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One of these days, I'll learn to not ask for ANYTHING at Guitar Center....

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SacredCow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 08:07 PM
Original message
One of these days, I'll learn to not ask for ANYTHING at Guitar Center....
Sigh... I wish the store wasn't so damn convenient to my house, and wasn't one of the only stores open later.

Today's exchange:

Clerk: "Can I get something for you, dude?"

Me: "Yes, Please. I need a pair of EL84 power tubes."

Clerk: "Ummmmmm..... OK. (goes behind counter to tubes) Ummmmm.... I've got Groove Tubes?

Me: "Well, that IS a brand of tubes and I guess they'll be fine.

Clerk: (goes to computer) Ummmmmm..... What kind of amp is it, man?

Me: Wellllll... Not that it really matters, but it's a Fender Pro Junior. But a pair of EL84's is a pair of EL84's- Either you have them, or you don't.

Clerk: (shouting across the room) What's comparable to an EL84 tube?

Me: (facepalm)

Other clerk: Ummmmm.... We'd have to order that.

Me: (looking at no fewer than 20 amps that use the EL84 tube) I'll let you know. Thanks for your help.


Sheesh.
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
1. i think they drive forklifts over their guitars.
My honey was ready to drop some real money on a 12-string Rickenbacker.

They were all warped and out of alignment. He walked out.
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SacredCow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-07-09 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. You may be on to something...
A while back, I was browsing in their acoustic guitar section and picked up a beautiful Taylor (don't remember the model, but it was a $3000-ish instrument). The neck was cracked at the heel, but no other damage that I could see- I'm really not sure how you could accomplish this, but the forklift theory is one to consider.
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countryken Donating Member (37 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-08-09 05:40 AM
Response to Original message
3. Guitar Center staff
We have a fairly new GC a mile from our house, and I'm glad it's there. The staff seems to be made up of young rockers who are not well briefed on their products, but it sure is fun to sample and compare the feel and sound of different guitars. I see that as a way to educate myself. I've got arguably all the guitars I need (Martins D18 and D28, Deneve dobro, Stelling banjo, Augustino classical), but there is a parlor guitar and a 12 string on my long term horizon, so I've got to keep my eyes open. Plus, new guitar players are always asking me for ideas and recommendations, so I think I can justify spending time in the GC playing cool guitars. They have strings and accessories as well, which is convenient, even though I generally order 'em from Elderly Instruments. However, I have some complaints as well. As much as I enjoy sampling the good acoustic guitars, I've seen enough dinged guitars that I think they could do well to provide better supervision (not for me - I treat them well - but for everybody else. Maybe the compromise is that they screen visitors to the high end room before leaving them alone.

I bought a USB mike recently - a low cost mike, highly recommended by a guy at our radio station who produces his show on his own PC at home using Adobe Audition. I've done our show on one occasion through my PA line out through the sound card, and it's a nuisance to set it up that way. Our guy did a lot of research and decided on a $69 dollar CAD U37. We discussed it at length, and I decided that I needed a CAD U37. I waited patiently for the understaffed clerk to wait on a couple of other folks, and he got around to me. I pointed to the mike behind the glass and said, "I need a CAD U37." He had to spend time trying to talk me into more expensive mikes with more features that I didn't need and trying to engage me in a conversation while people were waiting behind me to buy stuff. That was a bit of a nuisance.

I bought my son a set of electronic drums a year ago. The first guy I dealt with was a drummer, was knowledgable, answered all my questions, and pretty much sold me on a set. I'd planned to return the next day with my son, so he could try before we buy. We had a different salesman (who, of course, tried to talk us into a higher end set. This is after I said, "We worked with X yesterday and plan to buy this Yamaha set with this amp, this stool, and he gave me a price of $???." This new guy had to fight with me over the price. We got the manager, who confirmed the price that the first guy had given me the day before, and it seemed that the ill-informed sales guy was just trying to do everything that he could do to alienate me.

That said, having a Guitar Center a mile away from my house is much better than not having a Guitar Center a mile away from my house!
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SacredCow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-08-09 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I'm sure I'll still go in for strings and other odds and ends....
GC certainly doesn't have a patent on what I'm complaining about, which boils down to some salesmen not knowing anything about what they're selling. That said, there is a guy in the drum department who is excellent (but since I'm not a drummer, it doesn't help me too much!).

I've had the same exact problem in CompUSA (when they existed)- went in and asked specifically for 2 chips of 32MB EDO RAM (I even pointed to the packages on the shelf) but the guy wouldn't sell it to me until I gave him the brand and model of the computer (which I built from spares, IIRC). Fortunately, the manager heard the exchange and WAS knowledgable and told the guy that if someone asked for a specific memory chip then there was no need to look it up.

I'm just getting older and grumpier I guess.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-18-10 07:14 AM
Response to Reply #3
13. I will drive 400 miles to avoid the GC 40 miles away (Orlando)
My first and only trip there a few years ago I asked where their acoustic room was. The "employee" pointed toward the area and made a comment along the lines of "go have a hootenany".

Now I may be not as young as this cretin - but . . . I have a nice collection of a dozen or so first-rate guitars . . . and I have the dough to continue to add to that collection.

I will not ever under any circumstance spend a single dollar at a store that thinks it's cute to offend customers.

I also order from Elderly and purchased my last Martin from Mandolin Bros in NY. I purchase strings on-line from boutique shops.

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kysrsoze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-13-09 01:33 AM
Response to Original message
5. Depends which one you go to. I have 3 around me, 1 sucks, 1 is decent, 1 is great
It all depends on who manages the place.

There is one location where everyone works there is an idiot, and some of them would obviously be anywhere else. I can't even walk in that store.

However, the downtown Chicago store is not bad. There are enough people there who know enough, and those who don't will turn it over to someone those who do when needed. I bought my Gibson LP there and couldn't be happier with it. Beautiful guitar, and it's really only available there.

The Highland Park location is great. They treat you well, check on you to make sure you're being helped (without being annoying), and they generally know what they're talking about. They also have what I want. No complaints.

Sure, there are some cool local places and great Internet stores. But some GC's are not bad at all.
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SacredCow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-17-09 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. the one near me is like #1 of your list.....
And I ended up going to a local amp repair guy to buy the tubes. Probably a bit more expensive than I would have paid at GC, but..... I got to look at a really cool 1940's Supro amp that someone had brought in for service (it looked like it rolled off of the assembly line a few weeks ago, rather than a few DECADES ago! AND- I discussed some mods to my practice amp that I may have performed after the first of the year.
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kysrsoze Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-20-09 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Good to have a place like that. Sounds interesting.
We've got a good local shop that does guitar setups, amp mods, etc. I should check out their tube selection. Their prices are generally pretty good. They also sell their own amps, but they are extremely expensive. I have them do setups, but I'm actually getting ready to build my own amp head. W

hat kind of mods did you do? On my current amp, I swapped a couple tubes, the speakers and changed a few resistors. Made quite a difference.
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SacredCow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-21-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I haven't done the mods yet...
But the first and easiest mod will be a speaker replacement- The one they speced for the Pro Junior is a piece of junk, and a nice Eminence will only run me $40 or so. Other than that, there are a few mods for this particular amp that give it more guts. I could probably do them myself, but I just don't have the time these days.

I have another place that I take guitars for service. My new Rickenbacker is about to head there for a complete setup.
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east texas lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-20-09 10:25 AM
Response to Original message
8. They're really not a good choice for anything more than bridges, pots and the like...
As far as gear goes, they've got the deals, but you've got to wade through the shit to find them.
Check your potential purchases out very carefully and you'll do OK, IMHO.
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SacredCow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-21-09 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. I've bought a moderately-high cost instrument from them...
An Ovation that I wanted to serve as my "workhorse" that was about $800, IIRC. Otherwise, I tend to buy my instruments "gently used," so I'm not likely to be buying any Martins or Taylors from them.
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old mark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
11. My local GC is about 40 miles away, I have visited it once. I buy some
stuff -strings, etc, from them, but I prefer used guitars and generally have most of what I want already.

FWIW, I used to work for a local shop with a good reputation, and after really getting to know the owner and watch him work, I have never been back in over 14 years. I would NEVER buy an instrument that had passed through that man's hands and if I were buying new, I'd probably go to a GC or similar and check very carefully.


mark
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conanneutron Donating Member (17 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-17-10 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
12. "Oh you play in a band? Cool man, me too, yeah we're playing down at the rock shack tuesday..."
ugh! ugh! ugh!
I cannot stand that place.
I pretty much only go there when I'm on tour and have no other choice.

the douchiest of the douche.
All I want is to get my strings or tubes or whatever and go, not hear about your whole discography and how you are "this closed" to being signed.

feh!
I am so glad that we have the Starving Musician in Berkeley where I live, so I don't have to deal with them as much.
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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-19-10 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
14. Guitar Center's whole business is to sell low end crap to beginners and wannabes.
Customer service is generally horrible, and they rarely have what I need in stock.
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GReedDiamond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-27-10 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
15. I have spent so much $$ at the Guitar Centers in my area...
...(Los Angeles), over the last 20-30 years, that, at the closest one to me, they recognize me and give me good service. Also, through last year, they sent me three $25 gift cards that did not require any kind of minimum purchase. So I got $75 worth of free stuff.

I went into the local GC a few weeks ago looking for a DAW, and instead of trying to sell me on whatever they had, they sent me to a computer company that specializes in custom building machines for the specific purpose of audio/video production. So I'm now waiting for my killer computer recording system to arrive (I'll be able to record up to 16 tracks live, which is good enough for punk rock), and GC did not make a penny from me this time.

For the record, the GC with the worst customer service, in my experience, is the Hollywood store on Sunset Blvd., while the Pasadena store on Colorado Blvd. is very good.

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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-27-10 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Similar Experience Here
I've been invited to a couple of close door sales. Invite only before the store was actually open. I bought one of my Martin acoustics that way.

They've done well by me.
GAC
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
17. Holy Jebus.
I just had my first visit to GC. What an entirely unpleasant place.
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DrDan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. my thoughts exactly on my first . . . and last visit a couple of years ago
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-10 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. I needed a chromatic tuner.
All of them were dumped helter-skelter into a bin, just piled together in big a mess. That was tremendously pleasant to deal with. :eyes:

I also wanted some Fender flatwounds for my new (used) bass. They - of course - do not stock them, so I ended up getting D'darrios at nearly twice the price. Altogether irritating.

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countryken Donating Member (37 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-16-10 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
20. Aaaarrrrgghhh - These GC Salesmen are clueless
It's tax return time and the IRS is whispering in my ear that I need a 12 string guitar. My first inclination would be the most convenient, so I dropped by the Guitar Center up the road. I tried a Martin 12-28, priced at about $2300 used, only to find that it was out of saddle and one of the G strings was clearing the saddle altogether and buzzing like crazy. I put that down and picked up a used Martin 12-20 at about $1300. That had the same problem, but in this case it was the E string buzzing. The salesman dropped by and I mentioned that they both needed neck resets. He blathered on about the price popping up when they enter the year and the model. I said, yes, but you need to take into consideration the cost of the repairs required to make the instruments playable. He talked about 'fixing' the saddle and twisting the truss rod, and would hear none of it. You would think that a potential buyer of such guitars wouldn't touch these with a ten foot pole when inspecting their condition.

What does GC do about guitars that cannot be sold. Do the employees get a crack at them at very cheap prices? That would motivate them to not want to sell them.

Anyway, I'm thinking of a new Blueridge, solid spruce, solid EIR, for around $800, from an independent dealer I know in Pittsburgh.

Maybe it's good that they are incompetent. It keeps indies competitive.
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-28-10 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
21. I do my own research before entering GC
I also like how my local Guitar Center is set up so that you can try some of their gear before you buy it, even bringing your own gear into the store so that you'll know exactly what works for you. The local shop has a nice interactive tower for Boss effects pedals - bring in your guitar, bass, synth, or whatever and plug it into the tower. As long as you don't kill the speakers or create some ungodly noise that pisses everyone off, you're free to experiment with practically any combination.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-05-10 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
22. I miss traditional music stores.
Here in New Orleans, we had the oldest music store in the USA (Werlein's Music on Canal St.) with one of the best sheet music collections, and REAL luthiers and instrument technicians (from brass to reeds to strings, et al). You could walk into the store and talk to a piano tuner or a clarinetist who re-pads woodwinds, or walk over to another area, locate, and purchase an entire opera score (provided it was not some obscure opera buffa). I used to take the streetcar there when I was a boy, and really looked forward to those trips.

Big box stores are a bane, unless you are in the market for cheap, mass produced toys. :(

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