Are the Death Bells Tolling for Guitar Center?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by steve_man, Dec 7, 2017.


  1. juri

    juri Supporting Member

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    GC is pushing guitar classes, studio and DJ gear here in Austin (3 locations, one remodelled recently). They are at a disadvantage because of sales taxes but they can offer you the ability to play a guitar before you buy it (although they do have stock of poor quality), something online vendors can’t. They owe money to lots of their vendors, if they go down or into bankruptcy hopefully they won’t drag anyone else down with them.
     
  2. monwobobbo

    monwobobbo Member

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    this is a thought. we still have The House Of Guitars here which is like the worlds biggest mom and pop shop. they have been around since the 60s and do carry most major brands. they got wise early on with the Gibson and Fender dealerships by wholesaling to smaller area shops that couldn't meet the minimum. they make a few bucks per guitar but move the volume needed to keep those companies happy. the GC here isn't bad and usually has people in it spending. i've bought a few things there in the last 10 years (past strings or other cheap items).
     
  3. Sacrifice

    Sacrifice Member

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    OR, go home to order it online, and end up buying something cooler and vintage out of the used market instead?

    Not enough new guitarists to buy new gear. More established guitarists buying used vintage instead of new gear. (Not saying there's anything wrong with this, but it's a contributing factor.)

    And the worst thing they have going for them...

    If you don't want to give me a deal, I'll go to someone who will.

    Is it enough to put them out of business? Who knows, but they give me little reason to help them stay in business.
     
  4. Drew816

    Drew816 Supporting Member

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    How many threads can we have on the same subject going at the same time?

    We’ll get to a point where there are only pawn shops carrying guitars locally and you’ll have to order from MF, Amazon or Walmart to try stuff out at this rate.
     
  5. steve_man

    steve_man Member

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    This^^^ I’m always surprised at how few amps they have now. Lots of Mustangs and Line 6
     
  6. rsm

    rsm Member

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    with few exceptions, I prefer to buy online, and not just gear. The selection, prices, convenience, etc. are usually better.

    Recently I had to go to a local Levi's store to find my new size in skinny jeans after losing weight, and I did purchase; I was there and the sale was good; now I know my new size, I can shop online.

    Maybe a rebranding would help since guitar isn't the preeminent instrument? With all the gear and rapid fire release of new products, it's next to impossible for most retail locations to stock everything and turnover their inventory (IMO).
     
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  7. dconeill

    dconeill Member

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    Hope springs eternal ... Maybe what has to happen is the giants drive everyone else out of business, then they themselves collapse, and in the fullness of time another batch of small stores opens up. I can hope ...
     
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  8. DrakeSequation

    DrakeSequation Member

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    I would sleep better at night if they were to fail. Businesses that survive because they throw money around rather than run a good business are way too common. Please die, all of them.
     
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  9. ryandfl

    ryandfl Supporting Member

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    This is more the issue than people getting into electronic music. It’s affecting tons of physical stores/chains of all types.

    Personally, as mush as I want to try before I buy (Gibson guitars looking at you), I hate demoing in a store. “Find out if you like this guitar by playing for all of us here, into not your amp and not your pedals.”

    I’m sure that’s no big deal for really strong players but I kind of need to be in my zone. So I might as well buy online and sell if it doesn’t work out. Buy used and you can’t loose too much.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  10. steve_man

    steve_man Member

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    Yeah, the GC in Round Rock is probably my fave in the Austin area. The other bummer for the other Austin stores is the 30 day hold on used gear.
     
  11. juri

    juri Supporting Member

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    The one on Anderson Lane got a major makeover recently. It has an SRV strat behind glass as well they could probably sell to pay off some of their debt!
     
  12. S. S. Bender

    S. S. Bender Member

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    GC just doesn't hold the appeal it did many years ago, and will likely be met with a shrug of indifference from me if they close down.
     
  13. la noise

    la noise Supporting Member

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    I sold a drumset in the nearest Guitar Center parking lot
    last night. I didn't even go in. :dunno
     
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  14. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    Guitar Center is the hemorrhoid of the music retail business...it never goes away.
    Guitar Center is also the cockroach of the music business...you can't kill it.

    GC will survive in one form or another, but probably in a much smaller format, with all the loser stores closing.

    And if they die, we might see a limited return of mom & pop music stores. I'm seeing it already in some places. The era of the Big Box store is coming to an end, according to many industry analysts. Book stores are coming back also. That's happening now, and it's a welcome trend.

    And if GC dies a slow and terrible death, it's their own damn fault. I won't be grieving at all.
     
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  15. Michigan guitar

    Michigan guitar Member

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    I, for one, hope they don't. There's only a couple guitar shops in my area that I care to visit on a regular basis and they are one of them. Actually got a great deal on a new American Tele there not too long ago. They definitely don't have the selection of the other place I go but it doesn't mean I want them to go under, either. It's nice to have options.
     
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  16. flyingmusicman

    flyingmusicman Member

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    For me the problem with GC is that the staff carries a certain reputation that they’ve had for... decades. I’ve talked with some good guys there, but I’ve also talked with guys that clearly weren’t busy and didn’t care to help. The selection of instruments and amps has not been the same for a while now, and the good stuff is either locked up and uninviting or too packed in to really turn up and hear properly. I’ve seen a few nice guitars, but nothing really consistent and usually overpriced vs the competition. The pedal selection is nothing special, but occasionally they’ll have a hidden gem at a great price; other times they’ll have something “vintage” and charge more than anyone is advertising for on reverb. Sometimes if I’m bored I’ll swing by one of the local ones just to see if anything has changed, but I’ve not really been impressed lately. The customer service is the biggest thing; if you’re going to hire people that aren’t extremely well informed then why put up with attitudes? I often get the “I’m an artist and having this job is beneath me” vibe... hey bud, you’re not a very good artist or you wouldn’t be here... That may be a generalization, but if I were running the show and was going to hire drones then I’d at least hire presentable, friendly drones that wanted to share their love of music. Low energy staff can really hurt your image.

    All that said, GC just opened a new store in the DC area recently. The older local shops don’t seem to carry as much high end gear as they used to, and I understand their reasons, but I’m not looking for lower tier gear so I don’t tend to visit those stores either. Some of the old shops are great, but too many can’t compete with online pricing for used/vintage gear; that’s just a sign of changing times. Across the board though, what really turns me off are the terrrrrrrible attitudes of employees. When brick and mortar is being outpaced by online the only thing that makes the store unique and special is the vibe and warmth of good staff; I suspect I’m not alone on this.

    One really fun store around the beltway is Atomic Music; always a fun place to visit, never any pressure, always friendly and helpful staff, and always willing to make a deal. Chuck Levins has never had a good vibe for me, but not bad either and they have always had cool PRS guitars. Action has an amazing selection of pedals and some cool guitars and amps. Mellodee is a favorite because the people are great and their selection is above par. Back in the day there were two really cool vintage stores in the city, but they both closed. The rest of the stores I’ve been to in the DMV are not worth mentioning because they either don’t have much gear or their staff has completely foul customer service and I don’t want to start flaming people. Online, I get what I want, for the best price, I stay in *comfortable attire*, and one of the friendly delivery guys brings my new gear right to my door! Some of this was beyond the scope of the original question, but I’m in a sharing mood :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  17. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

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    Since GC is owned by a Debt Fund - ARES Management - I'm not sure what to make of this
    'latest' downgrade. Perhaps Musician's Friend is doing incredibly well and the company
    needs protect the profits.
     
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  18. McShred

    McShred Supporting Member

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    Ehhh... Having customers in every city didn't help Circuit City
     
  19. OiRogers

    OiRogers Member

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    FWIW, I think the last pedal I actually bought a physical GC location was the Death Metal Distortion in the mid to late 90s. It's probably still lurking in a closet somewhere.

    I've purchased a few used boutique pedals off their website, but I honestly don't think I've seen a pedal that's interested me in my local GC in the past 20 years.
     
  20. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    They won't disappear totally. GC does fulfill the needs of beginner and hobby players with lower expectations quite well, and I have gotten some good stuff off their used gear website. I don't know any pro musician friends of mine who use GC for anything much more than accessories, or if they need something in a pinch. I hadn't been into the Totowa GC in months, but went in a couple weeks ago and left quickly when I saw it was the "same old same old." It's a crappy store in every way, and as usual, a whole crew of new kids were working there. Actually, I used the men's room. That was a good thing.
     
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