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  • What the hell, GC?

    I was just in the Guitar Center on the Katy Freeway here in Houston over lunch today to try out the Yamaha THR10C, check out the Epi ES-339 Pro and look at inexpensive acoustics for a coworker's son's Xmas present.  While there I picked up at least 10 guitars to try out, and only one of them was even close to being in tune, even some pricier pieces (i.e. SRV sig strat, PRS, etc).  It was as bad as a damned pawnshop.

    I don't know about anyone else, but if a guitar is really out of tune, I won't even screw around with it.  It goes right back in the stand/holder and I move on.  In GC, with 10 other people noodling around at any given time, it's practically impossible (for me at least) to tune a guitar by ear.

    Vintage Sunburst Epi Dot Dlx: Seth Lover set | Red MIM Strat: Tonerider City Limits set; Deaf Eddie Fat-O-Caster switch | 3TS Classic Vibe 60s Strat: Deaf Eddie Chromacaster switch | Ibanez SZ520QM: Dimarzio Bluesbucker & Air Zone | Fender Sonoran Bucket acoustic-electric | Fender Super Champ XD: Eminence Ragin' Cajun; JJ Tubes | Fender G-Dec III 30: Eminence Ragin' Cajun

  • #2

    If a retailer doesn't have someone tuning their guitars on a regular basis, it's a major fail, for us, for them, for sales.

    I'll take it one step further... Every guitar on the shelf should have a 10 minute setup done.  Hell, it'd take me less than 5 minutes to do a hardtail and would increase sales bigtime.

    When I was flipping 50 guitars a year, most people would buy just because the guitar played so well, it's not like I'm a luthier, I just set them up before putting them in the local rag.  It's not rocket science. 

    One MIA Fender Strat, one Gibson Les Paul, one Martin Acoustic, what more do you need?

    http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/...ps92b32f13.gif

    Comment


    • gdsmithtx
      gdsmithtx commented
      Editing a comment

       


      billybilly wrote:

      If a retailer doesn't have someone tuning their guitars on a regular basis, it's a major fail, for us, for them, for sales.

      I'll take it one step further... Every guitar on the shelf should have a 10 minute setup done.  Hell, it'd take me less than 5 minutes to do a hardtail and would increase sales bigtime.

      When I was flipping 50 guitars a year, most people would buy just because the guitar played so well, it's not like I'm a luthier, I just set them up before putting them in the local rag.  It's not rocket science. 


      Agree 100%.  It's very possible that this could have cost them at least a THR10C sale, and maybe the 339 as well; that's about $700.


  • #3

    A few years ago I just got in the habit of always taking a clip on tuner with me  when going out to Guitar Center.

    Comment


    • gdsmithtx
      gdsmithtx commented
      Editing a comment

      kit_strong wrote:

      A few years ago I just got in the habit of always taking a clip on tuner with me  when going out to Guitar Center.


      Probably a good idea; even though I'd had no plans on going before I left home.  Maybe I'll throw an old blue Snark in my glove compartment for just such an impulse visit.


  • #4

    That

    Comment


    • #5
      ok people, its Guitar Center.any given guitar you pick up could have been handled by 50 different people in the last week.just get a snark, and take 15 seconds to get it In tune
      before you start to play.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Good deals with: <br />
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      Comment


      • #6
        It only bothers me when the guitars in question are WAY off tuning wise. Sad thing is that my pawnshop does a better job tuning their guitars and basses than the GC 10 miles out of town.

        Comment


        • #7

          If you've got experience, you should be able to tune it or at least bring in a clip on tuner that costs $8.

          Chain stores like GC always have the instruments setup like crap. They make their money off moving volumes of goods. BYOT - Bring Your Own Tuner. 

          I don't mind much anymore. Especially when you see how places like GC allow you to walk up and grab the guitar without some jackass pestering you with questions. Because of that, a lot of kids and punks that can't play take the guitars out of tune so frequently that economically it makes no sense for GC to add more staff to keep guitars, basses, drums, etc in tune all the time. The end result would be price increases. 

          Fortunately, a small local shop about 1/4 mile away from me sets up everything and keeps them in perfect tune. They have extra sales people always there and they're an excellent shop all around (http://www.normsmusic.com). - I have no affiliation aside from being a 15+ year satisfied customer. The prices are higher for things like string and they don't carry nearly as much equipment. It's a tradeoff that has to be made from a business-perspective when selling instruments, IMO.

          <div class="signaturecontainer"><u>Good deals with:</u> ICFootball62, Osirisprotocol, D23dBaWx<br><br><u>My gear:</u><br>2006 Fender Koa Stratocaster MIK<br>2012 Fender USA Standard Stratocaster<br>2011 Squier Classic Vibe Custom Telecaster<br>1990's Danelectro 56-U2 reissue<br>American Alder SX Hawk<br>2011 Taylor 310CE<br>2012 Takamine G340SC<br>Bogner Alchemist head 40w w/ marshall 2x12<br>Late 90s Fender Blues Jr.<br>Vox AD15VT hybrid combo amp</div>

          Comment


          • Danhedonia
            Danhedonia commented
            Editing a comment

            naboutboul wrote: allow you to walk up and grab the guitar without some jackass pestering you with questions.
            I wish .... the "sales associates" at my local GC seem trained by a bad combo of Kevin from Repo Man and Jeff Spicoli.  Yesterday I went in and some kid walks up and says "hey, maaaaan, what's goin' on?"  

            This is where being an **** can come in handy.  I looked at him and said "don't talk to me that way.  It's offensive."  He laughed.  "No, I'm very serious.  We're not friends.  I want you to leave me alone."

            Every time I go in that place I get a half dozen phony hellos.  THere are some great guys in there, but a bunch of idiots too.


        • #8
          It's hilarious when a kid in GC plays totally out of tune while shredding while sounding like pissed off bumble bees in the process

          Comment


          • Danhedonia
            Danhedonia commented
            Editing a comment

            I really did talk like that.  I am not hopeful of impressing strangers on the forum - the strangers here that I like have already forgiven my myriad character flaws.

            OTOH, the insane level of forced buddy-speak at GC makes me crazy.  It's not simple salesperson friendliness (which I appreciate and reciprocate).  It feels really, really weird.


        • #9
          If you can't be bothered tuning a guitar, why did you go to guitar center? GC is about selling in volume with low margins. If you were waiting for the clerk to offer you a latte you were in the wrong place. You want service, go pay MSRP at a Mom & Pop.
          <div class="signaturecontainer">Must...buy...guitars. Will strong....body weak!</div><br><br><div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Take your wands out, both of you.&quot; -- Hermione Granger</div>

          Comment


          • JohnnyDD
            JohnnyDD commented
            Editing a comment

            De-tuned guitars all over the place is sloppy. Let's face it. It's real bad salesmanship. And because they are the only game in town for big music retaiilers they get away with it. I can deal with it but frankly it's pretty pathetic.


        • #10

          gdsmithtx wrote:  In GC, with 10 other people noodling around at any given time, it's practically impossible (for me at least) to tune a guitar by ear.

           

           

          Hold on, so you won't try and tune it by ear, but you expect GC to employ someone with superhuman hearing to do it, or just someone with a plug in tuner, which you could have done yourself?

           

          Sounds like weird priorities to me.

          Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. - Plato

          Comment


          • Floyd Rosenbomb
            Floyd Rosenbomb commented
            Editing a comment

            Yeah, I always take a snark tuner with me.  The guitars with trems are the worst because they are often off and will need claw adjustments to get close to tune.  You can always ask if they can do a quick set up on a guitar though, the guys at my local GC are pretty good about that.


        • #11

          Don't know about the GCs (and Sam Ash) in the rest of the country, but the two in the Atlanta area have hundreds of guitars hanging, many of them out of reach.  It would take a untenable effort to keep all of those in tune, especially with the stock turnover, IMO.  Most of the ones that I have tried have needed a little bit of tuning, but nothing that my smart phone tuner can't handle to 2 or 3 minutes.  And the GC employees working the guitar walls will gladly tune a guitar for you, no questions asked.  I've never had anything but helpful, courteous service from GC employess.  Maybe other area stores are managed differently.

          Contrast the LGS, which has only about 10-20%  of the inventory, and is usually hanging neatly about eye level.  If you want an intimate personalized every guitar is tuned perfectly experience, shop the LGS. These days they are usually priced close to their local competition anyway.  Maybe a few % more than the superstores, but not the huge differences that they once were.  

          When I go into one of the superstores, I expect the Costco like experience, and don't get ruffled by having to tune.  FWIW, the acuoustic and custom shop rooms seem to have had more hands on from the staff.

          Comment


          • #12
            While a trip to Guitar Center isn't a magical journey or anything, I find little to complain about. It's not like you can go to your living room and play one of hundreds of guitars. People complain about tuning (which is easily solved here) and setup issues (trem claw adjustments? For basic noodling in the shop?). They would have to have a separate staff to monitor these things, and I doubt it would translate to much higher sales. A better experience? Most likely. But it's kind of like complaing that the Norwegian fjords are pretty and all, if only it wasn't so cold. (well maybe not that extreme, but you get my point)
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>Guitars:</b> 3 Fender Strats, Fender Jazzmaster, Squier Bullet, 2 Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson ES-339, Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, Epiphone Les Paul, Epiphone Dot, Epiphone SG, PRS SE Custom 24, Ibanez AS73, Hamer Duotone, Larrivee D-03R, Takamine EG5013S, 1951 Epiphone Devon, Ibanez SR305 (bass)<br><br><br><br><b>Pedal Chain:</b> BBE Green Screamer -&gt; MXR Distortion III -&gt; Boss CE-5 -&gt; EH Stereo Pulsar -&gt; Boss DD-20 -&gt; BBE Boosta Grande<br><br><br><br><b>Amps:</b> Vox AC4, AC15, AC30, Pathfinder 10, DA5<br><br><br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://soundcloud.com/andrewalderman">SoundCloud</a></div>

            Comment


            • Bucksstudent
              Bucksstudent commented
              Editing a comment
              It could be worse. You could be in a Game Stop.

          • #13

            Who tunes your guitars for you at home?

            Comment


            • naboutboul
              naboutboul commented
              Editing a comment

              GC has a huge selection and lots of accessories. The prices for most stuff is the same as the local stores. It's fun to go there and check out guitars because the one near me literally carries so much stuff that I would otherwise never have the chance to play. The guitars are always setup like ****. That's the tradeoff. Bring a tuner or get an app on your phone. Problem solved.


          • #14

            I agree with the OP. I don't believe I've ever picked up a guitar at any GC that I've ever been to that was in tune and with strings that weren't completely corroded. 

            OK, maybe that isn't surprising considering the volume (pun intended) of people picking them up, but I still don't think it's acceptable. It's like people who don't bother to go inside and complain when their drive-thru order is wrong. They just "accept" it. Wrong. You paid your hard-earned money (or in the case of GC, your potential money), you should expect something acceptable in return.

            Maybe if they did spend some manhours keeping their showroom uncluttered (I literally almost tripped over crap twice the last time I went to the one in Plano) and the guitars playable, they wouldn't be about to go under. 

            I'm just sick of this country's corporate mentality of "save a buck, screw the customer". No wonder our ecomony is in the sh*tter.  /rantoff

            Comment


            • liko
              liko commented
              Editing a comment

              SaintJames wrote:

              I agree with the OP. I don't believe I've ever picked up a guitar at any GC that I've ever been to that was in tune and with strings that weren't completely corroded. 

              OK, maybe that isn't surprising considering the volume (pun intended) of people picking them up, but I still don't think it's acceptable. It's like people who don't bother to go inside and complain when their drive-thru order is wrong. They just "accept" it. Wrong. You paid your hard-earned money (or in the case of GC, your potential money), you should expect something acceptable in return.

              Maybe if they did spend some manhours keeping their showroom uncluttered (I literally almost tripped over crap twice the last time I went to the one in Plano) and the guitars playable, they wouldn't be about to go under. 

              I'm just sick of this country's corporate mentality of "save a buck, screw the customer". No wonder our ecomony is in the sh*tter.  /rantoff


              In most of the country, Guitar Center (and their subsidiary Music & Arts) is the only option for brick-and-mortar music stores. They used to compete with Brook Mays around where I live (North Texas) but BM went bankrupt, and most of the larger stores became "Mister E's Music" which just doesn't have the guitar selection of a GC (GC basically has the lock on Fenders and Gibsons in a given geographical area, and Mr E has to make due with, well, everything else). 

              Being the only face-to-face option, GC has only one major competitor; the Internet. Much like Best Buy is struggling with the de facto position of being Amazon's showroom, GC has a similar problem; people walk in, try things out, then go out and shop the Internet for the lowest price. This has its upsides and downsides. First, the music industry's broadly adopted MAP policies, so an Internet search is unlikely to result in a much better deal, especially after shipping. Second, GC *has* one of the leading online music equipment sites, with its combination of GC and Musicians' Friend sites. So, there's little difference between buying the one off the rack and getting one shipped to you, a fact the salespeople are trained to point out; "You'll get the same price, so why not just buy it and take it home today?".

              But, the downside is that GC's in-store expenses are still expenses that an orders-only company like Sweetwater doesn't have. So, they're to be minimized. And how do you do that? By reducing "breakage" (product loss due to damage/wear and tear, including the cost of new strings on floor-model guitars), and staffing your stores at the absolute minimum, usually one or two guys per department. As such, the staff has way too much to do to make sure everything on the rack has new, tuned strings. They tune on-demand, and change strings only when they have to, which is either when a vendor rep is scheduled to visit, or when a potential customer asks for it, the guitar in question is suitably expensive, and the store staff are reasonably sure they'll make a sale.

               

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