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Thread: Guitar Center

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Clark View Post
    While I much prefer Mom and Pop music stores, I hate to see ANY music store in financial straits. Whenever any music store closes, it's one less location offering the 'musically curious' a place to get their first taste. I believe individuals and society benefits when more people play music regardless of genre or instrument. While they would most likely be better served by a local Mom and Pop, almost any exposure/opportunity is better than none. They might find the local Mom and Pop when they gain experience.

    I just hate to see music stores close. To my mind, music stores equal opportunity, and the benefits of playing music are immeasurable.
    Here is what I would like to see happen. GC goes belly up and is replaced by the "Mandolin Center". MC stores have a huge selection of mandolins at insanely low prices. They are staffed by mandolin fanatics vetted by Mandolin Cafe members. All are welcome to come in and play any of the hundred of mandolins in stock. Oh, and free luthier services

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    Here is what I would like to see happen. GC goes belly up and is replaced by the "Mandolin Center". MC stores have a huge selection of mandolins at insanely low prices. They are staffed by mandolin fanatics vetted by Mandolin Cafe members. All are welcome to come in and play any of the hundred of mandolins in stock. Oh, and free luthier services
    If something called guitar center can't make it, something called mandolin center hasn't got a chance. Probably couldn't give stuff away.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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  3. #28
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  5. #29

    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveGinNJ View Post
    Here is what I would like to see happen. GC goes belly up and is replaced by the "Mandolin Center". MC stores have a huge selection of mandolins at insanely low prices. They are staffed by mandolin fanatics vetted by Mandolin Cafe members. All are welcome to come in and play any of the hundred of mandolins in stock. Oh, and free luthier services
    You are about 110 years late on that concept. It might have been successful around 1910 Timing is everything.

  6. #30
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    here's a video from phillip mcknight regarding the latest GC happening, starts at 5:40 min, phillips been in the guitar business for a while and seems to have inside info on things more often than not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx6j08p6dqU

  7. #31
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    If something called guitar center can't make it, something called mandolin center hasn't got a chance. Probably couldn't give stuff away.
    So I guess my Banjo Center concept might need a re-think

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  9. #32
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    I'm not surprised. Sad to say, but larger brick and mortar operations need an actual value add past "you get to see it in the store" these days to say afloat. And with online competitors like Sweetwater (who are amazing, knowledgable, and you get your one person you interact with for life...mine is 8 years and going), there's just no value in GC for people like myself.
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  10. #33
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    I would imagine one of the ways brick and mortar stores have trouble these days is people coming in, trying out gear, picking out what they like, and then going home and buying it online for a lower price. GC claims to have the lowest price, but I’ve been in there before where someone has presented a lower price via their phone, and GC refused to match it.
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  11. #34
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by slimt View Post
    I was in a GC many years ago in Washington state. It was also the last time. No knowledge of anything by the staff. No help. No clue. So not a loss.
    Any time a paid staff member knows less than I do after my brief research, I take it as a clue to leave. I'd say you made the right decision.

  12. #35
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Guitar Center's just the brick-and-mortar branch of Musician's Friend, really. So, why would you go to a "physical" store when you can access a larger, more diverse inventory from what's basically the same company, on-line? And at the same -- or lower -- prices, though we do have to consider sales tax and shipping costs.

    A few reasons:

    1. You want hands-on experience before you make a significant purchase. This is only an advantage, if the store you go to, stocks a broad enough inventory of instruments (let's concentrate on instruments, rather than amps, PA's, accessories etc. in this discussion), and if they're properly set up so you can try them, compare them to alternatives, and make a more informed decision. In the realm of "specialty" instruments such as mandolins (also banjos, resonator instruments, ukes etc.), GC usually doesn't provide a selection of properly set up instruments to try. Our Rochester GC has generally a pretty good selection of acoustic guitars in a decent range of prices, but of course usually only one of each make and model; you can try a Martin D-28, but not compare two of them.

    B. You want informed, helpful staff to assist you in making your selection and purchase. I've only bought accessories, and a couple of pieces of PA equipment, at our local GC, so I don't know whether the staff could knowledgeably help me in selecting a mandolin -- but I doubt it. My experience was that they had experience with amplified electric instruments, guitars, keyboards and basses, and not a lot of information about acoustic instruments. They did know PA equipment quite well, which was helpful on a couple occasions.

    III. You want to establish a relationship, for repairs, possible trade-ins, adjustments, maybe in-house instruction, advice -- hey, let's even say friendship. Maybe find a place where like-minded musicians hang out, stage clinics and jams, form groups, exchange info, sit in the back room and try out a variety of instruments, swap licks, and so on. Won't find that at GC, and it's the demand for this type of store that keeps local dealers afloat when chains like GC struggle. I patronize several local dealers -- Bernunzio, Stutzman, Bernie Lehmann, Sound Source for PA gear -- where they know my name when I walk in the door, and I can talk to the dealer(s) about their personal lives as well as their inventory.

    So I'll go to Musician's Friend on-line when I need a mic stand, or they're having a sale on cases, or I want to see a selection of 25 different instrument stands in stock. I'll stop in to GC to see if they have one of the new-model-bracing Taylor guitars, check out whether it's as revolutionary as Wood & Steel claims. I'll do my serious business with the dealers I've known for decades, where John or Dave or Bernie might give me an extra 10% "good customer" discount, and where we have histories together. I hope Guitar Center stays afloat through Chapter 11, and those who work there don't lose their jobs -- though the pandemic makes in-person shopping more of a risk than a pleasure. Bankruptcy can be just another phase of commercial business, not the trauma it is for individuals, but it's serious enough to make us wonder about the chain's future.

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  14. #36
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    i've used Guitar Center 3x in the past year-all online since there are no stores within 1.5 to 2 hours of my rural address-actually i don't know of any instrument shops within that 1.5 to 2 hrs other than Frontline Music in Abingdon, Va(good shop, good folks, used to be decent inventory but i haven't been there in 3 yrs-mostly electric and acoustic guitar/keyboards).

    all 3 online orders arrived within about 3 days, all 3 were correct, and the Flamenco guitar i ordered, made in Spain, was a limited model 1 of 66 Ben Woods signature model. This was a solid cedar top/ solid rosewood back/sides with some very special build characteristics that Ben wanted. The guitar arrived again, in about 3 days, was brand new, perfect in every way, and they honored a price that another shop had quoted but found out they no longer had the guitar(weird). I found this Flamenco by searching via goggle-guitar center popped up and had 3 in stock, all other results no longer had any in stock.

    The other instrument was a Squire Telecaster that listed for $399, had an excellent review status for the cost, and GC ran a special for $119 shipped. It arrived again, in 3 days, was excellent in every way-in fact it rivals a lot of Fender tele's up to about $1000.

    The other purchase was for Gibson acoustic strings when a lot of folks were buying them all up in the last covid hoard. GC had what i needed and delivered.

    I've had excellent purchases from them.

    oh yea, this was out of this world in my mind. When i purchased the Ben Woods signature Flamenco, it came with a..........sit down for this...........180 day return option!!!
    It was around last march when covid and restrictions were happening and GC ramped up an already most excellent return option-can't remember but i think it was 45 days, and they extended it to 180. Thats kinda nuts imo.

    d

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  16. #37
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    I used to go to Guitar Center all the time when I was in high school and even in college. Mainly there to play guitars / amps / pedals I couldn't afford - but it was also a really steady source of new students to teach. I had deals with all the employees at my local GC for years to pay them a referral bonus etc. I got some great guitars there really cheap - and when they'd cut you deals because they knew you etc, that just made it even better. Ahh the memories.

    Last time I went to GC however, I couldn't wait to get out of there. Maybe it's age, maybe it's the corporate changes - but I couldn't deal with it. The equipment was okay, but nothing to write home about in the mid-range prices. And, too much bad crazy train playing - oh god, the nightmares.
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  17. #38
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    I have gone into GC on more than one occasion planning on buying something and walked out when I couldn't get help. A friend worked there and said that people who knew what they were doing were belittled by managers who didn't. It is no surprise they are having a hard time generating the business they need to keep the venture capitalists happy.

  18. #39
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    My local GC is 45 minutes away in Danbury, CT and I used to stop there when I was shopping in other stores nearby. They never had much in the way of mandolins but had some decent guitars. There was at least one guy who was the acoustic guy. The only instrument I bought from them was a vintage Epiphone archtop guitar that I had shipped to that store from another store. The price was right and I still have and love to play it.
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  19. #40
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Just me, but I really liked GC. One time I bought a low end Taylor Guitar and after playing the heck out of it for a couple days (but I was very careful to treat it extremely well) I called and told GC I was not happy with guitar. They said no problem, bring it back for a refund. Brought the guitar back and a new Marting 000-15 was hitting the rack. Strummed it once and I was in love! Still my fave guitar and I have some expensive ones that I hardly play. I don't think that is allowed to happen in a mom and pop shop, and I can understand why. Some customers are not very respectful of other peoples property. GC figures the high volume maybe cancels out disrespecting customers.

  20. #41
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    I don't dislike the store at all, it is what it is. A large retailer of musical sundry. No different than any other chain store. Just like Home Depot they don't sell everything. You have a choice, you can choose to not shop there. I've spent most of the big money I've ever spent on instruments buying form some well known brick and mortar stores that have an online presence. I loved Mandolin Bros (RIP Stan Jay). I've bought from Elderly. I bought from First Quality back in the day. I bought from Janet Davis when that store was alive. I haven't been to Carters yet but I'm sure that when I do I'll leave with something. I'm happy they are in the mix and I wish them and every other music store well.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  22. #42
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I don't dislike the store at all, it is what it is. A large retailer of musical sundry. No different than any other chain store. Just like Home Depot they don't sell everything. You have a choice, you can choose to not shop there. I've spent most of the big money I've ever spent on instruments buying form some well known brick and mortar stores that have an online presence. I loved Mandolin Bros (RIP Stan Jay). I've bought from Elderly. I bought from First Quality back in the day. I bought from Janet Davis when that store was alive. I haven't been to Carters yet but I'm sure that when I do I'll leave with something. I'm happy they are in the mix and I wish them and every other music store well.
    I used love cruising the Janet Davis site, and back when I was new to mandolin I ordered a lot of my strings and things from them. Wonder what ever happened to that place? FQMS in Louisville was also a great shop. I played the nicest mandolin I’ve ever tried there in 2009 — a Collings MT that was flat out amazing in every way. I own an MT but it’s nothing like that one was. Not sure what ever became of that shop either. Lots of good ones gone.
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  23. #43

    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    ... Janet Davis ... what ever happened to that place?
    MandolinCafe info from 2017.

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  25. #44
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    I used love cruising the Janet Davis site, and back when I was new to mandolin I ordered a lot of my strings and things from them. Wonder what ever happened to that place? FQMS in Louisville was also a great shop. I played the nicest mandolin I’ve ever tried there in 2009 — a Collings MT that was flat out amazing in every way. I own an MT but it’s nothing like that one was. Not sure what ever became of that shop either. Lots of good ones gone.
    FQMS changed when the founder Bill Sullivan passed away. His kids have managed to keep it open as far as I know but the shop isn't the same. I have no idea what happened at Janet Davis. I loved both places.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  26. #45
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    FQMS [First Quality Music Supply] is now in the hands of Eric Sullivan and has been re-named Sullivan Banjo Company. They continue to sell strings, parts, and accessories for most string instruments, continue to build Sullivan banjos, and continue to offer banjo-related fitting, finishing, and repair services. They no longer sell instruments made by other manufacturers. Their current website is www.sullivanbanjos.com.

    Janet Davis closed their business quite a while ago.

  27. #46
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I don't dislike the store at all, it is what it is. A large retailer of musical sundry. No different than any other chain store.
    Yup. You know what you're in for when you walk in the door.


    I loved Mandolin Bros (RIP Stan Jay).
    Absolutely! I only went there once, twelve years ago. The selection was outstanding, and Stan was phenomenal.


    I haven't been to Carters yet but I'm sure that when I do I'll leave with something.
    I've only been there once, three years ago. That was the ultimate side-by-side experience of musical instrument exploration and comparison for me. It's the Alice's Restaurant of instrument stores: you can get anything you want. My only regret was that I went in there mentally and financially unprepared to "leave with something." So, the 2016 Apitius F is the one that got away.
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  28. #47
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Who can forget the famed First Quality Music article detailing a $460 million dollar debt load with only $20 million in sales over a few years? Read that article closely. It's an eye opener.

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  30. #48
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Eric Sullivan has weathered the storm. While the scope of the business has been considerably down-sized, the doors are open. They continue to be an excellent source for resonator banjo rims, necks, tone rings, etc., and are one of the best places to go to have a banjo neck or tone ring fitted and installed. Their prices on strings, including mandolin strings, are quite friendly. And they still make a pretty darn good banjo.

  31. #49
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guitar Center

    I know many of us thought "again?" when we heard this news.

    I thought "an online instrument store is struggling in the midst of a pandemic where quarantined people are turning to learning guitar in the biggest wave since the 60's?"

  32. #50

    Default Re: Guitar Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Who can forget the famed First Quality Music article detailing a $460 million dollar debt load with only $20 million in sales over a few years? Read that article closely. It's an eye opener.
    "Between 2007 and 2010, First Quality Music posted an operating loss of $460,000 despite $20 million in total sales."

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