What happened to Guitar Center?

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

  1. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    If I buy another electric guitar/Fender electric I want a USA made one that's a step up from my MIM, not a budget guitar. I play my MIM incessantly and at this point I would view the cost of the USA models as worth it. I don't think it's necessarily realistic to say most/the majority of people here are only interested in Squiers and other imports at the low end. I got my MIM cause I was just starting, didn't know much, got a killer deal on the guitar used, etc.. not the same place I'm in now.

    The thing is:

    - I think I should try the guitar before buying
    - GC is almost the only accessible place you can see them in person and try before buying
    - GC is a terrible place to buy a guitar since they seem to not take care of the inventory, etc..

    I mentioned the 2 places I could look other than GC. Neither carries Fender. But I can walk in those places and they can hand me a G&L or another Fender-alike guitar that is not an actual Fender and the guitar will not be broken/damaged, it will not have something weird going on with the setup, and it will be in tune with useable strings.

    It's not a situation that is great. It'd be interesting to know if anyone at Fender knows/cares about what the experience is like to buy one of their new guitars. But maybe I'm odd and most people are happy to order online without any ability to try before you buy.
     
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  2. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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    +1 on that. I've been on a bit of a splurge on Asian 335's lately and have found several that play as well as I could ever ask for. Most of them are sub-$500.
     
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  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've seen manufacturers offering products over a very wide price range, even spacing of model lines and some customers will not be satisfied with the cheaper choices no matter how nice they are. It is possible for FMIC to thrive even if they make all their profits off of USA made models and sell fewer of these by percentage than their non USA models. Sometimes things like Squiers are just there to saturate that part of the market so that the competition cannot move in there and set up shop and build out from there.

    We've seen USA car makers commit this sort of sin, over and over. They move over and let the new guy from overseas into a portion of the market and that guy thrives in large part because he took and gets to hold that piece of ground, little or no rent. GM and Ford are abandoning the sedan market and it WILL be the opportunity that Kia and Hyundai have been praying for since they arrived and now they can and will metastasize. Hopefully FMIC understands this concept better than Ford or GM does and they will continue to market in certain ranges whether they make a killing there or not.
     
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  4. JodanOrNoDan

    JodanOrNoDan Tele-Meister

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    I am with you 100%. I will pay extra money for an American made guitar. Not that there are not any good guitars made elsewhere, but I like to keep jobs here. I don't shop at Walmart for the very same reason.

    In return for that patronage I expect the guitar to come off the rack good with no issues that a quick turn here and there can't fix. It must be devoid of defects especially at the design level. I don't think it is too much to ask since you are paying two to three times the cost for slightly upgraded hardware and the made in the USA stamp.

    From my recent experience the current management at Fender does not care what I think about my buying experience or my opinion on anything.

    No matter where you buy one from, make sure you inspect it down to the screw. Do not assume that it is being sold as advertised.

    As to GC, my local one is not a pleasant place to be. The way the store is set up it is not conductive for business with people that are buying higher end guitars. Anything nice is kept far out of reach unless you are a professional basketball player.

    I wish there were more mom and pops that carried the American brands, but there are not. Sam Ash is the best I have in my neck of the woods. They have great customer service but their employee turn around is high. It seems as soon as I establish a buying relationship with a particular salesperson I like, they are gone. Back in the day, I would get calls from sales people when they got something in they thought I may like. Those days are gone.
     
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  5. RoCkstAr256

    RoCkstAr256 Tele-Afflicted

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    Here in Poland , GC has mostly lower end squier, epiphone, ibanez, Schecter, jsckson guitars to offer. Of course we have mid end guitars like Player Strats, teles, Ibanez iron label, Schecter Hellraiser. Those lower end sell 3 times more than mid end guitars. Well there also a few high end guitars but they dont sell, feels like they hang on the wall for yeara. GC in Poland doesnt offer Gibson or Prs, seems too expensive
     
  6. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree, totally ! Its a bad deal !

    I don't have an answer but I do know the over the border and off shore guitars have changed the entire landscape for buyers in real time. We should have known this was coming. It was kinda obvious.

    For EX: GC has 100 customers, 90 of them buy the OTHER guitars rather than the USA guitars. SO naturally they are gonna stock the OTHER guitars. This is not a FENDER or GIBSON problem it's a distribution re-stocking issue. GC re-stocks what they sell. IF the under $799 world has taken over then they go with it. While I can't say this is all a factual but it's probably not far from factual. I too want to play and buy and as of the last decade I only buy USA.

    Its a tuff deal for certain BUT if it helps GC and MF have a full refund policy, used and new. Kinda the Walmart of guitars.

    I just bought a 2008 Tele used from GC , didn't even go in to buy or even look at a guitar, but there it was, there I was. Probably the first time in many years that I picked up a guitar that I bonded with right away in a store. PLUS, two others were waiting for me to put I down, which I didn't do. So I bought it.

    Higher priced USA guitars are indeed getting harder and harder to find locally to check out, it's the result of the lower priced guitars taking over the markets , who wants to keep that $1500 Tele hanging in inventory when they can sell 3 x $449 guitars in twice the time.

    Remember when Fender introduced the MIM tele, it was around $300 . I seriously doubt that they thought it would change the whole USA guitar world, it was supposed to be a lower price point alternative.

    Maybe the used local market is the best place to buy a guitar these days.

    good luck

    t
     
  7. beninma

    beninma Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    For sure from a GC standpoint you have to look at all the different instruments.

    This is just a Fenderish place so that biased what I wrote.

    I don't really see the GC problems as not affecting other brands either though. AFAICT the best thing to buy at a GC is an amp. They remain a great place to try out an amp IMO.

    But it doesn't matter if you're looking for an Ibanez or an ESP or whatever.. I feel like you walk in GC and the stock of guitars is always a mess, whereas most other independent places the stock is in great shape.
     
  8. Tuneup

    Tuneup TDPRI Member

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    Really? I know they are 2 billion in debt but isn't Bain Mitt Romney's company?

    OK I had to go look, yep it's Mitt's firm, take a look at some of the companies they've bought and ask yourself "where are they now?".
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bain_Capital

    I know this is off topic, but maybe you're wondering where GC will be in a few years, with 2 billion in debt probably gone.

    Wouldn't mind turning up at the asset auction though =)

    Interesting: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/bain-capital-let-guitar-2
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  9. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    don't go political here, what happened at GC is a what do consumers really want issue . They tried catering to everyone and can't. there are plenty of " so called connected companies" doing extremely well.

    You can't hang $1500 guitars next to $349 guitars and expect the same results. Now consider how many different lower cost guitars are on the market now, how do you stock them all ? You can't. exactly how many models of Strats, Telecasters, Jazzmasters ,Epiphones, Gretschs, Ibanezes etc are we going to have in our faces each day ?

    By the way Acres Management owns Guitar Center since 2014. They own several Music outlets including Music and Arts stores.
     
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  10. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    Well... you're in Santa Cruz. $$$$$
     
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  11. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    There was a time 25 year's ago, that GC was only found in major metro (market) areas.

    Those places have the #'s... both peep's and $$$, to support a large inventory of nice stuff.

    Now, you can find GC in a lot of smaller market's. I know for a fact that they exchange and shift stuff to the store's that the think will have a better (or less) chance of selling it.

    My buddy worked for New Holland Farm Machinery in their Marketing Dept. and was responsible for shifting used machinery to the store's that had the appropriate market's for resale.

    Makes sense...
     
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  12. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

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    OK, OK, OK,

    I'll return to the Guitar Center in the spring to see if things have improved or at least look less like the store that time forgot............ and I'll spend that gift card with wild abandon.

    Gary
     
  13. memiller

    memiller Tele-Meister

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    You walk into a retailer barely a week after Christmas and are surprised when it's a little... sparse?

    Guitar Center is not Amazon. They don't have guaranteed two-day shipping to themselves. Stores are depleted because stuff's been bought up. Give it a month and it will likely be fully stocked.

    As for the USA VS THE WORLD that broke out here... it's a completely meaningless argument. The higher in price you get, the fewer you sell. I can't quote hard numbers but I can anecdotal evidence like crazy. The manufacturer I worked for would sell about 10 low-end imports (bolt necks, Duncan Designs, etc.) for every 1 high-end import (thru necks, EMG's, you get the picture). We'd also sell about 5 high-end imports for every 1 US made instrument.

    So, do you stick with your principles and lose 50 sales because MURICA or do you take those 50 sales per 1 MURICATAR and employ additional people to design, QC, and warehouse them? There's no choice in the matter, and no chance of cannibalizing your own sales. The two markets do not overlap.
     
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  14. red57strat

    red57strat Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    There are so many Guitar Centers in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island that they compete with each other. There are 8 stores within an hour drive from me. 3 more if I add half an hour or so to the drive.
     
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  15. LocoTex

    LocoTex Tele-Afflicted

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    All this is true. We are screwing ourselves by not demanding quality merchandise. But Guitar Center sells the stuff that people will buy, like anyplace else. A lot of new guitars go to parents buying for Junior who wants to be a rock star. They're not going to shell out Gibson or Custom Shop money for a kid that may give it up in a week. The guitar my parents bought me was a cheap Japanese guitar (in 1967) for the same reason. Wish I still had it though.
     
  16. LocoTex

    LocoTex Tele-Afflicted

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    That's the one. But in their defense, this is not a wealthy area so they stock what will sell....like any other business.
     
  17. LocoTex

    LocoTex Tele-Afflicted

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    There used to be a music retailer called Mars Music. Anybody remember them? I used to love to go there because they stocked a lot of really high end guitars, like 4 or 5 Les Paul 1959 reissues. Amazing store! But where are they now? You can't survive with inventory you can't move.
     
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  18. Djentleman Dan

    Djentleman Dan Tele-Holic

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    Agree 100%.

    I know I'm late to this thread, but yesterday I was watching a YT vid about intonation, looked at my buddy sitting a few feet away, and said we'd have such a blast opening a guitar shop and just playing/talking/learning/building/repairing/setting up gear all day...if I thought it could be profitable, which, with today's guitar price points would be really, really tough.
     
  19. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Meister

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    I do not patronize GC, as I build & play my own instruments. However, there have been enough threads on TDPRI hammering them on everything from inventory, customer service, & quality of instruction that it is unlikely for me to drive the 2 hrs to visit our "local" store.

    In their defense, there are lots of GC stores, and every guitarist is different, and I am certain that they produce more happy customers than angry ones. The problem is that I refuse to drive hours to take a chance.
     
  20. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Meister

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    We're screwing ourselves by demanding ever-lower prices for everything. For anything where advances in technology aren't reducing the costs, low-quality merchandise is what follows from that.
     
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