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Where to buy your gear,Online or Support your local Music stores and why

Discussion in 'General Gear Talk' started by Mike Francis, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    Im sure im not the only one who has struggled with this question ,I myself have quite a few times want to see what others reasons are for choosing online rather than be dedicated to there local supplier
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  2. BigRalphN

    BigRalphN Enthusiast VIP ALL ACCESS

    I tend to buy from Sweetwater and Riff City. I feel they are the two best online retailers by far. Since the shop closed that I would help and frequent there is just one in town that carries stuff worthwhile and they are entirely Fender now with maybe one or two leftover Ibanez. There is a very good shop called N Stuff that has online videos and great prices. It is about a half hour away which isn't bad, but I am,not supposed to drive due to health issues. If i buy local it is from them. There are a ton of small shops in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area as a well as three guitar centers all within an hour. But none offer the extended warranties on gear or have the informed staff (N Stuff is very informed) and eaayvreturn/repair policies of Sweetwater and Riff City.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
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  3. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    I buy from Sweetwater and zzounds.com both have excellent customer service and if you have any issues they almost immediately do follow up on the products they sell I only have one local store I will buy from there are a few more here but they usually either have poor customer service or terrible knowledge of products and I'm also within an hour of Charlotte which has guitar center and Sam ash but there prices are way to high and they won't price match I've tried that before .I like the idea of supporting local stores but the reality for me at least is some local stores either they are stuck in a rut not wanting to change there business model to expand into online sales or they try to compete with online sales that is futile to try they have sometimes deep pockets riff city and Sweetwater both I think started as small local stores and expanded successfully But customer service is essential part of even online I will not buy if they are rude or automated but that is me love the input from others I might do a video on this subject on YouTube if I get enough input here and different opinions and suggestions from my friend's here
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  4. PeterHamm

    PeterHamm 2-Voice Guitar Junkie VIP ALL ACCESS

    Buy local when you can or eventually you will have no options and that will be awful!
     
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  5. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    Yeah i agree if you can buy local if possible I was told by a local store owner that he has a hard time competing with the online because of price and availability of product because the requirement to become a dealer is out of the small store owners depth most companies expect them to order thousands of dollars worth at once and he and others ive spoken too say some of what they require like being exclusive just for that company is just not affordable on the local level in other words its only possible if the community in which they are located only want those products and no other brand then it would work that is just one of the problems in my research ive found but i have a soft side for the local places as well Ive been a business owner before it is difficult to keep up in a growing market maybe we can come up with some ideas here that might help give new ideas for the smaller supply stores to help them keep up there is a lot of knowledge in this forum a lot of new ideas you cant offer everything for everyone but i believe there is a way for a small store to survive if they are flexible with new approaches but i dont know everything im hear to learn too
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  6. BigRalphN

    BigRalphN Enthusiast VIP ALL ACCESS

    My friend tried getting in with Quality unknown brands like Vintage from JHS in England (not the pedal company). They were better in many cases than Squire or Epiphone. They had Wilkinson parts and pickups (Wilkinson designed the entire line. ) and had an advanced line at that time that was better yet. He also had a couple of the Fret King line (I have one of the hand made in England models). He also tried Minarik. The last brand he tried before closing was Spear which I liked. He could not afford the buy in in Reverend (plus they said another dealer was too close) nor could he afford the buy in on big brands. He carried Traynor for new amps. But nothing did we'll. Most of his business was used stuff. Even if they loved the new stuff it didnt have the right name. I have a few of them Now. Nice stuff but I cant even sell some used because people do not know the brand. Repairs made his money. When a couple larger shops that he did repairs for got their own staff his work dried up. I buy local but the ma and pa stores just cant compete. As stated above they have to also have an internet presence and that takes time, money, and staff. N Stuff is much larger. It us family owned but has been around for years and carries many brands and buys a huge amount so they undercut all the small stores. It really has become a tough industry to make a living in. Some places survive on lessons and school rentals (there is one of those a couple miles away but his guitar prices are always insane and he only has a half dozen or so).
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
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  7. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    Yeah that makes sense to me is very sad too cause most music store owners are actually musicians as well they love guitars and gear and helping the communities the way of things is internet and too many times we loose the small stores in the name of progress at least i think that way But i am older too can remember how it used to be
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  8. outlawten5

    outlawten5 New Member

    I typically buy big ticket items online (Zzounds and American Musical) and smaller stuff at my local GC. My local Mom and Pop store don't carry the picks I like and wont order them. Jazz III. I like my local GC, for all the crap they take online I have always had a great experience there.
     
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  9. Max Newman

    Max Newman Member

    I buy most of my P.A. type gear online because nobody local stocks the stuff that I want to buy. I buy my cables, strings, mics, stands and all that stuff local. I usually use Sweetwater for online.
     
  10. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    I appreciate all the inputs on this thread guys:sunglasses:
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  11. Paul E Fox II

    Paul E Fox II New Member VIP ALL ACCESS

    Sweetwater is my main source for gear. I don’t know there IS a better place for music gear.

    If I can’t get what I’m looking for at Sweetwater, I either use Zzounds or Reverb.

    Riff City is an interesting store for certain things I am interested in but I have made a purchase there yet.
     
    Mike Francis likes this.
  12. eric harbauer

    eric harbauer Enthusiast VIP ALL ACCESS

    Sweetwater candy at my house today.
     
    Mike Francis likes this.
  13. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    that is awesome i buy from sweetwater a lot maybe too much lol
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  14. PeterHamm

    PeterHamm 2-Voice Guitar Junkie VIP ALL ACCESS

    I've been buying from the same guy at SW for 10 years or more.
     
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  15. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    yeah i dont like it when my sales rep is on vacation lol and i need it now lol Roq martin is mine hes a great guy
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  16. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    this has been helpful guys Im gonna do a video in a couple weeks on the differences between customer service and and being in tune with your customer mostly for gear related stuff all the input i can get is much appreciated
     
    eric harbauer likes this.
  17. gdhi11

    gdhi11 New Member

    I buy from my local store when possible. They are super knowledgeable and know that's my philosophy so I get discounts and insider deals as well as intel on what's coming from manufacturers. More than a few times I've had knowledge about something coming that has kept me from wasting cash on the wrong item.

    I try to avoid GC--I'd much rather buy from Sweetwater unless i need to try something out that my local shop doesn't have. Typically I want to compensate them for allowing me to demo something.
     
    Mike Francis likes this.
  18. Mike Francis

    Mike Francis At Home Guitar hero (to my kids) Staff Member Supporting Member Level 1
    Thread Starter

    awesome info gdhi11:sunglasses:
     
  19. Desdinova

    Desdinova New Member VIP ALL ACCESS

    Would love to buy locally, but even the local GC generally has to order something in for what I'm looking for. Once online, I go for the most bang for bucks. Yeah, I'm part of the problem I know... and I actually feel bad about it.. The "retail store" is slowly (and in some parlors quickly) becoming a thing of the past. In fact, I can actually order more things on Amazon Prime and get them FASTER than if I went to a local store and cheaper too.
     
    Mike Francis likes this.
  20. eric harbauer

    eric harbauer Enthusiast VIP ALL ACCESS

    You are not part of the problem. The retail experience has become so horrible that we're left with no choice. Online is superior in almost every way. Honestly, I'd love to support my local store more than I do but they have poor selection (Mostly not their fault cause big manufacturers are obsessed with big box stores and gave up on mom and pop stores), they employ people who don't give a damn, and have zero experience. And their pricing sucks. I'd get over the pricing issues and restocking fees if it wasn't for the rest of it. Plus why deal with the traffic.
     
    Mike Francis likes this.
  21. gdhi11

    gdhi11 New Member

    Yeah, this is more and more the case with instrument/equipment and retail in general. They are starting to go by the 3-rule in a lot of places; This means they stock 3 of what they deem best and nothing else. In the case of retail/big box they are looking at the three best for them. Apple started this 10-15 years ago in their retail stores, by stocking the 5 top products from their online store in their retail shops. My local GC used to be a hotbead of all kinds of things, now it's Fender Mustangs, a couple of vox amps, 50-60 squiers and 50-60 epiphones. There are almost no Fender or Gibson guitars in stock, and the few high-end things they have are in the "platinum room" under lock and key--which is fine cause they know me at this point. I counted 5 ibanez guitars and 6 PRS SEs--not a single US made PRS. The used section was a lot more varied though. BTW my local guitar center is in a big market--Arlington Heights IL, serving West Chicago really.

    I find GC pricing to be pretty fair, but it sucks that they won't work a deal. Their employees are less than knowledgable, and downright insulting at times. I had a guy tell me the ground for my pedalboard and amp was bad because it was a (nose turned firmly in air) PRS amp. Turned out, after 4 hours arguing over price for my gear, I had them plug it into a different part of the building and everything worked fine, their pedal station area had a bad ground. That guy was a real tool man. He tried to tell me he has owned all these $5k+ amps--to which I responded "why are you working at GC then?"
     
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  22. gdhi11

    gdhi11 New Member

    If you want Fender and Gibson you almost have to go big box. My local dealer is G&L/PRS/Ibanez/Heritage/Marshall/Mesa/Supro/Rivera (always awarded best mesa dealer in the state)

    That being said, G&L is better than Fender IMO because you get to customize your build from them and it's custom shop quality at production pricing. As far as PRS/Heritage VS Gibson--I'm not a huge Gibson guy anyway so I'll leave that up for debate.

    It's pretty crazy that Guitar Center lost Mesa and doesn't seem to want to deal Marshall very much anymore either--my local GC barely even has the Code series amps.
     
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  23. Max Newman

    Max Newman Member

    I have also noticed a change in the stock at the local GC. Lots and lots of cheap guitars and very little mid or high end stuff. If I remember right GC lost a lot of their good sales people when they changed the way they pay them from a commission to a flat low hourly rate. We lost our local GC salesman that used to be able to give us deals.
     
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  24. gdhi11

    gdhi11 New Member

    Well the Arlington Heights location used to do a lot of high end gear, and high end used gear. They don't carry nearly as much used inventory now and virtually everything is low-middle now. They used to be the cleanest & nicest store in the area, but the ****-hole that is Villa Park has switched with them becoming a preferred store for neatness and having better stuff. Kind of weird because I vowed never to shop at that one again--but it's starting to look like my go-to.

    I'm not sure if it's the pay-scale change. Sure looked to me like the guy I was dealing with on the Helix was getting a commission. They also make money on the retail plans. A friend of mine knows a district manager (or some other mid-level management position) and according to him the vast majority of the "Keep lights on money" comes from way overpriced accessories. $2 straps being sold for $20, $5 tuners being sold for $30 etc. You really think about it, all the lifestyle/trinket items are probably marked up 200%-300%. I really want a Mesa/Fender/Marshall stool (my favorite sitting arrangement for practicing/recording) for my practice space/studio, but I can't bring myself to put out $100 on an item that probably costs $30-$40.
     
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  25. OnTheBus

    OnTheBus Administrator Staff Member VIP ALL ACCESS

    I live in Portland area & there's few places around I like (other than GC, which I'll go to sometimes)... + there's no sales tax in Oregon, but otherwise Sweetwater because can just email my dude & ask "best price on this?" & get email back quick & it's never a worse price. Also if I do want it, just another reply saying "ok lets do it" gets it ordered to my cc on file without going through main order checkout process.
     
    Mike Francis likes this.




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