Is Guitar Center changing?

wildbill

Platinum Member
The local one here seems to be.
Went in for a part and was surprised to see some drum sets there that they don't normally carry, and that I might be interested in.

They had a Ludwig Neusonic set (sounds pretty good), a Classic Maple BOP set that I just about took home with me,
several Tama sets of a higher level than normal,
DW Collectors and Performance sets, Crush Sublime, Pearl Decade Maple, and probably some others than I'm forgetting.

Kind of a shock, because they normally only have low end SPL sets, maybe a Breakbeats, and usually a Stage Custom set.

I'm wondering if they're getting the message that not everyone buys on-line or something.
Or maybe it's just the local store - IDK, but I like it.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
The local one here seems to be.
Went in for a part and was surprised to see some drum sets there that they don't normally carry, and that I might be interested in.

They had a Ludwig Neusonic set (sounds pretty good), a Classic Maple BOP set that I just about took home with me,
several Tama sets of a higher level than normal,
DW Collectors and Performance sets, Crush Sublime, Pearl Decade Maple, and probably some others than I'm forgetting.

Kind of a shock, because they normally only have low end SPL sets, maybe a Breakbeats, and usually a Stage Custom set.

I'm wondering if they're getting the message that not everyone buys on-line or something.
Or maybe it's just the local store - IDK, but I like it.
It generally depends on the particular store and management.

There is one near me that used to be really great for higher end drum gear, always had a good selection of new stuff. Great snare wall and they were also the go to store in the region for vintage drum gear as well. Fast forward a couple of years and now half the time nobody is even working back there and generally they just have mid to lower end stuff now.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
Any time I go to GC or Sam Ash and overhear a potential sale it's somebody buying a low level kit with brass cymbals for a kid or something. I guess people who spend for better gear do more research and are more likely to buy online...
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Guitar Center San Diego has had nice drum gear every time I’ve been in that store. Tama Star Bubinga, Yamaha Recording Custom, Gretsch USA Custom, Mapex Black Panther, you name it. All six store within a 100 miles of me carry either $200 SPLs, Stage Customs and if you’re lucky DW Performance series. If not lucky, then DW Collectors at $5,000+. Symbol selection mirrors the above. Literally nothing mid range, except maybe PDP, but I don’t really consider them in the midrange category price wise.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
They did announce a few months back certain locations were getting a major overhaul in the drum department.

Some stuff is location specific.

I live (near) equal distance from a few different locations, and each one's drum department are vastly different sizes.
 

konaboy

Pioneer Member
The one by me seems to be going the opposite direction. Took a day off a while back and usually those days I'm hitting places my wife doesn't necessarily like to go (typically because I spend to much time there when she does LOL) I was really disappointed, low end kits, hardly anything setup, cymbal selection was really bad, the department looked rather barren. There is a Sam ash less than 2 minutes away from GC, went there and it was even worse. I have no reason to want to go back to either after that last visit.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
It's got to be on a store-by-store basis. I stopped in one on my way to a work conference last week, and the drum department had zero staffers in it for the hour I was there. None. Packaging damaged, stuff on pegboards with no price, dozens of pegs with no stock, trash on the floor.

They had a very nice selection of used gear and some very nice new sets and cymbals set up, but as I walked out of the department, some young'un walked in, grabbed a pair of sticks from the sale display (not demos) and started laying into a Catalina Maple set like it owed him money. Odds are they'll have to sell it as damaged floor stock.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
The Little Rock GC seems to be a well-run store. Always clean, tons of guitars, basses, amps, Pro Sound gear, Keyboards, and a drum department that takes up at least a quarter of the store. As usual, most of the drum sets are inexpensive and mid-line kits, but they typically have a couple of DW sets on hand for the upper end. And, they must sell, too, because they are always gone the next time I visit.

The employees are some of the best. Two or three are long-term employees who always recognise me, even though my visits are usually once a month.
Everything is well-organized, clearly marked, and easy to access.

My only wishes would be to see some higher-end drum sets besides DW every now and again (even though I'm not in the market), and some guitars and basses outside of the usual fare. How about some Rickenbackers, fellas?

GeeDeeEmm
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The Little Rock GC seems to be a well-run store. Always clean, tons of guitars, basses, amps, Pro Sound gear, Keyboards, and a drum department that takes up at least a quarter of the store. As usual, most of the drum sets are inexpensive and mid-line kits, but they typically have a couple of DW sets on hand for the upper end. And, they must sell, too, because they are always gone the next time I visit.

The employees are some of the best. Two or three are long-term employees who always recognise me, even though my visits are usually once a month.
Everything is well-organized, clearly marked, and easy to access.

My only wishes would be to see some higher-end drum sets besides DW every now and again (even though I'm not in the market), and some guitars and basses outside of the usual fare. How about some Rickenbackers, fellas?

GeeDeeEmm
I'll trade ya. The one in Fayetteville is terrible. There is good gear in the store, but never anyone there. It's more like an employee hangout. Whenever I do stop in, there are no drum area employees. Half the walls are empty, and lots of stuff listed on the website aren't even on display. I have to get out my phone and show them what I want so they can get it out of the storage room. Even something simple like sticks is a hassle. I would rather buy in person, but really dread having to go in there.
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
As with any good business, they feel out the clientele and roll with the times. If they are only selling low end kits, sell away. It’s not like people like us are running in there every year and buying that top of the line they have displayed as you enter the drum department.

After seeing the NAMM floor shrink year after year, I’m glad to hear any music store is selling any drums at all. With the internet, it’s not like we are limited to what the store has in stock like we once were prior to.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I had a couple theories, but don't know if they're valid at all.
First was that internet purchases are charging tax now, so part of the incentive to buy that way is gone.

Second was about targeted distribution.
I don't know how sophisticated GC's operations are, but it could be that they query their sales database by region/store,
compare that with the on-line sales going to that region, and then supply stock to the stores in that region based on the results.

IOW - ship what people are buying in a specific region over the internet, to the brick and mortar stores in that area.
It would give people a chance to try before buying, eliminate many returns, and help improve image.
Win/win for everyone.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I had a couple theories, but don't know if they're valid at all.
First was that internet purchases are charging tax now, so part of the incentive to buy that way is gone.

Second was about targeted distribution.
I don't know how sophisticated GC's operations are, but it could be that they query their sales database by region/store,
compare that with the on-line sales going to that region, and then supply stock to the stores in that region based on the results.

IOW - ship what people are buying in a specific region over the internet, to the brick and mortar stores in that area.
It would give people a chance to try before buying, eliminate many returns, and help improve image.
Win/win for everyone.
IDK, the one store in Fayetteville serves the whole northwest Arkansas area. That's over half a million people, or 1/6th of the entire states population. Our GC should be way better than it is.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
The local one here seems to be.
Went in for a part and was surprised to see some drum sets there that they don't normally carry, and that I might be interested in.

They had a Ludwig Neusonic set (sounds pretty good), a Classic Maple BOP set that I just about took home with me,
several Tama sets of a higher level than normal,
DW Collectors and Performance sets, Crush Sublime, Pearl Decade Maple, and probably some others than I'm forgetting.

Kind of a shock, because they normally only have low end SPL sets, maybe a Breakbeats, and usually a Stage Custom set.

I'm wondering if they're getting the message that not everyone buys on-line or something.
Or maybe it's just the local store - IDK, but I like it.
I talked to some of the drum guys at GC.

At one point only the higher performing stores(Santa Clara ,Hollywood) were designated drum destination shops and they got most of the higher end gear.

That has changed and many of the lower end GC's are seeing some of the higher end Yammies and DW's.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
The closest GC to me in NC opened not too long ago. Decided to drop by (it's still an hour drive away).

Smallest GC I've ever been in. It's just one big room with a few extra corners. There are no separate rooms for anything, and all the drum sets were cheap beater kits. Decent acoustics were under lock and key.

Maybe they've caught onto something though. I have a friend that used to work at a local pawn shop, and he once told me "Everyone wants to come in and look at the expensive gear, but they always buy the cheap stuff." Maybe this GC is just trying to meet the demand of a small town.

One thing that this GC that's doing that IS different is that they are promoting more events such as jam nights, beginner clinics, etc. I think it's cool that they are trying to focus more on the community as opposed to just pushing gear.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Smallest GC I've ever been in. It's just one big room with a few extra corners.
The big room thing is the new GC concept that they are doing for all their new stores, and converting all their old stores to that they can. I think it is to allow for requiring less sales people. They are basically putting one central sales counter that can monitor the whole store from there. Honestly, I don't mind it too much. I'd rather have that with 2-3 people working the whole store that come by from time to time to ask if I need help, then go in to an empty drum room when there are 4 guys working the guitar area.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
The big room thing is the new GC concept that they are doing for all their new stores, and converting all their old stores to that they can. I think it is to allow for requiring less sales people. They are basically putting one central sales counter that can monitor the whole store from there. Honestly, I don't mind it too much. I'd rather have that with 2-3 people working the whole store that come by from time to time to ask if I need help, then go in to an empty drum room when there are 4 guys working the guitar area.
Sounds like a cost-effective plan.

I think that sometimes folks give GC employees a hard time because "they don't seem to know what they're talking about." I've been playing music a long time, and I play a lot of different instruments. Even with those skills, I simply don't know everything about every instrument, amp, PA, etc. I don't think anyone would know everything. I mean, I can go all day about differences in cymbals, drums, and acoustic guitars; however, if a customer asks me about the differences between a Gibson Custom Historic '58 Les Paul Standard VOS 2018 and a Gibson Custom '57 Les Paul Custom VOS 2018, and my best guess is "Ummm...this one is a different color and costs about $2500 more than the other?" If this actually happened, this Les Paul gearhead would probably get online and bash me and the store/company because I didn't know the answer.

Heck, you know how many DIFFERENT kinds Les Pauls are for sale right now at Musician's Friend? 127. How about different kinds of Fender Strats? 131. So between just these two guitar models, that's 258 DIFFERENT kinds of these two guitars. That's pure insanity.

The lesson I take from here is that if I walk into a Guitar Center, chances are I'll probably know more about drums than the kid who's working there, and you know what? That's perfectly fine. I'm not going to go in there and flex my knowledge to establish some sort of stupid dominance. I think the only time an employee should catch some flack is if he/she states that something IS fact and it's not. Sometimes it's just best to let them think they are right and move along.
 

EhhSoCheap

Member
There's a decent Rolling Stone article on GC from a few months back that explains the company isn't doing as badly as it's perceived.

One thing that brick-and-mortar stores like GC have going for it is something I see in our forum often, and that is the fact that a lot of us prefer to play our instruments in person before buying. Evidently the company is trying to shift its culture away from snooty, gate-keeping enclaves to a welcoming, jam-friendly atmosphere that reduces the pressure to purchase then and there. The idea is that the company wants people to frequent the store more often, even if just to pop in and noodle on an instrument, and for players to keep at their instruments in the long-term. An interesting figure in the article I read was something like 9 of 10 guitar purchasers basically stop playing their instrument within the year they buy from GC. If people feel encouraged to continue playing, that's an easy way to up sales, as the demand for consumables like guitar strings, drumheads, etc. goes up.

I know, it's not rocket science, but obviously the experiential factor for a lot of us has driven us away from GCs.
 

Ajthundersticks

Senior Member
Does it make sense to stock loads of high ends drums?
Obviously if you are making a substantial investment then you are going to want to play the kit first I would have thought.
But how many people are walking in to a shop to buy hundreds, or thousands of $$££'s?

Then if you do stock the kits, wouldn't people just come in to play them and have no interest in buying? Those kits gets damaged and have to be sold at a ridiculous price. I mean shops stock loads of high end Roland stuff, but they will likely sell enough to easily cover any damaged equipment.

I don't know but it just doesn't seem worth stocking tons of high end stuff when most people surely want beginner to intermediate stuff.
 

BertTheDrummer

Gold Member
Does it make sense to stock loads of high ends drums?
Obviously if you are making a substantial investment then you are going to want to play the kit first I would have thought.
But how many people are walking in to a shop to buy hundreds, or thousands of $$££'s?

Then if you do stock the kits, wouldn't people just come in to play them and have no interest in buying? Those kits gets damaged and have to be sold at a ridiculous price. I mean shops stock loads of high end Roland stuff, but they will likely sell enough to easily cover any damaged equipment.

I don't know but it just doesn't seem worth stocking tons of high end stuff when most people surely want beginner to intermediate stuff.
Well some of it depends on the socioeconomic level of the community around the store. More than once I was in the drum section of a Guitar Center where a kid came in with his mom, pointed to an expensive DW Collectors Set and said, "I want that one." His mom bought it for him and they went home. I know that doesn't happen everywhere though.
 

Ajthundersticks

Senior Member
Well some of it depends on the socioeconomic level of the community around the store. More than once I was in the drum section of a Guitar Center where a kid came in with his mom, pointed to an expensive DW Collectors Set and said, "I want that one." His mom bought it for him and they went home. I know that doesn't happen everywhere though.
Yeah I am sure stuff like that does happen, and I don't claim to have any business know-how. But surely the norm is people just browsing and looking to buy heads, cymbals or sticks etc.. Not a 2 grand drum kit or whatever.
Like you said, the location probably plays a large part in the stock quality/value.
 
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