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Low standards at music stores(intonation checks)


ian101

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There's something I have noticed at Alaskan music stores.

 

I have never seen a bass properly intonated. When you buy a bass up here it comes with a card saying they have checked it out but they are never intonated properly.

 

The last bass I bought had greatest feeling action when I bought it. I took it home and found that the intonation was way off. By the time I got it right I needed to adjust the neck to get the action back where it was.

 

Is this common in other states?

"A is A"-the people of tunagialand
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I suspect it's the same at a lot of places. Basically, mom-n-pops have trouble competing on buying power, so there are lower wages and staff cutbacks, and manhours are spent doing the stuff that makes the most difference to the bottom line.

 

And at your superstores, it's much the same - not out of necessity, but just because they like to keep payroll from impacting the profit margin, and you don't always get people with experience and meticulous habits to stick around, and newbie workers aren't always feeling motivated to become good and build experience.

.
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New instruments at stores are often put out there with the "factory setup". If you agree to buy, most Mom and Pop stores will give it a decent checkup before you leave.

Keep in mind that in Alaska the instrument probably has gone through some rough travel and climate changes. Also, new instruments don't always have the best and freshest stings on them either.

If an instrument has a card attached to it stating that it been checked out and is horribly off, that's not a good sign. It may have only been checked to see if it worked (plugged in) and there are no major flaws.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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I have a couple of great music stores by my house, one of them seems to have only 2 or 3 employees, one of them being a tech who does take good care of everything. The other day I was there, noticed a grounding issue on a P-bass, pointed it out to him, and next time I was there it was all fixed up. The other one I speak of is BassNW, and uh, they do OK. :)
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It's pretty much the same here. There are 6 stores in this town of 60 thousand and only one has a luthier on staff. He is a one man operation and doesn't get eveything he owns to full working order, but is better than the rest.

Like GB said!

Visit my band's new web site.

 

www.themojoroots.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think it has to do with profit. It takes a lot of time to set up all those instruments, and time is money.

 

Many stores just sell the buyer a set-up and make a bit more profit on the sale.

 

My best friend opened a music store a few years ago, and he is also a professional repairman. He was very faithful, as he had time, to get all of his instruments really nice off the wall. But if he had customers in the store, he waited on them instead of setting up instruments.

 

I went in on Saturday and all of his instruments were not set up, or even in tune. The problem is he ordered a ton of instruments for the holiday sale season and didn't have time to go through them.

 

Also, in order to compete with the mass market stores, he is forced to buy cheap imports and sell them at a price competitive with those places.

 

And how can anyone compete with the $100 guitar sold on TV by Esteban? And for that matter, who the hell is Esteban?

 

My friend trys to keep at least one sample guitar set up and tuned properly; if someone trys and buys, he'll get another up.

 

And also, our humidity was running 14% last Saturday (he has 6 hygrometers in the store.) With that kind of dryness, instruments really suffer. If he sets them up, people take them to home and the first rainy day everything changes. Why bother?

"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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Ah, Alaska! Had a great 2 weeks there late last summer and enjoyed the unseasonably warm and dry weather. The smoke from the forest fires that obscured McKinley I could have done without. Still, absolutely beautiful place! :thu:

 

Just to echo others, yes, instruments off the rack in music stores have bad to terrible setups.

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Who is supposed to do all this setting up of instruments?

 

A big store has hundreds of instruments...that would take a full-time guy.

 

A small store has only a few employees...who are usually busy.

 

In a place where there are major weather changes, all the instruments would have to be setup several times a year.

 

I've brought my own tools to a store when I was serious about buying something.

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I bought my last bass from Rockin\' Robins here in Houston. It is a great store run by great people. I was sure to get a setup and a few sets of strings included in my purchase.

 

A lot of time at the non-mega stores they can't go too low on an instrument because of profit issues, but they can throw in a setup and strings. A pro setup is definitely worth it and is something that a lot of the mega-stores can't even offer you.

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The big stores aren't much better. I was amazed at how badly set up a $3000 Gibson guitar was at Guitar Center the other day. I wonder "How do they expect to sell this?" The set up was bad, the strings were old and out of tune. You couldn't really tell what the guitar sounded like. I can imagine that kind of neglect for the $150 guitars, but not the expensive ones.

 

Guy

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The momandpops store in my area does setups on every instrument they hang. Much more pleasant experience trying out stuff compared to the GC down the street. I think it would help your sales in the long run by letting people try instuments that feel good to them.

You can stop now -jeremyc

STOP QUOTING EVERY THING I SAY!!! -Bass_god_offspring

lug, you should add that statement to you signature.-Tenstrum

I'm not sure any argument can top lug's. - Sweet Willie

 

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Originally posted by lug:

I think it would help your sales in the long run by letting people try instuments that feel good to them.

:thu:

 

And maybe try cleaning the used instruments. At least to the point where they're not sticky.

Push the button Frank.
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Originally posted by davebrownbass:

Many stores just sell the buyer a set-up and make a bit more profit on the sale.

really? am i the only one who finds that wrong? i'm sorry, but if you're paying $500 or better for anything, it had better be in proper functioning order when you get it home.

 

i can understand the whole "it was set up at the factory" mindset. the manufacturer has to take some responsibility. bear in mind that if the setup is bad, the instrument will sound and play like crap so the manufacturer has a vested interest in making sure the instrument is shipped ready to play. other than that, yeah, climate has an effect and a fender built and set up in california will alter on a shelf in nyc.

 

i can also understand a music store not wanting to pay a tech to set up each and every instrument that comes through the doors, especially when it might stay in storage for a season or two and have all that work done for nothing. to simply rely on the factory setup for display/sales purposes is viable. but we are spending some serious coin in these stores and it's unacceptable to allow them to UPCHARGE to make sure the intonation is on when you buy.

 

i've bought instruments and amplification in sam ash, mannys and guitar center. i have never left without the sales guy and tech staff making sure everything was perfect before i left, and i sure as hell didn't pay for the service. if you can go to these famous-for-being-surly-(except-for-dear-departed-mannys) and get service like that that, there's no reason mom and pop shouldn't do so as well.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Originally posted by Ace Cracker:

Originally posted by davebrownbass:

Many stores just sell the buyer a set-up and make a bit more profit on the sale.

really? am i the only one who finds that wrong? i'm sorry, but if you're paying $500 or better for anything, it had better be in proper functioning order when you get it home.

 

i can understand the whole "it was set up at the factory" mindset. the manufacturer has to take some responsibility. bear in mind that if the setup is bad, the instrument will sound and play like crap so the manufacturer has a vested interest in making sure the instrument is shipped ready to play. other than that, yeah, climate has an effect and a fender built and set up in california will alter on a shelf in nyc.

 

i can also understand a music store not wanting to pay a tech to set up each and every instrument that comes through the doors, especially when it might stay in storage for a season or two and have all that work done for nothing. to simply rely on the factory setup for display/sales purposes is viable. but we are spending some serious coin in these stores and it's unacceptable to allow them to UPCHARGE to make sure the intonation is on when you buy.

 

i've bought instruments and amplification in sam ash, mannys and guitar center. i have never left without the sales guy and tech staff making sure everything was perfect before i left, and i sure as hell didn't pay for the service. if you can go to these famous-for-being-surly-(except-for-dear-departed-mannys) and get service like that that, there's no reason mom and pop shouldn't do so as well.

The one I mentioned in my earlier reply is nice, I just purchased a new bass from them, they adjusted a couple things on the spot, and told me to come back in a couple weeks and they would check over everything again and address any issues that come up. Truly exceptional service.
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I absolutely find that practice wrong. In fact, that's why my friend takes his spare time to get everything set up properly.

 

On the other hand, if a Strat copy is going for $99, the set-up is probably a big problem anyway with cheap parts. There's not much room on that instrument for profit if you have to pay an employee to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get it in playing condition.

 

And we all know that most music stores are NOT for the working player anyway...they make their money off of little kids dreams at a hundred bucks a pop.

"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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Nearly all the "mom-and-pop" guitar stores in my area have been put out of business by the "supermarkets" like GC and SA, and the remaining few survive on internet sites and selling on eBay. From a friend who worked at one of the latter (he was hired as a temp to checkout drum inventory and prepare ads for eBay) the pressure to move inventory discourages nearly everyone from spending time fixing things.

 

Ironically I factor this into my shopping practices. If I find an instrument needing a setup or minor work, I can use this as a barganing point to knock off some of the asking price. But I grew up in the "mom-and-pop" era and a lot of my early purchases were set up by people who realized that return business and customer satisfaction were the real goals rather than the quick sale or big commision.

 

I still do regular business at the remaining "mom-and-pops". We all should, before the "supermarkets" take over everything.

:wave:

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I agree, I've never bought a bass from a shop and been exactly happy with the set-up they gave me - I have a guy in the city I used to live which is 170 miles from where I live now. If I need a setup I wait and go to him when I'm back in town, he knows exactly what I'm looking for.
Now theres three of you in a band, youre like a proper band. Youre like the policemen.
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Here is how it work's around here. I worked at large Music store back in 1996-97. When the stock

comes in, we would put the Guitar or Bass out for display making sure it had the proper price tags,skew numbers etc etc. When a customer would

be looking at them I would ask wich one's they would like to plug in and try out. Then I would

take the Guitar/Bass and tune it with a Boss or Sabine tuner, and then plug it into an amp make sure it was working and hand it over to them.

I would make sure and tell them that every Guitar or Bass gets a free set-up before they take it home. Sometimes new strings were thrown in the deal and installed free with the set up.

We did have a repair dept on site, but if they were not there or backed up with work, most folks

were willing to wait a day or two to pick it up.

If I discovered a problem, I would pull the Bass/Guitar out of the showroom, and walk it down to repair with transfer paperwork with

a detailed list of what the problem is. Then they would bring it back to the showroom as soon as it was done.

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Same here.

 

And a purveyor probably has to be aware that not all players are going to sound good on a low setup - their best bet is a medium setup so that beginners and players that really wack hard won't be making all kinds of noise. Only at the last stage then should a personalized setup become an issue.

.
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Buy a Modulus, set it and forget it. I have traveled all over the world with this Bass, and the neck never moves and the action is perfect.

http://ebassist.com/photopost/data/500/616ModulusQ4.JPGhttp://http//ebassist.com/photopost/data/500/616Q4.JPG

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I set them up as soon as they come out of the box. Most of the time they aren't too far off. There are some that need a bit more TLC than others. As far as what happens after they are hung, I have no way of keeping up. Between taking calls, answering emails, checking over ones that are shipping, boxing them, keeping track of inventory, arranging shipping/labeling, helping customers, customs forms, keeping the store kind of clean,etc,etc,etc I kind of have my hands full.

 

What I DO do is set them up at customers request. I have a little station behind my counter and I'm always sure to let them know that if they need it, I'll do it. If other customers need the same, they just have to wait. Sorry. This isn't McGuitarshop. Is that wrong?

 

I also don't hang junk. If an instrument has bad fretwork or a warped neck or something, it goes right back in the box and back to its home. The companies I deal with are glad to take them back and send another or give us a credit. I've weeded out a few brands over the years that send crap. My boss trusts my judgement (he's a drummer). I just don't have the time to deal with stuff coming back because it sucks. Its not worth it.

 

We also do a fair ammount of drop shipping from the manufacturers warehouses and once in a while lemons make it through. Not often though, because I stay away from the "Lemon Senders". I try to get them replaced ASAP. Most of them are good about sending advance replacements and UPS return tags because we have VERY good relationships with them. They like us. They think we're a little crazy (they may be right), but they like us.

 

For the most part, for imports, the QC depts. that these companies have are what makes all the difference in the world. The good ones are the ones I stick with. Sometimes a certain series somes along that, for whatever reason, doesn't get the attention they need. I just stay away and complain a bit until they change factories, or whatever it takes. One company had a really bad run about a year ago where everything was just terrible. They eventually realized that something had to be done and changed factories. We quit selling them until they did even though one of their models could be our biggrst seller.

 

I like selling people gear that makes them feel like it was worth the money they paid. I control as much as possible and I'm lucky to have a boss that trusts me enough to let me. If I had some dude telling me to sell at all costs, even if I got paid a commission, I'd quit without thinking twice about it. I've been ripped off and know how it feels.

 

Gawd! What a long winded a**hole.

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Originally posted by DONUT:

I'd like to quote the whole thing but it's only 2 posts above.

 

DONUT... What more can anyone ever ask. Keep up the good work. And if you can let us know about the lemons, that's even better.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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We couldn't survive without it. I don't know how the other music stores around here do it. There just isn't a market around here to support 6 music stores and we were the odd man out. We jumped online right at the right time it seems. Around '99.

 

It easy, on the outside looking in, to get cynical about some of these companies. But, as long as we keep our end, the ones that we stick with really do a great job taking care of us when we need it.

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Green: I like your quote. Pretty soon I'll be playing most of my notes for free instead of competing with pulltabs. I can't wait.

 

butcher: I would just stay away from the big boys with anything less than $800. There are relatively smaller companies that will give you much more for your dollar. Especially in Stratville and Les Paulsyland. We all know this, though. Right? I don't want to piss anyone off. Most of us know what sucks and what doesn't.

 

Maybe I'll write an anonymous book someday. "The Daily Adventures of Midpriced Guitar Slinger Guy"

Think people will buy it even though my writing skills are poor and it's not very interesting? Ha!

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Originally posted by DONUT:

Gawd! What a long winded a**hole.

No way, 'NUT, that's my job! :D

If I ever head out your way I'll buy a bass from you because you are the rare exception to the rule about salespeople in music stores. Hope they give you a good bonus, or at least a better employee discount on your GAS attacks!

:thu:

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