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Is This Overpriced?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by JeradP, May 18, 2011.

  1. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    I contacted the "local" (45 minute drive) music store two times the past week or so. One was in regards to a soldering problem. I was having trouble soldering the input jack on a guitar I was working on and asked how much they'd charge to do it. I explained to them that there were just the couple spots on the jack that I couldn't get right (not knowing how to do so). They said it'd take about 5 days and cost between 35 and 45 dollars. (I managed to get it working on my own).

    I most recently contacted them about getting a nut for my new Strat (it's a lefty flipped over and restrung righty; need a nut for a right handed guitar). I asked for a cheap one, like a standard bone one, to be cut to fit and gave them specs on it. They said it'd start at $55 if I didn't need new strings and it'd start at $65 if I did need new ones.

    Being rather new and quite inexperienced with guitar "puttering", I don't know the normal costs and prices of these things. However, there's no way I'm paying those prices. I'll learn how to do it myself.

    Are these really standard prices or overpriced?


    Just a little more on the store, they carry Ibanez, Dean, Peavey, and BC Rich electrics, and Ibanez, Dean, Godin (If I remember) and a few Seagull acoustics. Occasionally there will be something different on the wall, but usually not... They charge MSRP for strings (so they're like $9-$12 a pack for Ernie or Dadarrio). Their roof leaks if someone spits too close to the building. The people are rude. They carry Digitech pedals. The guitars and pedals are substantially more than online stores and they refuse to honor prices because "they can provide customer service" (ie, can be rude to you in person rather than on a computer). It's a hell hole and it's the only place around...
     
  2. bender-freak

    bender-freak Friend of Leo's

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    if "my" shop quoted me a price like that for soldering an input jack they would no longer be "my" shop. then again, i've bought a TON of stuff from "my" shop, so i sorta expect a break on stuff like that.

    no one pays MSRP for anything, do they???
     
  3. allen082

    allen082 Friend of Leo's

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    definitely on the high side.... way to go on fixing the jack yourself.

    Early on i would take my gear in to the shop (and never had to pay for something like soldering), but as the gigs became more frequent, i just started fixing things myself (as there was no guarantee when something would go wrong, or if I'd have the cash to have it repaired).

    I find it so much more rewarding when I make repairs or mods myself.
     
  4. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    I don't go there often, mostly tto kill time when I'm in the area, maybe once a year now. before, it wasa few times, but after a while, enough is enough. Being a young player when I first stared going there (mid-late teens), I knew no different because it was all that was available. Now I'm a few years older and a wee bit (WEE bit... ;)) wiser, they can 3 (George Carlin's 7 Dirty words reference) them;)selves. 3 spots to solder and it not only woul;)d have cost that much, but take 5 days to get it back... :rolleyes:

    Being a tightwad can be very beneficial to one's skills and repair abilities can't it? I'm Mr Burns from the Simpsons when it comes to spending money, so if there's a possibility I can fix it and not destroy it, I'll try it. Fortunately it came out good. The nut would be nice to have done right since I don't have the proper parts. I got one off a parts site and it fits, it's just too high and the slots need lowering, so I've been using a pocket knife for the slots, sandpaper to lower it, and obscenities to keep sanity :cool:


    It's very surprising this place doesn't go out of business. I did forget to mention, they have a few guitars in the window that are faded, much like a pawn shop that doesn't know any better. I wouldn't wish this place on any TDPRIer :lol:
     
  5. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    +1
     
  6. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    I'll +1 your +1 :D
    As Cosmo Kramer said, "retail is for suckers"
    Those $3.50 Martin strings I use on a few acoustics that don't see much play are $9...
     
  7. emu!

    emu! Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mom and Pop shop, no doubt. High prices...low inventory.

    But hey, you gotta support the little guy, right?:rolleyes:
     
  8. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Before I write my response to those prices, I should say that it doesn't sound like a great shop anyway. I'm not defending them in any way with my response below, but I just wanted to put these things into perspective for you.

    So, from the other side of the counter...

    Most shops have a policy that they charge a minimum of 1 hour of bench time, and a rate of $35/hr. is on the lower end of the spectrum. Does it seem like a lot of money just to solder a couple of things? Yeah, of course it does. Is it the norm in the business? Also yes.

    What if the problem really wasn't just a couple of solder joints, but involved troubleshooting before doing the repair? A smart repairmen takes a customer's diagnosis with more than a couple of grains of salt, because the customers have almost always misdiagnosed the problem. It's almost always better to over estimate the charge and then surprise them with a lower price than to say "sure, I'll do it for $10" and then find out it was a 45 minute job.

    $55 for a nut? Again, those prices are on the lower end of the scale. Shop around, and it's unlikely that you'll find a reputable shop doing that work for much less.

    The 5-6 day wait... many shops, maybe even most, have someone do their repairs off site, often stopping at the store twice a week to pick up/drop off.

    The pedal prices... again, pretty typical of a small shop. It's almost impossible for a small retailer to compete with a high volume online store, and margins are not what you'd think. By the time a particular pedal has sat on display for a while to be sold, the overhead has probably eaten up most of the profit.

    Heck, even Staples won't match an online price, I can't hold that against them.
     
  9. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    Well, needless to say I will learn to do it myself and only go there when I need a decent laugh :lol: Small town store with crap stock, I didn't expect much in the way of a "good deal", but these just seem like near-gouged prices. Maybe it's $4.19 gas leaving me bitter...
     
  10. Nodremark

    Nodremark Former Member

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    The price of the nut sounds about right. I would have asked to have the solder fix done + the nut for $55 and supplied my own strings to see what they say. Everything is negotiable.
     
  11. Starshine

    Starshine Tele-Afflicted

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    EDIT: why bother?
     
  12. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Even though I work as a repairman, I still support the idea of learning to do it yourself, especially if you think these are things you'll be doing repeatedly.

    Nodremark's advice about asking to do the nut and the wiring together as one job is a good advice. I'd certainly never charge a full hour bench time if the guitar was already on the bench anyway.
     
  13. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    ? :confused:
     
  14. Bud Veazey

    Bud Veazey Tele-Holic

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    Amen! I build and repair guitars, but I also like to show customers how to do their own work. Some like DIY, most don't want to be bothered.

    I charge $25-$35 for most electrical work and pickup installs. My hourly rate is $35 because I don't have any overhead and I'm fortunate enough to be able to build and repair guitars as retirement fun instead of having to make a living at it. A guy with a storefront has to charge enough to put food on the table. I charge $40 for a bone nut and $40 for a setup, but a tech trying to earn a living can't afford to work that cheap. A luthier near my home charges $65 for a bone nut and $75 for a setup. If you're not a DIY'er and you find a good local shop, be willing to pay for the service you get.
     
  15. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    Oh, the shop is ran by 3 or 4 family members. It's not like they have 3 techs working on commission or anything like that.

    I guess their prices are standard, but it just seemed really high to me.
     
  16. Starshine

    Starshine Tele-Afflicted

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    Just replying to an off topic post that judging by previous experience probably would have started a fight.
     
  17. Nodremark

    Nodremark Former Member

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    I feel the need to share this story about a DIY guy. I once worked at a Harley dealership. Joe (not his real name) bought a new bike, his first. I suggested he buy a service manual for his bike. Harley service manuals sell for about $60. He declined as he was not going to do any major maintenance on his NEW bike. A month later while saving a few bucks on his initial oil change (this is done after the first 500 miles) he decided he was not going to pay shop rates for a oil change. He removed the drain plug on the bottom of the engine and guess what? No oil came out!!!! In a panic he replaced the plug with the "pipe threads" on it back into his engine case and wrenched it down Ford Tight. CRACK went his engine case.
    So saving $60 cost Joe the price of new engine cases on a bike with 500 miles on it.

    The moral of the story? Sometimes we just have to pay for our ingnorance and be happy about it. My personal preferance is to have a pro do all my guitar work. I have to pay for it, but if its not right I have a recourse. If I snap the fingerboard and first fret off my new Martin because I wanted to save $55 changing the nut and trying to do a set up I have no one to cuss at but my own personal self.

    YMMV

    P.S. If you own a Harley and you don't understand the error in this story. YOU NEED TO BUY A SERVICE MANUAL OR HAVE A PRO DO YOU WRENCHING!
     
  18. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    That would really suck.
    The things I needed/ need done with my guitars are things I could do with practice. Sure, it might cost me more than I want (I screw up a nut, I have to get a new one for example), but it gets me the practice and know how so I can do it better next time. If it were something more serious, I'd suck it up and pay to get it fixed. Minor things like a nut or input soldering are not worth that much money to me. Pickups that don't work due to bad wiring is something that would be worth it.
     
  19. phillip lee

    phillip lee TDPRI Member

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    Why didn't any oil come out?
     
  20. newtwanger

    newtwanger Blackguardian. Ad Free + Supporter

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    You're already looking at it all wrong. A nut is NO minor thing unless you done mind broken strings, poor intonation and lousy playability. And bone nut and "cheap" and "standard" rarely exist in an affordable electric.
    I guarantee you will go through more $$ in whittle-it-yourself nuts before you ever (if you ever) get close to a skillfully cut nut.

    But of course you are Mr. Burns as you say. ;)

    KokoTele is right on the money.
     
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