Long and McQuade - for us Canadians - Yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Winterwind, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. CanuckChris

    CanuckChris Supporting Member

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    I've spent a large chunk of money at L&M over the years, but I still shop around for the best deal. On things like parts and pickups, it's almost always cheaper to find it online, unless they're having a sale. Guitar pricing is hit or miss, but I honestly don't mind paying a few bucks more in order to have it in front of me and try it out before I buy. There's definitely been more than a few guitars where the online reviews say "it's the greatest guitar ever" but when I go in to the store, it's a miss for me.

    I would never trust L&M to do tech work. I do the majority of it myself, and what I don't have the tools or skills to do, I take to my local luthier.

    I have developed a rapport with some of the guys that work there. Because they sell a wide range of musical instruments, there are naturally some who have better backgrounds in different areas. Being a guitar player, I look for the guys who know guitars. Unlike a previous poster, I do get free strings and gig bags with new guitar purchases :) They've also been very accommodating in bringing in guitars to try with no commitment to buy, as long as it's not a special/weird order.

    Finally, I've been taking in some gear to sell at L&M and find they offer a fair trade in/sale value. Doesn't even have to be brands they carry. You may get a bit more selling it yourself, but the slightly lower amount L&M will give you makes up for the hassle of selling it yourself.

    So overall, my experience has been largely positive with L&M, but I think a big part of it is the people I deal with there. The guys I have a more personal relationship with are guitar gearheads, so we speak the same language and think the same way when it comes to guitars.
     
  2. Wucan

    Wucan Member

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    No problems with my local store, but that comes from understanding they're a big box room retailer first and foremost. I don't expect them to give me a fair price on my used BC Rich or to make my Squier play like a Suhr,, so to speak. I trust them to stock the things I want and be knowledgeable about what they sell.

    Luckily my town has plenty of competition so I can take my guitars for service elsewhere, but otherwise LnM is good for general supplies, trying out the hottest guitars and the odd good used deal. Sometimes clearences are nice too but people overreact to deals, that could be had by scanning classifieds every other day.
     
  3. NB_Terry

    NB_Terry Member

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    I live in a small city with an L&M and another family run music store.

    I'm surprised that the family run store is still in business. They are downtown, so no free parking, terrible prices on everything, etc..

    I have bought a few used amps at L&M; a Superchamp XD and a Mini Rectifier for fair prices.

    Other than that, I buy nothing from them. Their string prices are not good, and I rarely buy any new instruments or amps.

    A week or so ago I dropped in and picked up a $2000 Ibanez made in Indonesia. I played it for a bit and the nut on the volume pot wasn't tightened, so it was wobbling about. One of the staff didn't notice this and tighten it??

    I think after 35 years of playing guitar, I have pretty much what I need, and I haven't bought any pedals or amps or guitars in a year or more. I will go into stores to chat with some people and to show my daughter some instruments, but at this point there's not much gear that I need.
     
  4. Silkrodamus

    Silkrodamus Member

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    You can not get a deal. Ever. They will not budge. At all.

    They have the odd nice, helpful employee, but most tend to be apathetic/unknowledgable.

    It's like if Guitar Centre monopolized big chain guitar stores down in the states and that's all that was left standing was GC (from what I am hearing about GC).

    And the interest rates on financing are insane. I've heard people that work at smaller music stores call them Loan and Persuade.

    I have financed a few things from there because I had enough money to drop big down payments to make it not so harsh on myself.

    My girlfriend owed me like $3000 and financed a new Les Paul 50's Standard for me a few months ago. As soon as we walked in the door of our home and I started cracking open the case for the first time (a magical moment), she got a call from some guy at Long and McQuade head office who claimed to be an ex cop. He was very pushy and interrogating my girlfriend as to whether or not she was forced by me to finance the guitar, because sometimes men make impressionable young girls finance things for them and when the relationship is dissolved for whatever reason, the payments are not finished. He was making sure she was ok with financing the guitar and told her she shouldn't have ever been able to leave the store financing a guitar as a gift for a boyfriend.

    I got on the phone with him and told him I financed a Gibson L-00 for her literally two months before that as a gift and received no harassing phone calls and told him if he ever called my girlfriend and treated us like criminals again I would stop financing thousands of dollars of equipment from Long and McQuade and he was pretty much still a dick to me after that.

    Even after I told him I work with folks from the RCMP in a joint operation with the Federal Government AS MY JOB. And have had extensive criminal record checks done on myself and am a Public Servant with no criminal record. And I had to remind him a couple times that he had mentioned he is a FORMER police officer and now works in head office of Long and McQuade.

    I may never buy from them again. What I really should do is report McGruff the Crime Dog to head management. Sorry for my rant.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  5. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    Overall, I have had decent experiences with L&M. I once got a ‘59 Les Paul Junior through them for $800 and one of their sales staff recommended me for a gig.

    The only bad experience I can recall was a clustercuss with the Fender Custom Shop, and that was more the FCS’s fault.

    L&M is talking about opening another store near a well-regarded vintage shop in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t mind, mainly because the front desk staff at this vintage store could use a good kick in the @$$.
     
  6. A. Deafman

    A. Deafman Member

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    On a positive note: I don't believe I've had a sales person be rude or unsociable to me at the store. "Loud" and "enthusiastic", maybe, but never deliberately rude.

    I started getting interested in guitars in the late 80s, when there was one "big" store to buy from, downtown in this city. Folks from around here will remember. It's still doing good business, I guess. The guys there seemed to specialize in making people feel self-conscious, and I only go down there now if I'm desperate. L&M staff doesn't seem go out of its way to be condescending to its customers, at least not in my experience.
     
  7. Winterwind

    Winterwind Member

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    London, Ontario
    Wow! I would not let that go if it happened to me.

    Hell, I can't even get them to send me my monthly statements when I financed some gear a few months ago. Got the first one when I opened the account and nothing since despite a few queries.

    OT briefly - I had a similar bad experience with my bank (RBC). I'd just left my lawyer's office with a settlement cheque in hand (former employer fired me for calling in the Ministry for health and safety issues they wouldn't address) and went to my home branch I'd dealt with for 25 years to deposit the cheque. The Asst. CS manager said to me "how do I know you're not a thief or commiting fraud".

    She actually aid that to my face then called my former employer's head office and asked the receptionist if they'd cut me the cheque. Yes... the receptionist... because she's privy to legal settlements.

    Well, I pulled my phone out, started recording the conversation with the Asst. CS Manager then I filed a complaint with their ombudsman's office. The employee was fired, they shaved 5% off my Visa and I framed the written apology they sent me.
     
    Magnets And Melodies likes this.
  8. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Supporting Member

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    ON
    Some of the sales guys at the Burlington, Ontario, store are decent but I'd never take a guitar there for any work. First time I ever went to one of their free setup days, I saw their two "techs" just cutting strings off at full tension to save time. :eek:
     
    Jabby92 and Magnets And Melodies like this.
  9. Surgeon

    Surgeon Member

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    Only bought stuff online from them (no local stores bere). It’s always been easy. Prices did seem fair to me, although we always pay much more than south of the border of course.

    It’s too bad they’re in Quebec nowadays, I used to be able to save on one of two taxes before that. I usually get slightly better prices from Cosmo music lately.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  10. Lemonhand

    Lemonhand Member

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    I've bought tons of stuff from them, been going there since the 80's. Very rarely have I had anything but a positive experience. My most recent purchase was in May, a 2018 Gibson Les Paul Classic. I got the gold top with P-90's and I got a pretty good deal, I think it was $2100 Canadian. Compared to the new 2019 50's model with P-90s going for well over $3000 and I'm happy. They have good prices on used stuff here too. I was about to jump on a Rickenbacker 340 priced at $1350 a few weeks ago but it sold. That's a total steal.
     
  11. mjinli

    mjinli Member

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    They had some good stuff at the Calgary Attic Sale, too bad it started on a Friday so people with day jobs missed out on everything.

    White EDS-1275 for 3500, 2010 R9 for 3600, Koa GS mini for 600, bunch of Fender Pro basses ranging from 900 to 1200. I couldn't make it so no idea on condition but those are all very fair used prices assuming no structural damage.

    (prices are all in CAD for any Americans lurking)
     
  12. Obsessive Tinkerer

    Obsessive Tinkerer Member

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    Here’s my two cents. I’ve played for decades and been a gear head the whole time. I grew up near London so I know the market you’re talking about very well Winterwind. Being that I practically lived at Bellones in the late 80’s and early 90’s I knew what exceptional customer service was. John Sr. And JB knew how to hire the right people who could deal with everyone from those who held an instrument for the first time to touring pros. This meant that every staff member knew everything about what was for sale. Repairs were done in house. Even if Fred had the personality of 50 grit sand paper, it was done right...

    In the 2000’s L&M bought the market and the whole retail music world went down hill in a hurry. I think this is because L&M either bought an independent music store or that music store failed as it couldn’t compete with L&M’s pricing due to the volume they bought. At the same time L&M went to a Best Buy sales strategy. Staff that don’t stay long are cheap... they don’t know the material or have rapport with customers... but it’s a big box store experience.

    I honestly believe the staff at a L&M all mean well, but they’re set up to fail being they’re ill trained, poorly paid and perhaps not suitably selected. For this reason repairs are just scary....

    Being specific to London again, the South store is exactly what I’m experienced to in an L&M. Never the same staff member, if you’d like tech specs not on the tag... the staff goes online. The North store is “special” the retained staff from Music Mart won’t even bother to engage you. Even when you want to ask for something behind the counter or on a high rack you have to cut in to the conversations amongst themselves or you’ll just be ignored.

    Anyways, now I buy mostly used but if new it’s Amazon or eBay to the rescue.
     
    chandra likes this.
  13. Winterwind

    Winterwind Member

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    London, Ontario
    Heh. Small world, small forum.

    Yeah, I really only deal with Mike, the manager at the south store. I've known him since he worked at the old Guitar Shoppe above Belle Air Music on Richmond.

    And when Long & McQuade bought Belle Air they kept the father, mother and son and they run the north store and I never got good service there. Not once.

    I used to love going to JB's, was happy he turned down L&M's offer to buy him out and was sad when he closed earlier this year. Rainer was JB's tech for a while and is the only tech I've ever trusted with my guitars.

    I've applied to L&M a few times just because I think it'd be fun working in a music store, the discount would be nice and... honestly I'd love to show the staff what real customer focused sales and service is. But that wouldn't matter to them, they'd learn nothing. It's not commision based so the staff get paid whether they sell or not.
     
  14. Obsessive Tinkerer

    Obsessive Tinkerer Member

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    So it’s not just me. I won’t go to the North store, even for picks now. Although it could be fun to wait for a regional manager to be there one day, find the biggest amp in the store and dime it.... when the staff race over explain how customers are always ignore there and it was the only way to get their attention...

    I completely agree that Rainer is a magician. His work is always top notch and if he can’t fix it... it’s TrueType busted. Michal at Vintage Tone Wheels is also amazing with amps. London is a good city to be near if your gear breaks.

    I’m not sure I’d want to work at an L&M. I’m pretty sure it’s minimum wage to start and while they might not get commission, I think they have ugly quotas.
     
  15. Winterwind

    Winterwind Member

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    London, Ontario
    Yeppers. Rainer is a wizard. Heh, funny Rainer story...

    Back when I still had a Ric 330/12 Rainer called me up one day and said... "I won't ask if I can borrow it but I want to use your guitar on this track I'm recording. Would you mind bringing it to my house for 30 minutes or so?"

    So I go over, we go into his studio and he quickly records the part with my Ric. Then he asks if I want to hear the whole track. I say yes, he brings up the vocal track and... it was Brian Vollmer. Rainer had joined Helix for a couple albums and I was not really a Helix fan. He tricked me. We laughed.

    And absolutely, Mike at Vintage Tone Wheels does brilliant work. When the rectifier and another tube went on my AC30 JB said, hey, call my guy, here's his number. Mike did brilliant work, actually made the amp sound better than new and taught me to never use the stand-by switch.

    We're lucky here in London having Rainer for guitars and Mike for amps.
     
  16. Graffiti Yellow

    Graffiti Yellow Member

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    Where I live there are only 3 stores in total. One is L&M, the other is St. John’s, and the third is a local store. The local store is not what it used to be since one of the owners retired so to me L&M is really the only game in town. I have got some good deals on used gear at L&M, they tend to pay below market value for used gear.
     
  17. zztomato

    zztomato Supporting Member

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    They used to be much better. When I lived in Vancouver in the 90s they would have a big wall full of high end custom shop Fenders and vintage reissues. Lots of other good stuff. Staff were generally cool but I was of a similar age or maybe a bit older and a decent guitar player so they were all pretty friendly to me.
    Here in Ottawa they now have 3 stores. Having worked as a teacher and part time tech more than a decade ago, I can say things have changed and moved towards a more corporate mentality. They have a giant store full of stuff that sells easily. They don't stock much in the way of parts or upgrades that you might expect. Anytime I've needed a pickup or something a bit specialized, I have to order and wait - sometimes months.

    I think it's typical lowest common denominator stuff. L&M is not special in this regard. Retail is a bitch these days. It pisses me of that they just try to completely dominate and destroy the smaller stores but do it by offering more of less.
     
    eclecto-acoustic likes this.
  18. TubeStack

    TubeStack Supporting Member

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    I like L&Ms and have spent a fair amount of money there. I like going to music stores, reminds me of the fun I had as a kid going to them and hanging out. :)

    That being said, I only buy:

    - odds and ends, smaller things you need every now and then (tuners, patch cables, etc)

    - smoking deals on used stuff that just went out on the floor: I have had some truly great deals on killer stuff that was very well-priced (JCM800 2204 head, JCM800 4010 combo, CS ES339, ES335, Mesa Rectoverb 25 combo)

    I have also bought the occasional brand new item at full price because I wanted it new (L6 HXFX, couple guitars). But my three main guitars (two CS Gibson LPs and an SG Standard) I bought used at other places or on Kijiji, as well as my amp head and cab.

    I especially agree with @monty, in that I’ve been very bummed to see them closing their older unique, mom&pop-feeling locations and opening new, BestBuy-feeling stores that all look the same. The recent changeover in Cambridge, for example. That seems to be the new direction and it makes me sad. It was great that they kept the vibe of the original places whose owners retired and sold to L&M. Made each one unique.

    But yeah, I’d never take a guitar to one for a setup or anything important. I do that myself or bring it a local specialist. And any big guitar purchases would be used gems at Folkway or something like that.
     
    monty likes this.
  19. petty1818

    petty1818 Member

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    Toronto
    I go there for fun sometimes but it's not my favourite place. My biggest complaint is the employees and their overall lack of knowledge but to be honest, I find this to be the case with most larger music store chains. I don't even bother talking to the employees as they often frustrate me. They are nice and polite but don't know much about their products. I also hate how they let kids slam away on guitars. Every time I go in, I see a nice, high end acoustic or electric with numerous dents and dings all over the body.

    I will say this though, they do price used items quite low and they are great at taking them back before the 30 days is up.
     
  20. monty

    monty Member

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    Last guitar I bought there was a 7 string a couple months ago. I sales guy from the keyboard dept. who I never deal with wouldn't even throw a extra low string in there. I only asked because I have plenty of sets of strings at home but no 7th string. Next time there I asked the guy I usually deal with and he gave me a couple no charge.
     
    Little_Wing and CanuckChris like this.

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