Why dont music stores set up their guitars?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by schmintan, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    28
    Posts:
    2,402
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Location:
    Land of Mary
    There’s a great mom and pop shop around me that always has their guitars setup to reasonable standards and offer the free setup to preference with purchase
    As far as the op I’m sure fender sets them to factory specs but going from multiple climate changes on its way to Ireland will do that (bowing) to a guitar, now it should be up to the store to at least take 10 minutes and get it back within factory spec
    And I completely agree that playing a poorly setup guitar would definitely sour any chance of a purchase, how can you tell if it’s a bad setup or a complete lemon without making adjustments yourself then and there which shouldn’t be up to the consumer at that point
     
  2. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,696
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    I don't know about anyone else, but I can tell if I like a guitar enough to purchase it even if the action is a little high, and I've NEVER found one that had intonation so far off as to render it unplayable, in over 50 years of buying guitars. And there is a return period from every store I've ever bought from. What about buying online, which a majority of folks seem to do now? They use the local dealer as the demo station, but then buy from Amazon, SW, or MF just to save a couple of bucks. How uncool is that?
     
    Rockinvet likes this.
  3. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,725
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    In space with Ziggy
    I expect the guitars at the store to have filthy dead strings on them jacked up action and bad intonation. The high end stuff isn't any better. It helps if you do your own setups and can tell what the guitar will be capable of with a decent setup. I use the strings as a straight edge and eyeball everything to get a idea of how the setup will turn out. On acoustics and set necks this is way more important.

    I like a low action on my acoustic and the majority of acoustics in the store cant provide that.
    Then of the few that can you have to find one that sounds great. Not an easy task when selections of one model are usually limited. The best way i've found is to find the wholesaler and see if you can try a bunch of the same model out from their stock as they often have 20 or more to choose from.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  4. smoothrecluse

    smoothrecluse Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Age:
    36
    Posts:
    157
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2020
    Location:
    Panther City, TX
    I can tune a guitar, and I can set one up too, but large retail stores are in the business of merchandising and sales, and it behooves them to make the shopping experience enjoyable. When I worked retail, we constantly stocked shelves from the racks above, faced products so they were easier to see, and kept everything as presentable as possible.
    I understand that many mom and pop shops are staffed by one person who have to keep a lot of balls in the air, and may not have time to set up every instrument. I’m fine with that. But I’ve been to shops with teenage employees having honest-to-god nerf gun fights while I tried to tune up their dusty guitars, and my local GC’s aren’t much better. A lot of specialty shops -guitar stores, computer shops, gun shops etc. - seem to gatekeep and have disdain for their own customers, and that just seems crazy to me when online competition is so fierce.
     
    RomanS likes this.
  5. DrBeezus

    DrBeezus Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    117
    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Location:
    Belmar, NJ
    My store Always sets up their guitars. If I go in there and buy one it goes right over to their techs and they set it up on the spot before I walk out with it.
     
    NewKid likes this.
  6. DrBeezus

    DrBeezus Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    117
    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Location:
    Belmar, NJ
    Claims. I just got a high end tele from them two weeks ago that was unplayable when it arrived. Those checked boxes on the card they send mean nothing.
     
  7. Coachmoe

    Coachmoe TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    9
    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Location:
    Uniontown
    One thing that bugs me about Fender guitars in general is how sharp the fret ends can be. I realize humidity plays a part in this but most Squiers and many Mexican models are horrible. you can really rip your hands up. To me, they should be able to knock those sharp ends WAY down before they ship.

    In the last year I've bought 3 new Gibsons 2 SG's and a Goldtop, all with neck binding and all 3 had no issues. I bought a new Brad Paisley Mexican tele and the fret ends had to be knocked off.

    Finally, no matter who I buy a guitar from, the first thing I always do is to take it to my shop and have my guys do an alignment and set up. I use .009's on all my guitars and on all my Gibson's, I top wrap the strings. The shop I use, I've gone there since the 70's and they know how to adjust for personal tastes.
     
  8. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    354
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2015
    Location:
    Dee-troit City
    The good ones do- in fact, that’s a good way to evaluate a dealer.
     
    stevemc and Marc Morfei like this.
  9. c.winn

    c.winn Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    509
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville
    When I worked repair for GC and Sam Ash, there was no incentive to work on store inventory.

    I made a low hourly rate, with a commission on my repairs. If I spent time on a non-commissioned repair, I was not making as much money as I could. The hourly rate was awful, and I needed the commission to get by.

    At Sam Ash, I was using all my own tools and materials, too.

    I think GC wanted their repair techs to work on X number of store stock instruments a week, but I don’t remember it being a priority. I didn’t work there long, though.

    At Sam Ash, I would clean up some of the used guitars, but really only handled a store stock instrument if a sale was riding on it. Even then, those interactions were usually based on my relationship with the salesperson. The ESP (Extended Service Plan) was a great deal for the customer - 4 setups a year for $89. I normally charged $50/setup. Every time I did an ESP setup, which was usually 6-8 a week, I made nothing in commission.

    At Gibson, intonation wasn’t even checked. We set action & relief, shipped it. I don’t know what they’re like now.

    Maintaining a box store full of guitars is absurd. Maybe a small shop could do better. I do know that music store staff of all type spend waaaay longer tuning guitars up from drop c standard whatever.


    I once had a customer call me and demand to know “What bridge pickup do I put in my guitar so it sounds like a 1969 Strat into a ‘72 Ampeg?”

    This was all he said when I answered the phone.

    And he really thought I would know the exact answer.


    All music stores have a lot going on. It’s a constant struggle just to unlock the doors.
     
    Wildcard_35 likes this.
  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    11,771
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    for the same reason car dealerships charge YOU for the transportation charge to get their inventory to the dealership.. then charge YOU for them to clean the crud it accumulates sitting around waiting for a buyer.. It's commerce.. while such charges are ALWAYS a part of the final cost asked... sticking it on the price sheet as an "add on" is kind of a challenge to negotiate those costs..

    To me the intonation should be a part of the "displaying" of the instrument... the setup.. well that's another thing.. the vast majority of guys coming in to "window shop" don't have a clue, and can barely stumble through Stairway, If those guys pick up a correctly setup guitar, it's gonna buzz, rattle, and generally, in their opinion, suck.. and the sale his lost... thus the guitars are setup "loosely" so the "kid" can pick a few notes without the frets buzzing . . YOU, the better guitarist, should realize that getting the guitar "dialed in" to your specs is part of the experience.. like adjusting the seat in a car..

    r
     
    MilwMark and bcorig like this.
  11. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,363
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2017
    Location:
    Texas
    QC is done by the consumer, dealers sell what they buy, manufactures grease the squeaky wheels...
     
  12. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,866
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Location:
    Chino Hills CA
    That’s a good point. I suppose one might expect a just-below-Custom Shop might get more attention anyway. Just exercising what is left of my wits.
     
  13. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,866
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Location:
    Chino Hills CA
    Tuning a guitar in a noisy GC is difficult for me. And Guitar Tuna goes nuts.
     
    Wildcard_35 likes this.
  14. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,168
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    In the South
    This is a single large store. You expect them to set up all of those guitars the way you (and probably only you) like them?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    DougM likes this.
  15. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Posts:
    16,568
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    Our neighbor across the street owned a music store in town. I spent a billion hours in there. When our family moved to Portland in 1970, the owner told me to check out LD Heater and tell him that he (the owner) sent me.

    Heater was the west coast distributor for Norlin (Gibson) and other brands (not Fender). I met with LD Heater, the person, and asked him if he had any openings for a 17-year old guitar setup tech. He may have stifled a smirk, I'm not sure. So he directed me to a mom and pop store. I get to the store, tell them that Lyle D Heater sent me to inquire about a job. Turns out they needed a guitar teacher, and I did a little audition of reading and chords, and was hired. Not hired per se, but gave private lessons in the store.

    Over time, I started dinking around with student guitars, usually spending no more than a minute or two on something. After a while, I sent the students, many of whom were renting guitars from the store, to the store techs to set up. At some point, the owner thought I was making too much work for the techs, so I cooled it.

    Setting up inexpensive guitars in the early 70s was a huge pain.
     
    Wildcard_35 likes this.
  16. Mpd2378

    Mpd2378 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    60
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2017
    Location:
    Uk
    I bought an eastman t64 gb from Richards guitars in uk and it comes with a full set up in, including any fret work required to make your new guitar fell superb straight out the box
    Great service imo.
     
  17. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,696
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Clip on tuners, which is what everyone uses these days, are unaffected by extraneous sounds.
     
    bcorig likes this.
  18. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,432
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Location:
    europe
    I haven't seen a guitar like that in a guitar shop in decades.

    Most of the ones I've seen recently have very low action and lots of fret buzz.

    On most of the guitars I bought recently I had to raise the action. The string gauge is not always too thin, but sometimes it is, not as often as before though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  19. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,037
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    Mine did. I thought that was a fairly standard courtesy thing dealerships did. I guess I'm wrong on that.

    As to the OP, I think guitars should be at least reasonably set up. I don't care if there are some crazy customers who want super high action. They are the minority. You want the customers to pick up something and have it easy to play, off the rack. Get the action as low as you can without buzzing. Offer free "full" setups or reasonable cost at sale. If every guitar needs some bridge or nut work to just get it playable for the average person, then maybe you should reconsider the brands/models you stock. Just sayin'.

    FWIW, even the gits from internet I've bought were more playable out of the box than many I've seen on racks at stores. Just sayin'.
     
  20. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,037
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    Well, in my snowflake world, my money goes to shop that has what I want and doesn't treat me like.... well... like this.

    Because capitalism and freedom, etc...
     
    Electric Warrior likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.