Not dead yet: Guitar Center

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I suppose this is good news. The GC closest to me has moved and re-modeled to their new look - it's all one big room with the cash registers in the center of the store. It's kind of a weird vibe. But I guess they're doing what they feel needs to be done to compete. The floor footprint is a lot smaller than the former store was , and everybody now wears a matching GC shirt. Kinda' has a CompUSA feel about it now.

I sorta wonder why they keep the GC store chain alive since they also own MusiciansFriend and Music123 (and whatever else online service they have) ?
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
GC's a good place to try stuff out.
A lot of people do just that, and then don't buy.

If I try something there and like it, I'll buy it, even if it's been on display or used.

They don't have a whole lot of drums I'm real interested in, but they do have a fair amount of cymbals. They've also got a good return policy, but I've only used it once for a purchase I didn't really think through beforehand.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I agree with the above. GC stores are a showroom and community center designed to funnel money into the online storefronts.

I could walk into my local GC and try to buy a set of coated Ambassadors, Daddario XL 10's, GHS 45-105's, and would leave empty handed because they don't stock the heads and strings that almost every musician uses.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
I have 5 or 6 within a 50 mile radius.
If you go 90 miles ,maybe 10 or 11.
The Santa Clara store is a drum destination store which means they stock $4 and $5K kits.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
That new store layout is the kiss of death for drums. All of our AZ stores are now in that format with the last conversion two months ago. With it went the separate drum department, any drum selections and if the store actually had a drum tech, he/she as well.
 

V-Four

Senior Member
It seems strange in my local GC these days. Not nearly as many "shoppers", but way less staff then there used to be. and NEVER any help in the drum department. Heck, I remember the days when the "sales guys" wouldn't leave you alone when you'd go in just to mess with guitars n stuff.

Twice (in the last 2 months) I was looking to go in and spend cash. I knew exactly what I wanted. NOBODY around. walked out to see if anyone could help (with a couple items in hand, but needed things from behind the register). All two sales guys were busy (BS-ing with people). So I walked behind the register in the drum dept, and grabbed the things I needed, and went out to the "accessories" dept (the only place you can actually pay with cash), and the guy selling picks and strings was able to ring me up.

Another time was a bitch, cuz I was actually buying a cymbal, and needed someone to unlock it. Sadly, it's no wonder people buy so much stuff online. I like to touch stuff, and have it in my hand when I purchase it. It's gonna be an interesting future world.


T.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
My local GC always has a good selection of used gear. I got a good deal on a used amp last year that I would have never considered buying until I got to play it in the store. My local music store doesn't deal in used gear, and sellers on Craigslist don't let you show up and beat the hell out of something before you buy it. So I, for one, am glad GC is sticking around. I don't need musicians to tell me what to buy, I am perfectly capable of doing that on my own. I just need some pimple faced kid who can operate the register to take my money when I find what I want, and the occasional manager to haggle with over the price of used gear.
 

V-Four

Senior Member
Really? They've never, ever, ever, EVER had anything I was remotely interested in in-stock.
Yeah, and it's even worse when it says right there on my phone that the item I want IS IN stock, AT THIS LOCATION, for a sale price "available today for in store pickup".

That's got me twice. Now I call ahead, usually the "system" cant find it, (or "the operator" cant work the "system"). ;)


sellers on Craigslist don't let you show up and beat the hell out of something before you buy it. So I, for one, am glad GC is sticking around. I don't need musicians to tell me what to buy, I am perfectly capable of doing that on my own. I just need some pimple faced kid who can operate the register to take my money when I find what I want, and the occasional manager to haggle with over the price of used gear.

But yes, even with all my complaints I agree with this ^^^^
I would MUCH rather try/buy in person, & get instant gratification for my money spent.

T.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I’ll have to throw them a bone for used stuff. There isn’t much around me, but I have at least on occasion been able to see something in person I wouldn’t otherwise. In most cases, they have been beat to death, but I can still at least get a feel for sound and build quality. If there was any consistency at all, they could have been a good source to buy from sight unseen. But their excellent condition is something I would classify as anything less than beat to hell if I was going to sell it on eBay.

I’ve gotten lucky a couple of times, but most things have been seriously junk. A cymbal with cracks, confirmed as excellent condition by the guy on the other side of the phone. An Axis X sold as an A model, though confirmed as having the variable drive lever when called. An Sabian AA shipped, when and HHX was purchased... it never ends and doesn’t seem to matter if you call and confirm. The guy on the other end of the phone can’t seem to see a total delamination and giant dent on the hoop on the drum marked as excellent condition.

For Phoenix, about the only thing they have done is kill the competition. Now we basically have nothing. I live for my trips to LA. My wife visits family and I hit drum shops!
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
Really? They've never, ever, ever, EVER had anything I was remotely interested in in-stock.
I look at basses, keyboards, interfaces, PA's, amps, guitars, and pretty much everything else, as well as drums and cymbals.

So there's something to catch my interest every time I go there, whether it's new or used.
 

Maverick10

Senior Member
Because of the new layout of the stores and reduced staff, I can't tell you how many times I get asked questions about drums when I'm there just shopping. hahaha I must look like I should be working there. the sad part is I know where stuff is and how to help sometimes better than the people working there.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
I live for my trips to LA. My wife visits family and I hit drum shops!
Nice! Exactly how do you manage to make that happen?!?

If it were me, my wife would make it endless family and sheer boredom for hours on end... not drum shops! :-(
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Nice! Exactly how do you manage to make that happen?!?

If it were me, my wife would make it endless family and sheer boredom for hours on end... not drum shops! :-(
I hit the immediate ones I can, then volunteer to drive when my wife and other family members want to go shopping where we know there are other music stores. I’m offering a service you see! LOL!!!
 

River19

Senior Member
I have one 5 mins from my house. Originally bought my Starclassic from them in 2003.....bought a Craviotto from them as well.......barely bought anything from them since.

As someone said, they don't have the sticks I play or the heads I want all the time. Or they will have the heads for 3 of 4 drums but what good is that.

This is similar to my local bike shop vs. specialty MTB shops..... "I can order that for you"......"I can order it on my own".......

They do have a reasonable amount of cymbals but anything of quality is locked up in a rack and finding an employee who wants to sell something is hard....

I assumed it was better for the Guitar/Bass and keys guys......but maybe not after reading this thread.

Luckily I can drive to Drum Center of Portsmouth in like 90mins....
 
I live in an area where GC (and music stores in general) have no presence despite the fact that Roanoke, Va is starting to look like Portland, but when I first stepped into the GC in Raleigh, NC I was in heaven. They had such a wide selection it was unreal.

Of course, now the novelty has worn off and it seems like even that store has gotten progressively shittier. So much so that I just stopped going there altogether and when I'm there I usually go to 2112 Percussion. Great shop run by great guys.

Though I will say buying used is sometimes a gamble, but I've gotten super lucky with that (I almost trust it more than what they sell new), mostly because I try to buy my stuff online from the Allentown, PA store. They are right next to one of the biggest Tama and Sonor dealers in the US, so the used gear they get there is outrageously good quality.
 

Camshaft

Member
I dread my monthly trips to Guitar Center, but that Stick Club thing they have going is a pretty solid deal - $5 off a pair of sticks every month!

Also, from a gigging standpoint, I like the fact that, if needed, finding replacement parts instantly for my Sound Percussion kit is pretty much a guarantee no matter where I happen to be. That said, I haven't needed to replace anything - yet.
 
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