Music Player Network Home Guitar Player Magazine Keyboard Magazine Bass Player Magazine EQ Magazine
Topic Options
#2455988 - 12/12/12 06:31 AM when purchasing an amplifier at the music store...
Ramiro Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Chicago
sorry if this has been discussed before but I'm still new here but I'm wondering about the haggling part of it (which I absolutely abhor). if I find a nice tube amp for let's say $700 list, what should be my true take out the door price?

and does anyone have any recommendations on a good guitar tuner that will make it easy for me to open G tune as well (Keith Richards style)?

gracias

Top
GP Island
#2456004 - 12/12/12 07:17 AM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Ramiro]
Winston Psmith Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 1918
Loc: Inside the Beltway
List price is usually the same as the MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) - part of the way stores can claim to offer deep discounts (40% OFF LIST PRICE!!) is that no one actually pays list price for anything, anywhere. Look at the tags on most gear, and they'll say something like "XYZ 123 AMP Only $499.99 - $699 LIST!" You get the idea . . .

Now, if you're talking about the tagged price, the price an item is really marked at, it depends, there isn't exactly a number or a percentage. First of all, you have a lot more leeway if you're a good, regular customer, who already has a relationship with one of the sales people. Also, some places will give you a bit of a discount for a cash purchase, as opposed to a credit card sale, because it saves them time & money if you're not using a credit card. Second, there's often more room to deal on used gear, as opposed to new gear. It does help if you do some research, and compare prices online, at least you'll have a better idea what something should cost.

If you're not a regular customer, don't come out of the gate asking "How much can I get it for?" Find out if it's already on close-out sale, or holiday blow-out price, in which case, it's probably about as low as it's going to go - you might get a cable or cheap footswitch thrown in with your purchase. If it's the last holdout of last year's model, or a floor demo, they're probably looking to move it, but again, there's no fixed amount. If the price seems a little high, compared to what you've seen in your research, that gives you a starting point.

As for tuners, the secret word is "Chromatic". Any good chromatic tuner will help your tune your guitar to any tuning you like. Get something with a good, bright display you can easily read in daylight, or on a dark stage. Don't get one of the really cheap tuners you'll see, they may work but they don't last, and consider a tuner pedal, if you think you're going to want to re-tune on the fly.
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/figures-of-speech

Top
#2456020 - 12/12/12 07:48 AM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Winston Psmith]
Fred_C Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 06/12/10
Posts: 944
Loc: PA
+1 on everything Winston wrote.

You will probably find that most retailers sell new gear at or near "MAP". This is the advertised price that, as Winston says, gets you 30-40% off list. This is the number upon which the retailer's cost is calculated - not List Price. If you intend to purchase during this holiday season, you can get 15% off at Musician's Friend.

I absolutely agree with Winston regarding the clear advantage of a chromatic tuner. It should probably be noted that tuning to "Open G" (D-G-D-G-B-D) only requires a standard tuner because there are no sharps or flats in the tuning. But, buy a chromatic. I own a Sabine MT-9000 and like it very much. It's only about $25 or so and it works very well.
_________________________
If you play cool, you are cool.

Top
#2456025 - 12/12/12 07:54 AM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Winston Psmith]
Scott Fraser Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 3912
Loc: Los Angeles
And another price thing; do your internet research. You'll find simply Googling for "xxxx price" will bring up a ton of dealers, all of whom are charging exactly the same price. That's because they all do the same internet research, they expect you will too & they all want to not be the most expensive guy on the net. Pricing has become very uniform in recent years, especially with fairly recent gear. Older stuff which has been on the market for a number of years will have a bit more flexibility, & then there are always exceptions, like Black Friday specials, or deep discounts for closeout or discontinued items.
_________________________
Scott Fraser

Top
#2456123 - 12/12/12 02:11 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Scott Fraser]
Larryz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 5408
Loc: Hwy 49, California
+1 on Internet research...tell the guy at the music store you found the same amp for $700 at xyz on-line and ask if he can match it or get close to your price as you like to shop local...

on tuners, I love my SNARK snap-on...they run about $20 to $29 and work great for all kinds of tunings. They are very accurate, easy to read, colorful lights, etc...

Top
#2456154 - 12/12/12 05:20 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Larryz]
Minte Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 60
Loc: Madison
THe dealer I got the tele from threw in a snark. Best tuner I have ever used.

Top
#2456155 - 12/12/12 05:22 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Larryz]
Ramiro Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Chicago
Winston! bringing it like The Wolf! thank u, Sir!

Top
#2456159 - 12/12/12 05:35 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Larryz]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 22277
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
And don't be afraid to check out used tube-amps. If one seems to have tubes that need to be replaced- due to wear-and-tear, such as exhibiting microphonic ringing or rattling noises, etc., not necessarily concerning your tastes- and the price seems steep, use it as a point in trying to bring the price down by a reasonable amount.
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top
#2456189 - 12/12/12 07:44 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Ramiro Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Chicago
is this amp a tube amp?

Vox AC15VR Valve Reactor 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp Black

Top
#2456190 - 12/12/12 07:48 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Bluesape Moderator Online   content
10k Club

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 11428
Loc: Ottawa
Before settling on an amp, make sure you like how it sounds with your own favorite guitar. Focus on the clean tone. A lot of salespeople will try to wow you with the gain stage. If it has too many knobs and buttons, move on to another one. Don't buy it if you can't get YOUR sound in the store.
_________________________
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!

Top
#2456211 - 12/12/12 09:01 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Bluesape]
Terrell Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 07/28/08
Posts: 1722
Loc: Austin, TX
If you're going to buy at a store, make sure you know what the return policy is. If the policy is wack, move on to a store that you can return the amp.

Get the amp home and crank it up, play at gig volume, play at house volume, see if you can dial in what you want. If not, return it and try again! You can't get a feel for how an amp will respond on your rig, with your hands in your environment without having the amp for a bit.

Don't feel bad about taking it back if it's not perfect! It's a big investment...

Top
#2456231 - 12/13/12 01:32 AM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Ramiro]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 22277
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Bluesape and Terrell know what they're talking about and have posted very good advice above. (Actually, everybody above has.) cool

Originally Posted By: Ramiro
is this amp a tube amp?

Vox AC15VR Valve Reactor 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp Black


Yes and no. It's an amp that uses a tube in its circuits, for feel and tone that emulates the response of an all-tube guitar amp. I have not tried one, but I would like to. From Vox:

Originally Posted By: VoxAmps.com
VR Valve Reactor
Originally designed for the critically acclaimed Valvetronix modelling amplifiers, the Valve Reactor circuit places a 12AX7 vacuum tube (or “valve”) into the power stage. Known as a dual-triode tube, the 12AX7 is actually two tubes in one. Our engineers have configured this tube to act as a small power amplifier. This circuit provides all of the tonality and feel of an all tube amp. Too small to be used as an amplifier on its own, the output of this Valve Reactor circuit is fed to a high-quality solid state power amp that adds no tone coloration to the signal. This power amplifier also has some special circuits that feed the changing loudspeaker impedance information back to the Valve Reactor. This last interaction of tube, amp, and speaker provides the lively sound and feel that defines an all tube amplifier.
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top
#2456568 - 12/14/12 12:34 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
russclan Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 283
Hey Ramiro,

Firstly, +1 to Winston's post. In general you can assume that the store paid at most half of the MSRP, and this is true of most items...guitars, amps, mics, pedals, whatever. For certain items and certain stores, their cost may be even lower. Now, there are exceptions to this, mostly regarding the smaller boutique companies, but it's not necessarily limited to them. Mesa, for example, basically sets the price for their stuff, and that's what the store sells it for, period... from New York to L.A., that's it.

As has been mentioned, go online and check all the big chain prices. GC, Sweetwater, Zzounds (I'm partial to them, as they will price match and then undercut a bit*), Musician's Friend, etc. Also check Amazon for good measure. Since you're in Chicago and the sales tax is over 10%, subtract that from the best online price you find, and offer the store that price. Using the amp you mentioned in your post (Vox AC15VR), I found it at zzounds for 379.00 (didn't check the others, but they're probably very close in price). In the city, you'll pay almost 40 bucks in sales tax. That's crazy, imo. I'd offer the store $340.00 and walk if they said no.

Now, GC has a deal going on where you save $50 on items $299 or more, which sounds like a better deal than what I just mentioned. But the asterisk in the ad leads to a statement where they tell you that some manufacturers have chosen not to participate in the deal. Near the bottom of the statement you'll find a url (no link - you have to copy and paste it, go figure) to the list of companies who've opted out. The list is quite huge and includes Vox as well as most of the other big names. So the way I read the ad, it means "Save a bunch of money on everything except the good stuff". Will GC find a way to make the deal happen anyway? Maybe...I bought my Taylor acoustic from GC and got a very large chunk of savings...much larger than I could've gotten online, even factoring in the sales tax, and they weren't "supposed" to do it. I'm not sure what they did to make the deal happen, and I don't care. If they balk, that's fine - use the store as a testing lab for everything you're interested in and then buy it online.

Quick caveat story about brick and mortar stores (chain or otherwise). In the early 90's I was in the market for a Peavey Classic 30 combo. I wasn't 100% sure that that's what I wanted (I'm OCD about researching my options, lol), so I was back and forth quite a bit. I settled on the Peavey and went to the store (local place) to make the deal. I walk over to the amp and notice cigarette ashes and a faint burn mark near the controls. The store had a no smoking policy, so I asked the owner about it. He took a look at it, blew the ashes off and shrugged, saying he didn't know how they'd gotten there and that he was sure the amp was fine. He asked me if I was ready to close the deal and I said I was, but I'd only buy it as a used amp, priced accordingly. He steadfastly refused, so I politely told him to pound sand. I've not done business there since, and I make it a point to steer people away when I get the chance. I later found out from an employee (a former co-worker and friend) of the store that the owner's loser, burnout brother (a smoker) had taken the amp to a jam session, and regularly did so with various other items in the store whenever he felt like it. Ever since then, my personal opinion has been that everything in a music store that is not unopened and sealed in its original packaging is used, period. The fact that it has never been sold means absolutely nothing.

Good luck with your purchase, and let us know what you decide to get.

*I'm not associated with Zzounds, just a satisfied customer.
_________________________
My ears are haunted.

Top
#2456653 - 12/14/12 08:13 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Bluesape]
picker Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13124
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
The Vox amp is a hybrid amp. It has a tube preamp stage, and a solid stage power amp stage. All-tube amps tend to be easier to get a warmer, more complex sound out of, which is good if that's what you are looking for. They also tend to be much more expensive than Hybrid & solid state amps. And hybrid & solid state amps can sound sharper and more defined, but also can be a bit more sterile sounding.
You need to used your ears. It helps to know what guitarists you like to listen to, and what sort of sound their gear makes. Even if you can't afford their gear, you will very likely find something that will get you close when you learn how to operate it.
_________________________
Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.




Top
#2456659 - 12/14/12 08:49 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 22277
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: picker
It has a tube preamp stage, and a solid stage power amp stage.


Not exactly:

Originally Posted By: Ramiro
is this amp a tube amp?

Vox AC15VR Valve Reactor 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp Black


Yes and no. It's an amp that uses a tube in its circuits, for feel and tone that emulates the response of an all-tube guitar amp. I have not tried one, but I would like to. From Vox:

Originally Posted By: VoxAmps.com
VR Valve Reactor
Originally designed for the critically acclaimed Valvetronix modelling amplifiers, the Valve Reactor circuit places a 12AX7 vacuum tube (or “valve”) into the power stage. Known as a dual-triode tube, the 12AX7 is actually two tubes in one. Our engineers have configured this tube to act as a small power amplifier. This circuit provides all of the tonality and feel of an all tube amp. Too small to be used as an amplifier on its own, the output of this Valve Reactor circuit is fed to a high-quality solid state power amp that adds no tone coloration to the signal. This power amplifier also has some special circuits that feed the changing loudspeaker impedance information back to the Valve Reactor. This last interaction of tube, amp, and speaker provides the lively sound and feel that defines an all tube amplifier.
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top
#2456717 - 12/15/12 11:04 AM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
picker Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 13124
Loc: Near 12th Street and Vine...
Learn something new every day. Thanx Caev!
_________________________
Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.




Top
#2456766 - 12/15/12 07:39 PM Re: when purchasing an amplifier at the music store... [Re: picker]
Caevan O'Shite Offline
20k Club

Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 22277
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: picker
Learn something new every day. Thanx Caev!


Hey, I hope I didn't come off like a jerk or know-it-all, maybe I should've posted that differently, or not at all, my friend!

(You didn't say anything that made me feel that you were offended, I just couldn't blame you if you did! smile )
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Top


Moderator:  A String, Bluesape, myles_rose