!!.....Guitar Center is going out of business!!!!.....we better get the word out!!!!!
    Tim S and LGOberean like this.
  15. Vintage Fan

    Vintage Fan Tele-Meister

    Sep 10, 2014
    In the Dallas Ft. Worth metro, half a dozen small owner stores have opened to serve customers no longer enthused with the big box stores. They are doing ok, maybe not great. And they are negotiating prices down lower than the big box guitar stores.

    Some online merchants are negotiating prices down too, but customers have to start asking for lower prices.

    A local Guitar Center had Deluxe Reverbs on sale for $999. And wouldn't negotiate down. I negotiated Sweetwater online down to $849 with free shipping, and at the time no tax.
    TeleTown, JayFreddy and BorderRadio like this.
  16. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

    Nov 28, 2006
    Some retailers get low on stock after the holidays. Musical instruments aren't diapers or loaves of bread---they don't get fully restocked as quickly.
  17. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Jul 5, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    I assume that they stock what sells. Why take up floor space with CS Fenders and Gibsons that'll sit there forever when they can fill the same space with Squier and Epiphone models that move quickly. My local Fender dealer is just the opposite- they stock hardly any Squier or Mexican Fender models, or even mainstream American Fenders, but have lots of high end Fenders that rarely sell. I believe that they are forced to do it to fulfill their dealer agreement with Fender, which like Gibson, requires a huge yearly buy-in, and also requires a certain number of models from each level be stocked. That's why the store where I worked no longer carries Gibson, 'cause they couldn't afford the nearly $200k a year buy-in, or the fact that Gibson wanted them to carry models that would never sell in Hawaii, like high end banjos. They did just recently strike a new deal with Gibson allowing them to carry Epiphone but not Gibson, 'cause Epis outsell Gibsons by a factor of about 100 to 1.
  18. LGOberean

    LGOberean Poster Extraordinaire

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Yeah, Gary, it sounds a lot like what I experience down here. I find it a little surprising, given the size of the city of Corpus Christi (pop. 320K). But it is very plain that some sort of shift in stocking philosophy has taken place. If you count the number of guitars, it probably isn't much different than it was a decade ago. But the brand/price range has definitely changed, as you observed in your store. I can't remember if I even saw a Gibson the last time I was in. And the acoustic room mostly lower end guitars.

    And your description of "the area that had strings, pedals, parts, etc" could have been said about our local GC. What once was a large area with a counter stocked with accessories and myriads of strings hanging on the walls has been moved. The strings are displayed on a couple of sections down one aisle, and I don't even know where all the accessory items are now. The previous spot for all this has now been converted into a seating area with several chairs and a coffee table.

    The store is lagging behind newly released amps by a couple of years. In the last couple of years, whenever I've asked about new amps (Vox MV50s, Mini Super Beetle, Boss Nextone, etc.) not only do they not have them; they don't even know what I'm talking about.

    Oh, and what I've noticed is not holiday specific. I've looked for and asked about things showcased at the NAMM shows, so I'm talking about inquiries made in late January or early February and then again in the summer June/July. I only go into GC about a half dozen times throughout the year, but it's been the same now for quite some time. I'm not angry about it. I get that they have corporate calling the shots, and that they stock what they think will sell. I'm just observing the situation. Fortunately, there is a local mom & pop store (actually, father, son and grandson) that is well stocked. They negotiate with you on price, to a point. I go there more now.

    FWIW, the GC stores in San Antonio, Austin and DFW are better stocked whenever I have the chance to go into one of them while traversing the state. I don't get the opportunity to visit those stores that often, so I can't say as to whether of not they've experienced some stocking philosophy shift as well.
    nojazzhere likes this.
  19. chemobrain

    chemobrain Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Nov 5, 2016
    oakland ca.
    G.C. (once my employer) and I are so over . I have a new sweet heart in town a small but handsomely
    stocked with new and used gear, knowledgeable musicians, that are friendly.
    Why would I return to G.C. at this time ( a rhetorical question)The things that I desire not available at Broken Guitars can be purchased from an online store that I've done business with for years rather than go to G.C.
  20. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Aug 29, 2007
    MV, CA
    I swear there are 3 GCs within 20 miles of my house. Some of the guitars have been hanging on the wall for 3 years. The same guitars. They are now stocking up on the junkiest bunch of 3rd and 4th tier models and those have been hanging on the walls for at least 2 years. Trying to sell off all the bad trade ins over the last several years I guess. But, it is after the holidays and as stated above, NAMM is coming.

    I will check back in a couple of months from now. The pro audio departments have turned away from home recording and now focus primarily on DJ and live PAs. Miss all the pro audio gear from the past, it just doesn't come around any more and when it does, some store employee snatches it up to sell on ebay. The glory days are gone.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.