An interesting "End of Guitar Center" analysis/article

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by warthog, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. MDMachiavelli

    MDMachiavelli Tele-Afflicted

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    Also I have to say, GC filled a much needed void in my metropolitan area and pushed prices back inline with the national market. Before that two local "big time" shops charged what they wanted.

    Now those two big local stores list or match anything GC sells. GC is a great example of the free market system in action.

    How can that be a negative thing?
     
  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    As I seriously contemplate the possible end of GC, I realize that even though I only visit one a couple times a year at best, it is a fun experience every time and it is good place to try out a darn good variety of different gear. When I have an opportunity to visit one in a big city, I feel the sales hype from the employees, but at my "local" one, the sales people are fairly knowledgable and no sales pressure/hype is evident to me.

    That said, I rarely have made a purchase of any sort (not even strings) at a GC. I usually find my guitar at a M & P store and most other gear on line, or much more likely ... fleaBay. So, I am wondering if the original GC "big store" model is flawed at the outset long term. Somewhat like the huge shopping malls that have closed across the country. They were very popular to visit, but again, I rarely have ever purchased anything at a shopping mall. Maybe it was a fad of the 80s and 90s that has finally passed on akin to heavy metal and pointy fat strats. What it does to our shopping experience tomorrow will be interesting to watch, but I'm thinking that it is a good thing for my favorite M & P shops.
     
  3. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Sam Ash sells band instruments.

    I know that the two local multi-store companies make a good deal of their money servicing schools with outside sales people.

    Don't bring your sax in for service around the end of the summer.:D
     
  4. tele salivas

    tele salivas Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll miss being able to go in to a place and be overwhelmed by walls of gear and being able to try firsthand what new offerings are on tap. That's much more fun than pictures and video. I think its funny that some people expect GC to have every new guitar and amp know to man to be on display at their store.
     
  5. JReazor

    JReazor Tele-Holic

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    I took one of the free classes. It was made very clear that the class was sponsored by Martin. The instructor had to play a Martin during the class and he probably mentioned Martin about 40 times in 25 minutes. Presumably, GC is being paid to run the class even if there's no cost to students. I don't know how much but there probably is an income stream there.
     
  6. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    It's a marketing tool Martin offers to GC. I can't imagine they would pay them.
     
  7. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yesterday, for the first time in 4 or 5 years, I happened to wander into the GC here in S Portland. FWIW, I was impressed with the selection of guitars and other gear. The staff was friendly enough, I fooled around with about 20 guitars, completely unmolested by sales pitches. I'd hate to see them disappear, but I didn't buy anything, so there ya go.
     
  8. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire

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    The problem comes when GC either end up the only game in town (local monopoly). And it especially becomes a problem when the local monopoly goes down the tubes, and nothing is available.

    Don't confuse free market from fair market.
     
  9. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Bain saddled GC with debt. That's a fact, Jack. Call that whatever you want.
     
  10. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    I think I take for granted the fact that I live within an hour's drive of probably at least 15 medium to large music stores... if all the GC's closed, I would still live within an hour of 12 music stores.
     
  11. LongLiveRock54

    LongLiveRock54 Tele-Holic

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    You mean like the Mom and Pops used to be?
     
  12. WildcatTele

    WildcatTele Tele-Meister

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    I think most of us here can bemoan the loss of the mom and pop stores all we want, I had one myself that I frequented when I was a teenager...the guy that ran it always let me play whatever I'd like for as long as I'd like because he knew most of my fast food paycheck was coming directly to him. For a lot of us what GC represents is the loss of that intimacy. Sure they have a lot of nice gear the M&P's didn't and don't have, they're everywhere, convenient like a Wal Mart...but what I think was perhaps the most important statement in the Garland article is this:

    "None of this sells guitars or inspires kids to be better musicians in a world where laptops play the tunes."

    I don't think it's that the business model is wrong, they're just doing what retail does these days. It's that the kids today would rather make a few clicks on a computer to make music than take the time and devote the attention span to learning how to do it on a real, live instrument. The sad fact is that most guitar buying these days is a parent buying a cheap Epiphone from Craigslist or a garage sale because they're kid wanted to be a rock star, then he found out how hard it was to learn anything and that there are, in fact, no real guitars in any of Kanye's music, so it wound up back on Craigslist or the garage sale heap.

    The world of music creation is different than it was 20 years ago. So many doors have opened since then, and so many have closed. To stay relevant GC needs to evolve to fit what music is today, not to what we old geezers had decades ago.
     
  13. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I read the article. It doesn't have the cold indifference and clinical repose of a real finance writer... so, I guess my guard is up a bit that I'm being sold something while being assured that I'm 'just providing information'. That may be unfair, but the writing is damn near breathless schadenfreude.

    My bias is typically against big box stores, chain restaurants and some of the purported practices that were engaged to reduce competition in the past. Our local store in our small town was a disaster and poorly run, so I did not swoon when they went **** up. When a GC opened in Gilroy (near the outlets...no surprise and near the chilis and applebees too!)

    I wasn't too terribly impressed nor disappointed. Most of my purchases were through Amazon, Musicians friend (a kind of subsidiary of GC) and a few other online resources with the occasional trip to Val Kings or Guitar Showcase...

    Over the past 5 years or so, I have gone to GC on occasion and while the overall setup of the store is not inviting to me, there are a couple of young people who work there who are great kids, interested, helpful and eager to ask questions, look stuff up and keep in touch about things that I told them I was interested in.

    If GC goes under, what of that? Is it a local business if it employs local people? Is it 'good' in some moral sense? in our area, GC did not displace a really great store that was there before it... and while I cringe about going to Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Target (but I love Costco... some weird biases in my own head I think!) these stores offer value to many of us.

    The cost of these kinds of businesses are just starting to be felt (and known) and I suspect that we'll see shifts in retail.. When Ron Johnson tried to do a 'fair every day price for reasonable people' at Penneys... He got killed because, well, people are really bad at math and believe in 'sales' and lotto tickets and that they are smarter than the retailers who do it for a living.... In other words, he did what people said they wanted and he found out that people lie to themselves more than anyone else.

    I suspect the retail world has a more significant 'muffin top' than we know and that the morbidity factor for the current model will suffer a more severe correction than any of us will feel comfortable about...
     
  14. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    I love going to Guitar Center, but the one here is located in a true "Traffic Nightmare" area (Cherry Hill, NJ) so I just order my supplies from Sweetwater.
    Although, the one guitar I bought New, I did go there to get it, and when I am ready to buy another New guitar, I will go there again.
    Therefore, I hope it does Not close down!
     
  15. JReazor

    JReazor Tele-Holic

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    I'm not sure what Martin is offering to GC in this case. They could easily run the show with out the Martin advertising.
     
  16. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

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    We're kind of lucky here. You could conceivably walk from Guitar Center to Sam Ash (which is in a former Mars.) It's a little far so most people drive, but its in the same retail park type place.

    We also have two local multi-store companies. One is about a mile or so away from me, but they have even less of what I want.
     
  17. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Was it informative? Could the instructor play well? GC sells Martin guitars. It's in their interest to have them presented to potential customers in the best possible light.
     
  18. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    It's like NASCAR, Sunoco gas and Goodyear tires pay to be the official gas and tires of the sport.
     
  19. Boyd

    Boyd Tele-Afflicted

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    You could try the Atlantic City store some time (not really Atlantic City - Hamilton Commons near Mays Landing), it's the closest one to me. Cherry hill does seem to have a better selection of used gear though, may have to pay a visit there soon. :) I do dread the traffic in that area though.

    I see they have closed a couple stores in PA - just noticed that the links I have for them now longer work. I bought a 2008 J-50 at the Allentown PA store a year ago, now it's gone. The Oxford Valley store also seems to be gone.
     
  20. Boyd

    Boyd Tele-Afflicted

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