Guitar Center Musician's Expo

julius

Member
Went to this in Long Beach yesterday. It's basically like being in a really, really big Guitar Center with individual brand reps on hand to answer questions and hand out swag. The most interesting thing about it is that a lot of the stuff you see/try out is actually for sale at an amazingly steep discount.

Some memorable highlights:

Zildjian Kerope cymbals. Beautiful classic sound, probably the closest thing I've heard to a vintage Constantinople.

JBL demo'ed a $500 pair of monitors for me. Unbelievable presence and stereo imaging.

I got to try out the Ludwig Breakbeats -- like everyone says, surprisingly full sound from such a small kit. They were on sale for $250!

DW had a Jazz kit for demo purposes and after trying it out I asked if they would sell the snare separately. (I'm not even sure how DW can sell directly to the customer here ... maybe Guitar Center gets a cut since it's their expo?) They quoted me $420 which seemed like a jawdropping deal.

There were sets of guitar strings for sale for $1 from the Dunlop booth.

Saw a 12 string bass from Luna Guitars. They should be called "Lunatic" guitars -- amazing stuff.

Played a modern replica of a Gibson ES-175. Phenomenal.

Tried out a Tama SLP bubinga snare. Warm, sensitive, big rimshot.

Anyone else go?
 
Last edited:

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Welcome, and yes, I was there, mostly to see my friends at the companies. But I was blown away by the deals! A bunch of stuff was being sold at or below dealer cost, I wish I needed more things!

If GC had sale prices like that in their stores, they'd be packed! I just don't know how they'd make any money. (insert classic "volume" joke here.)

bermuda
 

groove1

Silver Member
Local 5 Star drum store just got some Kerope's in...tried them all. Interesting. One really stood out. Also played a recent ES175 Gibson replica through an amp and really liked it compared to the many 50's 175's I have played through the years. The neck was very nice.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
... The most interesting thing about it is that a lot of the stuff you see/try out is actually for sale at an amazingly steep discount....

Did you get anything, or were you just browsing?

It'd be nice if they had something like that around here. Good deals are pretty hit or miss.
I got a flyer in the mail and the Signets are now listed higher. Hope everyone who wanted them discounted picked them up already. Funny thing is, the price in the flyer doean't match the price on the site.
 

julius

Member
Did you get anything, or were you just browsing?

It'd be nice if they had something like that around here. Good deals are pretty hit or miss.
I got a flyer in the mail and the Signets are now listed higher. Hope everyone who wanted them discounted picked them up already. Funny thing is, the price in the flyer doean't match the price on the site.
For the first time since we had kids we have a small 'fun budget'. My half is destined for music gear (my wife's half is for swim/dance/karate lessons for the kids -- is that fun for her? I just don't get it, haha). I was seconds away from buying that Jazz snare but after playing it a second time I decided to hold off. If I had had the opportunity to A/B it with a DW Classics snare in the same size on the spot, I would have bought one or the other, I suspect. (My dream kit is a 30s-50s vintage Slingerland/Leedy or a DW Classics kit.)

I was also sorely tempted by the Breakbeats kit; I mean, $250!! A whole kit for about HALF the price of the snare I was considering! It sounded pretty decent for jazz too -- at least what I could hear over the clangorous noise filling the convention center.

Next year I'm going with a shopping list in hand and pre-researched street prices; if I find anything on the list selling for cheaper, I'm gonna buy it on the spot. Seriously, the deals were unreal. I'm not sure why the exhibitors were even doing that, but I'm not complaining!
 

julius

Member
Local 5 Star drum store just got some Kerope's in...tried them all. Interesting. One really stood out. Also played a recent ES175 Gibson replica through an amp and really liked it compared to the many 50's 175's I have played through the years. The neck was very nice.
Pretty sure this was what I pulled off the shelf:

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/ES/Gibson-Memphis/1959-ES-175.aspx

Two separate Gibson employees walked by while I was trying it out and both said "That is the best guitar we have here". Couldn't disagree.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
... (my wife's half is for swim/dance/karate lessons for the kids -- is that fun for her? I just don't get it, haha)....

...I was also sorely tempted by the Breakbeats kit; I mean, $250!! A whole kit for about HALF the price of the snare I was considering!....

Oh man - too late now. But it sounds like it would have worked out just fine to get the Breakbeats
- " for the kids " -

LOL
 

newoldie

Silver Member
I showed up and wasn't disappointed.

  1. I saw Bermuda near the Sabian booth and was going to say hi, but he didn't stay long, so I just missed him there.
  2. I checked the cymbals for some new budget hats, and picked off a pair of medium-heavy Sabian Sr2 from the Sabian booth. They sound great and were priced at $119, so I was happy with that. I was sorely tempted to buy another Sr2 18" crash but held my restraint.
  3. The little accessory stuff- Picked up some EARasers at 1/2 price ($19 instead of $39), a pair of VF 5A extremes for $5 (love the feel and extra leverage), and a packet of moon-gel for $3.50 (50% off, you can't get enough of this stuff).
  4. Also checked out the Agop cymbal booth and loved their cymbals. They just started selling to GC, so I had not been able to hear any before and depending on the store, inventory will be limited. A 20" crash ride is on my list in the future.
  5. I visited the Ludwig booth and saw those amazing bargains on the Breakbeats and Signet kits.
  6. I talked to one of the Remo reps and asked him why they don't chime in to DW discussions on heads, like the Evans Specialists do- he said there's only a couple of Remo reps spread nationally, so they don't have time to monitor posts like Evans does. Pretty fun to see some new stuff and talk to the reps, get 50% discounts, etc., all for free admission. I'll return next year for sure.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Seriously, the deals were unreal. I'm not sure why the exhibitors were even doing that, but I'm not complaining!
It's basically a way for GC and the companies to get potential buyers excited about the products, and the reps and heads of the companies were there to allow a dialogue with the customers who normally wouldn't have that chance. The fantastic pricing certainly got the conversation started! I think the only GC drum vendors that weren't there were Pearl and Meinl. Now that I think of it, I don't recall seeing GC house brands OCDP and Simmons.

For everything that was sold at an impossible price, GC made up the difference so the company wouldn't lose money. Without revealing dealer cost, I can tell you that Ludwig was practically giving stuff away.

I had my eye on a few things, and they disappeared quickly! I was really interested in the Breakbeat kit and surprised it lasted the 3 hours I was there, but I'm sure it went to a good home. I probably shoulda nabbed some of the 400 series pedals (black Gibraltar type) for $25!

I'll definitely go next year, and make my choices early!

Bermuda
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I wanted to go, simply because I'd know many of the people there.

But alas I had other obligations.

I assumed it would be more like a mini-Namm, of GC showing off what you can buy. I didn't quite realize they were selling stuff too. Not that I would have bought anything, as I'm not in need of anything right now.

Still, I'm bummed I missed it.
 

drummerfish

Senior Member
in all my years in the music biz i never heard about this. it sounds like a new thing, but no one on any of the forums posted about it. i even had to buy something from a g.c. recently and they didn't mention it.

is it going to go on again, and when?
 

julius

Member
This was the second year. A ton of vendors who sell at Guitar Center set up booths in the Long Beach convention center and have products to demo and sell to you. GC has small posters advertising the event in their store but it's not pushed heavily. I went to a store asking for the free ticket and even some employees had no idea what I was talking about. Mostly you find out about it through marketing email.

Someone needs to tell Guitar Center that the Musician's Expo info on their website is a graphic image instead of text, and thus a search on 'Guitar Center Musician's Expo' turns up nothing useful, because search engine webcrawlers rely on text.

Edited to add: Both years it's been held two weeks before the Long Beach Grand Prix, or roughly the last week of March.
 

groove1

Silver Member
Pretty sure this was what I pulled off the shelf:

http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/ES/Gibson-Memphis/1959-ES-175.aspx

Two separate Gibson employees walked by while I was trying it out and both said "That is the best guitar we have here". Couldn't disagree.

Yep, that's the same one I played. I prefer the modern (albeit old style) necks because in the
50's the Gibson factory gave "wide berth" to the luthiers making the necks. That's why
some are very clubby while others are easier to play. These 59 reissues will have a consistency to the necks. Having said all that...no more Gibson archtops for me. Have had
a 66 Johnny Smith, Kalamazoo L-5 with Benedetto floating pup, 175 and others over the decades.
 
Top