RFC: Buying Drums - How to work a salesperson?

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'm on the edge of replacing my economy kit (Old Chudwig Accent Combo with Sab B8's and shit hardware) with a real kit. I'm going to go for Ludwig, and I'm going all-in (Signet 105, BBeauty, Zildjian Custom A's, and Atlas Pro Hardware). The purpose for this thread is to ask for tips and tricks for dealing with the salespeople at my local ludwig dealer(s) to get the lowest price.

Looking at the Ludwig Site, I see three authorized dealers in my area. There's Guitar Center and two private dealers. A full-price write-up on the GC website comes out to about $3.800. If I wanted to pay full price, I'd just order online. I'd like to save 15-25% and was wondering what tricks/techniques I should employ to accomplish this. The closer to $3000 the better.

I 'do' see that GC offers "15% off with a trade-in". I wonder if they would take my vintage 1976 "Air Drums". They're made from Italian hardwood with Dutch-English trim, and hand assembled in the USA.
 

lsits

Gold Member
The GC's in my area will do a price match (plus an extra 10%) against other retailers. This goes for internet retailers, too. They factor in shipping charges so you might be better off looking for retailers that offer free shipping. I saved $6 on an Aquarian SK 1 bass drum head. The clerk even looked up competitor prices online.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The GC's in my area will do a price match (plus an extra 10%) against other retailers. This goes for internet retailers, too. They factor in shipping charges so you might be better off looking for retailers that offer free shipping. I saved $6 on an Aquarian SK 1 bass drum head. The clerk even looked up competitor prices online.
Indeed. With GC, they will match +10%, but only on an authorized dealer's advertised price. The keywords are "authorized dealer" and "advertised", so a dealer quote won't work, and an Ebay "buy it now" won't work. That said, I'm sure I could save a little bit using this method.

The other GC angle I could work for an extra ~5% is to apply for a GC card and their 12-month 0% financing. I'm pretty certain that they incentitize (forgive my spelling) their financing and extend-warranty with their managers, which I may leverage.
 

lsits

Gold Member
Indeed. With GC, they will match +10%, but only on an authorized dealer's advertised price. The keywords are "authorized dealer" and "advertised", so a dealer quote won't work, and an Ebay "buy it now" won't work. That said, I'm sure I could save a little bit using this method.

The other GC angle I could work for an extra ~5% is to apply for a GC card and their 12-month 0% financing. I'm pretty certain that they incentitize (forgive my spelling) their financing and extend-warranty with their managers, which I may leverage.
About six months ago I saw a good deal on Amazon for some coated Ambassador heads. They were $7.99 each but the shipping was $4.00. In order to qualify for the free shipping the minimum order was $35.00. I didn't have $35.00 of stuff that I needed so I ended up getting the head from GC. They will match Amazon's price, though.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Using the GC price matching policy, and some other negotiation, I was able to get the following kit for approximately $3000 even.

Gretsch Renown Maple 5 piece (2013 model, but otherwise brand new)
Ludwig BBeauty
Zildjian A Custom cymbal pack with the GC 2 year protection plan.
DW 5000 Hardware
A full set of Evans G2 heads.

Kit arrives Thursday. I'm fairly pleased.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If you're aware of the retail list price the manufacturers are asking, stores usually discount 35-40% off of that as a starting point. The problem with this is if all the sellers are doing the same thing, there might not be much wiggle room since they know the price is the same on newly released drum gear. Guitar Center has more room to play because of their buying power so chances are smaller stores won't be able to match them anyway.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I think if you take that list of what you want to the dept. manager and just say, "I would like to buy all of this from you, right now, what is the best deal you can give me?" But I wouldn't hound the man. He should give you a good deal. Maybe try a few stores with this approach.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
take that list of what you want to the dept. manager and just say, "I would like to buy all of this from you, right now, what is the best deal you can give me?"
I'd do this with each dealer. This assumes that if something goes wrong and you need the seller to help out (e.g., return shipping for a warranty repair) any of these places will provide good service.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
As someone who has been on both sides of the counter, I can tell you this- you get what you pay for. If you are looking to shave mere pennies off your purchase and grind grind grind someone down to zero profit, then you will accomplish these things-

A- You'll be known as "that guy" who no one wants to deal with and you'll always get "the newbie" with no power to cut you a deal.
B- You'll not have a local drum shop for very long and GC or mail order will be your only option. This really sucks because when there's no drum shop there's not a spare parts bin and when you need a whoosamaflixit and the only place online doesn't have it in stock.

"The way to work a salesperson"-

A- Be nice. Always.
B- Bring them a coffee, take them to lunch. Spending a few bucks on them as a peer will not only make you likeable but it will always get you preferential treatment. Take in a cake from the grocery store because drum shop guys love sweets. Also, pizza. Buy lunch for everyone before you buy a kit.

Do those things and you will get so much farther...
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I think if you take that list of what you want to the dept. manager and just say, "I would like to buy all of this from you, right now, what is the best deal you can give me?" But I wouldn't hound the man. He should give you a good deal. Maybe try a few stores with this approach.
Indeed.

When I began looking, I did exactly that. I went into the 3 Ludwig dealers in my area, gave the manager a list, and had them generate a quote. Unfortunately, none of them were able to give me much wiggle room. I even tried pressing for perks (Drum cases, cymbal cleaner, heads, etc), but in the end, the American Ludwigs are just more than I can afford. The only non-negotiable for me was the snare.

I negotiated with GC for a nice discount on the gear I ordered, but with a $999.99 catalina maple kit. I then found out that the New Brunswick NJ GC had a mint 2013 Renown Maple for $999.99. I made the switch to the order last second, and kept the discounts on the discounts on the rest of the gear. For the same price, I'll take last year's Renown over this year's Catalina any day.

The reverse bait-n-switch is a technique that may be considered immoral. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it though, as I don't feel I abused it.
 

picodon

Silver Member
As someone who has been on both sides of the counter, I can tell you this- you get what you pay for. If you are looking to shave mere pennies off your purchase and grind grind grind someone down to zero profit, then you will accomplish these things-

A- You'll be known as "that guy" who no one wants to deal with and you'll always get "the newbie" with no power to cut you a deal.
B- You'll not have a local drum shop for very long and GC or mail order will be your only option. This really sucks because when there's no drum shop there's not a spare parts bin and when you need a whoosamaflixit and the only place online doesn't have it in stock.

"The way to work a salesperson"-

A- Be nice. Always.
B- Bring them a coffee, take them to lunch. Spending a few bucks on them as a peer will not only make you likeable but it will always get you preferential treatment. Take in a cake from the grocery store because drum shop guys love sweets. Also, pizza. Buy lunch for everyone before you buy a kit.

Do those things and you will get so much farther...
Exactly. (LOL for B). When I bought my kit at La Baguetterie in Lyon, they gave so much discount on everything else from cymbals to throne to cases to sticks, without me even asking for it, to the point where I asked them are you sure you are making any money on this? Then we got to talk about guys that try every cymbal in the store, then walk out saying thank you so much, I'll get them cheaper on the internet. It's 1.5h driving but I go there whenever I'm in the area, they know my name and I get top notch service.

You get what you pay for. It's karma, man.
 

picodon

Silver Member
Indeed.

When I began looking, I did exactly that. I went into the 3 Ludwig dealers in my area, gave the manager a list, and had them generate a quote. Unfortunately, none of them were able to give me much wiggle room. I even tried pressing for perks (Drum cases, cymbal cleaner, heads, etc), but in the end, the American Ludwigs are just more than I can afford. The only non-negotiable for me was the snare.

I negotiated with GC for a nice discount on the gear I ordered, but with a $999.99 catalina maple kit. I then found out that the New Brunswick NJ GC had a mint 2013 Renown Maple for $999.99. I made the switch to the order last second, and kept the discounts on the discounts on the rest of the gear. For the same price, I'll take last year's Renown over this year's Catalina any day.

The reverse bait-n-switch is a technique that may be considered immoral. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it though, as I don't feel I abused it.
It's not immoral, it's just very risky because if you annoy the crap out of the sales person, you arr back to square one and you can forget about getting a good deal.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
Exactly. (LOL for B). When I bought my kit at La Baguetterie in Lyon, they gave so much discount on everything else from cymbals to throne to cases to sticks, without me even asking for it, to the point where I asked them are you sure you are making any money on this? Then we got to talk about guys that try every cymbal in the store, then walk out saying thank you so much, I'll get them cheaper on the internet. It's 1.5h driving but I go there whenever I'm in the area, they know my name and I get top notch service.

You get what you pay for. It's karma, man.
I live in San Diego, CA. and there's not ONE DRUMSHOP within an 80 mile radius. I mean there's music stores but a dedicated drumshop? You gotta drive up to Orange County at least... if not Pro Drum in Hollywood, and those guys are straight up 9-5 hours. No "after hours" there!

And why is that? Because all the drumshops couldn't compete with the McMansionaires looking for that nth degree of entitlement. Gonna nickel and dime a guy down to nothin'. Used to be, here in town WORKING PROFESSIONALS got preferential discounts. Why? Because that's what professional musicians do, they PLAY MUSIC FOR A LIVING AND SACRIFICE MORE THAN A WEEKENDER DOES for their paycheck. This is it, man. This is how pros make their money. But GC busted everyone down to that of "ordinary consumer" because the "Pro Discount" got turned into some f'd up marketing ploy and then it was discarded. I saw it all go down and it was like "yeah, someone's gonna end this" because people would come out of the drum dept. and say "I just got this for 10 above cost" which is what pro cats used to get it for.

And now, a metro area of 3+ million has not a damn one drum shop.

/rant
 

picodon

Silver Member
I live in San Diego, CA. and there's not ONE DRUMSHOP within an 80 mile radius. I mean there's music stores but a dedicated drumshop? You gotta drive up to Orange County at least... if not Pro Drum in Hollywood, and those guys are straight up 9-5 hours. No "after hours" there!

And why is that? Because all the drumshops couldn't compete with the McMansionaires looking for that nth degree of entitlement. Gonna nickel and dime a guy down to nothin'. Used to be, here in town WORKING PROFESSIONALS got preferential discounts. Why? Because that's what professional musicians do, they PLAY MUSIC FOR A LIVING AND SACRIFICE MORE THAN A WEEKENDER DOES for their paycheck. This is it, man. This is how pros make their money. But GC busted everyone down to that of "ordinary consumer" because the "Pro Discount" got turned into some f'd up marketing ploy and then it was discarded. I saw it all go down and it was like "yeah, someone's gonna end this" because people would come out of the drum dept. and say "I just got this for 10 above cost" which is what pro cats used to get it for.

And now, a metro area of 3+ million has not a damn one drum shop.

/rant
Man now I'm glad to live in an old fashioned socialist country, there are SOME arvantages to it after all :) But there's a market there. This would be the French way to do this: Buy an 18 wheeler. Fill it up with cymbals and spare parts and a credit card machine. Drive around southern California. Install yourself on every market square... sorry we're in the US, on every Walmart parking lot you can find, on a fixed day of the month for each one. I bet you'll end up with golden balls as the French say.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
And now, a metro area of 3+ million has not a damn one drum shop.
It's a crying shame.

And some people will insist that the arrival of big box stores somehow doesn't decimate local small business. What you're talking about with GC is exactly what Wal*Mart does.

/hijack
 

GeoB

Gold Member
Unless you're going totally upscale on the shells... the hardware found on the "budget" "entry" "intermediate" sets are usually junk. Pearl may be the exception. Luds are the bottom feeders of poor hardware quality. Unless you're settin' up in the basement or garage and never move the kit... okay you can get by with the budget.

The only other option for us poor folk is to...

Buy used. If you employ just a bit of patience and some due diligence on the search there are some real deals out there. eBay helps, but it's not the only resource available.

or

Buy Keller's, a shell layout mat, a few simple tools, and DIY. If you choose this route Keller will cut the bearing edges for you. The rest of the info for laying out the shell for drilling is on YouTube.

The lay out mat is crucial.

As I cut my own edges, I am not sure (but I assume) that the Keller shells are filled and leveled before the edge is cut. A quick call would probably confirm this.

Cymbals? It took me about 5 years to put together some quality and it is all used and all used, some of it is vintage... 1 piece at a time. I did have a set of cheapo's to begin with (Sabian B8's) and I could live with that. After a year or so I began replacement. And going the used route, with a couple of sell backs got together something that is a few levels above that first cymbal pack.

Time a patience and the lack of any reputable drum shops factored heavily on my strategy.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
It's a crying shame.

And some people will insist that the arrival of big box stores somehow doesn't decimate local small business. What you're talking about with GC is exactly what Wal*Mart does.

/hijack
I hear what you gents are saying. Walmart killed the local grocer. I won't deny this, but I'm not convinced that this is a bad thing.

As Jay at emerald city put it ...
"I love GC.. Kids go to GC to buy their first guitar. Some of these kids eventually learn to play and choose it as a profession. Then they come to me an buy real equipment."

I went into this wanting to do the right thing. I wanted an american set and went to two local dealers other than GC. Neither of them had a single piece of American Ludwig gear in stock or on display. Both of them did their best to sell me Chinese made trash. Getting either of them to give me a Ludwig quote was a painful affair. Neither of them knew about the Signet offering. Neither of them knew that Ludwig made hardware aside from the bundled 200 and 400 series that ships with Accent/Element.

To be blunt, I'm glad this kind of shop is disappearing. We all like to romanticize the past, but the notion that mom-and-pop music shops were an improvement over the current Wallmart /LLBean/Boutique paradigm is not something I buy into. Nothing prevented mom and pop from purchasing a franchise (many did). Nothing prevented them from specializing.

I agree with pretty much everything else that was said. There's a line somewhere between overpaying and underpaying, and as a consumer, it's my job to try to be on the right side of that line without doing something completely immoral. I think I fared pretty well.
 

GeoB

Gold Member
Off subject.... for a sec....

I shop Wal-Mart cuz it's the only game in this small rural town I ended up in.

Good thing? or Bad?

B4 WM, the only stores were Mom and Pops, but Mom and Pops only hired family or dear, trusted friends of the family, in-laws, relatives etc... (get the picture).

WM shows up and most of the M&Ps shut down but not all. And they employ 6x as many people and M&Ps ever did.

Good for the community or bad? And the groceries are less expensive and fresher.

So, I don't mind Wal-Mart besides whenever I head over there for groceries (8am Saturdays) I always bump into somebody I haven't seen in a while and have a nice conversation.

None of that happened in Mom and Pop stores.

It's a bygone era and yeah, I guess it was quaint and I miss it somewhat but there are more people working at Wal Mart and in these times... that's a good thing.
 
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