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we've talked about this here over the years, and frankly, financial people were mystified at how GC was able to keep restructuring the debt load it's been carrying for 15 years or so... but it seems current conditions have made that harder to do...

NYTimes: Guitar Center is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing.

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Very sad news...if it were not for Covid, I'm sure GC could have stayed in business. The likely hood of Chp11 reorganization probably won't work for them in the current business climate. Unfortunately they will probably have to go Chp7. I hate to see one of only big box stores go under...maybe going mail order only might be an option? cry


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Originally Posted by Larryz
Very sad news...if it were not for Covid, I'm sure GC could have stayed in business. The likely hood of Chp11 reorganization probably won't work for them in the current business climate. Unfortunately they will probably have to go Chp7. I hate to see one of only big box stores go under...maybe going mail order only might be an option? cry

The roughest part for me is that I really like to try a guitar out before I play it. Most of the littler local stores don't carry anything but really cheap or busted up old instruments. Where can you go to play a shiny new PRS if you don't live near Andertons? =[


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Wow, I have been dealing with Musicians Friend since the early days of internet buying and of course in their retail outlets. My local Musicians Friend was in Cherry Hill NJ. back in the day (Late 60's through the mid to late 80's) Sad to see them go. Then I began to do biz with Guitar Center when it merged with MF.


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Hey, I wonder if losing the big box stores could force a restructuring in the pricing of the "prestige" brands? The big boxes stores made it possible for the companies to kick prices up, which put & pop stores out of business. If they go away, won't companies like Gretsch, Gibson, PRS, etc have to lower their prices and bring back mom & pop to stay afloat?


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Originally Posted by Music With Marky
Originally Posted by Larryz
Very sad news...if it were not for Covid, I'm sure GC could have stayed in business. The likely hood of Chp11 reorganization probably won't work for them in the current business climate. Unfortunately they will probably have to go Chp7. I hate to see one of only big box stores go under...maybe going mail order only might be an option? cry

The roughest part for me is that I really like to try a guitar out before I play it. Most of the littler local stores don't carry anything but really cheap or busted up old instruments. Where can you go to play a shiny new PRS if you don't live near Andertons? =[

@ Marky, I have a store that I grew up with since my early guitar days back in '65 that is still in business in San Jose, CA called Guitar Showcase. It's about 3 hours away. It was a major hang out for us budding guitar players back in my High School days. Another store called Skips I can get to much easier here in Sacramento, is about an hour away. Both of these stores are great and just as big as any GC size wise. They are local big boxes, and not nationwide like GC. Great places to try before you buy with a huge selection of well maintained guitars, keys, drums, pa's, etc. They will probably stay in business forever (I hope). My favorite store close by is in Folsom about 30 minutes away, called Nicholson's. They have a more limited stock mainly Fender and Gretsch in electrics and Martin and Fender acoustics. Along with some other high quality guitars. All set up before you buy and ready to try. I've taken my guitars there for many years when I have any tech/luthier needs. I feel blessed! +1 GC was a great in-store place to try out equipment. The mail order MF, Z Sounds, GC, SW and others like Wildwood, will probably continue on and carry a lot of the same stuff...for awhile at least... I pray... cool

Last edited by Larryz; 10/27/20 03:22 AM. Reason: sp.

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Like Larryz, I have an excellent locally owned store off yonder a bit.

Local stores in Bellingham made poor business decisions and it cost them. When GC arrived it killed them but they actually did it to themselves.

One of them moved to an expensive area, the cost of the lease gutted their profits and they couldn't hang on. Another one that had been in business for over 40 years tightened their return policy beyond all reason AND allowed their customer service to become insultingly poor. The owner retired and sold and some new folks bought in. I hope they can grow it into something nice.

Meanwhile, just 18 miles south on I-5 is Hugo Helmer's. They are local but they are far bigger and better stocked than the Bellingham Guitar Center. They have EVERYTHING in all price ranges, a great staff, good lessons, good tech work, it's a great place to try out gear and a great place to buy. Maybe a little more expensive than the interwebz stores but they will make sure you are happy and you can try before you buy.

Truly a dangerous place for me to bumble about in, last time I was there they had an 8 string tenor ukulele with 2 octave courses and I fell in love with it. About $600 out the door with a case and I couldn't afford it. I set it back in the rack and ran away!!!!! Yikess.....


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Originally Posted by Larryz
Originally Posted by Music With Marky
Originally Posted by Larryz
Very sad news...if it were not for Covid, I'm sure GC could have stayed in business. The likely hood of Chp11 reorganization probably won't work for them in the current business climate. Unfortunately they will probably have to go Chp7. I hate to see one of only big box stores go under...maybe going mail order only might be an option? cry

The roughest part for me is that I really like to try a guitar out before I play it. Most of the littler local stores don't carry anything but really cheap or busted up old instruments. Where can you go to play a shiny new PRS if you don't live near Andertons? =[

@ Marky, I have a store that I grew up with since my early guitar days back in '65 that is still in business in San Jose, CA called Guitar Showcase. It's about 3 hours away. It was a major hang out for us budding guitar players back in my High School days. Another store called Skips I can get to much easier here in Sacramento, is about an hour away. Both of these stores are great and just as big as any GC size wise. They are local big boxes, and not nationwide like GC. Great places to try before you buy with a huge selection of well maintained guitars, keys, drums, pa's, etc. They will probably stay in business forever (I hope). My favorite store close by is in Folsom about 30 minutes away, called Nicholson's. They have a more limited stock mainly Fender and Gretsch in electrics and Martin and Fender acoustics. Along with some other high quality guitars. All set up before you buy and ready to try. I've taken my guitars there for many years when I have any tech/luthier needs. I feel blessed! +1 GC was a great in-store place to try out equipment. The mail order MF, Z Sounds, GC, SW and others like Wildwood, will probably continue on and carry a lot of the same stuff...for awhile at least... I pray... cool

I remember Skip's! I lived in Orangevale for a time and used to pop in there quite frequently.


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I didn't realize Musician's Friend existed; always thought it was just another on-line "brand" for GC like Music123 back in the days before tax collection on the internet became almost universal. Several e-stores had a few variants that were registered in different states, so you'd pick the one that wasn't in your own state, to avoid taxes.


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Musician's Friend has what they call the Stupid Deal of the Day. So far, they have had really great prices on stuff that I either do not want or need, but eventually they will have something I want for a steal. For instance, they recently had 20 foot Ernie Ball guitar cables, normally $29.99 each, for that one day they were two for $29.99.


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Like a lot of you, I've been buying from Musician's Friend since the late 80's. Although I still do business with them from time to time, the majority of my shopping is with Sweetwater. I've never had an issue with Sweetwater... or even Musician's Friend that I can recall. Both are fantastic businesses with competitive prices. thu

Now, if only Musician's Friend would follow Sweetwater's lead and add candy with every shipped order... laugh


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Bit of local perspective . . .

A couple of years back, GC opened a small store in the shopping mall a few blocks from where I live. The entire store could fit inside the Guitar dept. of the next nearest GC, which is only around 7 miles away.

It's not a bad little store, and unlike a lot of GC's, the staff has been pretty stable the whole time it's been open, so I could go back to someone I know when I need something. Until . . .

The last thing I got there was my used Taylor, Friday, March 13th. Within a week or so, our Governor ordered all indoor malls to close their doors, which shuttered that store, even while other free-standing stores were still open. Not long after, pretty everything but grocery stores, pharmacies & gas stations shut down. Finally, even as our state started giving the green light for businesses to re-open, indoor malls were among the last.

So, what's my point? From a business standpoint, that one little GC has to have been a black hole, in terms of income vs. expense; it was closed for months, with the inventory all but held hostage, even while other nearby GC's remained open longer, and re-opened earlier. I would have thought that small GC in the mall would be among the first to go, if they were closing stores to cut back on expenses, but no, its still there, and still taking in new inventory, and used gear, besides . . .

The only thing I can see keeping GC afloat is a fear among their major suppliers of a nation-wide inventory sell-off that would undercut prices throughout the market. None of the big companies want to see their gear going for yard-sale prices, just so GC can divest and close up shop, and they're too heavily invested in GC's distribution network to detach.

The reverse of what Music With Marky says is true for the industry, as well: how is Gibson, or Marshall, or Roland, going to get their gear in front of players where there aren't any local Music stores, or where the locals don't have the capital to become authorized dealers for the major brands? (It's not cheap, nor easy to get a dealership from say, Fender or Gibson; there's a huge buy-in, which many small stores can't afford, and the likelihood that you'll be allowed to carry import models, but not U.S.-made ones, at first, with the possibility that you might, sometime, get to carry the higher-value products.) GC is their direct pipeline to the consumer; they'll find a way to make it work, or everyone involved is going to have to reassess their current business model.


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The death or major reorganization of a retailer like GC might just be the kind of big market shake-up that gets the smaller good brands the opportunity to grow their share of the American market.

Because there are a LOT of them out there worth looking at, believe me. I’m sitting at 29 guitars and a bass, and none of them was manufactured by a subsidiary of Gibson or Fender.

It might also be the catalyst for changing the way the big dogs structure their contracts, leading to more of the Mon & Pop shops of the world being able to sell their products in reasonable numbers.

Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; 10/29/20 05:32 PM.

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Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
The death or major reorganization of a retailer like GC might just be the kind of big market shake-up that gets the smaller good brands the opportunity to grow their share of the American market.

Because there are a LOT of them out there worth looking at, believe me. I’m sitting at 29 guitars and a bass, and none of them was manufactured by a subsidiary of Gibson or Fender.

It might also be the catalyst for changing the way the big dogs structure their contracts, leading to more of the Mon & Pop shops of the world being able to sell their products in reasonable numbers.

Having worked in Music retail, I've seen how the big companies can bully small stores; I also expect that the pandemic will kill off a lot of small stores that depend on in-house lessons for much of their monthly income.

We fought like hell to carry Fender, and never got any U.S.made Fender products; we were, however, forced to order a certain number of White Guitars, despite the fact that White Guitars just didn't sell for us, for some reason. We also had to take on a lot of stuff we didn't want or need, in order to keep the limited deanship agreement we had.

When we tried to get Gibson/Epiphone, having submitted reams of paperwork and credit applications, and (supposedly) having been approved, we waited for a shipment of Epi Guitars that somehow weren't shipping. After a number of calls to our sales rep, it became clear that even though we'd jumped through all the hoops, and had our credit line approved, we weren't going to see even one Epi unless we paid up front for our first shipment . . . which I believe was actually a violation of our sales agreement, because were we supposed to receive products as soon as our credit application was approved.

When the store finally closed, none of the big dogs offered any help nor any relief: no one offered to take back unused or unopened products except for the local Korg rep. As far as the rest were concerned, all the inventory was ours, past bills were still due, and GFL unloading all those products before your closing date.

I see the big companies going the way of car dealerships, instead. You'll have a Gibson store, that only sells Gibson, Epiphone, and other product lines controlled by the parent company, same thing with the Fender store, and so on. Maybe a few local, independent stores will hang on for a while, but if the industry goes to this model, it'll look to cut off supplies to independents, in order to keep profits close to home.


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
The death or major reorganization of a retailer like GC might just be the kind of big market shake-up that gets the smaller good brands the opportunity to grow their share of the American market.

Because there are a LOT of them out there worth looking at, believe me. I’m sitting at 29 guitars and a bass, and none of them was manufactured by a subsidiary of Gibson or Fender.

It might also be the catalyst for changing the way the big dogs structure their contracts, leading to more of the Mon & Pop shops of the world being able to sell their products in reasonable numbers.

Having worked in Music retail, I've seen how the big companies can bully small stores; I also expect that the pandemic will kill off a lot of small stores that depend on in-house lessons for much of their monthly income.

We fought like hell to carry Fender, and never got any U.S.made Fender products; we were, however, forced to order a certain number of White Guitars, despite the fact that White Guitars just didn't sell for us, for some reason. We also had to take on a lot of stuff we didn't want or need, in order to keep the limited deanship agreement we had.

When we tried to get Gibson/Epiphone, having submitted reams of paperwork and credit applications, and (supposedly) having been approved, we waited for a shipment of Epi Guitars that somehow weren't shipping. After a number of calls to our sales rep, it became clear that even though we'd jumped through all the hoops, and had our credit line approved, we weren't going to see even one Epi unless we paid up front for our first shipment . . . which I believe was actually a violation of our sales agreement, because were we supposed to receive products as soon as our credit application was approved.

When the store finally closed, none of the big dogs offered any help nor any relief: no one offered to take back unused or unopened products except for the local Korg rep. As far as the rest were concerned, all the inventory was ours, past bills were still due, and GFL unloading all those products before your closing date.

I see the big companies going the way of car dealerships, instead. You'll have a Gibson store, that only sells Gibson, Epiphone, and other product lines controlled by the parent company, same thing with the Fender store, and so on. Maybe a few local, independent stores will hang on for a while, but if the industry goes to this model, it'll look to cut off supplies to independents, in order to keep profits close to home.

That is an interesting doomsday scenario Sir Winston. I can't say I disagree with it.

Prior to the fairly recent take-over at Gibson, they tried becoming a "one stop brand." They made terrible choices, hideous sunburst studio monitors and the tragically hideous Neat microphones (great mics but look like kid's toys).
I think it is more likely that companies like Gibson will be acquired by large, diverse entities like Harmon than that they will strike out on their own. A Gibson store might survive in large cities but outlying areas are a huge market and I don't see a Gibson store surviving here in Bellingham (90k+ people).

At this point I think there are too many music equipment manufacturers who are dependent on the GC chain to allow it to die. I don't know what is going to happen next, time will tell.
I've got pretty much everything I need and the few things I still want (great microphones!!!) are mostly made by smaller companies who will deal with me directly.


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One of the services provided by GC stores for Gibson guitars, is warranty work as an authorized dealer. There are a lot of strings attached (pun intended) for dealers that still carry the Gibson brand. Many mom and pops can't compete and have trouble getting paid for warranty work by Gibson. Not so much with Fender even though there are strings attached (pun intended) when carrying this brand as well. My mom and pop still carries Fender but no longer carries Gibson. They will still do warranty work on Fender but not on Gibson, as they had trouble getting reimbursed and too much paperwork and stopped selling Gibson. cool

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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
I see the big companies going the way of car dealerships, instead. You'll have a Gibson store, that only sells Gibson, Epiphone, and other product lines controlled by the parent company, same thing with the Fender store, and so on. Maybe a few local, independent stores will hang on for a while, but if the industry goes to this model, it'll look to cut off supplies to independents, in order to keep profits close to home.

This is what I've imagined too. The company stores will just be showrooms, though. When you decide you like the Jazzmaster you're holding, they'll put it back on the wall & you'll make your online purchase then & there. In the big cities it will be like an IKEA. They'll cart your purchase out of the warehouse attached to the showroom & load it into your car.


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@KuruPrionz - RE: Harmon - they were acquired by Samsung not long ago, and Samsung has been eliminating the MI departments, like Alesis, DOD/Digitech and Lexicon. Those were three industry mainstays for decades; you could not go into a home or semi-pro studio, or even many pro studios, without finding something made by one of those three. My entire FX rack is Lexicon, Digitech & Alesis gear, in that order.

Oh yes, I recall those ridiculous-looking monitors, with the Sunburst finish; WTH?

@Scott Fraser - My Irish mother had an expression about not buying a pig in a poke*: I won't buy a Guitar I haven't held in my hands, and I sure as hell won't take home an unopened box from a warehouse. I'm the type who will try several of the same model, to see which one sounds & feels best; there's no "one-model-fits-all", unlike with plywood or particleboard bookshelves.

*One of my landscaping clients is originally from Georgia, and she says her mother used the same expression.


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My local music store carries Fender, Gibson and most of the major brands. It maybe because we didn't have a GC until last year. I went to GC in Ca in 2018 when I visited my father and there is no comparison to the one in Pearl City. It seams like they adopted the local culture. It's their used gear that I like, I bought a Boss TU2 and an Ernie Ball MVP jr volume pedal from them.


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Originally Posted by surfergirl
My local music store carries Fender, Gibson and most of the major brands. It maybe because we didn't have a GC until last year. I went to GC in Ca in 2018 when I visited my father and there is no comparison to the one in Pearl City. It seams like they adopted the local culture. It's their used gear that I like, I bought a Boss TU2 and an Ernie Ball MVP jr volume pedal from them.

I'm with you, surfergirl! Used gear is ALWAYS my favorite thing about any music store - that's where the bargains are.
I haven't been inside our GC since Covid, not sure if you can even enter. Would be a nightmare keeping everything sanitized
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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
@KuruPrionz - RE: Harmon - they were acquired by Samsung not long ago, and Samsung has been eliminating the MI departments, like Alesis, DOD/Digitech and Lexicon. Those were three industry mainstays for decades; you could not go into a home or semi-pro studio, or even many pro studios, without finding something made by one of those three. My entire FX rack is Lexicon, Digitech & Alesis gear, in that order.

Oh yes, I recall those ridiculous-looking monitors, with the Sunburst finish; WTH?

@Scott Fraser - My Irish mother had an expression about not buying a pig in a poke*: I won't buy a Guitar I haven't held in my hands, and I sure as hell won't take home an unopened box from a warehouse. I'm the type who will try several of the same model, to see which one sounds & feels best; there's no "one-model-fits-all", unlike with plywood or particleboard bookshelves.

*One of my landscaping clients is originally from Georgia, and she says her mother used the same expression.


I remember that now - the Harmon dismantling. It's part of how corporations work - my definition of a corporation is "a group of really smart people that equals one idiot."

Whatever morals the current owners of Gibson may or may not have, they will evaporate if a suitable offer is made. Personally, I see Gibson as a company that is trapped by their own legacy, the Les Paul cork sniffers won't buy anything but the closest possible replica to the guitar that was made in 1959 and that's that.

That's how PRS rose up, creating a new guitar with desirable and more modern features and a blend of two aesthetics, the classy woods and build of Gibson with some of the Fender vibe (whammy bar etc.).
Fender has evolved and innovated since their iconic guitars, so has Martin and Guild. Gibson seems to be stuck and the prices for a good one are just insane.
I paid $400 for my lightly used ES-335 Studio model back in 1986 and you can barely get a used Epiphone 335 for that kind of money now. So it goes...


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Originally Posted by picker
Hey, I wonder if losing the big box stores could force a restructuring in the pricing of the "prestige" brands? The big boxes stores made it possible for the companies to kick prices up, which put & pop stores out of business. If they go away, won't companies like Gretsch, Gibson, PRS, etc have to lower their prices and bring back mom & pop to stay afloat?

They've all started to shift to direct website sales, themselves (Fender, and their brands like Gretch, Guild, etc.). There are other big box online music retailers... GC's problem was brick and mortar stores everywhere... well, their bigger problem was that Bain Capital (Romney's firm) bought them and pulled their usual crap that saddled them with tons of debt that was never going to be able to be paid off.

But GC/MF has not made prestige brands more expensive, they've actually made them less expensive... pricing is reduced by volume. That company ordered big amounts of guitars from Gibson and PRS, Gibson has always been a large assembly line operation, PRS had to expand and take on more builders to supply the chain which raises operating costs but increases production... and those big wholesale orders fill the guitar companies coffers. I know for a while Gibson started dumping the smaller dealers because they had to concentrate so much on the GC/MF orders, and when GC/MF has a slowdown and skipped a year or something it caused quite a problem.

The reason "Prestige" brand guitars have gotten so expensive is that it costs a lot to employ Americans in America who know how to do the work (even if that's just running CNC machine), because everything else in America (cars, housing, etc) has gotten more expensive.

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Personally, I see Gibson as a company that is trapped by their own legacy, the Les Paul cork sniffers won't buy anything but the closest possible replica to the guitar that was made in 1959 and that's that.

...but only if it says “Gibson” on the headstock.

Look at the stuff put out by Tokai, Navigator, Edwards, FGN and others- you’ll find guitars that will give you every tone you want from a Les Paul. For a fraction of the price.

Hell, HERITAGE guitars are made in Kalamazoo in the old Gibson factory on old Gibson machines by former Gibson employees. It doesn’t get more authentic than that, but the corksniffers still look down on them.


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Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
Quote
Personally, I see Gibson as a company that is trapped by their own legacy, the Les Paul cork sniffers won't buy anything but the closest possible replica to the guitar that was made in 1959 and that's that.

...but only if it says “Gibson” on the headstock.

Look at the stuff put out by Tokai, Navigator, Edwards, FGN and others- you’ll find guitars that will give you every tone you want from a Les Paul. For a fraction of the price.

Hell, HERITAGE guitars are made in Kalamazoo in the old Gibson factory on old Gibson machines by former Gibson employees. It doesn’t get more authentic than that, but the corksniffers still look down on them.

Yep.
Somewhere on the Les Paul forum there is a thread praising the wonders of "nibs", that useless bit of plastic that covered the fret ends on bound Gibson fretboards. A feature of efficiency, it renders almost 1/8th" strip of precious fretboard real estate unusable. Martin showed the way, their bound boards had frets that overlapped the binding and went to the edge of the fretboard. The work to do that costs more, out it goes.

My favorite Les Pauls have always been the Studio models with no fingerboard binding, the best one I had was from 2008 and had the chambered body too - nice and light. I've owned 2 white Customs, 5 Studios, a Special, a Jr and a favorite 2014 Melody Maker that used the same body as that year's Les Paul Custom light. All gone, just gonna keep my 335 Studio and call it good.


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Steering somewhat back on track . . . one possibility I see is the big companies acquiring some of the shuttered GC locations as their own distribution centers, if there's a big shake-up, or even a collapse. It could be part of any final settlement, that along with acquiring the remaining inventory, the manufacturers and distributors would take over some of the leases on the more profitable locations. It would still mean closing down some, if not all, of the lower-performing stores, but it would keep bricks-&-mortar Music Instrument stores in some areas where there's been no other option than GC, as well.

Those commercial spaces are already set up for storing and displaying Musical Instruments, and local players are already used to going to those locations for their gear. One smart thing GC did in the D.C. area was to acquire the space previously occupied by Veneman Music when Veneman's closed. GC bought out the existing stock, and got to move into a building already set up for Music sales, with an existing customer base. They've since moved to another, larger location, but having a good initial landing zone made for an easier entrance into the D.C. market.

Outfitting an empty space for Music retail is costly and time-consuming, particularly when you think of things like setting up a climate-controlled Acoustic room, which most GC locations already have. Demolishing the interiors of existing stores just to re-locate is more than wasteful, it also risks moving further away from an already established customer base. Re-purposing existing GC locations seems to make the most sense for the industry, if GC can't get enough industry support to stagger on. Having said that, I realize that good sense doesn't always seem to apply in the Music industry . . .


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I went to my closest GC just yesterday. I HAD to- it looked closed. Their window display was not just empty, it was devoid of anything that made the store look occupied.

It’s still there, though, and operating. They’ve reorganized and renovated somewhat, so that might explain the uninviting window displays- aka, the lack thereof.

No real surprises, though. Mostly big name brands we all know, although I was surprised to see as many Mitchells as I did. Disappointingly, there was only one acoustic 12-string in the store (a Takamine). There was a limited edition Gretsch with a HB/P90 configuration that looked nice, as well as a Duesenberg hanging a few feet away...HIGH on the wall. Similarly, amp offerings had narrowed a bit, but refreshingly, they’re now carrying some Supros.

I have NO idea where they’re hiding the pedals at the moment. All I saw were the ones in the used display case.

The big change was a smaller, displaced checkout area, replaced in its original spot by a suite of small practice rooms, apparently for hosting teaching sessions. A good idea in general, but I’m not sure the current environment will turn that into a winning strategy.


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
Steering somewhat back on track . . . one possibility I see is the big companies acquiring some of the shuttered GC locations as their own distribution centers, if there's a big shake-up, or even a collapse. It could be part of any final settlement, that along with acquiring the remaining inventory, the manufacturers and distributors would take over some of the leases on the more profitable locations. It would still mean closing down some, if not all, of the lower-performing stores, but it would keep bricks-&-mortar Music Instrument stores in some areas where there's been no other option than GC, as well.

Those commercial spaces are already set up for storing and displaying Musical Instruments, and local players are already used to going to those locations for their gear. One smart thing GC did in the D.C. area was to acquire the space previously occupied by Veneman Music when Veneman's closed. GC bought out the existing stock, and got to move into a building already set up for Music sales, with an existing customer base. They've since moved to another, larger location, but having a good initial landing zone made for an easier entrance into the D.C. market.

Outfitting an empty space for Music retail is costly and time-consuming, particularly when you think of things like setting up a climate-controlled Acoustic room, which most GC locations already have. Demolishing the interiors of existing stores just to re-locate is more than wasteful, it also risks moving further away from an already established customer base. Re-purposing existing GC locations seems to make the most sense for the industry, if GC can't get enough industry support to stagger on. Having said that, I realize that good sense doesn't always seem to apply in the Music industry . . .


While this makes sense (and is therefore probably "wrong" in corporate world), who is diverse enough in terms of products and or relationships with other companies to be able to provide a complete music store without including their own competition in the inventory?

Yamaha comes to mind, maybe Fender? Gibson dropped all their non-guitar side gigs during the last collapse. You could put a Gibson store 50 feet from my home and I might visit it once just to check it out. If they had good prices on strings and a good selection I might buy those there.


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Yamaha could definitely pull it off, if they think it makes sense to try.

A group of second-tier companies could form a co-op and do likewise.


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@ Kuru, My LP Classic, Epi ES-175 and my Conti all have bound fret boards and I like them as they are very comfortable and smooth. The frets on all three are above the binding and extend all the way to the edge and they don't bite. I don't see Gibson or Fender opening their own brick and mortar store unless they have no mail order activity...Maybe do factory tours and sell from a show room?

@ Danny, I must not be in the "corksniffer" 59 LP crowd, as Heritage garners a lot of respect from all the reviews I have read in the jazz world. I almost scored on one and kick myself in the ass for missing out LOL!

@ P90, +1 I have heard that Gibson and Fender are considering selling guitars direct from their websites. Not sure if they have started doing it yet? They may hold off as long as SW MF GC, etc. mail order sites are moving their products along with the bigger mom and pops that are still selling their products, to keep from hurting their business...

@ Winston, I think a good use for a shuttered GC store would be a used and/or a consignment guitar store, or maybe add in the pawn shop concept. If it did enough business, it might attract some of the big guns. The shuttered stores might be too big of a piece of real estate for this type of business though.


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Some bright individual might be able to make such spaces into a “safe zone” market for doing transactions between private sellers who made deals over the phone or Internet. IOW, via sale ads in the local press, Craigslist, Kijiji, etc.

We have them at some of our local police stations, but they’re small, exposed and...well...at local police stations. Personally, my relationship with the police is about as good it could be, all things considered, but not everyone can say the same. (Just sayin’.)

And my previous suggestion of a co-op idea could work for the local gear makers, too. It wouldn’t work everywhere, but I live in a major metropolitan area- the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. I was surprised when I started digging around how many guitar makers and pedal builders there are around here. Some of them are making some truly killer stuff.

But a lot of them are literally working out of a garage or shed in their backyards. Not a lot of foot traffic. And who jp knows how much business their websites are generating? I mean, it may still be enough to make them happy, but few of the builders I know (here or elsewhere) are doing so as their sole or even primary source of income.


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I buy most of my stuff online from Sweetwater, and have been for some years now. I bought very little from Guitar Center over the years. I also bought from zZounds, until I learned Sweetwater did free shipping and returns (if defective) and a small charge to return if i just did not like the item. I have been super satisfied with Sweetwater ever since I began dealing with them. Bye Bye Guitar Center, I won't miss you at all.......


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I have a great Music Store 20 minutes from home.

Hope they survive the pandemic disruption to their business.

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Originally Posted by Biggles
I have a great Music Store 20 minutes from home.

Hope they survive the pandemic disruption to their business.

Looks like a GREAT place!!!! Lucky you!

I've got quite a bit of driving to do to get anywhere worth going to...


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I believe competition is good. The more music stores there are the better off we are as musical equipment consumers.


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Originally Posted by Doerfler
I believe competition is good. The more music stores there are the better off we are as musical equipment consumers.


I agree but it's not just the competition. The variety is nice too. There were a couple of pawn shops in nearby Mount Vernon that had all sorts of interesting stuff. One of them closed and the other went corporate - which is fine but I guess the clientele is probably flipping more stuff online instead. REAL music stores have new and used, I've gotten great deals through the years at Guitar Centers for used gear.
Craigslist in a metropolitan area? There's competition and not just for the sellers!


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I am unlikely to buy any more gear at my age unless I sell my Hot Rod Deluxe. With that money, I will back up my 15 watt Egnater Tweaker head to hook to my other EVM 12 L speaker in a 1-12 cab. One setup for the living room where I usually practice, and one in my soon to be revived studio set up in my climate controlled shed. That way I will have 2 similar sets of amp head and 1-12 speaker cab. I have 2 similar pedal boards so I will have a complete setup in both places.


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+1 DBM I'm not really in the market anymore for amps or guitars...I have more than I need and I will probably try and sell a few one of these days. I did a lot of purchasing through Sweetwater and Musicians Friend and one guitar through Wildwood Guitars. I have always had good luck with SW and MF. My last big purchase was in-store at a Guitar Center as the manager gave me a 20% off coupon on the amp I was interested in. I hate to see them go (if they go) and hope they stay in business.

I did buy some pickups through zZounds this week, and some pots and knobs and caps through Stewmac for a project I was working on. I am well pleased as it came out the way I wanted it to. I think parts mail order stores will stay in business and people will still be buying a lot of used equipment. cool


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Guitar Center has had a number of challenges to overcome, even before the pandemic.

For one thing, they have too many locations. They have sold Wall Street on the notion that they are essentially a consumer electronics big box retailer (and that is not exactly a strong vertical to be in), but in reality they are a niche retailer. Yes, they have some consumer electronics products, but the bulk of their customer base are musicians, and that is a niche market. Best Buy made that mistake some years back where they brought in MI products and tried to create the "store in a store" concept at certain locations. It didn't help that they had a dreadful inventory - high end Roland keyboards, electronic drums etc. That lasted about two years with Best Buy, and then poof - bye bye. MI is not a mass market business.

Speaking of Best Buy, has anyone bought a new TV lately? A really nice 55" TV can be had for under $500! I remember going to CES in Vegas in '98 or so when the first plasmas were introduced: a 42" was about $13K. Plenty of margin there. $500? Not so much. Wonder why they try to sell you expensive cables at BB when you buy a TV? That's the only profit they'll make on your TV purchase.

GC has that problem with guitars, still their principal line of business. When I started out in the late 70's, a crappy CBS Strat was about $600 - $2400 in today's money. A cheap Squier is now around $250? And it's pretty darn good guitar. And a $600 guitar is generally quite good! And amps? A ton of very inexpensive, pro level amps. And the used market is flooded with all of the above. With the incredibly efficient manufacturing supply chains, we as consumers are getting great products for very little money, which means very low margins for retailers. That's not changing, ever.

GC has at least added band instrument rentals, lessons and repairs, long the staples of mom and pop music retailers, but they still seem to struggle with what the hell they want to be....vinyl? Clothing? It seems like such hodgepodge of crap in there lately, and they still don't seem to have any idea what is needed at a local level. I live in SoCal in a community with a huge Hispanic population...but do they have anything in remotely related to that musical culture in our local store? Nope. Big guitar amps, expensive keyboards. Just like every other GC in the region. The GC main office people seem to be completely clueless when determining what products to stock in stores. And their used business? Ugh...what a mess.

And the challenge for GC that has eluded them for the better part of three decades since they went national is the lack of consistent and competent staff. They pay shit, and that's reflected in the abysmal training and lack of knowledge at most every level of every store in terms of the people on the floor. Dreadful customer service. High turnover. Lack of product knowledge. It's a vicious cycle; low margins, low pay, low quality staff. I know there are some exceptions in some stores, but by and large this is a problem throughout the organization. And I say that as someone who still checks in to the "flagship" stores in Hollywood and Sherman Oaks here in SoCal. And I've be going to the Hollywood store since it was across the street and was the ONLY store. Even those stores have sub-par staff.

I don't wish ill-will on the employees of any company that may not be around for much longer, but as an organization, I will not miss GC if and when they go away. To me they represent the worst of corporate greed and arrogance. I hope locally-based, passionate and customer-focused local business people will take back to markets that have been dominated by GC when they are gone.

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UPDATE: For those that do like Guitar Center, I just received an Email from their Chief Executive Officer this morning. He advised that GC will stay in business and conduct business as usual. They are filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and restructuring. They expect completion very soon (i.e. "quickly"). thu


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Yep, I got the same email from GC, Musician's Friend, and WWBW. I haven't ordered or bought from Music123 or Music & Arts in a while now, which is probably why I didn't also get copies from those two subsidiaries.

I have had very good experience with certain GC stores as well as Music & Arts, but not with others. Also some good setup work by specialists who work out of their stores as independent contractors.


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I got the same email from Musiciansfriend. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, is coming up in thirteen days. I expect to see Guitar Center stores holding some absolutely hellacious sales that day, in order to generate cash. So if you have your eye on any new gear, such as an Electro Harmonix B9 or Mel 9 pedal, or stocking up on strings, you should start accumulating some cash or room on your credit/debit cards.


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As we currently have a sum of about 1.75 total music stores in Bellingham and the manager here is a straight-up and knowledgable guy, I am glad they are going attempt to survive.
There is room for at least one more locally owned store to grow and there is one that is doing so.

The path ahead for brick and mortar retail outlets of all types is not clear at this point but with 90k+ local population, we need "boots on the ground" availability for music related items.
As always, time will tell the story.

And - zxcvbnm098 - I remember going into the Hollywood Guitar Center decades ago (drove down from Fresno).

There were somewhere around a dozen adolescent boys shredding away on super strats with distortion piled high. They paid no attention to each other whatsoever so it was an unprecedented new form of dissonance to my ears. If I'd been an employee there it is likely there would have been several deaths, if not my own. Unbearable but since I could leave at any time, it amused me.

Assuming they were all the ill-begotten spawn of LA rock stars (and wanna-bees), I dubbed them "The Heavy Metal Rodent Children."


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Assuming they were all the ill-begotten spawn of LA rock stars (and wanna-bees), I dubbed them "The Heavy Metal Rodent Children."

That's a nice way to say "Rat Bastards" . . . which might well be the name of their band.


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Assuming they were all the ill-begotten spawn of LA rock stars (and wanna-bees), I dubbed them "The Heavy Metal Rodent Children."

That's a nice way to say "Rat Bastards" . . . which might well be the name of their band.

laugh


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
As we currently have a sum of about 1.75 total music stores in Bellingham and the manager here is a straight-up and knowledgable guy, I am glad they are going attempt to survive.
There is room for at least one more locally owned store to grow and there is one that is doing so.

The path ahead for brick and mortar retail outlets of all types is not clear at this point but with 90k+ local population, we need "boots on the ground" availability for music related items.
As always, time will tell the story.

And - zxcvbnm098 - I remember going into the Hollywood Guitar Center decades ago (drove down from Fresno).

There were somewhere around a dozen adolescent boys shredding away on super strats with distortion piled high. They paid no attention to each other whatsoever so it was an unprecedented new form of dissonance to my ears. If I'd been an employee there it is likely there would have been several deaths, if not my own. Unbearable but since I could leave at any time, it amused me.

Assuming they were all the ill-begotten spawn of LA rock stars (and wanna-bees), I dubbed them "The Heavy Metal Rodent Children."

I worked MI retail in the mid 80's, and that scene was repeated at pretty much every guitar store then. It was torture to be on the floor at the same time, but we kept a pretty tight leash on kids coming in and "wailing". Oy and vey,

Wow, Fresno to Hollywood is a commitment! Easily a 4 hour drive, but I get it....it was Mecca to me back in the day.

I turned 16 in 1976, so my first trips to the original Hollywood Guitar Center were when they were on the south side of Sunset, across the street from where they are now. It was cramped and funky, with gear piled up on the floor and pretty much shit everywhere. Rock music was blasting throughout the store; I loved it. Far less organized than it would become a couple years later when they took over the old theater on the north side of Sunset where they are to this day. But between GC and the old Nadines and Betnun's, that Hollywood area was amazing for gear hunting. It was a big deal when they opened their second LA store in Sherman Oaks, but then it started to get corporate and not nearly as cool as it was once they started to expand.

I still stop by (pre Covid) when I'm in the area mostly to check out the vintage room, which is way overpriced but stocked with drool-worthy stuff. But it feels like a Best Buy these days, so not nearly as fun as the good ol' days. Now get off my lawn....

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One of the articles about this situation quoted someone from the GC camp as attributing COVID's impact on "discretionary income" as one of the reasons for the current troubles. But if I was a savvy investor, I'd ask, "So how come Sweetwater and some other retailers are thriving, and many categories of music-gear sales are way up?"

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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
One of the articles about this situation quoted someone from the GC camp as attributing COVID's impact on "discretionary income" as one of the reasons for the current troubles. But if I was a savvy investor, I'd ask, "So how come Sweetwater and some other retailers are thriving, and many categories of music-gear sales are way up?"

Exactly.

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Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
One of the articles about this situation quoted someone from the GC camp as attributing COVID's impact on "discretionary income" as one of the reasons for the current troubles. But if I was a savvy investor, I'd ask, "So how come Sweetwater and some other retailers are thriving, and many categories of music-gear sales are way up?"

Exactly.

Sweetwater has exactly one location, and almost all of their business is done online. No one (almost) drives to Ft. Wayne, Indiana for gear except during Gearfest. Musicians Friend (Guitar Center sister company) is doing just fine. Brick and mortar stores are hurting in every classification, look how many malls are empty.


"Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!"
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Originally Posted by Doerfler
Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
One of the articles about this situation quoted someone from the GC camp as attributing COVID's impact on "discretionary income" as one of the reasons for the current troubles. But if I was a savvy investor, I'd ask, "So how come Sweetwater and some other retailers are thriving, and many categories of music-gear sales are way up?"

Exactly.

Sweetwater has exactly one location, and almost all of their business is done online. No one (almost) drives to Ft. Wayne, Indiana for gear except during Gearfest. Musicians Friend (Guitar Center sister company) is doing just fine. Brick and mortar stores are hurting in every classification, look how many malls are empty.

"Controllables" are costs like leasing a building and keeping it warm/cool, labor costs, and other constant $$$ drains. The cost to profit ratio of a single Guitar Center store is not good, even though the corporate buying power is strong enough to negotiate lower prices. Our Guitar Center in Bellingham can reach out to Blaine - 20 miles north, and Deming - 12 miles east, but not Mount Vernon because they are close to a locally owned store with superior inventory and service - with a big advantage of being located in a less expensive area right off the freeway. I've driven to Hugo Helmer's many times, it's a great music store.

On other hand, Sweetwater can reach out to the entire country and beyond. They also have buying power, generated by higher sales volume and legendary customer service. I've never bought a guitar there but I can guarantee you guitars hanging on the walls at Guitar Center do not receive the same level of inspection/set up nor do they remain pristine unless they sell quickly. Sweetwater's inventory cannot be matched by a single Guitar Center, their pricing is low, shipping is mostly free and fast, advantage Sweetwater.

If you are one of those who absolutely must play the guitar you buy (I totally understand this), then you'll probably go to Guitar Center for guitars. But you can order everything else from your home, on the internet, when you have time and know going in that any problems will be taken care of quickly. It's simply an overall superior method of engaging in retail sales. GC has been troubled for a long time, Covid is possibly one of the final nails in the coffin but the grave's been dug some time ago.

Small local businesses may be able to survive by focusing on lessons, dealing in used gear and most importantly, securing the repair work from local schools for horns, reeds and strings. That's big money. There is a small shop locally that has the school contracts and they are quoting 14 month turnarounds (I know this because i found a Selmer clarinet at the thrift store for $30, pretended I wanted it repaired and sold it to them for $80...).


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The weekend after Thanksgiving I will be in Fort Wayne, Indiana on a business trip, and I will be spending some time and hopefully some money at Sweetwater. In fact, if they happen to have one of the new Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standards in cherry sunburst finish, I'm buying one.


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Originally Posted by Sharkman
The weekend after Thanksgiving I will be in Fort Wayne, Indiana on a business trip, and I will be spending some time and hopefully some money at Sweetwater. In fact, if they happen to have one of the new Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standards in cherry sunburst finish, I'm buying one.

One of my dreams is to win the lottery and spend a week at Sweetwater choosing the best of everything!!!


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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
One of the articles about this situation quoted someone from the GC camp as attributing COVID's impact on "discretionary income" as one of the reasons for the current troubles. But if I was a savvy investor, I'd ask, "So how come Sweetwater and some other retailers are thriving, and many categories of music-gear sales are way up?"

Slightly different perspective - There's a small GC just blocks from my house, on the upper floor of an indoor mall, with no street-level access. I'd been going there since they opened that location, and know the manager and most of the staff. I've bought some very nice used and new gear there, but I haven't set foot in that store since mid-March, because of the pandemic. If they had street-level access, and curbside pickup, all good, but even if they were giving away free Guitars right now, I'd have to consider the risk of going into a crowded indoor space when the number of Covid-19 cases in my area is rising, rapidly. I expect a lot of players, who may have an open GC near them, are avoiding retail shopping other than at grocery stores and pharmacies.

I'm one of those people KuruPrionz mentions, who won't buy any Guitar I haven't held in my hands, but strings, stands, electronics, why not? There's not much, if any, discernible difference among a batch of brand-new MXR Phase 90's, for example, so I don't feel like I need to A/B every one in the store to find the "right" one; in that regard, ordering online is much the same as buying any random box off the shelf.

For the sake of the folks working stores like my nearby GC, and for the sake of anyone who can't just drive to the next nearest, or furthest store, I hope they figure something out, but I won't be back inside that mall until there's a vaccine, or an "All-Clear" signal of some kind, maybe both.


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Originally Posted by GuardiansGuitar
One of the articles about this situation quoted someone from the GC camp as attributing COVID's impact on "discretionary income" as one of the reasons for the current troubles. But if I was a savvy investor, I'd ask, "So how come Sweetwater and some other retailers are thriving, and many categories of music-gear sales are way up?"

Many mail order stores (Sweetwater and others) are doing great during the Covid lockdowns as purchasers get the product delivered to their door and avoid shopping in brick and mortar stores. Another reason besides "discretionary income" in the music-gear sales for us guitar pickers and others, could be due to players staying at home and needing to entertain themselves until things open up again. Playing, learning and practicing music is a great way to deal with being shut-in... cool


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I'll never understand the fascination with Sweetwater. Prices are high compared to other options, and you can't try in a store first. Sometimes you receive an open box or a return at regular price, and in many cases it is a hassle (compared to GC and its affiliates) to return something and/or to receive acknowledgement of fault. Brand choice is also extremely limited, and they don't carry many pro brands in many categories either.

For keyboard stuff, it's either buy-at-a-store or order from Kraft with a great package deal that includes carefully-curated quality (not crap) gig bags etc. Similarly for some guitars, but Kraft is only good for hard-to-find Yamaha guitars and basses, for the most part (a brand that few carry, except for their crap models).

For pro audio, mics, acoustic guitars, etc., it's Sound Pure and/or Front End Audio and/or Zen pro Audio, occasionally augmented with other pro audio specialist sites.

Having said all of that, I occasionally use Sweetwater and don't mean to rag on them; I simply don't understand why people think they're tops, cheap, awesome, perfect, etc. So that pushes a button that makes me inclined to reply. Our own local (to Oakland CA; I'm only temporarily in NC) pro audio mini-chain lost a lot of sales when the on-line-only model got launched by Sweetwater. But some of their failure is their own fault.

For those who didn't know, Gear Nuts is another Sweetwater brand and is especially a good way to buy from them via eBay so that you get reward points to offset your cost.

In the old days, Sweetwater was known primarily as the go-to shop for Paul Reed Smith guitars, and Kurzweil keyboards. In fact, they were the first major supplier of customized sound banks and upgrades for Kurzweil stuff, and I think in the very early days they may have been the only authorized dealer for PRS.


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Thanks Mark for all the references, I will be checking some of them out.

I've purchased a few items at Sweetwater over the years but I am very selective and will buy used gear locally if the product and price are good. Have done that many more times than using Sweetwater.
Too many amazing bargains right in my own backyard to ignore, the list is long.

You have to "go fish" at any outlet and seek out the bargains that come and go, shift and turn. Musicians Friend "Stupid Deal of the Day" comes to mind. They have lots of stuff but not everything is cheap.

My last Sweetwater purchase was recent, research showed that the Neat Worker Bee is a great mic for $90, nobody has new ones cheaper that I could find and I bought 2 of them.
Excellent for my purposes. Current listings on eBay show Sweetwater having the same low price as a very few others, free shipping (which a few others also offer) and it just seemed easy to go with them.

Not one single used option that makes any sense for the Worker Bees that I could find. Bring able to just get 2 and be done with it was easy.

I guess the real answer is - "it depends". Cheers, Kuru


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
I'm one of those people KuruPrionz mentions, who won't buy any Guitar I haven't held in my hands, but strings, stands, electronics, why not? There's not much, if any, discernible difference among a batch of brand-new MXR Phase 90's, for example, so I don't feel like I need to A/B every one in the store to find the "right" one; in that regard, ordering online is much the same as buying any random box off the shelf.


I still remember the time I went into a local music store in Fresno (Spitzer's anyone?) and they had a dozen or so new Gibson Les Pauls up on the wall. I was their guitar tech, worked from home but knew everybody.

I started trying out Les Pauls, even though I wasn't in the market for one. One sounded really good to me, alive. A couple of them sounded like a wet log. The rest were all pretty OK. All of them played decently, something I don't worry about too much since I've been setting up guitars for a long time and there has to be something really wrong with the instrument to prevent me from making it play well.

Lesson learned. Wood guitar, every one is different and some are better than others. When I said I get it, I really do get it.
For my own giggin guitars, I've gravitated mostly to instruments with a dense, non-resonant string path. Even response, sustain and more similar in tone to each other. That's the "easy way out" but stay at home instruments may be a different animal. There I seek variety, no use in have 3 of the same thing when 3 different sounds/feels would serve better in my home studio. So, instead of 3 Strats - a vintage Danelctro, an Ibanez GIO Mikro tuned to Nashville tuning and a Tele with a Warmoth baritone neck tuned down to B. More fun!!!!


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@KuruPrionz - Regarding the "wet log" sound, I had a question I used to ask the younger folks who would come to work at the Guitar store with us -

"Would you rather have the first Guitar to come off the line on Monday morning, or the last one to come off the line on Friday afternoon?"

They'd ponder for a bit, or guess at one or the other, until I'd give them the punchline: "It's a trick question. The only right answer is 'No'."

For many of them, that was their introduction to the idea that not all Guitars, even of the same make and model, are created equal.


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
@KuruPrionz - Regarding the "wet log" sound, I had a question I used to ask the younger folks who would come to work at the Guitar store with us -

"Would you rather have the first Guitar to come off the line on Monday morning, or the last one to come off the line on Friday afternoon?"

They'd ponder for a bit, or guess at one or the other, until I'd give them the punchline: "It's a trick question. The only right answer is 'No'."

For many of them, that was their introduction to the idea that not all Guitars, even of the same make and model, are created equal.

Truth!
Long ago I got up early on morning and the classifieds had a Martin guitar for $200. I called them and shot over like a bat out of Hell. It looked OK, played OK and I bought it.
Friends of mine came walking up just as I came out the door with the guitar, smiling. I said something about them being slow.
It was a 1965 Martin D-18 in used but respectable condition with no repairs done or needed.

I kept it at home for a while and tried to love it but it just didn't sound very good. I had a 1970 Martin D-35 at the time that had endured many beatings but sounded excellent.
My brother offered me $250 for the D-18 and I took it. On to the next.

Decades later, I found a Rainsong OM1000 for my brother, called him while he was commuting and got his eBay login. I bought it for him. After he'd had it for a few months he shipped the D-18 up to me and said "See what you can get for it and we'll split it." He LOVED the Rainsong and knew he would never play the Martin again. We did OK, got way more than $250 for the D-18.
At some point I visited him and played his OM1000. It sounded amazing and played great too, I had to have one. Found one locally, got it and a few years later I realized that I never played my D-35 and wasn't going to. Nice guitar, should not sit around unplayed so I sold it too. I've never missed it.

The D-18 should have been great but somehow just wasn't. I can also speak to the wide variations of vintage Gibson P-90 pickups. Some of them are pretty OK, some are sort of feeble, some are microphonic. One of my friends had a Gibson SG with dual P-90s that were hot and nasty, sounded great. Another had a single cut Les Paul Jr. and that P-90 screamed. So that's another one you absolutely must try for yourself.


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if you have an extra 14 minutes and are interested in this topic, IMO this is a good video



"Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!"
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Interesting to see Spitzer's mentioned by a former worker, as the Spitzer's/Leo's mini-chain is the one I alluded to earlier, that blamed Sweetwater for their demise.


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Doerfler, Thanks for the GC video....good info! thu


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shit went down today : Guitar Center files for bankruptcy

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...-files-for-bankruptcy-idUSKBN282058?il=0


"Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!"
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I have a feeling our Bellingham store will be closing. It is small and has always underperformed by GC standards.
That's too bad, the manager is a great guy and a family man with 2 kids so he'll have to hustle something else to do or move if there is an opportunity.

On the other hand, it gives a new local store an opportunity to grow - although they don't have the space to display anything like the inventory that was at GC.

I guess I'll see what happens, 2020 sure has sucked big time!!!!


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I've mentioned the small Guitar Center that opened in a nearby neighborhood mall a few years ago. I've found some good deals there, and I liked the folks who worked there, but sadly, I expected they'd be among the first stores to close, It's a very small location, on the 4th floor of an indoor mall. I suspect they'd opened this location to get a store as near to D.C. proper as possible, without paying D.C. commercial rents. The local mall was probably happy to have a big-name national chain, as opposed to all the bargain-basement & closeout stores that take up most of the retail space.

Looking this morning on GC's Used Gear list, I saw that the nearby store was blanked out, with no products available, so I did a quick search and found this - Silver Spring Guitar Center to close permanently.

In one sense, they were competing with themselves. The next nearest GC is only a few miles away, which isn't nearly as close to the city line, but accessible via public transport. It's also big enough that the entire Silver Spring store could fit inside the Rockville store's Guitar department.

I'm sorry to see them go; there were some good folks working there, and it was nice to have a Music store nearby, even if I haven't set foot inside a shopping mall since March. Indoor malls were closed for several months, which must have hurt them badly, because the Rockville store was able to stay open, even though it's the size of a small mall itself.

We'll see how many more small, or less profitable GC's shut down in the coming months. The article I posted says that the Silver Spring store is due to close by January, but it looks like they gave up without even trying for one last holiday sales season? More to follow, I'm sure . . .


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Thanks Winston, you prompted me to check out the status of the Bellingham store. They have 3 items listed in the Used section. They are still open.

Despite the Canadian border being closed for the time being, perhaps corporate is not ready to give up on a location that is so close to our friendly neighbors to the North.
When the border was open, Canadians were 30-40% of the retail economy in Bellingham. Their money goes farther here.

Maybe they will hang on until the eventual vaccine event begins to turn the pandemic back. I hope so, good people work there and they get some interesting items in despite the smaller size.
There is really nobody ready to step up at this point, I would not be trying to start a business venture in this current situation either.


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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
I've mentioned the small Guitar Center that opened in a nearby neighborhood mall a few years ago. I've found some good deals there, and I liked the folks who worked there, but sadly, I expected they'd be among the first stores to close, It's a very small location, on the 4th floor of an indoor mall .

Is that the shopping center which is across the street, or around the corner from the Whole Foods?
(Unfortunately, the administration of the performing arts center at U of M has changed, & the new person doesn't have Kronos on their radar, so our artists-in-residence deal with them is over. So, no stays in Silver Spring on the horizon, even if there were tours happening.)


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I hope the one I'm going to in Durham/Cary NC isn't on the hit list (I still haven't been to downtown Raleigh or the neighbouring Sam Ash store there), as the people are very friendly and knowledgeable and they have a good selection for a small store, with occasional surprises (such as the almost-half-price Sequential Prophet XL that I bought there a few days after I arrived from the west coast, jonesing for at least one instrument as I brought none).


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Originally Posted by Scott Fraser
Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
I've mentioned the small Guitar Center that opened in a nearby neighborhood mall a few years ago. I've found some good deals there, and I liked the folks who worked there, but sadly, I expected they'd be among the first stores to close, It's a very small location, on the 4th floor of an indoor mall .

Is that the shopping center which is across the street, or around the corner from the Whole Foods?
(Unfortunately, the administration of the performing arts center at U of M has changed, & the new person doesn't have Kronos on their radar, so our artists-in-residence deal with them is over. So, no stays in Silver Spring on the horizon, even if there were tours happening.)

That's the one. Right in what they call the CBD!!! Central Business District, in this case, but still . . .

They're tucked away above a bunch of discount stores, so you have to cross a lot of enclosed mall space to get to them, and then you're in an enclosed space with no windows, and not much in the way of air circulation, as I recall. I feel bad for not supporting them in the last few months, but the risk is not worth the reward, just to get some strings or spare cables.

I'm also sorry your arrangement with U of M fell through, and I hope something else comes together for you, once it's safe to tour again. Anytime you come to D.C., we'll have a place at the table for you.


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Weird.
In the summer of 2019 I applied for and got a job at our local Bellingham Guitar Center as a guitar tech.
It did not take long to realize that I wasn't going to be happy there. When expectations for the number of jobs you will get done are set by the minutes spent AND you have a work bench that is exposed to the general public, that is a bad combination.

2 different people came up to me while I was trying to work and wanted to talk about guitar repair jobs they might bring in someday, maybe.

I might have made it through that but then I saw the touch screen for entering work finished. A dazzling array of tiny code numbers on a small screen. I'm very nearsighted, this was impossible to navigate without looking closely and positioned for maximum awkwardness. Which is to say nothing of the memory game required. I found it astonishing that a company in 2019 was still using a computer system that reminded me of 1982 or so. Primitive!!

The manager is a nice guy, I like him and I appreciated the opportunity. So I went immediately to his office and thanked him for hiring me, then I quit and went home.
I guess I'm still on the books somewhere. Meh...


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