Yet another Guitar Center Thread

frankmott

Humble (drum) shop-keeper
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
3,042
Reaction score
1,283
Location
N.E. Ohio
I have a great store in Sioux Falls. The employees have known me for years so I don’t have trouble getting help, sometimes they overwhelm me with it. The store isn’t stocked as well in the drum department as it used to be but they have guitar gear up the wazoo. I go to the store in Vegas by the airport and it’s a totally different deal though. Not only is it hard to get help but they get ticked if you try the floor equipment out.
Wow, they have employees that have been there for years? That is definitely an anomaly. When I first became a rep in '91, there were no GC's in my OH, IN, MI territory. By the time I left the road in 2006 there were 18. I was supposed to visit each one at least every six weeks. I rarely hit that goal, but it's was what I was shooting for. So 18 stores times 8 times a year -- 144 visits a year to one GC or another; more realistically 130. It was very rare when I saw the same employee twice. Almost never three times. The turn-over at GC is legendary. It was a running joke between all my rep buddies.
Another running joke was how soon in the conversation the inevitable wide-eyed fresh-faced "drum-guy" would ask for an endorsement deal!

So fast-forward 16 years (I have been in GC's a handful of times in that period); The personnel situation apparently hasn't changed, but the amount of inventory and slick merchandising has plummeted. I wonder how many times they can "re-organize" their debt.
 

CaptainCrunch

DFO Veteran
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
2,743
Reaction score
1,038
Location
SJW City
When I first became a rep in '91, there were no GC's in my OH, IN, MI territory. By the time I left the road in 2006 there were 18.
Ah, so you probably know the one I used to go to in Grand Rapids, MI. Place put under a bunch of great dusty shops run by old guys who didn't have or care about the internet, without offering much anything of value to replace them.

The days of walking into virtually any music store and seeing something interesting and affordable feel really far away now. The internet would have eventually ended it anyway, but GC really accelerated the process.
 

charlesm

DFO Veteran
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
1,691
Reaction score
657
Location
NY-metro
The main problem with GC is the huge retail expansion in the latter '90s-early 2000s. They didn't read the tea leaves of the internet's coming impact. Or they did, yet they overestimated the public's future continuing want of the tangible retail experience. The food was still coming to the table in abundance back then.

The customers I see in the store now are more often "older" people...let's say over 35. The kids, as customers, aren't in the stores anymore. They weren't raised on the tangible retail experience as I and others of my general age group were. My younger years fell right on the pivot point between the pre-internet and net-dependent worlds. Younger people now...what they primarily know is the world through phones and computers.

I remember going into GC in the '90s and into the early 2000s; on any given night, and on weekends, the place was teeming with younger people...15-25. Not anymore.

What surprises me is that they haven't started closing lots of stores sooner. But I think that's coming. The smart model right now would SEEM to be fewer stores, reserved for those like me who still want the hands-on experience. They have to be feeling the drag of cost vs. return. Either that, or they are forecasting some possible retail rebound post-Covid. Maybe people of all ages will be eager to get back into a life of commiseration outside the home and away from the devices.

Seems a little idealistic these days, but it would be wonderful to see.
 

Tdipaul

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2014
Messages
213
Reaction score
365
Location
NJ
"closing lots of stores sooner. But I think that's coming"

Agreed.
 

moosryan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
128
Reaction score
78
I wonder, is Sam Ash better, on a national level?

Fed up with GCs in the NYC area, I've started going to the Sam Ash near Penn Station, and it's a pretty solid store. I've never been to any others except this one. It's far superior to any GC in the area.
 

BlueFlame

Member
Joined
May 22, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
20
Location
NYC
And even if I did want to buy something there was no one around to help. Sad.
My favorite big chain story. Years ago I had 2 adult students who ran the drum department of a small independent music store. They were great. The shop was sold to SA. One of the guys went back in as a customer and asked for a 14” coated Ambassador. The kid behind the counter walked into the back and came out with a 14” clear. Guy says, “Oh, sorry, I meant coated Ambassador. That’s a clear.” Kid walks away again. Comes back with a black dot. One more try. Kid comes back with a snare side head. Finally the guy says, “Look. Walk all the way back to the left of the water cooler; up on the second shelf you’ll see a BA0114. You might need the step ladder that’s by the desk. ”
 

Core Creek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
150
Reaction score
126
Yeah, my local GC has almost no drums in inventory. i remember the days (not even that long ago) when they’d have a kit or two, or three, to bang around on. Now it‘s just electronic kits. I needed a 13” pinstripe head and it appeared they had none in stock - until the manager happened into the drum section. Typically there is no one ever back there. The manager found about 3 13” pinstripes behind the counter. I was glad I asked. He also said they have a dedicated drum guy but he’s only in three days a week.

It seems the only thing keeping them afloat might be lessons, but with COVID I doubt that many people were even coming in for that.
 

Core Creek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
150
Reaction score
126
I wonder, is Sam Ash better, on a national level?

Fed up with GCs in the NYC area, I've started going to the Sam Ash near Penn Station, and it's a pretty solid store. I've never been to any others except this one. It's far superior to any GC in the area.
I don’t think Sam Ash has as much reach - more of an east coast thing. My local Sam Ash has typically been better, but the last time I was there no one was running the drum department. But they definitely had more drum sets. Even snagged a used Pearl Rhythm Traveler for $99! I also got a Kiesel 6 string bass from them for 1/3rd new right before COVID…. They need to price their used gear better or they’re going to lose a lot of $ (on second thought, I’m happy to get the deals if they don’t know any better).
 

Core Creek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
150
Reaction score
126
I wonder, is Sam Ash better, on a national level?

Fed up with GCs in the NYC area, I've started going to the Sam Ash near Penn Station, and it's a pretty solid store. I've never been to any others except this one. It's far superior to any GC in the area.
I also meant to mention that I bought a set of HHX complex cymbals through Sam Ash via eBay, used. I waited two days for a response on the condition, then bought them and paid, and 30 minutes later my order was cancelled and refunded, AND the same cymbals were relisted. Really pissed me off.
 

Hazelwood7

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
686
Reaction score
62
Location
Phila, Pa
I think guitar center is trying to change their model to selling more online. I think drums is a small part of their business. They are surviving on selling guitars. It’s nice to have some drum selection in their stores. I need sticks or heads in a jam but we are not their demographic anymore. They are selling a lot of guitars lately. One thing about guitars are that you want to pick out a good one so you need to try them out. That is what retail are good for. Can you find a good selling Gibson that was built well.
 

DWSlingerland45

DFO Veteran
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Messages
2,875
Reaction score
433
Location
Mount Holly New Jersey
I wonder, is Sam Ash better, on a national level?

Fed up with GCs in the NYC area, I've started going to the Sam Ash near Penn Station, and it's a pretty solid store. I've never been to any others except this one. It's far superior to any GC in the area.
I have a Sam Ash AND Guitar Center in the same shopping Center near me. For a couple years they both were in horrible condition as described above. Until about 10 months ago a woman named Stephanie took over the Guitar Center drum department. She's very knowledgeable and friendly and loves to talk drums and cymbals. Admits she's learning the Vintage game. She makes it a pleasure to walk in there again. The Sam Ash....still sucks bad. It's sad, but I believe it's the online sales making it easier for these retailers to have no pride in the sales floor appearance anymore.....and I have actually noticed this at a 5 star shop as well.
 

1988fxlr

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
869
Reaction score
911
Location
Nj
I wonder, is Sam Ash better, on a national level?

Fed up with GCs in the NYC area, I've started going to the Sam Ash near Penn Station, and it's a pretty solid store. I've never been to any others except this one. It's far superior to any GC in the area.
Sam Ash in Paramus is just as sad a spot as Guitar Center in Paramus, Totowa, and Yonkers. The one in White Plains was still fairly good last time I was in there but its been a few years
 

Jml

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
97
Location
New Jersey
I’m in NJ and there is a Guitar Center and a Sam Ash directly across the street from each other on Route 22. Both are bad, but Sam Ash has dedicated drum guys and more drum kits. The Guitar Center has a much bigger cymbal collection. The drum guy at Sam Ash tells me they sell most of their used stuff on their Reverb site.
 

moosryan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
128
Reaction score
78
Sam Ash in Paramus is just as sad a spot as Guitar Center in Paramus, Totowa, and Yonkers. The one in White Plains was still fairly good last time I was in there but its been a few years
Interesting. I guess it's likely the one in NYC is very well-maintained as a flagship store. It's possible the Times Square GC is like that, but I wouldn't dare step foot in there, and I can't say I'm bowled over by the other two locations.

The Brooklyn Guitar Center is a sad story right now...they got horrible flooding during Ida straight into the drum department...all the drums were ruined and the department is taped off. This comes only a few years after they had to wall off the drum department because of mold resulting from water leaking from the Coldstone Creamery upstairs.
 

1988fxlr

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
869
Reaction score
911
Location
Nj
Interesting. I guess it's likely the one in NYC is very well-maintained as a flagship store. It's possible the Times Square GC is like that, but I wouldn't dare step foot in there, and I can't say I'm bowled over by the other two locations.

The Brooklyn Guitar Center is a sad story right now...they got horrible flooding during Ida straight into the drum department...all the drums were ruined and the department is taped off. This comes only a few years after they had to wall off the drum department because of mold resulting from water leaking from the Coldstone Creamery upstairs.
I’m a bit out of the loop, I didn’t realize Sam Ash left 48th street so you’re probably right on 34th being the flagship. Its been a few years but the Long Island City Guitar Center used to be pretty decent in the drum section and very good in the pa section if its still there
 


Top