What's up with Guitar Center?

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,253
A couple of weeks ago I see two 2013 Les Paul Standards (same model, same finish) on the wall - one is regular price ($2600-ish) and the other marked down to $1799. A few days later, both are at the $1799 price, a few days later, both are back up to $2600 and today they were both at $1999. And they don't show up on the Guitar Center site for that location. I know they tend to have lots of sales, but these price fluctuations just seem really odd to me . . . (and they have a brand new ES-339 on sale for the same price as two used ones hanging up in the used section . . . .)
 

GOLDENSTRAT

Member
Messages
966
I have seen inconsistent pricing at GC for years.
They seem to have about 1/2 as many guitars in stock as they did a year ago or so around here (Denver area).
 

lovelucki13

Member
Messages
60
I, too, have seen inconsistent prices. I'm assuming it's due to them competing with the ever-fluctuating internet pricing.
 

ifailedshapes

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,511
I was a victim of this last week. Saw a guitar I loved marked down to 599. Went to buy it the next day, and it was back up to 875, and they all played dumb and refused to go back to the old price.
 

Noise Under The Floor

A happy-go-lucky chap, always dressed in black.
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,701
I was a victim of this last week. Saw a guitar I loved marked down to 599. Went to buy it the next day, and it was back up to 875, and they all played dumb and refused to go back to the old price.
They don't have to play dumb, it comes naturally and quite effortlessly for a lot of them lately. I have 3 GC's within a 30 mile radius. I've just simply stopped bothering to go into either of them after a long time of actually enjoying going there and buying from them. Not anymore. Even buying the simplest of things, like strings, somehow always manages to be turned into some kind of clown show. I used to have several go-to people that worked in a few of them, cool people, who seem to be gone now. Probably got let go for actually being competent and doing a good job. "Um, sorry, your fired. You didn't have the right mix of aloofness meets bonehead that we look for."
 

RRfireblade

Member
Messages
3,493
A couple of weeks ago I see two 2013 Les Paul Standards (same model, same finish) on the wall - one is regular price ($2600-ish) and the other marked down to $1799. A few days later, both are at the $1799 price, a few days later, both are back up to $2600 and today they were both at $1999. And they don't show up on the Guitar Center site for that location. I know they tend to have lots of sales, but these price fluctuations just seem really odd to me . . . (and they have a brand new ES-339 on sale for the same price as two used ones hanging up in the used section . . . .)

Don't know. Same thing happened over so I bought one. Brand New AAAA Premium Top Standard Loaded for near $2K.

Didn't ask any questions. ;)
 

nolenuttt

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,333
They don't have to play dumb, it comes naturally and quite effortlessly for a lot of them lately. I have 3 GC's within a 30 mile radius. I've just simply stopped bothering to go into either of them after a long time of actually enjoying going there and buying from them. Not anymore. Even buying the simplest of things, like strings, somehow always manages to be turned into some kind of clown show. I used to have several go-to people that worked in a few of them, cool people, who seem to be gone now. Probably got let go for actually being competent and doing a good job. "Um, sorry, your fired. You didn't have the right mix of aloofness meets bonehead that we look for."
Amen, Brother-They've watered me off one too many times-Ordered and amp cover 6 months ago-Still on back order.....:nuts
 

lovelucki13

Member
Messages
60
Don't know. Same thing happened over so I bought one. Brand New AAAA Premium Top Standard Loaded for near $2K.

Didn't ask any questions. ;)

EXACTLY! When you catch them just right, you can get some amazing things. It's very handy to have you phone ready to do some price comparing. I've gotten some things that were below wholesale pricing by doing this. If something looks extremely inexpensive, check online prices. If it's ridiculously low, buy it. Don't wait for the price to go back up. :aok
 

Noise Under The Floor

A happy-go-lucky chap, always dressed in black.
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,701
Don't know. Same thing happened over so I bought one. Brand New AAAA Premium Top Standard Loaded for near $2K.

Didn't ask any questions. ;)
Yeah, sometimes that kinda wackiness on their part can work to one's advantage. Although I've walked things to the counter to pay before only to be told "Oh, uh....the price on the tag isn't right, its different in the system. That tag is wrong. Sorry dude." Higher price of course in the system. "Uh...so you still want it?"
 

jimmyohio75

Member
Messages
5,538
Guitar Center will be out of business is less than 2 years. They are having major financial issues. The internet is killing lots of businesses. Think about it, why would anyone buy a guitar at Guitar Center unless you are one of those people that MUST play a guitar before buying it? The internet makes it so easy to buy the exact same instrument for a lot less than buying it in the store at GC. Also, at the store you must pay tax. If you are buying a $2,000 Les Paul the tax alone can be as high as 7, 8, 9% which can add $140, $160 or $180 to the price. I hate to say it but Guitar Center has become my "testing ground". I only go to Guitar Center when I want to see, hold and test out something new. Once I determine that I want that item I head online to find it a hell of a lot cheaper than I can get it at GC. This is the main reason why GC is having huge financial problems. This is also the reason why they will be defunct in the near future. Not to mention that in most cases their inventory sucks. I am a high(er) end type of guitar buyer. My average guitar will cost me $800-1400. Guitar Center simply does not have a good selection of these types of guitars. Yeah, they may have 1-3 decent Les Paul's and maybe 2-4 decent strats but overall the walls at GC are littered with Squier, MIM Fender and entry level stuff that does not appeal to the seasoned guitar player. I hate to dump on Guitar Center but their business model cannot and will not survive in the age of online purchasing. They simply cannot compete. They would be wise to restructure their business model and stick strictly to online sales with their 3 sites (GC, Musician's Friend and Music 123). This would eliminate the costs associated with the stores like rent, labor and insurance.
Now, that being said, someone is going to respond to my post and mention that most of the world does not consist of "seasoned guitarsists" and the every day person needs a place to go in order to buy little Johnny a Squier Strat Pack. I don't disagree but in today's age of digital commerce even the most non tech savvy buyer is starting to spend more time shopping on line. RIP Guitar Center, I'm afraid it's just a matter of time.
 
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Rockerduck

Member
Messages
3,254
I don't think they will go under because they have the best used equipment search available. You can do a national search for something and buy it and also check individual stores nationwide, because some things don't show on the national search. They also enjoy a 50% markup which is better than new item markups.
 

bloomz

Senior Member
Messages
4,228
Whaddya mean - they're owned by such a skilled venture capitalist organization???
 

DCross

Acoustic Jazz & Electric Folk
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,863
It does seem like they have way too many brick and mortars, but I've been hearing this story for at least 5 or 6 years and there they are.

I went in to buy strings the other day because I wanted to try something different. The GC website said they were something like $5 but at the store the guy said $7.50...not to be cheap, but wtf? But the guy price matched the website for me, lol.
 

scott520

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,111
Yeah, sometimes that kinda wackiness on their part can work to one's advantage. Although I've walked things to the counter to pay before only to be told "Oh, uh....the price on the tag isn't right, its different in the system. That tag is wrong. Sorry dude." Higher price of course in the system. "Uh...so you still want it?"
I've had this experience too many times...pretty frustrating. Then just to make things worse, they wouldn't match other legit price quotes, with no real explanation as to why. I just politely said, "OK. Have a nice day guys". Haven't been back since and see no real reason to. They used to have several guitars that I'd wanna play and possibly buy. I bought my first PRS Custom 22, a Taylor 512ce, and a Gibson j45 (which was a NIGHTMARE of a transaction and the last one I ever made with them). The last time I went, I was very disappointed with the lack of stock, especially since I live an hour and a half away.
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,253
It does seem like they have way too many brick and mortars, but I've been hearing this story for at least 5 or 6 years and there they are.

I went in to buy strings the other day because I wanted to try something different. The GC website said they were something like $5 but at the store the guy said $7.50...not to be cheap, but wtf? But the guy price matched the website for me, lol.
This is actually a real problem for the sales people, who still get paid on commission. They are required to match on-line prices, but online prices kill their commissions and they wind up essentially getting paid minimum wage. There was an article in the NYT or some other media outlet about this recently - their salespeople are really getting squeezed by this, but GC won't change their pay structure because it keeps their cost low . . .
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,057
I think the one ace they have and will likely keep them in business is that no matter how much the internet hurts local music stores, there always has to be at least one because many people will always prefer being able to buy immediately and have hands on. And since they are nearly the only local music stores left in many areas i think they will survive one way or another. If they quit there would be none left, and wherever theres some sort of void theres a market that has potential. They know that and they realize they are the only ones left in many areas. So i think they will simply evolve as necessary. That said, i'm lucky to have a ma and pa shop near me that i've been going to for 30+ years and is great. Small, but a selection of most brands of guitars that while not nearly as large as GC is such a superior selection it's actually better for finding THE one. And prices are as low as CG or lower except when GC does major blowouts. Otherwise i end up usually paying the same and often less. Only drag is after decades they stopped being a Gibson dealer right as i became a gibson player for the first time in my life ! They got tired of the demands gibson put on them as far as minimum quantities they required when ordering.
 

scott944

Member
Messages
3,951
This is not unique to GC, folks. My wife was a district manager for a women's clothing chain for 25 years - all retailers do this stuff.
 






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