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Another Guitar Center Rant


Warthog

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So, I'm a 35 year-old, clean cut guy. Whenever I go to Guitar Center I feel like I'M the freak! Seriously, and no offense to you dudes who work there, but do they employ any actual human beings? I mean, I'd like to poll the next 100 people that go into GC and find out that of the hundred there might be 5 with steady jobs and of all the high schoolers playing Green Day and Ozzie WAY too loud (and poorly) I'll bet there are 3 with over a C average in school. I feel so out of place without 40 piercings, a t-shirt with a skull on it, black mascara, and a wicked stupid-looking hemp hat. So I just go and sequester myself in the acoustic room where I know they won't go, cuz Rob Zombie doesn't play an acoustic!

 

Thanks for letting me vent. You can now begin your spear-throwing at clean-cut, 35 year-old white dudes...

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If it`s too loud, yer too old :)

 

Seriously, who cares? I`m older than you are and it doesn`t bother me, I figure it`s about people with common interests. in Japan it`s not unusual to see an entire band on the train, with waist-length hair and black leather stage clothing. Loosen the necktie dude.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

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Originally posted by skipclone 1:

If it`s too loud, yer too old :)

 

Seriously, who cares? I`m older than you are and it doesn`t bother me, I figure it`s about people with common interests. in Japan it`s not unusual to see an entire band on the train, with waist-length hair and black leather stage clothing. Loosen the necktie dude.

I knew I had it coming and that's ok, I'm prolly in the minority on this site. Still doesn't change the creepy feeling these folks give me.
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GC wasn't made for you, it was made for the 35 year old guy who never played, with a 14 year old son who wants to play. So dad and son walk in, and its like the Disney store to dad, who doesn't know any better; and it is all the gear in the world to the son, who also doesn't know any better.

 

So I don't think that you really have a place to stand on this issue... just like being in the womens underwear section of the department store... the end product may be for you (I assume that is why women buy this stuff.... for us, right?), but the ambience and sales staff aren't selected to appeal to you. So don't feel bad. It's like when I walk into a rap room or a sports bar..... I mean, dude, I'm definitely in the wrong place, no matter how much I like clubs, or football, or booze. These places were not built for me.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

GC wasn't made for you, it was made for the 35 year old guy who never played, with a 14 year old son who wants to play. So dad and son walk in, and its like the Disney store to dad, who doesn't know any better; and it is all the gear in the world to the son, who also doesn't know any better.

 

So I don't think that you really have a place to stand on this issue... just like being in the womens underwear section of the department store... the end product may be for you (I assume that is why women buy this stuff.... for us, right?), but the ambience and sales staff aren't selected to appeal to you. So don't feel bad. It's like when I walk into a rap room or a sports bar..... I mean, dude, I'm definitely in the wrong place, no matter how much I like clubs, or football, or booze. These places were not built for me.

 

Bill

True, Bill. Those folks would probably feel out of place at the places I hang out (Fighter Squadron, church, Chuck E. Cheese's (4 kids under 8))...
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Warthog... Are you ranting about the GC employees, customers or both???

 

I'm definitly on the 35+ clean cut (sort of) side but I get a kick out of going into my local GC. In Northern NJ there's always a mix of kids and adults in the store, some clean cut and some a little more rock-n-roll looking. Oh yeah, the kids playing Ozzy, etc. a little too loud and a little off are there as well. But I kind of enjoy it!!!

 

I guess that's how GC makes its money, by catering to the up and coming players. I'm sure there are some smaller guitar/music store in your area that may be more your style.

 

Hey, may I suggest, just for kicks, go into GC and pick up an electric and turn up the amp just a little too loud and play your favorite riff-de-jour for everyone to hear!!!

"Spend all day doing nothing

But we sure do it well" - Huck Johns from 'Oh Yeah'

Click to Listen to Oh yeah

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Last time I was in GC the guy behind the counter was showing more tats than skin, a nose ring (not a stud), probably a dozen ear rings, a couple of eyebrow rings, a lip ring, a tattered t-shirt, torn jeans and really grungy sneakers. Maybe they think that's what most of their customers are like. I just felt out of place.

 

They guy kept asking me what kind of guitar I had and then kept telling me he had a Strat and said I needed one. All I wanted was some strings and a music stand and told him so.

 

But he kept going on about his Strat. I finally rattled off all the guitars I have to him and told him I didn't really need any more that day. His reply? "Well, I'm in a band and all I need is my Strat".

 

I asked him how old he was. He said 23. I asked him how long he'd been playing. He said 5 years and he had been in a band for almost a year.

 

I told him there was no way I could get by on just one guitar.

 

His reply was that a good guitarist isn't limited by his guitar.

 

I just looked at him like the idiot he was and got out of there as quickly as I could. I think he thought I was just an old fart. Maybe so. I'm easily old enough to be his father (I'm 47). I don't think I'll be going back.

 

I didn't care much what he looked like although I've seen really badass bikers with less ink and that dressed better.

 

And I just don't get the whole piercings thing. I try to keep the number of holes in my body to a minimum. I don't want things getting in or leaking out. :eek:

 

If I owned the store, though, I'd make the staff wear clothes that are at least in good repair if not in good taste instead of rags. T-shirts and jeans are fine. But not when there's more holes than fabric.

 

I'd also tell them that it's not a competition between them and the customers. They are there to try to create a desire in the customer to buy something by demonstrating the wares and giving them information.

Born on the Bayou

 

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We don't have GC here, but the one's I've visited in the states do seem like a giant candy store - a great place to sample products you're researching, but maybe not where you'd wanna buy.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Originally posted by Bluesape:

We don't have GC here, but the one's I've visited in the states do seem like a giant candy store - a great place to sample products you're researching, but maybe not where you'd wanna buy.

I think of them as just the opposite. Do your research, know what you want, and then, if GC carries what you want, you can probably get the best price from them. A working pro who doesn't need or expect much hand holding or support can do quite well at a GC.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Originally posted by LPCustom:

Last time I was in GC the guy behind the counter was showing more tats than skin, a nose ring (not a stud), probably a dozen ear rings, a couple of eyebrow rings, a lip ring, a tattered t-shirt, torn jeans and really grungy sneakers. Maybe they think that's what most of their customers are like. I just felt out of place.

 

They guy kept asking me what kind of guitar I had and then kept telling me he had a Strat and said I needed one. All I wanted was some strings and a music stand and told him so.

 

But he kept going on about his Strat. I finally rattled off all the guitars I have to him and told him I didn't really need any more that day. His reply? "Well, I'm in a band and all I need is my Strat".

 

I asked him how old he was. He said 23. I asked him how long he'd been playing. He said 5 years and he had been in a band for almost a year.

 

I told him there was no way I could get by on just one guitar.

 

His reply was that a good guitarist isn't limited by his guitar.

 

I just looked at him like the idiot he was and got out of there as quickly as I could. I think he thought I was just an old fart. Maybe so. I'm easily old enough to be his father (I'm 47). I don't think I'll be going back.

 

I didn't care much what he looked like although I've seen really badass bikers with less ink and that dressed better.

 

And I just don't get the whole piercings thing. I try to keep the number of holes in my body to a minimum. I don't want things getting in or leaking out. :eek:

 

If I owned the store, though, I'd make the staff wear clothes that are at least in good repair if not in good taste instead of rags. T-shirts and jeans are fine. But not when there's more holes than fabric.

 

I'd also tell them that it's not a competition between them and the customers. They are there to try to create a desire in the customer to buy something by demonstrating the wares and giving them information.

I'm right with 'ya. The last time I was in GC (Friday), it was the one over by you. I was looking at the Presonus Firebox, microphones, headsets, etc. The kid that was waiting on me stopped in the middle of our conversation and took a phone call. He stood right in front of me and started SCHEDULING FREAKIN' GUITAR LESSONS!!!! His PART TIME FREAKIN' JOB!!! If he had taken 30 second or a minute and told the FREAK on the other end of the FREAKIN' phone that he would call him/her/it back, that would've been fine. He was on that phone like 10 minutes later when I got FREAKIN' fed up and walked out on his tattoed, multi-pierced weird-o freak little ass. I'm waiting until I get calmed completely down (so I will chose my profanity carefully), then I'm going back into the store and I'm going to get the general manager and this kid's freak little ass and we're going to have a Get-Close-To-Jesus meeting right in the middle of the store. Then I'm going to request a different sales person and buy the stuff from him.

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

Originally posted by Bluesape:

We don't have GC here, but the one's I've visited in the states do seem like a giant candy store - a great place to sample products you're researching, but maybe not where you'd wanna buy.

I think of them as just the opposite. Do your research, know what you want, and then, if GC carries what you want, you can probably get the best price from them. A working pro who doesn't need or expect much hand holding or support can do quite well at a GC.

 

Bill

Yep. As long as you can find one of the little freaks that works there that is capable of waiting on you....apparently abudant functioning brain cells isn't a prerequisite for hiring.

 

Oh...yeah...the strip-search station at the door is another conversation entirely.....

"And so I definitely, when I have a daughter, I have a lot of good advice for her."

~Paris Hilton

 

BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAA!!!

 

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Originally posted by Sasquatch51:

As long as you can find one of the little freaks that works there that is capable of waiting on you....apparently abudnat functioning brain cells isn't a prerequisite for hiring.

 

Which is why I do my research elsewhere. All they have to do is to ring the register. Sometimes that seems to be pushing the limits, I'll agree.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I never pay attention to the other people in the store usually, I go in and buy strings or whatever. Occasionally I will try something out. The sales guys at the one near me are pretty cool dudes.

 

I don't like when they crank up the tunes though, or the video. The rare times I try out an amp or whatever, I may crank it to 10, but only for a sec. I am very sensitive to the other people in the store and I don't want to annoy anyone, or act like a show off (HEY LOOK AT ME, NO DON'T!)--cuz thats really lame.

 

Mostly I don't like Guitar Center's limited selection. They only carry a few brands in the store. I mean you can't go there and try out an MXR Flanger because they don't have them in the store. You can't go and try a VHT Pitbull Cl 50 either, they don't carry them 'in the store'. I know it is all about making money and they have their reasons, but the fact is that Mesa Boogie amps cost as much as VHT, and frankly I think most guys would plug into the CL 50 and buy that instead. Everytime I go in there they have the same ole crap, never anything new.

 

In the Detroit area I miss stores like Pyramid guitars where you could go get your guitar worked on by great techs, or speak to sales guys who were not only good players, but knowledgable and nice. A more personal experience, and the store always had some high end obscure stuff unlike GC.

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Bill, I get your point. My first stop was at the mom and pop shop (which has better gear and better prices than GC) and there was a mid-forties dad there with his grungy son. I overheard him asking the salesperson for a "30 watt tube amp". She was showing him the tube amps she had (a Blues Junior, some Mesas, etc.) and I struck-up a conversation with the dad. I was looking at a Vox AC30CC, one of the new ones, and told him it was a tube amp as well. She was showing him a Vox Valvetronics amp and I pointed out that it's a hybrid solid state amp with a tube preamp. Anyhow, the guy keeps telling me that he doesn't know anything about guitars or gear and neither does his son, but a friend of his told him to get a "30 watt tube amp". All his son knew was that he wanted to play "metal".

 

Anyhow, flash forward an hour and I'm at GC and see the same Dad and son. At this point they're still looking for a "30 watt tube amp". I told him that if I were him I'd play a few and judge the amp based on the sound and not the fact that it has vacuum tubes. (My guess as to why he didn't play any is because he didn't know how to play, which is not bad, but he could ask a tech to demo a few). I also told him that these days it's hard to tell the difference between SS and tube amps from a tonal standpoint. I pointed out a couple $1000 Fenders they were looking at and told them that they were real nice amps. The dad said that they were out of the budget they had in mind, so I pointed out the GDec sitting amongst the group and told him that I hadn't played one but had heard great things about it, and it seemed maybe a decent amp for someone who doesn't play a lick as this kid did. The boy just looked at his dad and kinda rolled his eyes. Guess he needs to have his dad shell out for a $2000 Mesa so he can put it up on EBay in 6 months.

 

All the more reason to take along a friend who knows what he's doing...

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Like Bill@WelcomeHomeStudios, I do my research in advance on what I'm looking for, then if GC has what I'm looking for, and for the best price, then I'll go there. That is what I very recently did when I bought my Ibanez GA6CE classical-electric guitar at GC-Toledo (OH). And whenever I do go to a GC (and I've visited several; in addition to Toledo, I've been to GCs in Columbus and Cleveland, OH, Corpus Christi, TX, and my hometown of Virginia Beach, VA), I don't even concern myself with "fitting in" with or relating to the sales staff or other customers there--I'm there to look at or check out musical gear, or I might be there for a sale. The way I see it, it's not all that different from going in a Wal Mart (OK, the staff and clientelle at a Wal Mart usually aren't quite THAT wacked out--but anyhow! :D ). And, believe it or not, a few of the GC staff actually DO know their jobs and do them reasonably well. I did have a good experience at GC-Toledo (OH) with Mike, the salesperson that I first spoke with when I went there for my GA6CE (see my thread, "Got my GA6CE--well, sort of"), and when a problem arose with the guitar's electronics, I was able to swap it for another of the same model (I did have to get after them a little, but, hey, you sometimes have to do that with any mega-business that you deal with). I kinda wished that I could have gotten the GA6CE at Peeler's in Toledo (where I bought my '03 Fender Strat in September 2003) because they do service what they sell, but Ibanez is known for setting up all their guitars well (and such was the case with my GA6CE), and I saved about $50 by buying it (and a SKB hardshell case to put it in) at GC.

Robert J. ("Bob") Welch III

 

"If you were the only person who ever lived, God still would have sent Jesus His only Son to die on the cross for YOU, because that is how much HE LOVES YOU!"

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Originally posted by Bill@Welcome Home Studios:

(...) All they have to do is to ring the register. (...)

I don't know how many times I've been there to buy something that they know they have in stock because they see it on the computer but they have to go hunt it down for what seems like hours because nobody on the staff knows where it was last stashed :)

 

GC is different but I still think it's OK to go there when you know what to expect. And I like their 30-day return no-question-asked warranty on gear I want to try with my full setup.

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Originally posted by flagshipmile:

In the Detroit area I miss stores like Pyramid guitars where you could go get your guitar worked on by great techs, or speak to sales guys who were not only good players, but knowledgable and nice. A more personal experience, and the store always had some high end obscure stuff unlike GC.

I liked Pyramid Guitars too. It was a long ride to Grand River from Garden City to get there but was worth every mile.

 

There used to be a good store in Taylor too off of Telegraph. It's not there anymore. Damned if I can remember the name.

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The only thing that really tends to faze me in guitar stores is when you have "beginner" guitarists cranked up to the max while they butcher every riff they play. It hurts the ear man! It hurts the ear!

 

I'd also be curious to see how damaged the merchandise is after the kids get through with it at GC. I mean it sounds like these "characters" you talk about probably wouldnt be the type to actually make sure they handle the goods properly. With all the nicks and scratches you could probably get a nice discount on some of GC's gear!

YtseJam your Majesty!
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The more we think things change the more they stay the same. 60+ year olds were saying the same thing about us with our long hair ( which I do still have but in a more kept way if ya know what I mean) ripped jeans, tiedieds, etc...

 

I love seeing young dudes expressing themselves as that was me 25 years ago.

 

How does that song go...

 

"all the young dudes, carry the news" :)

 

The only difference between them and us at that age is the worst of us talent/chops wise could easily have smoked the best of them.

 

ahhhhh youth !

Mix of Rock, Metal & Heavy Fusion

http://www.visualcliff.net

 

My new band...Melodic Hard Rock

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Try being female and going to GC for strings and what not-I can tell you I have either been totally ignored,even when I asked for help,or this incident that happened to me some years ago:

GC staffer: Hello,and how much $$ are you looking to spend today?

Me: none,really,I just came in to look around.

GC staffer:Then don't touch anything.

So,I haven't been in a GC for many years and have no inention of ever stepping into one. I prefer "mom & pop" music stores,and for strings I usually order them online from Elderly music in MI. tho I live in Los Angeles.

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Originally posted by 7stringer:

Try being female and going to GC for strings and what not-I can tell you I have either been totally ignored,even when I asked for help,or this incident that happened to me some years ago:

GC staffer: Hello,and how much $$ are you looking to spend today?

Me: none,really,I just came in to look around.

GC staffer:Then don't touch anything.

So,I haven't been in a GC for many years and have no inention of ever stepping into one. I prefer "mom & pop" music stores,and for strings I usually order them online from Elderly music in MI. tho I live in Los Angeles.

What a crappy story. That's too bad. I despise idiots. Anymore, I enjoy going in to see the different models of whatever and end up getting the product somewhere else. The local GC here is almost always crowded, and often too loud. Not good with ADD.

 

I love going to my local Dad and son shop. Knowledgable repairs and custom work.

Mikegug

 

www.facebook.com/theresistancemusic

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I live in Florida now the rule here is:

 

An ounce of image is worth a pound of talent.

 

&

 

The ability of the player is inversely proportional to the cost of the instrument.

 

I too am a DIE charter member [Detroiters In Exile, South Florida branch] and I miss the old Fiddlers Music of the 70's. When I'm in Det. [pronounced "Debt"]] I still like to visit Huber & Breese...

 

Hey, SUPORT the stores that support YOU! GC doesn't want knowledgeable sales people, they want people that that can and will sell anything to anybody. You may pay a bit more for an item from a mom & pop store, but youll always get advice [and gear] you can really use. SUPPORT THEM before they become extinct.

"Music is a life sentence." - K. Parker

Rude Recording

Al_Rude@hotmail.com

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My local shop actually has better prices than GC and is more personable and helpful. Every time I walk in and look at something the staff is like "I can give you a great deal on that," and it's often 25% lower than GC. They also have a 30 day price match, even on internet ads! How's that for service?
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Originally posted by 7stringer:

Try being female and going to GC for strings and what not-I can tell you I have either been totally ignored,even when I asked for help,or this incident that happened to me some years ago:

I wouldn't doubt you went to the GC nearest me. The one in Lawndale, CA? Just guessing because it is near Gardena. Anyway, when I go I try to go during the day and on a weekday. Less people and better service. I went there on a Saturday and it was quite busy and one guy was playing with the amp cranked way up, I couldn't hear myself play or tune the guitar I was trying to test out. Finally, I got frustrated and left. The GC sales person wasn't much help either. I went the following Monday, got a good sales rep and tested guitars for a good 3 hours before deciding on a Les Paul Studio. I guess your experience at GC can be hit or miss, even if it is the same exact store. The employees seemed to be quite "normal" but some were better help than others.
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I've decided that I like GC. Not because they have good prices on new gear (they don't) or a good selection (it's lousy) or good service (it's usually aweful). I like them because they often sell non-vintage used gear at cost.

 

I bought my awesome 1983 Ibanez Destroyer for $250. My 2000 Ibanez 7421 was $300 and it was mint. Both are high quality Japanese guitars and they both cost more on ebay. I've also seen great deals on 80s Hamers and Charvels and other non-Fender/Gibson brands (if it says Fender or Gibson it WILL be overpriced). On the same visit that netted the Destroyer, my cousin bought an early 60s Sabian ride for $40. He sold it on ebay for $450.

 

I am never dissapointed when I go to GC because I always expect the worst. But because the people who work there are so clueless, it can be a good place to go fishing.

 

BTW, the last time I was there, the customers were mostly clean cut white guys in their 30s and they were just as loud and just as bad as any mascara'd kids. The only difference was their choice of songs to mangle.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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I guess I have gotten to the point where I think of GC employees as cashiers. They aren't any better than the average Wallmart employee, Wallmart probably has better pay and benifits anyway.

 

The kids are the customers that are easily influenced, so having a contemporary looking musician as a salesman isn't a bad idea. When I was younger, I was always distrusfull of the suit and tie guys, if the guy had long hair he had a bit more credibility.

 

But it really is to bad that there aren't knowledgable sales people in the largest music store chain ever. I have had better luck asking the few women they have working there than the guys, its seems like they at least know what products they carry and basicly how they work. Maybe the women feel they have something to prove, so they spend a little time learning the product.

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I have been extremely impressed by the only GC I have been to which is in Tampa. Its an hour and a half drive for me but when I do go there it is with a purpose and so far have been treated with utmost respect. The reason I dont go to the mom and pop stores around here is because I found out they buy a lot of thier stock from said GC and just mark up the prices! That isnt the only reason, its basically that I am not impressed with the local small shops. On 2 occasions I took a guitar with a floyd rose to get a setup with a substantial string gauge size change and all they did was adjust the springs till the bridge was flush which I could have done but didnt because I know thats not adequate. They didnt even check intonation or anything just handed it back to me and I heard the register box open. Now I did find a guy in Ocala at Paramore Music that does an outstanding job and I may go there more often, especially for tech work, still an hour drive for me. What does irk me is when I just need strings or something and go to the locals, I am paying list price which isnt funny to me, adding to the fact that more often than not, they dont have the brand I want. George's music in Orange Park is OK as is the Sam Ash in Clearwater. I bet Caputo has been to some of those and I wonder if he had the same experience.
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