What do you think of those who use local music stores as demo stations?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by DougM, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    I agree with the OP. If you use their service and demo the guitar it's fair to buy in the local store. It is also wise to support local businesses if you want your town/city/community kept alive.
    awasson, telemnemonics and Route67 like this.
  2. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    My wife and I lined up for the Boxing Day sale many times over those years. We always tried to get there really early. One year, we were about third in line. It was very exciting. It was always a fun time in the lineup, as well. People were usually in a good mood.

    One year, we went to the Boxing Day sale intending to buy a new computer. By the time we got inside, the model we wanted was gone, so we drove from the Hastings Street store down to the Marine Drive store, and they still had the computer in stock. That was a crazy dash through Vancouver, all for a Seanix 486-DX2. Obviously, that computer is long gone, but I still have a CD player that we bought in 1988 and a Yamaha receiver and Yamaha speakers that we bought in 1989.

    Yep, they carried good stuff.
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  3. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    May 31, 2008
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I used to be a business owner, and my wife still owns her business. So, when it comes to trying/buying guitars and gear, on principle, I try first to buy local. For me that's either, first, Clawson's Music, or second, the local GC. Over the years, I've bought guitars, accessories and PA equipment from both locations. I try not to take advantage of the local guys, and try not to make a pest of myself, but I do try things out in those two stores. When it works out that I can buy from them, I think I'm as happy about it as they are.

    I've made a handful of purchases online with Sweetwater. (In years past, I've also bought used from eBay, but that's kind of a different deal considering the topic of discussion here.)

    Back about 7 years ago, I bought a Wechter Nashville-tuned parlor guitar that was on sale at Sweetwater. (Later it became apparent that Wechter's mass produced guitars was going out of business, so Sweetwater was clearing them out.) Sweetwater was the online distributor for Wechter guitars. I gave that one to a friend, and bought another for me, this time an acoustic/electric (model # NV-5413E).

    Three or four years ago, I bought a Fishman Loudbox Mini songwriter package from Sweetwater for my younger brother, who was getting into gigging for a living. He lives like 375 miles away, so buying online and having them ship it to him made the most sense. He liked his so much, I decided to get that same package deal (amp+ Sennheiser mic + XLR cable + mic stand) for me.

    Most recently, I bought an IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic Stage system from Sweetwater, but that was only after checking, first, Clawson's, and second, GC. Neither place had it to try out, so to buy it, I would have had to have them order it online. So I ordered it myself on Sweetwater.
  4. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 1, 2014
    somewhere over a rainbow (Ex-L.A. resident)
    I added a sentence to my original post to help you understand what I was getting at.
    Apparently you didn't understand my post.
    I don't condone what they are doing.
    I was stating some facts that have contributed to the problem the OP posted about.
  5. scrimmer

    scrimmer Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 31, 2009
    North Carolina
    I've stated my disdain for the 2 GCs I have in my area. My problem mainly has been with personnel there and the fact that they usually don't
    have what I'm looking for in stock almost 90% of the time. I realize they can't stock everything though.

    I HAVE purchased 4 guitars over the years from them when I've played something they had there and I couldn't put it down.
    I've purchased 6 guitars over the years at various Mom & Pop stores (which I prefer to give my business to) but they are all quite a drive away from me.
    However; I DON'T believe in using these places as 'demo' stores. That's just plain rude and devious IMHO. If the store has it, and it's in good order, I buy it!
    These folks need all the support we can give them, or in the near future, Amazon and Sweetwater and the likes is all we'll have, and that would be a damn shame!

    Now, having said that; and I really wish it wasn't so, and I really do feel somewhat guilty about it because I truly would rather support the little guy;
    BUT, due to the fact that their inventory is so vast, I don't have to drive far and/or deal with less than knowledgable staff, great customer service
    and return policies, over the last several years I have grown more inclined to order from Sweetwater out of convenience more than anything else.

    Unfortunately, the truth is that the CONVENIENCE of the internet is killing the little guys, and I guess I'm pretty guilty of contributing to that. :(
    awasson likes this.
  6. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

    May 28, 2011
    Illinois-Wisconsin line

    Lighten up Frances. I hear you fart in elevators.

    The sleaziest thing that I have suspected people of doing is "buying" an amp at GC, using it at a weekend gig, and returning it on Monday. Does it count if they are screwing GC?

    I have an absolutely great little guitar shop about 40 minutes away. I wish it was closer, in fact there is a GC closer, but it's my go to place. They turned me on to Georgie L cables about 20 years ago, taught me how to connect the ends, and I have never gone anywhere else for cable and ends even though I could get it cheaper at GC or online. And these guys carry a better selection of effects pedals than any GC I've ever seen. Yeah, I could snag them a little cheaper off ebay, and often do, but if I ever tried one out at a store, I would never buy it somewhere else.

    I have no idea how many pedals they sell, but I know that they build pedal boards for a whole ton of gigging and touring musicians in this area, and I suspect it's another money making niche that big chains and internet sellers can't steal from them.

    The GCs around here lost their distributorship of Mesa Boogie, but this little shop has all of them. And if Gibson and Fender have made it too unprofitable for small independents to be dealers, these guys have seemed to do really well by carrying the entire line of G&L.

    And how about amp and guitar techs? That's another area in which independent music retailers can make their bread and butter.

    Takes all kinds to make the world go round. I'm not going to condemn the shopping habits of people, partly because I don't care to have them digging around in my coset. But this, right here and now, is a great time to be alive, and it's great to be able to buy toys and tools wherever I damned well please.
  7. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Aug 30, 2011
    It hasn't really been an issue with me, because my best local indepedent store carries a great selection of the entire Fender range from Squier to Custom Shop, and amps...and prices it the same as all the online retailers. They'll usually even make it an "out the door" price if you try. I demo almost everything there, though I do buy online. I don't feel bad because I've bought at least a dozen instruments at the local shop over the years, including $3,000 worth of guitars in the past year, plus referring my boss to them, after which my boss bought a guitar for his son there. I bought my Ampeg stuff somewhere else, and a few things that I either couldn't find there, or got a killer price on elsewhere. But if I am going to pay straight retail for something, and they have it or can get it, I will always go through them.
  8. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    My dad always told me that are two market extremes that will always be safe. The one that provides the cheapest product and the one that provides the best product. Everyone else is fighting for one of those two slots.
    That why I see booteek stores like Guitar Sanctuary providing a place to get high end equipment holding their own.
  9. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    I say the same. We live in a community and our common interest is the preservation of the community. Community is people, and if we approach community as everyone for himself, we slowly pay the price. Paying a bit more, and supporting community, is less costly in many ways.
    Route67 and DougM like this.
  10. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Holic

    Aug 20, 2017
    Federal Way, Washington
    If you asked them to match prices, and they said no, at least you did give them a shot at your business.....nothing wrong with that.
  11. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Jul 5, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    I've you've ever worked for an independent music store, as I have, perhaps you're not aware of the small margins that they have to live with even without discounting prices below MAP. GC, MF, and SW can afford to make only a few dollars off each guitar because they have a nationwide customer base, and sell hundreds of guitars on a daily basis. Many small dealers just don't have enough traffic/business to discount below the already meager margins that they have too live with, or they can't afford to pay their employees and other expenses, and keep the doors open. Mesa Boogie has leveled the playing field for ALL their dealers, by setting strict pricing structures, and policing them aggressively. If you are caught discounting a MB product you lose your franchise. They allow dealers to discount only discontinued products. If ALL companies supported their local dealers in this way, then the giant warehouse dealers wouldn't hold the unfair advantage that they have. Fender and Gibson also have HUGE yearly buy-ins in the six figure range, which many small operations, including ones who were with those two companies for decades, and helped them become so successful, can no longer afford. As with so much else in this country, big business has all the advantages, and the small business owner has few, if any.
  12. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 15, 2017
    Harvest, Alabama
    I spread my business around.

    I support the two local mom-and-pop guitar stores very well.
    I also buy things from the local Guitar Center.

    And it goes without saying, I enjoy ordering from Sweetwater, Amazon, American Musical Supply, Zzounds, and others.

    I'm a giver.
    What can I say?

  13. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    R.I.P. 2019
    I only do it at Guitar Center.

    Not really.
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    I see many things related and connected to checking out gear at a shop but then buying it online.
    Not just the seeming unfairness of using a small business service while not giving them your business.
    Not just the complaint that the small business did nothing for us besides annoy us and provide use of gear for free.
    Not even just the buying online at the best price and needing multiples yet never being satisfied; thus needing to keep buying more guitars in hope of feeling whatever might be hoped for.

    Fewer entities control more money, while local businesses are driven out by the big money hoarding corporate conglomerates.
    When Amazon was a book seller and put most bookstores out of business the trajectory seemed clear.
    As our kids go on vacation and can't take their face away from their virtual life on screen to see the world around them, the human buy-in, to a central hub where we run our every thought through a surveillance system and then think that Amazon is great.

    The buying of disposable crap over and over, not noticing that we are spending money to dispose of tons of MIC junk every year, not noticing that the junk doesn't last, not noticing that we have no free time because consuming and following others consumption online takes all day every day.

    Not noticing the life stolen by promise of convenience.

    If the reasoning behind buying guitars online is that we have to spend carefully, why do we all seem to need lots and lots of guitars?

    I think most of society today feel dependent on stuff we didn't have 40 years ago.
    How did we survive without Amazon, Sweetwater, the internet and smart phones 40 years ago?
    Could we live without those things today?
    Do they really make our lives more fulfilling?

    Or is it possible that we are being scammed by promises that in the big picture, take more from us to build the wealth of a very few, while not really making better lives for the many?

    Consumerism has more control of society than does society have control of its own consumerist zeal.
    Trampling each other on the day they tell us to get in line.
    Stealing the demo service from our neighbors and then buying from the conglomerate that's putting them out of business.

    Who that tries guitars out in shops can deny that it is a service to be able to play a guitar you're thinking of buying?

    This may sound heavy handed but we've seen the trajectory.
    And our choices are what drives the change.
    If we all chose to shop locally, have fewer but better things, support our communities and local businesses, have less expensive local fun, see friends instead of following them on facebook, get together to play music in the living room, kitchen, back yard, town hall etc instead of youtube; all the big online businesses and internet social media would crumble. And our lives would probably be better for it, not lacking in conveniences and passive entertainment.

    Sorry, just how it seems to me to be progressing.
    Route67, DougM and awasson like this.
  15. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Jul 5, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    I agree whole heartedly. we're all brainwashed into believing that we have to feed the beast to be happy, but all it really does is make us feel more insecure, unfulfilled, and unimportant, and in extreme cases, miserable. I, for one don't have a tablet or cellphone, just a laptop, and I don't use social media, except guitar forums, but I'm often times putting down my guitar to go online. And, my soul is enriched more by playing music than typing about gear, yet the pull is still strong. I think that I was happier when I had one guitar and one amp, because I wasn't always wondering if what I had was good enough, because for me then, it was. I wasn't constantly searching for the next great piece of gear to take me to the next level. I was searching for the next MUSICAL EPIPHANY to take me there, and I stretched the boundaries of the gear I had to work with to make ever more creative sounds. Look at all the amazing music that was made with what we would now consider low tech gear. Look at the imagination that musician's and producer/engineers (like George Martin, Eddie Kramer, and others) had to create the amazing sounds they did with the limited tech that they had to work with. Now, we want to buy the imagination in a pre-packaged hi tech toy, instead of thinking of new ways to stretch the limits of the gear that we've got. We need to fight the addiction and re-think our priorities. Gear is only the tool to express our art, which is what really enriches our souls, not the new shiny toy. The feeling of joy from the new shiny toy is fleeting, while the one from making a great piece of music is everlasting, at least it should be.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  16. bromdenlong

    bromdenlong Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Jul 17, 2018
    Oceanside CA

    Your first paragraph makes perfect sense to me. Your trashing of Americans per se in your second paragraph doesn't. Customers have been looking for the bigger better deal since before the first Pharaoh was crowned. Brick and mortar stores losing out to internet sales is a worldwide phenomenon, not a uniquely American one. Americans are not uniquely stupid or immoral.
    Wallo Tweed, telemnemonics and kelnet like this.
  17. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Oct 14, 2015
    IL, USA
    First of all, I think the try and buy elsewhere thing is kind of dirty. At the least, a person could try to negotiate a comparable price, and take into account that it’s usually easier to deal with issues when you have a local store to deal with.

    I’m not above Guitar Center or online buying, especially from dealers that have large volume and are known to have good customer service. They offer selection and pricing that meets what I want. The main “mom and pop” store here deals ESP, Jay Turser, and Washburn. No thanks.

    That being said, how far do you take this “community” aspect? It seems the conversation moved from demoing with no intention of buying to online shopping in general. How about buying cheap Asian knock-off pedals. Are there not “community” issues there? Seems like the two behaviors are similar. I’d think if a sense of duty to your community was of utmost importance, we’d all have to buy goods made in-country if they were available, regardless of the price.
  18. wulfenganck

    wulfenganck Tele-Holic

    Aug 18, 2015
    Seligenstadt, Germany
    I try to avoid such behaviour and until now, I can't remember having done that.
  19. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

    Aug 28, 2018
    They're generally dumped online as b-stock. Some of the guitars make their way back to manufacturers and show up as "refurbished" with a B mark on them when they're returned.

    The couple of times I've gotten guitars from GC (dangelicos when they're half price), they've asked if I'll tolerate a guitar that's been on display or if I want one NIB. if they can look over a display guitar and see no marks on it, then I'm fine with that.

    Mom and pop shops usually wouldn't take stuff back here in the first place, and their guitars hanging in the store often were marked. The stores that had unmarked guitars usually weren't inviting to go in because there'd be an old dude or something wearing a tie who really didn't want anyone playing guitars - especially not anyone under 30 years old.
  20. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Holic

    Apr 28, 2009
    I've been doing business with the same Mom and Pop music store since the mid-60's. They've moved locations several times, but I've followed them. Over all, over the years, I bought most of my guitars from them...mostly used, upgraded very nice instruments. Also a few new ones. I bought amps from them as well.....mostly used. I usually walk in to see what's new in the store and see if anything catches my eye and usually buy picks and several sets of strings before I leave and usually get into a good, fun discussion with the owner. All too often, I've come in for strings or picks and wind up walking out with another guitar or amp purchase. At my age, I have collected plenty of amps and guitars over the years and most all of it will most likely outlive me. So, generally, I don't really need anymore guitars or amps.
    If I'm looking for a certain used amp or guitar, my store-owner friend will let me know when or if one comes in on a trade or consignment. One time, years ago, I needed to rent some PA equipment from him for a weekend gig. When I returned it the following Monday to pay for the rental fee, he refused my money! Now that is first class customer service.
    Yes, I do buy some things online that I absolutely cannot get from my local store. But I prefer to buy from my local friends.
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