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An interesting trip to the local GC yesterday...


NoahZark

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I had about an hour or so to kill late yesterday afternoon, so I decided to make a visit to my local Guitar Center in Rockville, MD to do some browsing (since I'm still looking for an RA or VA synth to add to my rig). I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of boards that they had available to play, including some that I had never seen there before: Moog Little Phatty, Nord Stage 88, Access Virus TI, Alesis Ion, Yamaha MM6. :thu:

 

Anyway, I'm enjoying my kid-in-a-candy-store moment and getting set to settle in for some preset-scrolling and knob-tweaking when this kid (who was probably in his early 20s and definitely old enough to know better) comes in, plants himself in front of an Alesis Micron, finds some rhythm sequence that he likes, and cranks the thing up to 11. The Micron was running into some crap amp, but the thing was plenty loud enough to drown out any other sound in the room (and drew looks from around the store). The worst part was the guy was a two-index-finger keyboardist. He literally didn't know how to play, but he still wouldn't shut up. :mad: I waited for a few minutes for someone in the store to tell him to turn down, but no one came. Eventually (I'd say we're five minutes into the heavy thumping at this point), the sales guy I know comes in and turns down the Micron's amp. Just a minute or two later, however, after the sales guy leaves the room to help another customer, the kid positions himself at another synth and cranks up again. Then, to top it off, a buddy of his comes in (also a non-player) and cranks up some other board. The keyboard room emptied out when these guys were in there. If I had to guess, their visit lasted a good 20-30 minutes.

 

So, a question: What would you guys have done? Would you have told them directly to turn down? Asked the store employees to take care of the situation in a better way? I was tempted to just leave, but I don't often get downtime like I had yesterday, and I really wanted to mess around with those new boards. That said, I was reluctant to take matters into my own hands, because this guy and his friend looked like just the type to get all pissy if another customer said something to them. And, although I wasn't too worried about getting my ass kicked (I'm a 6-foot, 235-pound, former offensive lineman), I'm also way past the point in my life where I'm looking for a brawl on a nice sunny afternoon.

 

So, thoughts?

 

Noah

 

P.S. I came this close to pulling the trigger on the Ion, which was used, but in mint condition, and listed at $450. (I figured I could probably talk 'em down another fifty bucks or so.) I'm tempted to call to see if it's still available, but I'm also intrigued by the very small form factor (but big sound) of the Micron, which might be an easier "add" to my existing setup because I could probably velcro it to the top of my XK-1 without the need for a true third tier.

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Honestly, I hardly ever visit a GC or SA because of the environment. Workers and managers don't take ownership like they do in private stores. Where I go this could never happen. As soon as they enter the keyboard department someone is there. If they want to demo they are handed headphones or the department manager connects a keyboard and sets the level on a mixer. If they are too loud they are asked to turn down and not disturb other customers.

 

Ownership or control brings pride. Pride brings responsibility. If I worked in a keyboard department and was not allowed to choose what to display, where to display it, what to keep in stock, and what I can say to a customer I doubt that I would car any more than they do.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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Robert:

 

I hear you. I just wish there were another good option near me besides GC. I love going to Chuck Levin's in Wheaton (where the "real" players in this area seem to congregate -- although I'm not one of them -- and where the atmosphere in the keyboard department is more as you describe), but it's too far out of the way for me for a quick little side trip like I planned yesterday. Part of the problem of living in an area like D.C. -- which, despite being the home of Duke Ellington and Fugazi, isn't a music mecca -- is lack of good choices in music stores.

 

Noah

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D*amn Noah, you should have called me man. I would have come up there and turned down their amps. ;)

 

It is unfortunate you had to deal with that. I will either ask the offenders to chill out and/or encourage the salesman to do their job (they used to be responsible for the department volume level too).

 

Normally, if you ask the offenders to turn down, they won't get hostile despite appearances.

 

A visit to keyboard nirvana should not go to waste unless the new stuff hasn't arrived and/or is not set up yet. :cool:

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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PD:

 

Thanks for that. One thing I'm sure of is that my handling of the situation -- doing nothing -- didn't work. On reflection, I think asking the salesmen to do their jobs would've been the best first step, followed quickly by asking the guys directly to turn down (and risking the confrontation) if step 1 didn't hold.

 

Noah

 

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Hmm, this was going on last night in Cerritos while I was trying to demo a YPG-625 (and digging the hell out of it, I would only buy it to practice on for fun, not for a gig). Some guy was trying to sequence on a Korg, loud as hell, repetitive. I'm sure this is a common problem at music stores, especially GC.

 

JH

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I have been in the situation where a "customer" comes in and proceeds to compose his latest "magnum opus" (usually of the urban variety) at maximum volume for however long he feels like it. (Funny how those with no job or career can just come in and spend hours at the GC.) I have tried the civil approach: "Hey dude, I'm trying to check this one too, can we maybe drop the volume down a little bit so that we both can evaluate our instruments at the same time?" If that doesn't work (often enough), I will then go to a sales person and point out the "situation." And when that doesn't work, I will rejoin the fray, only this time with an even more obnoxious tone than the offender's, and proceed to jam along with him (always a guy, go figure). Since they're usually doing the 2 finger rhythm, it doesn't take much to cop their "inspiration" and then augment it, beat it to death (well, it is only a 4 bar loop that is taxing the "artist's" "abilities"), and basically send them on their way.

 

When all else fails, if I really came to check something out, I've gone over and turned it down for them with the "in case you didn't know, THIS is the volume knob."

 

That NEVER fails.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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When all else fails, if I really came to check something out, I've gone over and turned it down for them with the "in case you didn't know, THIS is the volume knob." That NEVER fails.

 

My temptation to precisely do that yesterday was great. Next time . . . .

 

Glad to know that I'm not alone in having the experience I had, although it's sad that it happens to any of us.

 

Noah

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I have more than once wished I had brought head phones with me. I used to ask for head phones but they never seem to have them anymore.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

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This is Steve Fortner, tech editor of Keyboard and co-moderator of this forum. It is extremely rare that I delete a post, and I feel that everyone here is entitiled to their opinion and to have their voice heard. However, the content of this particular post crossed an important line - into territory that both I and the highest levels of ownership of these forums and magazines think we're all better off staying out of. Delirium, feel free to PM me if you'd like further explanation.

♫♫♫ motif XS6, RD700GX
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No solution. I was in a GC once (Atlanta) where a woman walked in and turn her brats loose to literally bang on everything like it's Disneyland... nobody working there said a thing and in fact several "busied" themselves elsewhere. If I had wanted to try something I would've just snatched some headphone from elsewhere, even if it meant opening a box. In this case they had an isolated room with an OASYS in it that I got to try by myself so I forgave them.

 

Store report: I was passing through Atlanta last week and visited the Sam Ash store there. This was after I read a newspaper article online that rated them as the "best music store in town". In fact, it was one of the WORST stores I've ever been in my life! First, the keyboard department is right next to the drum department with NO separation at all - guess where the noise was coming from. Second, several of the keyboards that were on display were actually broken, particularly a couple of Yamaha digital pianos that were on but had blank green displays and made no sound. And apparently this SA takes trades because some old, filthy and beaten keyboards that are thankfully no longer made were on display right next to newer models - I couldn't believe they'd waste prime display space on junk. This store is in deperate need of a new keyboard department manager, a "garage sale", and a makeover. I spent all of $5 on a cable that was on sale that I absolutely had to have, otherwise I wouldn't have wasted any money there.

 

Is it any wonder why so many pros now buy online... ?

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Jim: I usually bring my headphones with me when I'm auditioning instruments. I have a pair of earplug-style Etymotics that I absolutely love and that are perfect for those situations since they mute out a lot of ambient noise. Unfortunately (and regrettably), I left them at home yesterday. Never again, though!

 

Noah

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Noah were you bigger than them? Were they packing? :D Seriously I guess you could get a manager and tell him about the situation. That's really not going to work alot of the time. Perhaps a realistic solution may be to approach this diplomatically and aks them since they are playing so loud if they could get a set of headphones and play through them. I think most of us have been in this situation and it isn't pleasant.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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:mad:

 

And what is it with the kids who have to poke every dust cap of every woofer of every monitor in the room with the recording equipment?

 

I'm 5'7".

 

These are the times that I wish I looked kinda like this:

 

http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/news_images/1343_3383_1.jpg

 

 

and had a friend who looks like this:

 

http://cdn-channels.netscape.com/gallery/i/s/simpson4/20050305_war_l90_157.jpg:love:

 

 

:snax::)

 

(OK, if you don't like Jessica and thinks she looks like a man, don't bitch and moan. Instead, post a substitute, I don't care.) :P

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Original quote deleted. :grin:
Dude - that shit's completely uncalled for.

 

I second that emotion Kanker. The nature thing maybe goes to far.

BUT, I understand what you are saying Delirium, as it does tend to be people sequencing heavy ass beats at high dBs. That kills it. Every time.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Hey friends,

 

I agree that some music store visitors like to crank the keys and groove boxes way up, and that a lot of stores don't seem to manage their keyboard areas in a way that guarantees everyone has a pleasant gear-trying-out experience.

 

As for the bit of this discussion that I've been "bleeping out," Delirium has indicated he's OK with withdrawing it, so I'd consider it a favor if we could just leave it there. Just that bit and reactions to it, not the entire topic, of course. Carry on...

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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The situation Tony described above happens in GC quite a bit. I have seen cats bring in a USB flash drive to save the data of that "magnum opus" for a board they don't own yet. :rolleyes:

 

In that case, Noah got off lucky to have only heard a "work in progress" once. ;)

 

Salesmen need to maintain a store volume level in which everyone can enjoy their experience. Even the folk for whom a Fantom XA might as well be an OASYS. :P:cool:

 

 

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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As for the bit of this discussion that I've been "bleeping out," Delirium has indicated he's OK with withdrawing it, so I'd consider it a favor if we could just leave it there. Just that bit and reactions to it, not the entire topic, of course. Carry on...
"I forgot we're in the US" is withdrawing it? Sorry, that's not good enough for me with that kind of comment.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Hey Noah - you handled it correctly - especially if you think these kids were the type that might be foul in some way. It's the completely the job of the salesman (your friend) to accomodate you - - and the "high maintenance" types as he sees fit.

 

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So, a question: What would you guys have done?

 

I would have asked him, in order to continue you have to know the number of sharps in the key signature of F# minor (or A major to make a tad easier on the twit).

 

If that approach didn't work, you'd have to make it look like an accident; of course over here with 230 VAC it's much easier; in the US you have to be a bit more creative.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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When Junior comes in and wants to strut - he's gonna subject himself to an old-fashioned head-cuttin' : ala Scott Joplin days.

 

I laugh when I encounter amateur hour at the music shop.

 

 

Me: "Interseting thump you're workin'. I'm interested in this board... do you mind?"

 

Then the fun begins - you start layering Brandenburger or some Wakeman stuff over "junior's beat".

 

Then after 12 bars of hairy prog - you point to the kid and say "your turn".

 

Usually turns him towards another dept.

(play-time's over! )

Although - it has sometimes escalated into an interesting jam, only to collapse into a bizarre "Ive's Collision".

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This discussion reminds me why I have bought nothing from Guitar Center or other major chains in many years - the customer experience is so unpleasant and painful, and in many other ways than described above.

 

Since the closest local independent store closed two years ago, I buy 100% from the internet.

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It also reminds me why Louisville is probably the largest city not to have a GC or SA. There are at least two good, long standing music stores in the Louisville area where instruments are cared for and personnel can answer questions and the equipment they sell.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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