Buy drum heads at Guitar Center and you'll get ripped off

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
I thought I'd drop by Guitar Center on a way to a gig tomorrow to pick up some Ambassador coated heads for my Renowns. I want a jazzier tuning that I can't really get with clear Emperors.

The 4 heads I need (10/12/14/16") would cost $81! Before tax! So more like $85. That's ridiculous.



On Amazon I can currently get all 4 in a combo pack for $47! (Buying each individually is only $53)

Guitar Center charges 60-81% MORE for the same heads.

I guess Guitar Center is preying on the people who don't like to (or can't) buy online.

Don't buy heads from GC if you can help it.
 

Mongrel

Silver Member
Just a friendly heads up on Amazon....

I am only a one person "sample" but my experience with buying heads from Amazon has been very poor every time. So bad in fact that I no longer order heads from them and stick to Sweetwater or other reputable online "music stores" or brick and mortar shops during sales.

Every head (about 10 or 11 heads) I have received from Amazon has arrived with a bent or even broken collar and was completely unusable. Must be a ritual to stomp on them before putting them in the box for shipping lol.

The key for me is to watch for sales and buy heads before I actually need them. You can save quite a bit doing it this way and also avoid an over-priced emergency purchase.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I'll pay the extra money to have the head in my hands, inspect it and tap it before I buy it. Gotten too many bad/wrong heads online. I won't buy sticks online either for the same reason.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
GC and Sam Ash are probably reflecting on the new MSRP put out by Remo and other drum manufacturers. I can't really fault them for that, they probably don't have the buying power of Amazon (where I think they base this on just everything they happen to sell, so GC can't hope to sell as much as Amazon does in a day). But there's something to be said for seeing the product before you buy, and I appreciate that I can walk into a brick and mortar shop and do that, or even call a shop, have them order something for me, and if I don't like what I see when I go to finally see it, I can decline. I look for online deals too, I'm just more cautious about shopping by price alone.
 

Timmy

Active member
I buy all my stuff (or nearly all) from Sweetwater. They are only an hour away from me too which is nice. My stuff gets here very quickly, and, their customer service can't be beat. Also, I saw on YouTube Peter Erskine was there shopping around once. WAY COOL! lol
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I buy all my stuff (or nearly all) from Sweetwater. They are only an hour away from me too which is nice. My stuff gets here very quickly, and, their customer service can't be beat. Also, I saw on YouTube Peter Erskine was there shopping around once. WAY COOL! lol
That’s how I am whenever I go to Pro Drum in Hollywood. Hang out there long enough and you get to meet all your heroes.
 

Timmy

Active member
That’s how I am whenever I go to Pro Drum in Hollywood. Hang out there long enough and you get to meet all your heroes.
Hey, I bought something from them once, can't remember what it was though. Anyway, yeah I bet you are right about meeting your heroes there. I can't even imagine what it would be like to live in LA. They probably wouldn't let a loser like me live there. No doubt.

p.s. I need to tell Sweetwater to stop sending this fatboy candy. lol
 
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IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Not an issue for me. They have priced matched Amazon every time.
I went to Guitar Center, and after I demoed all the kits on the floor (Tama Birch/Walnut, Ludwig Classic Maple in 24/13/16, DW Design Series, Stage Custom bop) I asked if they had an Ambassador 10/12/14/16 combo pack. They didn't, but he said he'd sell me all 4 individually at the combo price from the GC website, which would've been around $57-58.

I didn't ask if they'd price-match the Amazon deal at $47 but I probably should've.

@Mongrel, I mostly order from Sweetwater, but I've ordered a few heads on Amazon and never had a problem.

Do you think it was Amazon's packaging that was the problem?

I say this because I DID have an issue with Amazon's packaging before. I ordered a Meinl Extra Dry 20" ride and it came in a flat box with no packing material whatsoever. The cymbal was just in the plastic bag, rattling around in a box that was too big. I was appalled but luckily the ride was in perfect condition.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
The trouble with Amazon, is that they don't pay taxes and their employees have to work like animals to fill your orders out on time (I am as guilty of shopping there as everyone else, no holier than thou guff from me)
I might not be on the bread line, and it's far easier to have principles when you can afford to, but I'd much rather put money into the hands of the local guy. The drum shop is a great place for advice, testing and making friends. Unless I'm getting something from another drummer second hand, I will always buy my gear in a local store.
Maybe if we all did, the amazon staff could find work which wasn't so back breaking.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
The truth of the matter is, while we love to hate GC (me included), most mom and pop shops closed, because they couldn't compete. Now we're stuck with crews more interested in petrie dish experiments on their hair than actually helping someone. If we keep going down the path of ordering everything online as we have, GC will be gone too. Like them or not, sometimes they are the only store left where we can run in, look at something and buy it.

While I do fault GC management to a degree, they are also competing against amazon. If Amazon doesn't sell music gear in one day, no biggie. If GC doesn't it's a big deal. Experienced folks cost money and that's a balance they have to consider when hiring their crew. Places like L.A. can have nice music stores, because there are enough people in the area who would pay top dollar for great gear. As much as it baffles me, we don't have many decent music stores in the Phoenix area, we don't exactly have a big music scene either. Equipment rentals is what keeps most alive in this area. People just don't buy the expensive stuff here like other large metro areas. If they buy anything, it's a set of SLP drums for little Johny, hopping he'll grow out of the phase in short order.

We can hate on GC all we want. I'm guilty as well, but it's a matter of time, before every head we receive from Amazon is going to be arriving damaged. At the moment, it's already tough to return something at Amazon, unless it meets the "criteria." Once the brick and mortar stores are gone, they will make it even more complicated. Look at eBay. They used to be a great place for buying and selling. Now, everything is a major headache.
 

K Chez

Member
The best deals on drumheads I've found is at Drum Factory Direct - while I can't vouch for pricing on every brand since I use Evans, but they were, on average about $3-4 cheaper per head ( a 14" G1 clear, single ply, was $13.75 vs. $17.00 at GC)
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
....The key for me is to watch for sales and buy heads before I actually need them. You can save quite a bit doing it this way and also avoid an over-priced emergency purchase.
I've also done this.

But, I've also bought heads just because they were on sale. I justified by saying it was to try them out to see if they were any good.
It's easy to end up with a bunch of heads stored away that you don't ever use.
Not saying that you've done it, but it's not the greatest idea I've had.
🐿 🕸
 

roncadillac

Member
Just a friendly heads up on Amazon....

I am only a one person "sample" but my experience with buying heads from Amazon has been very poor every time. So bad in fact that I no longer order heads from them and stick to Sweetwater or other reputable online "music stores" or brick and mortar shops during sales.

Every head (about 10 or 11 heads) I have received from Amazon has arrived with a bent or even broken collar and was completely unusable. Must be a ritual to stomp on them before putting them in the box for shipping lol.

The key for me is to watch for sales and buy heads before I actually need them. You can save quite a bit doing it this way and also avoid an over-priced emergency purchase.
Spot on! I though it was just me. Every time I get heads from Amazon they slap a shipping label on the box the head comes in... They don't even tape it closed. Half the time I come home from work to an open box against my door with my new drum head rolling around my front porch. When I order even one single 12" head from musicians friend or sweetwater they double box it with bubble wrap so secure I'd think it's a priceless glass vase. Amazon as a whole seems kinda like a scam, most of the regular day to day items I would purchase from them are cheaper at my local Walmart. I swear most things are $2-$5 more expensive so the "free shipping" you get isn't actually a loss on their part...not taking into account charging you an extra $12 every month for "free" shipping. I too just buy extra heads when there is a sale (ahem... Now) as I buy the same heads most of the time anyway. My preferred head manufacturer has a point system so I end up getting a free head from them every few head changes.

Problem 2: @IBitePrettyHard should'a bought Evans :p
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I use to only buy heads after tapping in store. But for years now it's been Amazon-cause any problems you just send them back. So far Evans, Remo, Aquarian and various types not a single head damaged or a problem. Crap I wasted this kind of luck on buying drum heads when I could have won the lottery LOL.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I use to only buy heads after tapping in store. But for years now it's been Amazon-cause any problems you just send them back. So far Evans, Remo, Aquarian and various types not a single head damaged or a problem. Crap I wasted this kind of luck on buying drum heads when I could have won the lottery LOL.
You have to buy them together and arriving from the same source. If they break them up at all is where the problems arise. I'm not sure why they don't do this already, but there are items, which won't ship free, unless with another qualified item. For some reason this doesn't apply to heads.

I'm just waiting for the day they own us all. It'll happen as soon as enough brick and mortar stores are gone. We'll be singing a different tune then.

Agree with RC, some things....many things are more expensive on Amazon, people don't realize it, because they stay out of the brick and mortar stores. Case in point, my wife just found some decorative pillows, but she wanted one more to complete her set. The store is currently out of stock on that one. She can get it from Amazon for twice the price, or wait for the store stock. I've actually come across this quite a bit.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
Guitar Center in Lafayette, Louisiana has the best selection of heads in town, at least as far as I can tell. Peace and goodwill.
 

roncadillac

Member
SWEETWATER RULES! I don't buy everything from them, but have purchased a lot and though they may not have the best prices, they are super fast shippers, boxes packed with candy!! and customer service is excellent. Great store.
My sweetwater rep guy will just randomly call me to chat. Not even to try and sell anything, just to straight up chat like we are buddies catching up lol.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
My sweetwater rep guy will just randomly call me to chat. Not even to try and sell anything, just to straight up chat like we are buddies catching up lol.
So does mine. His name is Stuart and calls every couple months. Also calls as follow up to my purchase to make sure all is good. Great service. Guitar Center on the other hand, doesn't even have drum knowledgeable people working the department. Went there one day to buy a new throw off and asked the guy if they had a DW mag throw in stock. I kid you not, he responded "I'm not sure. What's it used for?" CASE CLOSED
 
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