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. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    I've bought ...I don't know, 65 guitars this past year? I've sold probably 40, and will eventually sell another 15 or so.

    I have bought two guitars this year at local music stores - one because I ordered on the internet (through GC) and the guitar came through the store.

    I don't go into stores to try instruments before I buy for two reasons: 1 - it's uncommon for me to buy anything new. I work on my own guitars so if one comes through mail order a little off from its description, its usually little in time cost for me to get it to better than i expected, and 2 - I am usually looking for something specific when I buy. I won't burn through $100 of mileage on my car and a large fraction of a day driving all over the place trying to find a place that both has what I want and also has a decent price.

    I did just buy a guitar local a couple of days ago while returning an amp - it was better than internet price.

    Agree with the rest of the comments here - if you want to pay for brick and mortar without offering something more profitable like sheet music or band instrument rentals, then your days are numbered.

    More than half of the stores I've stepped foot in since 1985 are either large local corporate stores (where I grew up, there was a network store - it was nothing special and made its money on....you guessed it, band rentals and sheet music), or are owned by doctors who are looking for something (in state college, I remember a guy telling me that a doc owned the store - he was there with long hair and a beard and a t-shirt and said he just got balled out by the doc who owns the store for not making a 42% margin. That's community!!).

    The world changes. Stores can change with it or disappear. The ones who have survived here do lessons and rentals, and move used gear in and out. I'm not aware of any that survive mostly on selling guitars and don't ascribe to the sinking ship philosophy - that I'm doing something grand for the community by bailing a gallon out of a ship that takes on two for each one that I bail.

    That said, the local store that I bought most from when I was younger (and before the internet) had prices way below MAP to start - always did. When MAP came around it actually hurt them, at least from what they could put on tags and stick on the internet. Their competitive advantage was low cost structure and a reasonable owner, but MAP took away their ability to differentiate themselves from anyone else.
     
  2. Les H

    Les H Tele-Holic

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    I don't haggle "mom and pop" shops unless it's used equipment. I figure they're pretty solid on their new prices. I don't buy guitars once a month or even once a year but barely once a decade. Most times their smaller gear like pedals are in the ball park of internet prices. Is having what you want in your hand right now without the hassle of going home and ordering online worth an extra 5, 10, 20 dollars? Yeah for me it is.

    I had a local shop who knocked off 25% on larger purchases like guitars and amps if you paid cash the day of the sale. So yeah they had a pretty good mark up but at least they were willing to reward non credit buyers.

    Guitar Center on the other hand.... I'll admit I used Musicians Friend against them once. It was on my Twin Reverb. I bought it from GC, they were the same price. Salesman asked what I thought, "I like the amp, but I can get it from MF for your sticker price, minus sales tax and free shipping. What can you do"? He re-figured the price to include sales tax to come up to the sticker price. That kind of service keeps me coming back. No, I don't negotiate on everything I buy, but the sales tax on a twin reverb equaled a Peavey Bandit.
     
  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Some of us absolutely 100%!
    OK so some stuff can only be found MIC, and buying clothing for example it's just not possible to buy all locally made stuff.

    But consumers do have a choice!!!!

    And our choices are what determines our future.

    Amazon is just another Wal Mart buying the cheapest products, but unlike Wal Mart, selling them for higher than the cheapest prices, using baiting tactics to confuse customers into feeling like we get so much convenience!

    I've bought one "Asian knock off pedal" because there was no other option, a Mooer Elec Lady copy of the Electric Mistress. Maybe EHX has made a better version, but I no longer want that sound anyhow.

    The thing with the cheap Chinese knockoffs is that they cost about the same as a better built US/ UK/ Russian/ AU etc small builder clone, or with the more expensive clones, used prices get down to the disposable Chinese copies.
    (Some Chinese pedals are not disposable, but they are also not cheap.)

    To my view, the cheapest products are almost universally disposable!!!

    I'm unable to understand the myopic idea that cheap disposable products are a good deal.
    Disposable means you have to buy another one when it breaks.
    So a $30 disposable pedal is not cheap compared to a $60 small builder clone that will last as long as the same construction MXR pedals we still see in use from the '70s.

    Seems like most countries where the masses have some disposable income as well as hot & cold running water etc, also have small shops making pedals, pickups and even tube amps. In wide enough price ranges that most players can afford to buy local.

    Maybe part of the sense that we MUST get the cheapest possible price has to do with the idea that we need to buy what we want RIGHT NOW.

    We see kids post about which thing to buy when they have a small sum to spend.

    AFAIK kids have (or used to) always saved up to buy what they wanted, as opposed to buying a cheap disposable look alike ASAP.

    These days not only are many of us devoted to cheap knockoff products, but the devotion is so strong that there is a movement to hate on high quality products that will last a lifetime and still be good enough to pass on to the kids.

    Consumers hating on quality products.
    Think about that for a while.
    What the hell happened?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  4. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Nothin' to feel bad about. GC and MF are owned by the same parent company.

    For the first time I can remember, MF recently charged me tax. Of course they had threatened to all last year. :D But no tax for MF is officially dead and gone. That actually was a major motivation for me to buy online. An amp or guitar can be quite a bit of tax. I am guilty of tire kicking at stores. Not so much in recent years, but occasionally I still do. I haven't bought a new guitar or amp at a local store, or even a GC store, in years. Everything's been online. That may change a bit now, without the tax 'incentive'. Still, my local store doesn't carry guitars I want to buy. My next new guitar purchase will probably have to be a GC a couple of hours away. At least I'll be able to try it out first. I would prefer it be from our local store. But I want a gibson. So it won't be.

    EDIT: I'm thinking I'm gonna call the new Gibson CEO to see if Gibson could start selling at low volume mom-and-pop stores. Yeah, like that'll happen.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  5. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Price doesn't always equal quality.

    A lot of things have happened. I don't really have the time or money to change the world this week, as much I like to. My local store does not have Gibsons, so I have to go to a big retailer. The closest GC is two hours away, so I will likely still buy online. Although, the tax incentive may change that. And I buy cheap pedals because I think all pedals are overpriced, given the components, as well as simple and well-known circuit designs. Just because people like to build and/or buy pedals by hand, does not mean everyone should do it for a living. For ones that do, they are not any more entitled to selling their product than a worker in China is entitled to being paid for soldering parts in a factory. Same goes for booteek guitars and amps.

    Maybe we should all only buy used to reduce waste. But then mom and pop stores couldn't sell new gear. Then all the booteek makers will go out of business (the remaining ones that are still in business)! Ad infinitum...
     
  6. Les H

    Les H Tele-Holic

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    That's a bummer! Tells you how long since I ordered from them. Is everyone else charging sales tax now? Shipping still free?

    Oh well, not sure how much it will change the way I shop. 2 hour drive for any GC for me also . Still gotta pay sales tax there too plus fuel and you might as well splurge on a nice meal while you're in town. So it can be an expensive trip. Where I live if I phone order Musicians Friend before noon it will arrive the next day with standard shipping.

    I hear what you're saying on the limited selection at mom and pop shops. I stopped in one in Arkansas a couple years ago. Great owner who I enjoyed talking to for about 30 minutes. He was very passionate about getting kids back into music. But I got the sense that's who his equipment was aimed at. I did buy a Boss DS 1 from him and his price was spot on.

    He did have new Crate amps that were built in an actual crate like the very first ones. Not sure if they were a reproduction or hold overs from way back when. I don't know why I didn't ask?
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    We seem to have an IDEA of THE Mom & Pop store, but they can vary widely.
    Many small independent music stores do more used business than new, which provides the additional service of buying our used gear, as well as demo'ing gear, fixing gear, helping us operate unfamiliar gear and stocking gear to try etc.

    I find it hard to understand buying lower quality new when higher quality used is the same price. But online discount price buying pretty much leaves us little choice.

    Supporting local shops lets us compare the new to the used, and if it's a little more than we can afford at the moment, we can bring a few unused items in to close the gap.
    This worked for decades and can still work!

    Certainly some expensive products are not very good, just as some local brick & mortar guitar shops are not very good.

    I'm not sure your suggestion to "support factory workers in China" is terribly humane!
    Buying Chinese knockoff products does not improve the quality of life of the Chinese factory workers, and may in fact promote human rights abuse.

    When I lived in the Boston area there were numerous small independent local shops with big inventories of the Gibsons you want.
    In a day you could try out dozens (if not hundreds) of nice used Gibson guitars, though of course most were LP Standards.
    Gradually they shut down one by one, until there were zero in a previously flourishing used and new guitar market.
    True that the small shops didn't carry new top dollar guitars, but they had tons of used ones.
    Had customers kept trading in, selling and buying at these small businesses, they could still be operating, and we could still try before we buy.

    When we as the consumers chose to switch to online shopping, WE put the small shops out of business.
     
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  8. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    More and more online retailers are having to come on board on charge tax. As far as shipping goes, however, the bigger retailers still win. Easy to get free shipping for MF, GC, SA, SW, etc... Tougher to get free shipping for, say Mojotone or Amplified Parts, or anything from overseas.
     
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  9. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    I seriously don't know how any vendor can rely on used only nowadays, and still maintain a physical storefront. Maybe it's just been so long since I've seen one. I remember some fantastic ones back in the day. Pawnshops do more gun sales than instruments, I think. At least around here, anyway.

    In American and European lifestyle and labor standards, probably. In other countries' standards maybe not. But that wasn't my point.

    My local shop has no used Gibsons, and hasn't any for as long as I can remember. Quite a few come up in CL and FB in my area, though. Haven't ruled that out yet. That has its own issues. I would rather buy from a store, if I can.
     
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  10. Les H

    Les H Tele-Holic

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    Thank you for the info.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I worked at Main Drag Music in Brooklyn when it was a new tiny hole in the wall, opened with next to nothing for stock.
    Customers provided the stock by bringing in stuff to sell or trade and buying stuff we had, or buying strings/ straps etc from the limited new selection.
    I was the guitar tech and you could drop off a guitar on the way to work and pick it up on the way home.
    Didn't take very long to have a nice and ever changing selection of stock, eventually leading to outgrowing the space and hiring more staff.

    I suppose many small shops are in areas where there are few musicians, which is a separate problem. For my dollar I prefer to live where there are musicians, but that changed and now I do indeed have to travel 20-30 miles to either a GC or one of several independent music stores.

    For the first 5-10 years of playing I went through more cars than guitars, because guitars don't wear out and pretty much keep working until I think I need something different. I'm not sure the idea of having to drive to another town to buy a new guitar is really a legit complaint.
    How many times a week or a month do we really need a new guitar?

    Is constantly buying more and more guitars representative of the guitar market?

    Or are those buyers really a minority?
    Can most guitar players not manage to drive to another town in order to buy a guitar?
    I'm still not seeing the hardship in going to a brick & mortar to buy a guitar.

    While GC is indeed a part of a corporate giant, using them still supports brick & mortar businesses. Maybe I'm misguided here, but I'll go with a GC store before an online retailer, just to keep having that service in my nearby communities.

    Do we not buy new cars if we find the sales staff annoying?
    So many of the complaints don't make sense to me in terms of not shopping because of one or another annoyance.

    Seems like the big motivator is buying from the couch is just so comfy!
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's a mystery why many shop have so little good used gear.
    Maybe it's just that in your area very few guitar players have good gear?
    The best used gear does seem to be in areas where musicians are plentiful.

    And these days it seems like musicians are more and more Squier and Epi buyers, not as much buying what was once known as Pro gear.

    I suppose as gig opportunities dwindle, so will gigging players dwindle, and the market will be all hobby/ Squier/ Epi/ Joyo/ Biyang etc.
    Not that cheap and hobby are synonymous, just addressing the lack of local access top shelf used guitars.
     
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Actually I was in as a customer when another small shop opened, run by two merc bass players in Cambridge MA.
    They started out with all used gear and got lots of customers because most of us want to buy good used gear at a good local shop for a fair price.

    They added the new Traynor line, then the new Orange amps, then they were one of the first locals to stock the crazy new Zvex pedals.
    Had to double the size of the shop in a year or so.
    This was maybe 2000- 2005.

    We sold and traded in our used stuff and they seemed to make money.

    Seems like the surge of online discount guitar retail was what killed them though.
     
  14. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    American sense of Community has been disrupted by Industrialization, economic policy and cultural change.
    One source of community used to be the Church - as more and more churches lay empty Sunday mornings, fewer people are are together to interact, form bonds and see a common purpose.
    Another source used to be a local industry that employed large numbers of people who were also together sharing a common bond. Globalization has seriously impaired, if not destroyed, that.
    My community is becoming an immigrant community. The people moving in resist socialization, communicate in their own language and keep to themselves. Attempts at reaching out are usually rebuffed, not always politely. When people don't assimilate and keep their native culture then sense of community suffers, whatever the country.
    My opinion is going into a store, whether its a Mom and Pop or a chain like GC, Penny's, Macy's, using that salesperson's expertise, taking their time, and then buying online line is stealing from that person. Yeah, I know, Chain bad because of see above, but to me these are human beings with mouths to feed working there. I remember my daughter getting hosed at a retail job, doing all this work for people who would just return the stuff and go online. She was really trying to help these people and had nothing too show for it.
    Of course there are exceptions. Poor service churlish behavior, no you don't reward those but my recent experiences in retail have all been positive.
    I go online for items usually because they are not available locally. If I can get a tuner or strings, for sports jacket I like locally, I'll buy it there. I bought one guitar online 20 years ago because NO ONE from Ventura to San Diego had the Heritage I wanted.
    You asked "what say you?"
     
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  15. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

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    I think there's middle ground. I feel zero guilt about trying a guitar at GC and buying it elsewhere. I've given them TONS of business over the years, and they're still hands-down the best place to buy used gear. They always get their money from me in the end.

    The one local shop in town is so overpriced and under-stocked that I don't even bother going in. I honestly don't know how they keep the doors open, maybe through guitar lessons?

    I don't think I've ever knowingly gone into a place just to try something out, knowing full well that I'm going to buy it elsewhere though. I'm window shopping 99% of the time anyway, it never really crosses my mind.
     
  16. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    This is true, as Fender and Gibson now place requirements on retailers that most mom and pop merchants find impossible to meet. The inability to carry the most popular products - even more than customer shopping preferences - is killing these stores.
     
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  17. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's

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    Without listing gear I figure I'm about 75% brick and mortar/25% online. Most of those larger store purchases are Sam Ash, because price and availability are usually not comparable, but I make the effort for the Mom and Pops. It just doesn't usually work that way for larger items. I don't like it, but when the prices aren't within acceptable differences Mom and Pop regretfully lose.
     
  18. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    The lack of used gear in shops is due to the fact that most players sell their gear on CL, Reverb, Ebay, and FB, instead of to a shop, which will only give them 50% of its value on an outright sale, or maybe a little more on a trade. Even in shops that do consignment sales, the consignment fee is usually at least 20%.
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yeah I'd guess that's where the used gear is going, but at the same time we get tons of complaints here that CL is a huge PITA, nobody wants to pay, tire kickers, low ballers, scammers etc.

    I look on Reverb and the asking prices are higher than ebay and GC, so I seldom buy there unless an item is just nowhere else and the price is decent.

    I've also read that GC gives a decent price for our used gear, many report getting 60% though that's not been my experience, more like 50% as you said.

    Funny I left a couple of items at a local independent guitar shop (not a Mom & Pop, more of an aging rocker who used to tour heavily and retired, plus his wife), and the stuff sat there for years. Got a check a year ago and another check last week.
    Cool with me!
    They did take 30%.

    This shop is interesting in that it's a small rural town, stock is sort of teen oriented, but they have a recording studio for rental, guitar lessons, and a stage where students can get together and perform for family.
    Not sure quite how it's going but they stay in business.

    Service service service.
     
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