Guitar Center vs. the internet

ARGuy

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Aren't there any drum shops in the Houston area with competitive pricing on drum heads?
At least you're being honest upfront by telling us that whoever sells them to you the cheapest gets your business ... :-(
Isn't it always about price?
No, not for me, and I think you'll find that it's not that way for quite a few forum members.
Pricing should be competitive - I wouldn't expect anyone to pay full list prices for heads just to support a local shop - but when the difference comes down to $5 on a $100 purchase, for me it's worth that to be able to make sure I'm getting what I want. I can walk out of the store knowing that I have the right heads in the right sizes, for one thing. I talked to a guy this week who ordered a bass drum head, and the label on the box said 22" clear and inside the box was an 18" clear. If you're counting on that head for a gig that night you're screwed.
For me. a bigger factor is the idea of community support. A locally owned shop hires local people and pays local taxes which supports local programs. I don't live in a vacuum; those things directly affect me and are important. If someone wants to take the attitude of "I don't support local businesses and I don't expect anything from them in return", I guess that's fine. Just don't be hypocritical and walk into the local shops asking for donations for somthing that's important to you and your family.
I'll get off the soapbox with this: A few years ago my local shop got a panicked call just as the store was closing from a drummer who was playing at a local festival in a couple of hours. Somehow his hi hat stand got broken and was unusable. The local shop had a decent used stand that they let the guy borrow for the gig, and even brought it to the venue, which was a couple of blocks away. Did the guy make that shop his new go-to shop? I don't know. I do know that he told a lot of people about what the shop had done.
That's why I think buying strictly on the basis of price is short sighted. If I need a replacement hi hat stand right now for a gig, the internet and its "cheapest prices on the web!" website is useless.
 

StrataLover

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When I can't find it local at the smaller mom and pops - THAT is when I go to the net. And you wonder why lots of smaller shops are shuttering their doors these days? Customer loyalty appears to be a thing of the past.

I agree with the state of the moolah driven economy we have made for ourselves, price is a big factor. Luckily my local 5 star and smaller vintage shop are good at coming close. It is important to keep those shops in open!
 

mikesdrums

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I bought two 14" Remo heads at GC last week. The price was the same as online (about $30 for the pair).

Batter, Snare

My experience for the past year or so, though, is that GC's in-store prices are often lower than the guitercenter.com price. Two current examples of the in-store price being lower than the online price are the Peavey PV 118 Subwoofer ($249 online vs $229 in-store) and the Shure SM57 Mic (Online $99, in-store $95). I've also paid less in-store for small things like mic clips and amplifier casters.
 

AgDrumma07

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Aren't there any drum shops in the Houston area with competitive pricing on drum heads?
At least you're being honest upfront by telling us that whoever sells them to you the cheapest gets your business ... :-(
Isn't it always about price?
No, not for me, and I think you'll find that it's not that way for quite a few forum members.
Pricing should be competitive - I wouldn't expect anyone to pay full list prices for heads just to support a local shop - but when the difference comes down to $5 on a $100 purchase, for me it's worth that to be able to make sure I'm getting what I want. I can walk out of the store knowing that I have the right heads in the right sizes, for one thing. I talked to a guy this week who ordered a bass drum head, and the label on the box said 22" clear and inside the box was an 18" clear. If you're counting on that head for a gig that night you're screwed.
For me. a bigger factor is the idea of community support. A locally owned shop hires local people and pays local taxes which supports local programs. I don't live in a vacuum; those things directly affect me and are important. If someone wants to take the attitude of "I don't support local businesses and I don't expect anything from them in return", I guess that's fine. Just don't be hypocritical and walk into the local shops asking for donations for somthing that's important to you and your family.
I'll get off the soapbox with this: A few years ago my local shop got a panicked call just as the store was closing from a drummer who was playing at a local festival in a couple of hours. Somehow his hi hat stand got broken and was unusable. The local shop had a decent used stand that they let the guy borrow for the gig, and even brought it to the venue, which was a couple of blocks away. Did the guy make that shop his new go-to shop? I don't know. I do know that he told a lot of people about what the shop had done.
That's why I think buying strictly on the basis of price is short sighted. If I need a replacement hi hat stand right now for a gig, the internet and its "cheapest prices on the web!" website is useless.
While I see your point in the situation where if you need it NOW, online is useless. But it should be about price for most things. For example, I need an 18" GMAD clear. Whoever has the best price, I'm going to get it from you. It's a drumhead, not a custom piece of art. I shop online because the price is usually best, but also because I'd rather pay $10 in shipping then waste an hour in GC looking at heads. My time just isn't worth it to drive to a GC. Sure it's fun, but I'm usually not going to do.

Also, in the instance of your friend, if he didn't check inside the box before leaving, that's his fault. Any drummer should know to check every head you buy in a store before leaving. Personally, I pull 3 of each kind of head and finger test all of them for tone before I buy.
 

Donn

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Aren't there any drum shops in the Houston area with competitive pricing on drum heads?
At least you're being honest upfront by telling us that whoever sells them to you the cheapest gets your business ... :-(
Isn't it always about price?

I agree that price isn't everything that is why it is so important to support your local music shop. The independent shops generally have more knowledge and experience to help people who are musicians or want to become better musicians. The big box stores hire and do not product train their staff and often don't care as much about customer loyalty or service.
I 100% agree but when it comes to something like this where I know what I want, it's all about price. The local shops are great for custom parts, help with specialty items, etc.

Maybe I'm just a brutal customer... :icon_smile:
A good, private store deserves your business, period. The only way they can afford to help you when you need those custom parts, etc. is if you allow them to make a reasonable profit on every day sales.

I think you are right when you say "it's all about price" and I would urge you to consider what price you put on good service? Is it worth an extra $5-10.00 on a $100.00 sale to help ensure that the music store you count on can stay in business?

Times are brutal for these independent stores and it's not inconceivable that we will one day have no alternative but big box stores with their limited selection and lousy service or the impersonal on-line vendors. In fact, in some regions that is exactly the only alternatives. I pity the young musicians who do not have a local store in which they can browse and admire new gear, hang with other musicians and take lessons.
Normally I would agree 100% but I don't need any service when it comes to heads. I've already picked out what I want so it's all about price. But I have bought custom parts before and I would never take that business to GC or an online broker. All I would get is "I don't know what that is so we can't get it." The local stores will actually try to find the part for me and I'll gladly pay what they ask.
I think you missed my point. . . you pay for the service with your loyalty and steady business. Those "consumable" sales can often keep a store open. If you don't support your local store with non-service business you may eventually have no alternative but dealing with some slack-mouthed counter jockey when you need something special.

I guess the price of those heads is one thing, the cost is something else.
 

AgDrumma07

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Aren't there any drum shops in the Houston area with competitive pricing on drum heads?
At least you're being honest upfront by telling us that whoever sells them to you the cheapest gets your business ... :-(
Isn't it always about price?

I agree that price isn't everything that is why it is so important to support your local music shop. The independent shops generally have more knowledge and experience to help people who are musicians or want to become better musicians. The big box stores hire and do not product train their staff and often don't care as much about customer loyalty or service.
I 100% agree but when it comes to something like this where I know what I want, it's all about price. The local shops are great for custom parts, help with specialty items, etc.

Maybe I'm just a brutal customer... :icon_smile:
A good, private store deserves your business, period. The only way they can afford to help you when you need those custom parts, etc. is if you allow them to make a reasonable profit on every day sales.

I think you are right when you say "it's all about price" and I would urge you to consider what price you put on good service? Is it worth an extra $5-10.00 on a $100.00 sale to help ensure that the music store you count on can stay in business?

Times are brutal for these independent stores and it's not inconceivable that we will one day have no alternative but big box stores with their limited selection and lousy service or the impersonal on-line vendors. In fact, in some regions that is exactly the only alternatives. I pity the young musicians who do not have a local store in which they can browse and admire new gear, hang with other musicians and take lessons.
Normally I would agree 100% but I don't need any service when it comes to heads. I've already picked out what I want so it's all about price. But I have bought custom parts before and I would never take that business to GC or an online broker. All I would get is "I don't know what that is so we can't get it." The local stores will actually try to find the part for me and I'll gladly pay what they ask.
I think you missed my point. . . you pay for the service with your loyalty and steady business. Those "consumable" sales can often keep a store open. If you don't support your local store with non-service business you may eventually have no alternative but dealing with some slack-mouthed counter jockey when you need something special.

I guess the price of those heads is one thing, the cost is something else.
No I got your point. I guess I'm just different from most people. I don't care about service unless I need to return something. Then the service better be 100% good or I raise hell about it.

I'm probably not going to give a local store all of my consumable business because maybe one day I'll need something custom. I'm all about saving money.
 

SkyDog

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I absolutely try to support local business for a lot of the same reasons as ARGuy, but expect reasonable pricing and good service. Unfortunately, my local music stores provide neither. I reluctantly take my business online and take my business to sites who offer competitive pricing, extensive selection, and again, good service.

Whenever possible, I try to steer my business toward privately-owned stores. My little piece of the fight against Walmartization, I guess. Here are some of my usuals:

Cascio Interstate Music
Lone Star Percussion
Steve Weiss Music
DrumsOnSALE for their HUGE online assortment of Ludwig spare parts - mounts, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
Drum Foundry
Drum Supply House

As for Guitar Center, I do sometimes shop there, or at least their web site since there's not one near me. I usually just take advantage of a particular special or a ridiculous price on a piece of clearance or used gear. Other web sites under same corporate umbrella as Guitar Center include Music123, Woodwind & Brasswind, and Musicians Friend.
 

kip

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one of the well know long standing indie music stores here in town will match lowest price . just bring in the add and they will honor the price if its lower then theirs. they've done that for 20 years
 

ARGuy

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Aren't there any drum shops in the Houston area with competitive pricing on drum heads?
At least you're being honest upfront by telling us that whoever sells them to you the cheapest gets your business ... :-(
Isn't it always about price?
No, not for me, and I think you'll find that it's not that way for quite a few forum members.
Pricing should be competitive - I wouldn't expect anyone to pay full list prices for heads just to support a local shop - but when the difference comes down to $5 on a $100 purchase, for me it's worth that to be able to make sure I'm getting what I want. I can walk out of the store knowing that I have the right heads in the right sizes, for one thing. I talked to a guy this week who ordered a bass drum head, and the label on the box said 22" clear and inside the box was an 18" clear. If you're counting on that head for a gig that night you're screwed.
For me. a bigger factor is the idea of community support. A locally owned shop hires local people and pays local taxes which supports local programs. I don't live in a vacuum; those things directly affect me and are important. If someone wants to take the attitude of "I don't support local businesses and I don't expect anything from them in return", I guess that's fine. Just don't be hypocritical and walk into the local shops asking for donations for somthing that's important to you and your family.
I'll get off the soapbox with this: A few years ago my local shop got a panicked call just as the store was closing from a drummer who was playing at a local festival in a couple of hours. Somehow his hi hat stand got broken and was unusable. The local shop had a decent used stand that they let the guy borrow for the gig, and even brought it to the venue, which was a couple of blocks away. Did the guy make that shop his new go-to shop? I don't know. I do know that he told a lot of people about what the shop had done.
That's why I think buying strictly on the basis of price is short sighted. If I need a replacement hi hat stand right now for a gig, the internet and its "cheapest prices on the web!" website is useless.
While I see your point in the situation where if you need it NOW, online is useless. But it should be about price for most things. For example, I need an 18" GMAD clear. Whoever has the best price, I'm going to get it from you. It's a drumhead, not a custom piece of art. I shop online because the price is usually best, but also because I'd rather pay $10 in shipping then waste an hour in GC looking at heads. My time just isn't worth it to drive to a GC. Sure it's fun, but I'm usually not going to do.

Also, in the instance of your friend, if he didn't check inside the box before leaving, that's his fault. Any drummer should know to check every head you buy in a store before leaving. Personally, I pull 3 of each kind of head and finger test all of them for tone before I buy.
Regarding the friend with the bass drum head - he ordered the head - on the internet, from a website. That's the point. Regarding checking every head and testing for tone - a great idea, when you're buying heads at a local shop.
Hey, I'm not above taking advantage of a great deal online, or GC loss leader deals they run to get people into the store. I don't even think a person has to buy everything from their local shop to support them. It's just that in order for that shop to be there for me in an emergency, I need to be there for them by giving them at least some of my business, and not just the nickel and dime stuff.
I can't agree that "it should be (all) about price for most things". Price should be a major factor for sure, but there's a lot of value in the service a local shop provides.
 

ARGuy

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I absolutely try to support local business for a lot of the same reasons as ARGuy, but expect reasonable pricing and good service. Unfortunately, my local music stores provide neither. I reluctantly take my business online and take my business to sites who offer competitive pricing, extensive selection, and again, good service.
Great point. That's the other side of the equation. There are still local stores stuck in the 70's who think the internet is a fad. "We're running a big sale on drumheads - 25% off!" They really have no one to blame but themselves when their potential business goes to websites.
 

TonyBono

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Went to the local GC to pick up a Power Center Reverse dot head, and their in store price was about two dollars more than their listed price on the web. Opted to go to the local shop and they were quite a bit cheaper....
 

Donn

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Aren't there any drum shops in the Houston area with competitive pricing on drum heads?
At least you're being honest upfront by telling us that whoever sells them to you the cheapest gets your business ... :-(
Isn't it always about price?

I agree that price isn't everything that is why it is so important to support your local music shop. The independent shops generally have more knowledge and experience to help people who are musicians or want to become better musicians. The big box stores hire and do not product train their staff and often don't care as much about customer loyalty or service.
I 100% agree but when it comes to something like this where I know what I want, it's all about price. The local shops are great for custom parts, help with specialty items, etc.

Maybe I'm just a brutal customer... :icon_smile:
A good, private store deserves your business, period. The only way they can afford to help you when you need those custom parts, etc. is if you allow them to make a reasonable profit on every day sales.

I think you are right when you say "it's all about price" and I would urge you to consider what price you put on good service? Is it worth an extra $5-10.00 on a $100.00 sale to help ensure that the music store you count on can stay in business?

Times are brutal for these independent stores and it's not inconceivable that we will one day have no alternative but big box stores with their limited selection and lousy service or the impersonal on-line vendors. In fact, in some regions that is exactly the only alternatives. I pity the young musicians who do not have a local store in which they can browse and admire new gear, hang with other musicians and take lessons.
Normally I would agree 100% but I don't need any service when it comes to heads. I've already picked out what I want so it's all about price. But I have bought custom parts before and I would never take that business to GC or an online broker. All I would get is "I don't know what that is so we can't get it." The local stores will actually try to find the part for me and I'll gladly pay what they ask.
I think you missed my point. . . you pay for the service with your loyalty and steady business. Those "consumable" sales can often keep a store open. If you don't support your local store with non-service business you may eventually have no alternative but dealing with some slack-mouthed counter jockey when you need something special.

I guess the price of those heads is one thing, the cost is something else.
No I got your point. I guess I'm just different from most people. I don't care about service unless I need to return something. Then the service better be 100% good or I raise hell about it.

I'm probably not going to give a local store all of my consumable business because maybe one day I'll need something custom. I'm all about saving money.
I don't think you're different than most people. . in fact I think your attitude is pretty common which explains the success of price driven retail stores and Internet sales.

I also think you have a different definition of service than mine. Service isn't just dealing with defective goods and returns, it's also about knowledgeable staff, repairs, rentals, loaners, advice, lessons, etc. Some of those services have prices attached and some don't. But they all have a cost.

That guy that knows about the special part you want . . .he costs money and probably more money than the doofus at Music R Us.

Ya gets what ya pay for.

I understand about saving money especially these days. But I just watched two very good drum shops close their doors because no one seemed to understand that in order for these businesses to there when you need them, they need you to be there whenever you can.
 

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I don't buy anything from the big box stores. I buy everything possible from my friend's shop. The 5 Star Group stores will compete with the box store and internet prices. AND they are privately owned "pro" drum shops. The big box stores are geared to sell to the students and their Mothers and Fathers. Or weekend warriors that are willing to buy from people that usually know nothing about their product. It costs me no more, and usually less to buy from my "pro" drum shop. And the best drum builder/repairman is affiliated with that shop. And they either have or can get any part that is available as quickly as it can be shipped. And they are long time friends.

In the past, I supported the Detroit Drum Shop, and the Percussion Center, (Ft. Wayne and Indianapolis, IN.) In Nashville, previous to Fork's, it was Larrie Londin's D.O.G. percussion. In the 60s, I bought things where I taught in Marion, IN., Butler's Music, and made trips to Frank's Drum Shop in Chicago. You could buy a drumset there, with no mounting hardware, and have it installed while you wait. Pretty cool. Of course, I couldn't afford that at the time. BUT, they had thousands of drumsticks, and you could roll them on the counter and pick the ones you wanted. That was cool, and fun for a teenager. At least this one. And sticks were 90 c a pair in the late 60s at Frank's.

Maybe it's a little nostalgic, but these are some of the reasons I support the drum shops.
 

utdrummer

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Ag---hey man, head on over to Rockin Robin on S.Shepherd @ Alabama...59 @ S.shepherd, one block up. Bart owns the place and has been there about 25 years or so. You'll get treated right and a good deal. Take in competitors ads and he will match them. I was just in there yesterday looking at basses and had a good time just hanging out. Unreal how many vintage snares he has in there along with PA's, guitars, basses, and surfboards! Get on in there!
 

va87

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I live in Atlanta.....at least 3 GC's in the area....several Ken Stanton music stores, Atlanta Pro Percussion, a VERY few "mom & pop" stores.
When I was a kid growing up here in ATL, we had "Rhythm City" and "Metro Music"......and invariably, whenever I was in there looking, and asked a question or needed advise or information, some surly, ego-maniacal a**hole weiner would offer some short, curt, smart-ass response that usually didn't even answer my question. God forbid you hit a drum! You got the evil eye, and if you did it again, you were practically assaulted and chased out of the store. One of the things I LOVED about MARS music was that you could go into their drum room, get a pair of sticks, and bash away! I mean, after all, it is DRUMS we're talking about, and you DO hit them to play them!

My experiences have been that a third of the people working in retail drum stores are decent, helpful guys/gals who are pleasant, don't mind helping you out, and will gladly share information and advise with you. A third of them don't have a CLUE what they are doing! Don't even know the difference betwween batter side and snare side. And a third, the ones I REALLY HATE, are smart-ass ego maniacs who think they are the greatest drummer in the world and think that working a day gig is a barely tolerable torture, and that it's all the customer's fault, so they treat you like s**t and are no help at all and just really lousy people to be around.

In Atlanta, I'd say that G/C has mostly the first two types. Unfortunately, the "mom & pop" type stores seem to be the repository of the third type. I just won't go there! Don't need the attitude and don't need to pay their stupid prices. I'm all for supporting the little guys, but to get my money, you have to at least attempt to be pleasant and helpful. If they aren't, someone who is will take my money too.

My $.02 worth:-D
 

AgDrumma07

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Ag---hey man, head on over to Rockin Robin on S.Shepherd @ Alabama...59 @ S.shepherd, one block up. Bart owns the place and has been there about 25 years or so. You'll get treated right and a good deal. Take in competitors ads and he will match them. I was just in there yesterday looking at basses and had a good time just hanging out. Unreal how many vintage snares he has in there along with PA's, guitars, basses, and surfboards! Get on in there!
Yeah I know those guys. I might check them out this weekend. It would be nice to buy from a DFO member. :occasion5:
 

lossforgain

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I don't want to repeat things that have already been said, but I will make a couple of small contributions:

1. People seem to forget that Guitar Center is the same as several online retailers including Music123 and MF. I know this was stated above, but it bears repeating. Why is the GC store's price a dollar less? So they don't have to waste time matching price with themselves all the time, and so that the local or state tax doesn't kill their sales. GC is a convenience store in a situation like this, nothing more. They will not have a complete set of heads for you if you want anything out of the standard stuff (sometimes not even that), and besides it seems to me like you don't HAVE to have all your heads now, you just WANT to.

2. I try to support my local drum shop even though they often price things higher than online sellers. I want that store to stay in business. Usually they do not have a problem matching price - heads is one thing I buy there often, and they will check Interstate's website right there at the counter for me. (If I am going to buy heads online I get them from Interstate.) This way, the only extra cash I'm spending is my local tax, which only amounts to a couple of dollars. I think it's worth that not to have to do a long distance transaction and to keep the business in my local community. For those of you who shop online only because your local store isn't pricing competitively, you owe it to yourselves to have a conversation about it with the store's owner/manager. Do it respectfully and you may find they would rather match price for you if they know they will be gaining some repeat business.
 

Stixnergard2

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I buy all my heads online at Interstate Music. I would pay the extra few dollars to support my local shop but its' a 2 hour round trip, waiting at the store for service because he is a 1 man operation, and then he is usually out of 1 of the heads I need. The other option is a nearby GC that I try to avoid for ovious reasons. On a positive note, a new mom and pop drum shop recently opened 10 minutes from my house. This is great news and I have full intentions of supporting the new guy in town.
 

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