I don't understand D'Angelico's strategy

dwk302

Member
Messages
1,971
They do a big NAMM exhibit with lots of great artist appearances Every year. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in that room playing virtually every model of electric they make. I can’t say I was impressed by any of them. They were OK at best.
 

DGAS

Member
Messages
248
I don't understand why anyone buys the G&L Tribute guitars. Where I live, you can buy a used USA G&L for the price of a brand new G&L Tribute.
The one I bought on MF Stupid Deal was an ASAT ash Tele with a clear finish for $299.

The used price on a similar USA-built model would likely be 3x that.
 

DGAS

Member
Messages
248
Considering D'Angelico supposedly turned away Les Paul from his New York shop because he refused to build the guitar Les Paul wanted and put the D'Angelico name on it, I highly doubt he would share your view, or desire his name on a budget entry level import. I think in fact, that if his hat did come off, it would only be to throw it at the idiot corporatist management trained chimp trying to do so. What you imply is everything I cannot stand about the modern multinational conglomerate businesses that dominate so many industries now. Profit over quality, ethics that rationalize child labor and in some cases slave labor, disregard for known environmental and safety concerns, engineered obsolescence. It is all duplicitous bs, or flat out wrong.
yeah, just the fact that a brand associated with the highest levels of hand-craftmanship can be subverted to the extent that it now appears on the headstock of bargain-basement, import garbage fits into the broader narrative of 'post-truth', 'alternative facts', etc.

but as you point out, nothing is sacred when it comes to corporate profits.
 

Golem

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
832
Pro Audio Star was blowing them out sometime in the last 12 months. They were 70% off.
I had a chance to try their Deluxe 175 that they had in the VIP (I think that's what they call it) section of GC before buying it. It wasn't comparable to other hollow and semi-hollow instruments that are comparably priced (e.g., Eastman, Gibson, Gretsch) at it's regular price and arguably more like an upgraded Gretsch Electromatic in quality. I had to pass even at the $600-700 they were going for on Pro Audio Star. Granted, that was a sample size of one.
 

Starshine

Member
Messages
967
I haven't messed around with their electrics, but have played several D'Angelico acoustic models and they all sounded like garbage. SDOTD is where they belong.

And FWIW, G&L is definitely selling some lower specced guitars through SDOTD. One of the big benefits of the Tribute series is supposed to be their USA pickups, but if you look at the specs for the deal guitars, they will usually not be US pickups. I've definitely seen this quite often with those G&L deals.
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
11,805
The one I bought on MF Stupid Deal was an ASAT ash Tele with a clear finish for $299.

The used price on a similar USA-built model would likely be 3x that.
I was referring to the normal retail prices of the G&L Tributes. The Stupid Deal prices are probably a good deal, but they aren't a good representation of normal pricing for those guitars. I suspect that MF isn't making any money on the Stupid Deal sales, and that they might even lose money on them, but they are a good form of advertising for MF.
 

Amp_Addicted

Member
Messages
680
It's a brand name that is probably owned by some multi national instrument maker. They don't really care about the history of John D'Angelico. The current company known as D'Angelico isn't making singular instruments for a specific guitarist like the namesake did from the 30's through the early 60's. It's not worth comparing the two.
 

DGAS

Member
Messages
248
And FWIW, G&L is definitely selling some lower specced guitars through SDOTD. One of the big benefits of the Tribute series is supposed to be their USA pickups, but if you look at the specs for the deal guitars, they will usually not be US pickups. I've definitely seen this quite often with those G&L deals.
Interesting...

Kind of reminds me of what happened with 'outlet stores'. When they first appeared, I'm pretty sure outlet stores were exactly that--outlets where various brands could sell overstock and previous-season goods at a discount.

But when they became mall-like destinations with multiple stores, they ceased to be legitimate 'outlets', and instead became just another retail channel for consumers obsessed with scoring a 'deal'.

I remember shopping in a J. Crew outlet a few years ago, and seeing 'J. Crew Outlet' on the tag of a shirt I was considering. That shirt was designed and manufactured specifically to sell in the 'outlet'.

In other words, a scam.
 

DGAS

Member
Messages
248
I suspect that MF isn't making any money on the Stupid Deal sales, and that they might even lose money on them, but they are a good form of advertising for MF.
Which is known as a 'loss leader'.

But loss leaders are typically part of a bait-and-switch proposition, in which the retailer advertises something at a ridiculously low price--a price at which they would lose money if they sold any significant quantity--but only has a few available in stock.

So the logic is that since you drove all that way to score a 'deal', and since you're already in the store, you are likely to consider more expensive alternatives which the store has in stock, and which are actually profitable.

I'm not sure how that strategy translates to an online retailer like MF. I guess if you order the SDOTD, they have your email address and can continue to send you offers.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,910
I think that some of the SDOTD stuff is "special finishes" discounted-for example my 175 is a matte finish (cheaper to make than polishing). That said, at 1/2 price, it was a solid deal with TV Jones pickups, decent wiring and hardware and great setup right out of the box, not to speak of a hard case. The equivalent Gretsch (from the 5000 series) didn't play as well or sound as good and cost just as much. I think they ARE building more of them than they need to. And the prices, like Supro, are WAY too high for a chinese/vietnamese guitar. But, like Supro, on sale for 1/2 price they're a solid deal. And once the overstock sells out, you can actually recoup your costs on Reverb.
 

Fishermike

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
126
I have a D'Angelico Excel 175 (single cut hollowbody w/Bigsby). Bought it mostly for Chet Atkins-style stuff, plus a little jazzbox action. The headstock is a bit much, and I don't love gloss-finished necks, but otherwise, it's an excellent guitar. Perfectly set up right out of the box. I've been thinking about selling it, but only because large-body guitars aren't comfortable for me anymore, same reason I went from acoustic dreadnaughts to my little 00-28. Probably go to an Eastman T484, unless I find a screaming deal on a 339. Not quite the same tone or 'tude, but more comfortable for me to play these days.

For reference, my other guitars are a USA G&L Asat Special, USA EBMM Cutlass, Gibson Les Paul, a Kenny Hill NWP classical, and the aforementioned Martin. Of them, the Gibson is the only one that isn't excellent in terms of build quality. I'd put that one at a "pretty darn good, but...", only because I can feel the joint between the rosewood fingerboard and the mahogany neck. Still love it, but there's no question that the D'Angelico was built with better attention to detail.

I'd certainly put D'A up there with Guild's offshore line or any of the other MIK brands. Hell, they're all made in the same couple of factories.
 

caspa

Member
Messages
663
They continually show up on MF Stupid Deal at 1/2 price. How does this not devalue the brand? Knowing that they do this, why would anyone in their right mind pay full retail for one of their guitars?

Other brands show up on SDOTD, but not consistently at 50% off, so this must be baked into their pricing and business model.

What's going on here?
It's because it's owned and operated now by a much younger staff of guys, and they're trying to handle their supply chain and stock in a very modern way. Why not blow out the colors that don't sell at cost rather than deal with MF sending back truckloads of stock?

That being said, they just got WAY too aggressive with their advertising, huge model lines etc. and honestly really missed the mark with only targeting the neo-soul instagram scene for artists aside from Bob Weir.

I'm all for these mistakes however, because I'm pretty excited to see how this formerly $1300 weird looking offset is for the $500 I paid MF for is.

 

PatriotBadger

Senior Member
Messages
1,817
As far as the D'Angelico brand itself, my guess is that it was revived to try and shoulder-in next to Gretsch and capitalize on the name (which few even knew of before the revival). They are failing at an epic level with that strategy. Then again there is no telling where Gretsch would be today if not for Fender's partenership.
 

twoheadedboy

Member
Messages
11,805
Which is known as a 'loss leader'.

But loss leaders are typically part of a bait-and-switch proposition, in which the retailer advertises something at a ridiculously low price--a price at which they would lose money if they sold any significant quantity--but only has a few available in stock.

So the logic is that since you drove all that way to score a 'deal', and since you're already in the store, you are likely to consider more expensive alternatives which the store has in stock, and which are actually profitable.

I'm not sure how that strategy translates to an online retailer like MF. I guess if you order the SDOTD, they have your email address and can continue to send you offers.
Yes, I think that's exactly what MF is doing with the Stupid Deal sales. It's a way to draw attention to their brand, drive traffic to their site, and hopefully attract new customers.
 

Fishermike

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
126
As far as the D'Angelico brand itself, my guess is that it was revived to try and shoulder-in next to Gretsch and capitalize on the name (which few even knew of before the revival). They are failing at an epic level with that strategy. Then again there is no telling where Gretsch would be today if not for Fender's partenership.
Just curious, where do you get your info that they're "failing at an epic level"? Because of their pricing strategy through one retailer? Or because you don't think as highly of them as you do of Gretsch? The brand reboot happened in 2014, and they're still around, in a very competitive market. You don't have to sell as many guitars as Fender's marketing machine can to be successful and profitable.

It's an open secret for years that major Martin dealers will sell basically ANY Martin, including custom shop, at about 40% below MSRP. For years, they've had MSRP, MAP (Minimum Advertised Price), which is what most people pay, and then the price you have to ask for. For example, the MSRP on my 00-28 is $3899, the MAP on it is $3099 (so places like Sweetwater can claim that their price is $800 off, lol!), and I paid $2280 for mine, brand new, from an authorized Martin dealer, which is actually a hair under the 40% off MSRP. Martin is most assuredly not failing. (Note: this pricing model has been changed slightly by the pandemic, lately it seems that about 36-37% off MSRP is more likely, Also, Martin is changing its pricing structure in 2021, and it remains to be seen what that will mean for buyers.)

I'm not saying that D'Angelico is equivalent to Martin - they're not. Just that pricing strategy of a manufacturers marketing department or dealer network doesn't mean dick about the quality of a guitar, or what that manufacturer's success level is.

And while MF may blow them out on a regular basis, Sweetwater and others sell them at full price (plus or minus, of course) all day, every day. I'd guess that a relatively small percentage of their overall sales actually occur at a significant discount, and those that do are just another marketing cost. A lot of folks first get a brand onto their radar by playing a buddy's guitar, seeing someone play one at a gig, etc.
 
Last edited:

PatriotBadger

Senior Member
Messages
1,817
Just curious, where do you get your info that they're "failing at an epic level"? Because of their pricing strategy through one retailer? Or because you don't think as highly of them as you do of Gretsch? The brand reboot happened in 2014, and they're still around, in a very competitive market. You don't have to sell as many guitars as Fender's marketing machine can to be successful and profitable.

It's an open secret for years that major Martin dealers will sell basically ANY Martin, including custom shop, at about 40% below MSRP. For years, they've had MSRP, MAP (Minimum Advertised Price), which is what most people pay, and then the price you have to ask for. For example, the MSRP on my 00-28 is $3899, the MAP on it is $3099 (so places like Sweetwater can claim that their price is $800 off, lol!), and I paid $2280 for mine, brand new, from an authorized Martin dealer, which is actually a hair under the 40% off MSRP. Martin is most assuredly not failing. (Note: this pricing model has been changed slightly by the pandemic, lately it seems that about 36-37% off MSRP is more likely, Also, Martin is changing its pricing structure in 2021, and it remains to be seen what that will mean for buyers.)

I'm not saying that D'Angelico is equivalent to Martin - they're not. Just that pricing strategy of a manufacturers marketing department or dealer network doesn't mean dick about the quality of a guitar, or what that manufacturer's success level is.

And while MF may blow them out on a regular basis, Sweetwater and others sell them at full price (plus or minus, of course) all day, every day. I'd guess that a relatively small percentage of their overall sales actually occur at a significant discount, and those that do are just another marketing cost. A lot of folks first get a brand onto their radar by playing a buddy's guitar, seeing someone play one at a gig, etc.
Based on the admittedly completely anecdotal evidence that I've never come across a privately owned one in the wild, including having never seen a used on craigslist or other local sales sites. For as many models as they have and how easily they are available through GC, this is weird to me. I've never seen one in someone's hands.

In reality of course this means little to nothing. But it's kind of like cars. You can throw a stick outside, or on an online car sales site, and hit a few Accords and Camrys. But you almost never see Mitsubishis anywhere, and that is because they just don't sell. At some point, never seeing a specific conspicuous consumer product when they are priced competitively and available everywhere tells you that no one is buying them.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
 

Json

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
266
I'll rephrase my original comment slightly. MF is not supposed to/does not intentionally sell returned merchandise as new. That is the whole reason the 'open box' designation exists in the first place.

Confirmed that not only is MF/GC intentionally selling returned items as new but it is now in fact policy. This guy has it all in a recorded phone call. Apparently everything is considered new to MF/GC unless it was an item purchased from an individual that walks into the store. Returned items that don't even have original boxes and paperwork are still considered new.
 




Trending Topics

Top