Jump to content

Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Buying a Keyboard like buying a used car?


Recommended Posts

I don't know if it has to do with the consolidation in the music store business or the emergence of the mega-chains; but does anyone get the feeling like buying new equipment is getting to be like the stereotype of buying a used car.

Granted salesman can make errors but sometimes they don't even tell the truth anymore. It's enough to drive you to the internet!

Anyone have comments, stories, and/or horror stories let em' rip.

Michael :eek::confused::rolleyes:

Q:What do you call a truck with nothing in the bed,nothing on the hitch, and room for more than three people in the cab? A:"A car"....
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 3
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Hi tenthplanet. Greetings from just up the road in Santa Barbara. In L.A. (arguably the tenth planet) I've had experiences like you describe. The big chains are staffed by kids who start out at eight bucks an hour, and I don't expect that any of them spend close to the time you or I do on musicplayer and manufacturer's websites, cruising for the real story. The guys who work there may be perfectly competent to sell a Digi-001 and Pod to the guitarist-songwriter who's getting into home recording, but for those of us who want to get into a deep Motif vs Triton vs Kurz vs Roland thing, their eyes understandably glaze over after about thirty seconds.


I had one experience where a salesperson told me that, with regard to the Kurzweil PC2x, I could have reverb and the rotary effect in KB-3 mode at the same time. This was plainly false, as the KB-3 mode monopolizes the processor to the extent that you get one effect instead of two, and it's used for the Leslie.

That's about the worst that's happened to me, and it could have been an honest mistake. But he insisted. Do you have experiences with being blantantly lied to?


I get my info on the net, then head to the stores to hear things and price-shop. I find that West L.A. Music is a lot better than the national chains, and the one in Universal City seems to be less hectic than Santa Monica Blvd.


For me, what's most used-car-like about buying keyboards is the keyboards themselves. Software instruments have gotten so good (Giga, Native B4, and Emagic EVP-88 come to mind), that I think I should have my head examined for seriously thinking about spending another $2-3K on a sample-based synth with limited wave ROM and half-hearted RAM sample playback implementation. Sure a Motif sounds a little better than my S-80, and a new K-2600 sounds better than my venerable K-2000, but the margin between ANY of this stuff and the sound quality of the latest crop of software instruments is much greater. If someone comes along and makes the software paradigm consistently and easily giggable, it doesn't take a Stratfor analyst to guess that the keyboard industry will be in some doodoo.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine


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



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The closest mega-chain store to me is an hour south (Guitar Center). Every time I go to the keyboard department there is someone different. It never fails that I get aggravated when going into that store. Either they dont know the equipment or they let you decide on something and then tell you it is not in stock. They have lots of equipment but very poor service.


Two hours north of me is a store from a different chain (Mars Music). The one time I went in the two people in the keyboard department could not figure out how to install a ROM in a Karma. They plugged in the ROM and read the manual but they could not figure out how to load the sounds. One worker tried to demo the ROM by only playing the performances because the he could not get the programs for the ROM to work. It took me about 5 seconds to realize the only sounds coming from the performances were based on the internal programs. Of course most of the sound was not playing because of the missing programs. I loaded the presets from the floppy and moved on in search of another store.


Two and a half hours north-west of me is a music store that I have frequented for 20 years (Far Out Music). The same guy still runs the keyboard department. He knows every piece of equipment on his floor, keeps expansion ROMs loaded so you can try them all, tells me what is good and what is bad about any instrument he has, and calls a factory rep if I have a question he cannot answer. He also matches prices with the mega chains. Unless he does carry the brand of something I want it is silly for me to go anywhere else.


Ask around, find a good store with a good rep and build a relationship. Dont use the sales person for information and then run off to a chain store or mail order. Even if you pay a bit more (and I don't), a good, knowledgeable salesperson is worth it many times over.

This post edited for speling.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi tenthplanet, I've had a situation where I went to a music store in AnnArbor MI.(45 miles away) with a friend of mine. My friend shopped there a lot for drum components, and they did him well in that department. The first time I purchased an ADA bass unit, and the sales person was up to speed on the unit and was very helpful. The second time I went into the store I was by myself and was inquiring about a Tascam DA-88. I stood there about an hour and one half waiting on this expert. He kept waiting on other people with small issues. He saw me standing there all of this time, and kept telling me "I'll be with you in a moment". I was ticked off, and went back to the store I usually do business with 5 miles away from my home, was waited on, cut a deal, and I purchased over $12,000.00 worth of digital gear and accessories.


I wrote a letter to the store manager of the first store, that his top gun just lost a $12,000.00 sale and I will never go back to the store again. That person doesn't work there any more. They were very apologetic to me. Snooze you loose bud!!!


Another thing......



It never fails that cables are twisted all over the place. They sell the gear off the floor, leave cables hanging, take a cable for a keyboard and use it for a bass guitar, and no manuals!!!


It's the salesperson screwing up the gear. "Sorry sir, Bill must have changed the setup and didn't tell anyone, could you come back tomorrow, he gets in at 3:00pm." Right!


Cables missing, no fly-sheets on the gear that they sell, you would think they would at least have this to ease out with the embarressment of these clowns, they stand around with their finger in their ear and hope that you either go away or you can figure it out for yourself, then they stop by after you figure it out and ask you how you did it.


I've seen a lot of music stores that are a total mess, half of the gear is missing, sales people cannot help you in the department that they are assigned to!!!


Sorry about my anger, but it ticks me off to no end when people do not take me seriously, and just because I'm older than most people in the damn store. :mad:


I really can't believe that some of these places make any money....... only for the drum, and guitar lessons I guess, or the high school band requirements.


Sorry.............My fade out......


Jazzman :cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...