Local music store experience

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by TheInertials, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. TheInertials

    TheInertials TDPRI Member

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    Sorry this is long. I had a depressing experience yesterday. So much so that I'm still thinking about it. I wonder if I’m making too much out of it.

    Now I have had a lot of good experiences in music shops. Maybe I have been spoiled. Who knows. Anyway, I walk into this local music shop yesterday. I’ve actually been in there a couple times and bought accessories. Never was interested in buying a guitar there yet, but this time I was. I figured I’d at least see what they had. So I go in and notice a Squier VM Jaguar on the wall there. I look around. No place to sit down and play it. No cord for the amps. I walk around looking for a stool or something, for awhile. There’s a stool over in the acoustic guitar section a little ways down, but I decide not to be that guy who goes moving things around without asking. I look around for one of the shop guys. There are a couple around. One is busy at the register doing who knows what. The other is standing there talking to a guy. I wait a minute. Finally he finishes talking to that guy and he does come over and introduce himself, so I introduce myself. I notice he is a lot older and is missing teeth. He seems like a used car salesman at first.

    I ask if it’s ok to play the guitars on the wall. He says sure absolutely go ahead. He seems not to know anything about guitars. I have to ask for a stool. He finds that. Finally I ask for a pick. He finds that. Now I have to ask for a cord for the amp. Each time before I ask for the next thing, I think, of course he’ll think of that. He works in a music shop! But no, I am forced to ask each time. He disappears in the back for awhile and finally comes out with a cord to plug into a little Vox modeling amp there.

    I start playing the Jaguar. It plays terrible. It seems worse than if it just came out of the box from the factory. The tremolo arm is missing. Who knows where that was. The strings are all at different heights. It was hard to believe even the Squier factory would let it out this way. It’s buzzing all over past the 9th fret. Also most of the frets are sprouting out the bottom, scraping my hand.

    In horror I hang it back on the wall and look for a different guitar just to redeem the experience. I notice they have about ten Squier Bullet Strats, one American deluxe, one MIM HH strat and one MIM SSS. That about covers it. There may have been a tele also. There’s also two Jacksons, two Yamahas, and a couple Peavy Les Paul copies. Strange selection I think.

    Finally I find a Squier Affinity strat. What the hell I think. Might as well try it. Not really interested in one but I have heard they are decent. It is all out of tune but plays fine once I tune it up. Only I don’t really like the neck. Something is weird about it too: the intonation is way off. And it starts going out of tune once I try the trem. I grab a MIM Fender Strat and jam on that for awhile. It’s the best of them all, but only as good as the minimum I would expect. I hang it up too. The serial number seems to suggest it is at least two years old. This causes me to look further around.

    As I hang up the MIM strat, I notice that some of the guitars look used. One of the Bullet strats has a huge gouge out of the pick guard. I wonder how that is possible. It is pretty deep, a couple inches long and have an inch wide. Yet the guitar is still tagged as new with the same price as any other. I’m really confused.

    Now the two workers there aren’t doing anything but standing around behind the counter. The one that was at the register before is now at a computer. They both seem to ignore me. I almost say something to let them know about the poor condition of the Jaguar, but I decide to say some positive things first. A mom walks in and starts talking to the other while I attempt to start a conversation with the second guy, the one who I didn’t deal with before.

    Nearly the entire time he talks to me, he doesn’t take his eyes off the computer except, when I give him back the pick, he looks at my hand. I ask if they ever get the VM Jazzmaster in. He says he thinks there was a classic player one in. I ask if they will get more. He doesn’t know. He offers that they can order anything in. But that’s it. I don’t know what to say. I tell him I think I’d like the Jazzmaster better because it has a normal scale neck. A look of surprise crosses his face. I say that the Jaguar is a short scale. "Huh?", he says, eyes darting over momentarily to the Jaguar. He doesn't seem to believe me. "Is it?" Then he goes back to the computer doing what he is doing.

    At that point I literally just said "Alright, good bye" and walked out. He didn't respond. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to that shop, which is sad because it’s only a few blocks from where I work.

    So is it too much to expect to have friendly salespeople and guitars that have been at least intonated or better? Or what am I missing?
     
  2. sax4blues

    sax4blues Friend of Leo's

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    The lesson learned here is that store is a low budget low service level store that does not fit your shopping desires. Should they live up to your expectations? Only if they are determined to have you as a customer. Now you know that when you're ready to buy a guitar you will not spend any time at that store. No harm no foul.
     
  3. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Missing teeth often imply missing tremolo arm.
     
  4. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

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    I've ran into the same thing in a local store. It was once an awesome place. Sold to a younger arrogant guy who ran it like your talking, and within a year it closed. And I think they should go out of business. The majority of the people spending money in any music store are doing it for a hobby, pleasure, entertainment. Not necessity. If they want my money, they have to treat me like they appreciate it. If I'm too big a bother for them to even talk to, I won't go back. Spend your money elsewhere.
     
  5. mlove3

    mlove3 Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't think your experience is unusual, there are lots of small businesses that are run or owned by fools who think it will just run itself with inept hipsters at the helm.
    It might also be a front to launder money. Seriously, they exist.
     
  6. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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    Having worked at a store I can explain at least one thing... never leave tremolo arms on the floor. They will be stolen.
     
  7. dmitri

    dmitri Tele-Holic

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    That is sad. I've seen a lot of local shops.close in the last decade and this kind of thing always preceded their demise. Thankfully we have a few good ones locally too.
     
  8. TheInertials

    TheInertials TDPRI Member

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    I like that idea. It makes sense. They left all the trem arms on the strats but maybe they figured better safe than sorry on the Jaguar one since it's not as common.
     
  9. xMercury69x

    xMercury69x Friend of Leo's

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    It's the old "I Have No Business Model" model.
     
  10. babalooga

    babalooga Tele-Holic

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    There is a small music store here in the town I live in, he's been here 20 years and I've been in there twice in those 20 years. Both times I walked out the door scratching my head wondering how in the heck do those clowns stay in business. If I want to deal "local" I drive forty minutes one way, but it's usually worth the trip, good prices, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and fair selection.
    I do have to admit our local GC isn't the worst store in the world, it's a heck of a lot better than than the clown here in town.
     
  11. TomSTL

    TomSTL TDPRI Member

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    This gets me fired up every time. The way I see it, the advantages brick & mortar have over the internet are 1) local inventory and 2) expertise, and 3) service.

    If the store doesn't offer either (or preferably both) of those things, save yourself the taxes and buy online. I'm quite happy to spend my money locally and prefer to. I'll go far out of my way for superior service, but not to the point that I'm going to beg for a guitar not to slice my hand up before I consider buying it. I wouldn't buy a car with flat tires either.
     
  12. flyswatter

    flyswatter Friend of Leo's

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    There were a couple of local stores around my area like the one you describe. One is still there (but I will never go back), the other closed last year (but had been open since I was a teenager, something like 30 years). Every time I entered one of these places I was baffled at how they stayed in business. Badly set up low end/ knockoff guitars, often sold used at new prices. Rude, no-nothing staff who either ignored you or turned on the hard sell in a blatantly pathetic attempt to get you to buy anything.

    When I was in these places there was rarely another customer. Somehow these "businesses" kept going (and as I said, one still is) and I never understood how.
     
  13. Zuzax

    Zuzax Tele-Afflicted

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    There's a little dive of a shop close to me that seems to have had the same inventory for several years. They only ever have "new" stuff whenever someone brings used gear in to sell on commission. It never sells either.

    They do basic repairs and setup, but they don't stock many parts other than strings. Everything else is ordered online.

    They keep the lights on by giving lessons, mostly to a never-ending stream of kids who get bored and quit shortly after their mom pre-pays for two non-refundable months' worth.

    Their more regular students are middle-aged men who wish they had started (or hadn't quit) many years ago. Their goal is to not embarrass themselves when they go to Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp in Vegas next summer.

    It's kind of a depressing place really.
     
  14. Earth

    Earth Tele-Meister

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    I only had a couple of positive experiences in music stores. In one place, a friend and I got to know a guy that was actually down to earth, and honest. Everyone else in there acted as if their job was just too tedious to let them be a decent human being.

    In another store, it was mostly old men, and about two Walmart aisles wide, but they gave a crap, and actually knew what they were doing.

    Guitar Center has been consistently abysmal. It's either the tonewood guys who think screw length changes tone, or completely apathetic people. The home depot of music.
     
  15. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    It think for GC it all depends on how it is managed. We recently visited the one in Edina Minnesota and it was fantastic. The selection and variety absolutely was jaw-dropping. The guy who helped me put me in a separate room with some nice amps and let me go to it. He was friendly, helpful, funny and great to talk with. No one was in a hurry to get rid of me. I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
     
  16. mlove3

    mlove3 Tele-Afflicted

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    I went to a small store recently I'd never checked out about 40 minutes away. Two middle aged guys running the place, I knew they'd been there for years. they had mostly ibanez shred guitars and some higher end and lower end stuff. There was a 15 yo kid there with mom shopping like they were buying a new shirt for him. That's their customer.
    They sell a dream and lessons.

    Don't know how they stay afloat.
     
  17. Octave Doctor

    Octave Doctor Tele-Afflicted

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    If I go looking for a guitar, I take picks, strap and cable with me, that way I'm not at the mercy of some Hoser's lack of housekeeping skills.

    Some of those weak stores may just be a tax write-off for another business. Who'd really worry about whether a music store made money?
     
  18. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Afflicted

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    There's two locals by me, my house is just about smack dab in between the two. I've known the one owner for years, back when he was still gigging and renting out his PA on the side. Both are good people, with good customer service, so those of us in the area are lucky compared with so many other players.

    I have bought guitars at both stores, though for selection and price it's hard to compete with online dealers. I've had an itch for an Epi Les Paul for quite awhile, and I will buy it from the guy I know, just need to scrape up the cash.
     
  19. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tele-Holic

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    This is what I was thinking.
     
  20. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

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    That IS how they stay afloat.

    For every regularly gigging serious musician there are dozens who play for fun at home and buy dreams ... and there's nothing wrong with that.

    For every one of those there are dozens who thought they wanted to learn guitar, bought an entry level guitar and amp and a distortion pedal, took a few lessons, then woke up 20 years later with the guitar still in a closet and still only half knowing three chords, the Smoke on the Water riff, and the first two bars of Stairway to Heaven.
     
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