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Shoddy treatment of young aspiring musicians?


Invincible

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Ok, I'm only 14 but I consider myself pretty dedicated to my bass playing, I practice alot, mostly whenever I get the chance and try hard to get better to move towards my ultimate goal of one day being the best bass player I can be and I'm serious about trying to achieve this goal.

So you can (hopefully) imagine how it makes me feel to walk into a guitar shop only to be given dirty looks from all the staff as if I had done something unspeakably terrible.

Before last christmas when I was looking around for my first 5 string bass it was just the same, they wouldn't even allow me to try out any models and with it being the only decent guitar shop in convenient proximity to where I live (there are two other shops near by but they only sell the basses as the very low end of the quality spectrum) I had little other choice than to buy one blindly, luckily I'm very happy with the peavey fury V I got.

So, my point is: isn't this treatment of young aspiring musicians completely unfair, surely we have as much right to test equipment before buying it? Shouldn't people encouraging the next generation of musician?

Has anyone near my age experience problems like this? (if there is anyone around my age on this forum), or did anyone experience this mistreatment when they were my age?

Any replies and views will be much appreciated,

Thanks.

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Well, some of that can be chalked up to pure jealousy...some old guys miss being young.

 

Other folks would have you believe that they are part of a "musicians fraternity" that a young person has to struggle to find his way in.

 

Then, there's always what I call "music fascism," where some musicians, who've reached a certain level of expertise believe musicians who haven't attained the same level shouldn't even bother trying. A lot of college-age musicians feel this way.

 

Now, young people have their own set of problems. You seem to be respectful and responsible, but I can assure you that many of us adults have seen MANY people your age who aren't. (I teach, and I've seen it.)

 

When you walk in someone's shop, you are bringing the reputation of all these other kids in as well. Yeah, I know it prejudice. But it's there, all the same.

 

The shop owner and employees have to sell these instruments to survive. Really nice, expensive instruments are often there to attract older, established musicians into the store, and hopefully, they will buy one.

 

Now, as an older, established musician, I am wary of these instruments. Often, when I see them, they show evidence of abuse and wear. In fact, at Guitar Center (do they have these guitar supermalls in UK?) I often see very high end instruments worn out. I know a certain Pedulla, when it came in new it was a beauty. But it was so expensive nobody bought it. After about 3 months, I went back in and checked it out...it had fret wear, chips in the finish, scratches in the pick guard...perhaps 10 years of wear.

 

Nobody can sell a brand new instrument that has 10 years of wear. But these fine instruments can be played 10 hours a day by the fingers of 30 different teenagers.

 

Remember, when you play an instrument, the owner is trying to sell it. He is trying to sell it new, undamaged. If you are a serious buyer, take an adult along...the shop owner will let you shop and explore the wonderful world of fine instruments.

 

And take extra care not to add wear to an instrument.

 

Oh yeah, here's another...if you go into a guy's store and test drive his Pedulla, buy it from HIM. Don't go ordering it over the internet at a lower price. The higher price pays for the shop and the guy...and he's earned it.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Thanks for the feedback and advice dave, I'll bear those points in mind next time I visit my local guitar shop. And no, unfortunately we don't have those guitar super malls here, but I wish we did, sounds like the sort of place I could just spend hours in just looking ;) .
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For starters, you have to put yourself in this guy's shoes. Imagine working in a music store and having to spend eight to ten hours a day listening to teenagers who can sorta play pooting around on your instruments, when you'd really rather be selling them. How do you get this guy to treat you differently? Simple: let him know up front that you are seriously in the market for a bass. "Hi, I'm looking to buy a new 5-string/fretless/whatever, and I'd like to try some things out." This defines your relationship right away, and it tells the salesman how he should react to you, if he wants a paycheck. "Ah, so you're interested in buying something! Then I will serve you like I should, because I eat when I sell things." It doesn't commit you to buying, but it commits both of you to behaving, and it lets the salesman know that you are not just wasting his time. Otherwise, you ARE just another punk kid getting fingerprints all over his merchandise and playing a crappy version of "Higher Ground" for the fifteenth time that day. Of course, it's poor form to be rude to any customer, but some just really chap your ass, and you are human.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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Ok, accepted the shop assistants are bound to get annoyed with loads of kids going in there, but It's the fact that they'll instantly make me feel unwelcome in the shop and as if I don't belong there the second I walk through the door. When someone older walks throught the door assistants will flock to them seeing if they need anything but I don't get so much as an "is everything ok?"

which doesn't take much now does it?

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I started when i was around 13 and am 18 now. I found that music shops in england are very cliquey, usually containing people who would rather not be there but generally know a lot.

 

Being friends with someone who works in a music shop i never really had this problem but its common. In local music shops its almost like entering a little sub-culture, you need to know what your looking for and ask intelligent questions because the people generally love talking about guitars.

 

List of Dont's :eek: in a music shop could probably be supplied by someone more creative than me but i would suggest:

 

definately, definately, definately don't think your the hottest bassist ever to walk the earth. They are not there to be impressed by your mad skills :freak: on the bass. If you start playing the most complicated piece you know in front of them they will just think what a $%!*!, instead just act interested and their normally pretty cool people.

 

also i was in new york recently and went to ruddys music shop on 48th street. WOW!. you don't get places like that in the u.k. A guy called scott helped me out, cool guy.

Derek Smalls: It's like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water. http://www.myspace.com/gordonbache
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Originally posted by Gord -B:

I found that music shops in england are very cliquey, usually containing people who would rather not be there but generally know a lot.

I think that should read: "usually containing people who would rather not be there but generally THINK they know a lot"

 

It may sounds arrogant but it is a long time since I spoke to anyone in a music shop that knew as much about bass equipment as I do. (Of course, they do tend to keep a tech hidden out the back who fixes amps and knows his stuff but the problem is that he's hidden out the back...)

 

Case in point: Every conversation I've had about cabs in the now defunct Bass Centre in London has ended up with them insisting that the Eden XLT range are the best hi-fi cabs - whatever...

 

Alex

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well i'm pretty limited because i hang around music shops in Macclesfield. All the guys in there know their stuff. Good friends of mine.

(edit - i can't spell)

Derek Smalls: It's like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water. http://www.myspace.com/gordonbache
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Picture the scene:

It's 1985. A 15-year-old punk rock kid walks into a fairly empty high-end music store and politely asks a salesman standing alone behind the counter if he can play some of the new Les Pauls and Strats on the wall... and the guy behind the counter just laughs, shakes his head and turns the other way. The kid asks again... and the salesman just walks away, mumbling something about "f**king punk rock a**holes."

 

So what does the kid do? He approaches another store salesman and asks for the store manager. Thinking the kid wants to put in an application for a stockboy postition, the salesman gets the store manager. When the manager arrives, the punk kid pulls out approximately $1,200. in cash and tells him that the douche-bag salesman behind the counter just cost the store a big sale on a guitar and starts to leave. The manager immediately does backflips to keep the kid in the store... and winds up having the salesman apologize to the kid before selling him an $800 Strat at a $200 discount "for his troubles."

 

Yeah. That kid was me. That salesman was eventually fired for stealing. I wound up becoming really good friends with the rest of the staff there and buying a ton of gear over the years.

 

So, what's the moral here?

 

Be nice. Be polite. But come to do business and be prepared to prove it. And don't take any shit from anyone. The reason these guys make a living is because YOU buy stuff at their store. Just because some kids come in and screw around without buying anything doesn't mean that ALL kids are like that. Set yourself apart by not overstaying your welcome and not playing at ridiculous volumes.

 

And if they STILL treat you poorly, complain to a store manager.

 

Bobbi Fleckman said it best, "Money talks, bullshit walks."

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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what really gets me is when you go to a music store to check out some new basses and the bass sales guy hands you one off the wall but before he gives it to you he has to play some mad lick. I can only think "show off" but last time that happened to me in Atlanta i played the same lick back as soon as i pluged it in (better than he did) and added some flare to the end of it, then played about a minute and a half of "Classical Thump" He didn't talk to me that rest of the time i was in there. He went over to his buddies and strated talking. Probably about me. I can hear him now "that little jerk he dosn't know anything" watta jerk
I didn't come here to play. I came here to make babies.
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Invincible, I work at and manage a local guitar shop. There are kids who come in on a regular basis who are good customers. We also have new kids that stop in and check the place out as well. We've never really scourned a young musician.

 

On to the "one sour apple can ruin them all" theme. We do have some kids/hacks that come in just to see if they can play on the most expensive gear we have because they can. This isn't just one or two times, it's repetitive occasions. This is problematic as they scratch the hell out of new equipment and it lowers the value of the guitar/bass/etc. From this angle, youth is frustrating for us.

 

I understand you have to try something to see if you're going to buy it; but when you've been around it long enough, you can tell when a kid/person is seriously interested in buying a product, or whether they're just killing time in your store.

 

I have no problem with kids/teenagers etc. But the same respect must be passed along to the store, its equipment, and the folks helping you. Which it sounds like you are serious and have the respect. :thu:

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Cool story, Erik. Very satisfying ending! :thu:

 

But I've gotta go with Dave & Hoagie on this one, though. Why not show them the $1,200 FIRST? OK, maybe not that, but why not make it CLEAR up front that you're not there to screw off, you're there TO BUY? If I'm selling a $2k Gibson, my first priority is not to hand it over to the first 14-year-old kid who asks. My first priority is to sell goods in the right condition. I don't care if you're 14 or 114; but let's establish the relationship.

 

So it turns out that you're that one-in-a-thousand kid dropping in after school who's actually serious, respects instruments, can play, & wants to buy real gear. Great. But it's up to YOU to make that clear, because otherwise there's no way to tell you from those other 999 kids who are just dicking around.

 

Think of it this way: should the salesman hand over that quilt-top Paul reissue to you, just because, gosh, who knows, maybe this kid (with all his counter-culture regalia) is just THE ONE who's gonna hand us thousands of dollars today? That is the salesman who's butt I'd kick, if I were the manager.

 

If you've got cards to play, why not just put them on the table? Only then can you tell who has respect, & who's just a douchebag. (Blindsiding is disrespectful too, if you ask me.)

 

Invincible, I'm glad it sounds like you've not a chip on your shoulder. For now, you'll have to do extra to prove yourself. You won't have to do it forever.

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in response to mike, i agree totally

 

the gc around here is very nicely stocked with great people working there, but they can get a little annoying always trying to talk to you about your purchase

 

i understand that they want to encourage a sale, and that this is business, but i think i can vouche for a lot of bassists when saying that we play better alone, and when a clerk is haggling us, we can't just think how we dont like this or that, or can get it cheaper somewhere else

 

however, i do see that this helps keep out the delinquents. the clerks will kinda scare you out of touching things out of your price range so you dont fool around and scratch stuff

that my skills havent been

it is all opinions of how a salesman should be, so i dont get my boxers in a knot if i get a bit frustrated

 

finally, i think that too many bass players these days, especially the ones i see at my school, find that playing their jam-session band's punk bass lines that are all chuga-chuga-chuga and have the bass below their knees come in to a store expecting the gear to help them play better

 

i have a jackson c20, my first and only bass. i have played bass for two years now, and i practice about 30 hours a week. i can play most rage, rhcp, pink floyd, some victor wooten, almost all t.o.p., and when i have considered going to a new bass, i find i am not confident in myt skills enough for the expensive equipment to be worth the purchase.

 

i find that i would much rather learn to play on a bass with a slightly warped neck and not perfect frets so that i can truely get the most out of, say the new ibanez btb-405 i would like

 

these kids complain and complain that their lines sound bad on a sophisticated bass that brings out the tone our hands / picking makes. and, i am tired of kids getting pricey equipment as a beginner and complain that they have trouble learning, or that they lose interest and just keep a warwick corvette in the closet because they hate praticing

 

okay, done with my judgemental bashing,

 

but seriously folks, there are enough kids who buy a bass and dont get serious for even a month. that kinda disheartens serious musicians who sell instruments because they are angry at this attitude

 

ahhh, kids these days ( i am 16)

 

rap has fried our brain, i think i am gonna go listen to some show of hands ,jeez

 

peaceOUT,

 

Germain

 

****

 

anyone selling an ampeg b2-r, pm me

.~.
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there is a rule of sales that i learned early -- don't prequalify. make no assumptions about your customer based on age, gender, or appearance.

like dcr said, "I don't care if you're 14 or 114; but let's establish the relationship."

 

however, i can definitely say the fault lies in the sales staff. it is their store, not the customers' store. it is their responsiblity to open a dialogue with every customer. it is their responsibility to talk to people before just dropping gear in their laps to play.

 

i never just took people to our most expensive room and started demoing speakers they couldn't afford and in which they had no interest. "who are you? why are you here? what do you want? what do you want to pay to get it? what do you expect of me in this process?" all of these questions can be answered in a couple minutes of casual conversation without ever picking up an instrument or talking about feature sets on various amps.

 

the low level of salesmanship in the MI industry is disturbing. you wonder why customers are assholes, it's your store, you douche. you tell me.

 

maybe a more formalized sales process would help, instead of trying to maintain the aloof cool of fucking local rockstars. the answers are found in the questions! all you have to do is ask them and there you go -- they're practically rhetorical.

 

robb.

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Ok, thanks guys, I can understand the need to keep the equipment in good condition so obviously they can't just hand over basses on demand to kids who just might be buying something.

Next time I go back to buy something major which will probably be when I buy a more powerful amp (I've currently only got a small practice amp) which will just be for things like practicing in my band, I'll take cash, just to swat away any doubts that I am actually there to buy things.

Thanks again for the replies and advice.

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Originally posted by CMDN:

Hey, thanks, Gord.

 

I'm also dashingly handsome.

Dare I say, "dead sexy"? :D

 

Originally posted by Germain:

rap has fried our brain...

Damn, what's with the rap-bashing and how is it relevant here? :mad:

 

Originally posted by robb.:

however, i can definitely say the fault lies in the sales staff. it is their store, not the customers' store. it is their responsiblity to open a dialogue with every customer. it is their responsibility to talk to people before just dropping gear in their laps to play.

I agree. If a kid comes into the store, the staff need to be even more attentive and work even more closely with that customer until they know what the scoop is. I hear what Mike is saying about how kids can be difficult and mishandle expensive gear. However, close attention to younger or inexperienced clients can help set-up the right guidelines for behavior and treatment of gear.

 

Peace.

--Sweet Willie, defender of rap music and hip-hop culture :thu:

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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I've spent over $10,000 over the last three years at "my" music store here in town, and I'm there at least once or twice a week for lessons at the associated music school.

 

They give students of the school 10% off, you just tell them who your teacher is. Not me. I get the "Clark" discount. It usually runs at about 20% to 40% off, depending on the item. They just like to keep me spending. As the man said: Money talks, yadda yadda. There aren't many exceptions to that rule, unfortunately, but good luck to those who would try.

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Rule number one in sales - I don't give a damn what you're selling - is that you NEVER prejudge your customer. I have sold $400 worth of shoes to a sloppy teenager, and I have been told by a woman wearing a three karat diamond that something was too expensive. I think music store personnel are more likely to forget this because the customers in a music store can be so much mroe aggravating than in other stores. There, they have props they can use to irritate the shit out of you, things that make noise. Oh goody. This is still no excuse to act like a jackass to every kid who comes through the door.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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Okay before anything else:

I'm also dashingly handsome.

 

I think we all are good...looking...for money. :D

 

Hey, I can almost relate to that. About two months ago I entered an audio shop to look for some jacks, cables and a DI.

Then out of nowhere the guard not the sales assistant(my goodness!) started to ask me what I want when I was looking in the display rack the piece I needed. At that moment, I had felt my intelligence being questioned. I simply showed him that hey I mean business here and that if he has nothing to say, it'd be better for him to shut up.

The next store, simply ignored him but when it came to the spec talk, he again, shut up.

In short, I left these stores with lots of ego.

I left buying some things those guys who pissed me can't afford with their monthly wage.

Okay, I think, the guys at the store Invincible went probably needed some of the basics of business----EVERYONE IS A CUSTOMER.

Okay, I may had bad customer service simply because of one thing- I'm small and look younger than my real age. :D:D

and very good...looking...for money!!! :P

If Jaco's bass sound farts, please forgive me for doing it always!

 

ONCE A LEVITE, ALWAYS A LEVITE.

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Firstly, CMDN,

Bobbi Fleckman said it best, "Money talks, bullshit walks."
So true. Is Fleckman really the original source for that quote? :confused: Who the $#()*&% is he? :o

 

I agree about establishing a relationship with the salesman, but I think that the primary responsibility for that lies with the salesman. Unfortunately a lot of them aren't really salesmen, just "guys off the street" trying to make a quick buck, so you, the customer, especially when young, has to establish the relationship.

 

If the salesman doesn't come to you, seek him out. Yes it's a pain in the butt, but (sorry :D ) it establishes that you're serious. Tell him what you're looking for, your budget and you time frame. If he still doesn't want to let you play some of their stock, ask for the manager, if that doesn't work come back with your father (since it's the only place in town).

 

Just remember the scene from "Pretty Woman" when Richard Greer takes Julia Roberts to the very upscale clothing store to spend ".. obscene amounts of money .." and get some ".. serious sucking up .." Have your dad make it clear that you have his support, you have the money and he will be unhappy if you're not made happy; and that he has seen your dedication, expects you to grow as a muscian, along of course with your need for more and more gear (emphasis the GAS).

 

This of course, presupposes that your dad will support you like this. If not, maybe another adult (teacher, established musician, etc.) will help you.

 

Yes, it sucks. Yes, it's unfair. But with only one place to buy from, you're stuck with it. Just remember, "What goes around, comes around." I don't know who originated this one.

 

Good luck, Dave.

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
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Originally posted by Dave th Dude:

Firstly, CMDN,

Bobbi Fleckman said it best, "Money talks, bullshit walks."
So true. Is Fleckman really the original source for that quote? :confused: Who the $#()*&% is he? :o

Bobbi Fleckman is a 'she'. She was in charge of artist relations for Polymer Records when Spinal Tap released "Smell The Glove" in 1984. Watch the movie. :thu:

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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Firstly, CMDN,

 

quote:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bobbi Fleckman said it best, "Money talks, bullshit walks."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

So true. Is Fleckman really the original source for that quote? Who the $#()*&% is he?

Dave.

Bobbi Fleckman (Fran Dresher) was Spinal Tap's publicist. I don't think she came up with the expression, but she definitely used it to great effect in the film.

 

OK...

On to the subject at hand. The reason I told my "punk rock kid with $1200" guitar shopping story was to illustrate a point... the guy didn't even ask if I was looking to make a purchase or anything... he just decided that there was NO WAY a scumbag like me should be handling a nice guitar. Now, I could have walked into the place, slapped down $1200 and said, "hey. sell me a guitar," but that's pretty damn obnoxious... not to mention it's not the smartest shopping strategy.

 

Plenty of kids come into stores just to "kick tires," but there are also a lot of kids who come into music stores ready to buy stuff... sometimes mom (who's carrying a Platinum card) is just up the street, doing her own shopping before buying junior his birthday present at the music shop. Some kids even have their own platinum cards.

 

The point is... YOU NEVER KNOW WHO A PERSON IS UNLESS YOU GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO REPRESENT THEMSELVES TO YOU. As a salesperson, it behooves you to let your customers do this... it can help you figure out how to handle them.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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hmmm....

I forget.... I was probably dashingly dead sexy and handsome... or not.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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A lot of my time spent in the music shops in London has been between interview, meetings and exhibitions and in all these cases I've been in a 3-piece suit - amazing how people let me play whatever instrument I want just because I'm looking smart but ironically I have far less free cash now that I'm not a scruffy student (plus I've already bought most of the gear I want)!

 

Alex

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Erik, good point.

 

I mean the behooving bit. Not the dead sexy bit.

 

Not that I'm saying you're not dead sexy. I guess you could be.

 

Not to ME, mind you.

 

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

 

OK, I'm shutting up now.

 

(Seriously--good point.)

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