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#2844575 - 03/25/17 06:55 PM Good Music Stores in LA Area
Husker Offline
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I see there are a handful of posters here from the LA area. I travel to LA for work on a semi-regular basis, but this upcoming trip I'm taking an extra day to hang out. I was hoping someone could point me in the direction of a decent store or two to visit. Was hoping to find a place or two that has keyboard/synths on display that you can play around with. I live in Alabama, so I don't get much opportunity to visit decent music stores.

I don't mind driving around - I always take the time to drive to Amoeba while I am there.
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#2844576 - 03/25/17 06:59 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Husker]
Markyboard Offline
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Perfect Circuit Audio


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#2844580 - 03/25/17 07:29 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Markyboard]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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What Marky said...and then go get pizza at Dino's.

dB
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#2844593 - 03/25/17 08:49 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Bryce]
elsongs Offline
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Registered: 01/15/11
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Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
I third that motion. Perfect Circuit Audio is like synth Disneyland. And it's not that far from Amoeba, either.

(I thought you said you live in Alhambra not Alabama, lol)

If you like playing with vintage gear, there's also Future Music in Highland Park (not horribly far from Perfect Circuit if you take the 134 freeway east).

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#2844599 - 03/25/17 09:11 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: elsongs]
zxcvbnm098 Online   content
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Guitar Center on Sunset has the largest mainstream keyboard selection in LA I have found.....

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#2844605 - 03/25/17 10:19 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: zxcvbnm098]
Barryjam Offline
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Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 185
Loc: Auburn, Northern CA
Sorry to go OT: Here's where I shed a tear for the memory of WLA Music on Santa Monica Blvd. I loved that store, for me 1980 to 2010. But I read it was open for 70 years.
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#2844606 - 03/25/17 10:44 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Barryjam]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Edited by Dave Ferris (03/26/17 03:05 PM)
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#2844607 - 03/25/17 10:46 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Barryjam]
zxcvbnm098 Online   content
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I think it was 46 years it was open.

I shed a tear for Goodman Music. That was THE keyboard store in the LA area in the 80's.

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#2844609 - 03/25/17 10:48 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: zxcvbnm098]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Edited by Dave Ferris (03/26/17 03:05 PM)
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#2844618 - 03/26/17 01:16 AM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Ferris]
Shamanzarek Offline
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When I moved to California from Oregon in 1973 one of my band's first gigs was at Gazzari's. Hanging around Hollywood I somehow found my way over to Maury Stein Music on Vine St. My very first musical purchase in California was there. A new Hohner Combo Pianet for $300. Many years later I found what a legendary place Stein's was with the place being a hangout for nearly every major Jazz musician and singer of the 40's, 50's, and 60's.

Another music store was just down the street from Gazzari's. Valley Sound I think it was called probably located on the corner of Sunset and Doheny. What impressed me was that they had a Mellotron 300.


Edited by Shamanzarek (03/26/17 11:29 AM)
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#2844629 - 03/26/17 05:18 AM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: zxcvbnm098]
Markyboard Offline
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Originally Posted By: zxcvbnm098
I think it was 46 years it was open.

I shed a tear for Goodman Music. That was THE keyboard store in the LA area in the 80's.


Ah yes, Goodmans and Nadines - it was always the "sloppily" arranged keyboard rooms/stores that were the best because you never knew what you would find. Remember young'ns, life was quite different before internet. Boxes piled everywhere with demo unit set up for us rats in amaze(ment). Nadines was wonderful - anyone remember Mike Prince?

Always felt there was shenanigans going on with Goodmans with their Going Out of Business or Moving sales every month or 2 (so it seemed). Often wondered if they were dealing gray market stuff. And then their relationship to West LA - never quite understood what was going on there. In my experience West LA was like car dealers; good deals to be had but watch out once they had your money. Used to be highly entertained when I'd overhear them working it with some unsuspecting customer facepalm. Fortunately for me there was 1 and maybe 2 decent people at West LA. They also had a very good assortment of keyboards until the near end when they seemed to go main stream.

Two other good ones from the past: Mic Works and Coast Recording.

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#2844688 - 03/26/17 12:39 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Markyboard]
Dave Ferris Offline
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/


Edited by Dave Ferris (03/26/17 03:05 PM)
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#2844690 - 03/26/17 01:06 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
You know most of the guys that worked at Goodman's- and then when it became W LA- were rock band guys. In reality they did not want to be there. It was only temporary till their next band or tour.

Many of them gave their friends deals at cost or even below , then got finally got fired because of it. But it could be years before they were called on it. I was a friend of a friend of the keyboard manager at Goodmans and the deals I got were a minimum of 33% off..often it stretched to 40%. And one or two occasions I recall it at 45%, and even a tad over. Pretty crazy. This went on for a good 5 years till one day I went in to price something and he was gone.

Things were WAY looser back then for sure. Now you have everything being corporate and they're scrutinizing every dime. Also you have 20 and 30 somethings getting into sales and moving up as a career. These people might barely play an instrument and more then likely have never played a gig in their life. That would have been more rare back then.

...and you guys wonder why these stores are gone now? facepalm grin idea

As some of you know - dealer cost on MI products is 30 to 40% below MSRP - usually closer to 40%. 10% over cost is not enough to keep a store open...or, at least, one with a well paid staff that sees the value in taking the time to get educated and be something other than price-based clerks who try to "sell" whatever makes them the most margin/the few things that they do have on the shelf.

Deals below 10% profit becoming the norm is gonna result in a warehouse-type environment with clerks who can quote price and special order what you want because they can't afford to stock comprehensively. LA is actually the perfect example - this city used to be keyboard heaven. Now, outside the chain stores, as you can see above it's not so easy finding a place to demo a bunch of the main stream models and brands, and synths/boutique stuff are even tougher to find - Perfect Circuit is definitely a unique animal, with Big City Music being the only other local shop I can think of that's close.

Not that I spend any time at all thinking about this subject... wink

dB

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#2844693 - 03/26/17 01:15 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Bryce]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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Edited by Dave Ferris (03/26/17 03:04 PM)
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#2844694 - 03/26/17 01:19 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
No I realize all that and can see why everything tightened up and went corporate.

But nevertheless it sure was a fun time. grin rockit thu

...as long as you weren't one of the people who owned the store..... wink

I'm not busting your balls, Dave - it's totally reasonable to want the best price, of course...but math is what it is. idk

You kind of hit one of the nails on the head regarding the downfall of the local dealers - the guys who were knowledgeable about gear weren't necessarily smart business guys, and many just loved giving deals to their friends and other fellow musicians. A nice sentiment, to be sure...but not necessarily an ideal environment for a business to grow. eek

dB
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#2844697 - 03/26/17 01:28 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Ferris]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Edited by Dave Ferris (03/26/17 03:04 PM)
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#2844699 - 03/26/17 01:50 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Ferris]
Markyboard Offline
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I always wondered how music retail came to be like cars where you negotiate your best price. Of course not every dealer did this but it sure was the norm with most back in the 80s/90s- and not just in LA. And yes there are those that will blame the cost savvy customers for their ultimate demise (not pointing at you Dave), but wasn't it ultimately the dealers that set up this model? Which ultimately brought in the mega retailer(s) that could undercut all the little guys? The same mega-dealer that some here now defend as the brick and mortar stores we should support.

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#2844705 - 03/26/17 02:44 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Markyboard]
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Markyboard
I always wondered how music retail came to be like cars where you negotiate your best price.

Legend holds that Benny Cintioli of Cintioli Music in Philadelphia was the first dealer to start the discounting thing.

Quote:
Of course not every dealer did this but it sure was the norm with most back in the 80s/90s- and not just in LA.

Totally true. In the 80's, I worked in Boston at two of three stores that were within a half mile of each other - all driving distance from NH where there was no sales tax.

Been there, done that... rolleyes

Quote:
And yes there are those that will blame the cost savvy customers for their ultimate demise (not pointing at you Dave)

Good, because I only attribute part of the responsibility (different from blame) to the customers...who, as I said above, have every right to try to get the best price on anything they buy when they perceive its possible to do so; however, action does in fact beget reaction.

Quote:
but wasn't it ultimately the dealers that set up this model?

Partly, yes...of course. There were definitely places that opened up with the intention of being the lowest priced option, figuring they didn't need - or even want - service if they have that.

Quote:
Which ultimately brought in the mega retailer(s) that could undercut all the little guys? The same mega-dealer that some here now defend as the brick and mortar stores we should support.

You're leaving the biggest factor out of the equation - the internet. idea

Not just the sales tax/ability to function as a ~10% up warehouse dealer thing either - there's a much bigger factor. The internet made it possible for the manufacturers to create and manage web sites where they themselves could educate and demonstrate much better than any dealer ever could, reducing the dealer's importance in the marketplace.

This was reduced even further by (can you see it coming) internet forums, where people could go to discuss their potential and current purchases with other end users without fear of being preyed upon by sales guys. Manufacturers were also given an additional ability to interface with customers on the forums, this time on a personal level. More than a few companies were actually born from this aspect.

The end result is that by the time someone looking for a product who has the luxury to take advantage of these resources gets to a dealer - most of whom are trying to stay current on a ton of hardware and software products that change way too quickly for them to keep up - that the potential end user pretty much always knows a bunch more than the sales guy.

One more side of this - if you're researching a product and you've been able to talk to someone from the manufacturer (or the manufacturers themselves, in some cases) and get your questions answered by the folks who actually make the product, how can a sales guy hope to compete/hold value worth paying for? Don't get me wrong - it can totally be done...but it takes a decent amount of effort and $ to find a way to provde extra levels of service - even more challenging with slim margins.

dB


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#2844709 - 03/26/17 03:28 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Bryce]
davedoerfler Offline
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Registered: 12/27/12
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Loc: thin ice
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce

Legend holds that Benny Cintioli of Cintioli Music in Philadelphia was the first dealer to start the discounting thing.

OT
of the many, many, music retail stores I've ever been to, I have never seen so many accordions on display as that store, more than 2 dozen I'm sure. rawk Can't remember exactly as I last visited over 15 years ago. facepalm
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#2844710 - 03/26/17 03:29 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Dave Bryce]
Markyboard Offline
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Registered: 02/10/01
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Loc: Springfield, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce

You're leaving the biggest factor out of the equation - the internet. idea

Not just the sales tax/ability to function as a ~10% up warehouse dealer thing either - there's a much bigger factor. The internet made it possible for the manufacturers to create and manage web sites where they themselves could educate and demonstrate much better than any dealer ever could, reducing the dealer's importance in the marketplace.

This was reduced even further by (can you see it coming) internet forums, where people could go to discuss their potential and current purchases with other end users without fear of being preyed upon by sales guys. Manufacturers were also given an additional ability to interface with customers on the forums, this time on a personal level. More than a few companies were actually born from this aspect.

The end result is that by the time someone looking for a product who has the luxury to take advantage of these resources gets to a dealer - most of whom are trying to stay current on a ton of hardware and software products that change way too quickly for them to keep up - that the potential end user pretty much always knows a bunch more than the sales guy.

One more side of this - if you're researching a product and you've been able to talk to someone from the manufacturer (or the manufacturers themselves, in some cases) and get your questions answered by the folks who actually make the product, how can a sales guy hope to compete/hold value worth paying for? Don't get me wrong - it can totally be done...but it takes a decent amount of effort and $ to find a way to provde extra levels of service - even more challenging with slim margins.

dB





Yeah - great points Dave. Even prior to the internet I think I was in the small minority that would go straight to the manufacturer when I had questions or discovered a bug. I got to know the tech service guys at a number of companies pretty well. Even back then I don't recall any uber-geek sales people worth going back to although I agree in general they were more knowledgeable about products then you find today - probably way more knowledgeable.

The sales tax advantage with purchase out of state was obviously around prior to the internet but I guess it wasn't common knowledge/practice. And as I recall they probably took that into account as LA seemed to still be the better or at least equivalent deal. My original DX7 was the only thing that comes to mind having purchased it at Sam Ash in Florida. But that was because of the waiting list at the time. Man did California get a lot of my money back in the day.

Really interesting perspective regarding the forums and manufacturers having the advantage to provide instructional videos and such. I can see how that makes it extremely tough for any retailer to do similar although I think we all know of one that does a very good job with this. Except I'm still waiting for the video where the presenter gets all pissed off, opens up the keyboard and goes to town with the soldering iron. grin

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#2844712 - 03/26/17 03:37 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Markyboard]
davedoerfler Offline
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Originally Posted By: Markyboard

The sales tax advantage with purchase out of state was obviously around prior to the internet but I guess it wasn't common knowledge/practice.


Well, it was in NYC. Washington Music Center was booming with business to the big apple in the 80's and 90's. Customers would go to Sam Ash or Manny's on 42nd Street, try out the gear, decided what they want, them went home and called WMC. Most shipments got to NYC overnight via standard UPS. The customer did pay shipping, but it was far less that NY sales tax and a taxi home. Sure couldn't carry a Korg O1W Pro X home on the subway. laugh They just waited and a guy/gal in a brown uniform would knock on their apartment door and deliver the gear. This was also safer for the customer.
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#2844727 - 03/26/17 04:24 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: davedoerfler]
Shamanzarek Offline
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Registered: 08/21/13
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Loc: NJ
Prior to the internet there were catalog retailers such as Warehouse Sound and others that would advertise lower prices than local music stores. Often you could use this info to get a local retailer to come down in price. When I was shopping for an ARP Odyssey in 1973 I received a catalog with a price of $989 and another catalog had a slightly higher price. I called some local music stores and told them what I could get it for by mail order. Most were willing to come close to the catalog price so I purchased my ARP locally.

In the 60's and 70's there was a store in my home town in Oregon that could get almost any kind of consumer item such as appliances, electronics, and musical instruments for much lower prices than dealers. They quoted me a really good price on a Leslie 925 speaker and a friend got a great quote on a drum set. The music stores in town weren't willing to meet or beat the price. I was almost ready to buy the Leslie when my Organ repairman cut me an even better deal.


Edited by Shamanzarek (03/27/17 09:37 AM)
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#2844779 - 03/26/17 09:02 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: zxcvbnm098]
elsongs Offline
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Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 223
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: zxcvbnm098
Guitar Center on Sunset has the largest mainstream keyboard selection in LA I have found.....


Meh, they ain't like they used to. 70% of their keyboards are digital grands with built-in speakers, 15% are romplers and modern analogs/VAs (which means one Moog Sub 37 and a bunch of Roland Aira stuff) and the rest are USB MIDI controllers not connected to anything that are on static display.

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#2844783 - 03/26/17 09:12 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Shamanzarek]
elsongs Offline
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Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 223
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Shamanzarek
When I moved to California from Oregon in 1973 one of my band's first gigs was at Gazzari's. Hanging around Hollywood I somehow found my way over to Maury Stein Music on Vine St.


The store is still there and operating today, although they're a specialty store that only sells wind and brass instruments.

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#2844785 - 03/26/17 09:18 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Markyboard]
elsongs Offline
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Registered: 01/15/11
Posts: 223
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Markyboard
[quote=zxcvbnm098]

Ah yes, Goodmans and Nadines - it was always the "sloppily" arranged keyboard rooms/stores that were the best because you never knew what you would find. Remember young'ns, life was quite different before internet. Boxes piled everywhere with demo unit set up for us rats in amaze(ment). Nadines was wonderful - anyone remember Mike Prince?


Ahh Nadine's. Place holds a special place in my heart. My best friend from junior high school and I still remember taking the bus there after school on shortened schedule days, and we'd play on all the synths and drum machines. Once the staff kicked us out because they thought we were ditching school, lol

But I also remember when a salesman demo'ed a Roland Juno 106 for me that had a lasting impression, it was my analog "must-have" for the longest time, which I finally got one in 2006. Also I bought my first computer MIDI interface and MIDI sequencing software there (Cakewalk Professional 3.01 for Windows 3.1). My last purchase there was an Alesis QS-6 21 years ago.

The building, mural and neon sign are still there! You'd hardly think they closed if you drove by, but I believe the space now belongs to a private recording studio.

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#2844790 - 03/26/17 09:45 PM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: elsongs]
zxcvbnm098 Online   content
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Registered: 12/02/05
Posts: 1076
Loc: Southern Calif.
Originally Posted By: elsongs
Originally Posted By: zxcvbnm098
Guitar Center on Sunset has the largest mainstream keyboard selection in LA I have found.....


Meh, they ain't like they used to. 70% of their keyboards are digital grands with built-in speakers, 15% are romplers and modern analogs/VAs (which means one Moog Sub 37 and a bunch of Roland Aira stuff) and the rest are USB MIDI controllers not connected to anything that are on static display.


The last time I was in there (maybe a month ago?) they had a good selection of Nords, the Dave Smith Prophet 12 and OB6 and a decent number of high end synths from the big 3. Not like it used to be for sure, but still stuff you won't see in any other GC in SoCal...

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#2844804 - 03/27/17 12:33 AM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: zxcvbnm098]
Jazzmammal Offline
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Registered: 08/17/12
Posts: 1671
Loc: Redondo Beach, CA
The demise of all the independent stores is not due to the internet although that was a factor, it's mainly due to the death of decent paying gigs.

That subject has been talked about a lot here but the fact is the number of players now who are actually making a living from the live playing of instruments as opposed to DJ's and kids playing Abelton with cheap controllers is a tiny fraction of what it was 30-40 years ago.

No customers, no stores.

Bob

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#2844805 - 03/27/17 12:42 AM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Jazzmammal]
SteeVtheRipper Offline
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Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 210
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
There's always Custom Vintage Keys in North Hollywood. I used to intern there. Great crew, only vintage stuff, but you can play til your hearts content. I think they have a pretty good selection right now. Mon-Fri 9:30-5:30 call before you go just to make sure someone is there and it's cool to come, sometimes they're super busy and sometimes they're out on call-outs.
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#2844808 - 03/27/17 12:53 AM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: SteeVtheRipper]
SteeVtheRipper Offline
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Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 210
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
And yes Perfect Circuit is here. All the synths. Super fun. There's also Analog Haven in Santa Monica and if you're up for a drive Noisebug
In Pomona.
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#2844875 - 03/27/17 08:06 AM Re: Good Music Stores in LA Area [Re: Markyboard]
HammondDave Offline
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Registered: 01/20/08
Posts: 6752
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: Markyboard
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce

You're leaving the biggest factor out of the equation - the internet. idea

Not just the sales tax/ability to function as a ~10% up warehouse dealer thing either - there's a much bigger factor. The internet made it possible for the manufacturers to create and manage web sites where they themselves could educate and demonstrate much better than any dealer ever could, reducing the dealer's importance in the marketplace.

This was reduced even further by (can you see it coming) internet forums, where people could go to discuss their potential and current purchases with other end users without fear of being preyed upon by sales guys. Manufacturers were also given an additional ability to interface with customers on the forums, this time on a personal level. More than a few companies were actually born from this aspect.

The end result is that by the time someone looking for a product who has the luxury to take advantage of these resources gets to a dealer - most of whom are trying to stay current on a ton of hardware and software products that change way too quickly for them to keep up - that the potential end user pretty much always knows a bunch more than the sales guy.

One more side of this - if you're researching a product and you've been able to talk to someone from the manufacturer (or the manufacturers themselves, in some cases) and get your questions answered by the folks who actually make the product, how can a sales guy hope to compete/hold value worth paying for? Don't get me wrong - it can totally be done...but it takes a decent amount of effort and $ to find a way to provde extra levels of service - even more challenging with slim margins.

dB





Yeah - great points Dave. Even prior to the internet I think I was in the small minority that would go straight to the manufacturer when I had questions or discovered a bug. I got to know the tech service guys at a number of companies pretty well. Even back then I don't recall any uber-geek sales people worth going back to although I agree in general they were more knowledgeable about products then you find today - probably way more knowledgeable.

The sales tax advantage with purchase out of state was obviously around prior to the internet but I guess it wasn't common knowledge/practice. And as I recall they probably took that into account as LA seemed to still be the better or at least equivalent deal. My original DX7 was the only thing that comes to mind having purchased it at Sam Ash in Florida. But that was because of the waiting list at the time. Man did California get a lot of my money back in the day.

Really interesting perspective regarding the forums and manufacturers having the advantage to provide instructional videos and such. I can see how that makes it extremely tough for any retailer to do similar although I think we all know of one that does a very good job with this. Except I'm still waiting for the video where the presenter gets all pissed off, opens up the keyboard and goes to town with the soldering iron. grin


All great points... I wonder where boutique manufacturers would be without the internet and forums like these.

SS3, anyone?


Edited by HammondDave (03/27/17 08:06 AM)
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'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo

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