1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Awful experience at Cintioli's...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by DanielleMuscato, Sep 25, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I was really looking forward to my visit to Philadelphia, mainly because of Cintioli's (Cintioli's Music Center, 5349 Oxford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 215-533-2050, a very high-end, locally owned Guitar Center-sized place, to the uninitiated), but I just had a terrible time there.

    I've been shopping for a new pair of basses for several months now, and although I had pretty much settled on a used FBB (thanks knight!) and a Washburn XB925 fretless, I wanted to try out some Tobias, Pedulla, Warrior basses, etc.

    I should mention that although I am only 20 years old, I often am mistaken to be in my 30s, and I usually wear a suit. My bass-shopping day was no exception.

    When I arrived, I spent about 20 seconds gawking at the HUGE inventory before a salesman approached me. I was very clear about what I wanted: I said I was looking for a nice bass, somewhere in the $1500 to $3000 range, that I play a combination of funk, jazz, blues, and alternative rock, that I prefer natural wood and oiled finishes, active electronics, 5 or 6 strings, neck-through-body construction, and that my ideal tone is warm, fat, full, solid, and thick, and not particularly clear or punchy. I was very specific in stating that I do not like a sharp attack and rarely slap, and that although I am fully aware of the tone-shaping possibilities of a good pre-amp, I much prefer that the source provide a tone that, uncolored, has the characteristics I mentioned. Although I was seriously looking at a 5-string fretless in Missouri (where I'm from), I was prepared to purchase a bass that day if I found the right one.

    I also stated that although I love Fender guitars, I am not at all impressed with their traditional bass tone, or playability.

    The salesman looked like your typical guitar salesman. He had long hair, was tall & skinny, loud, and in-your-face. Surprisingly, he was very nice (at first). The guy, Bob C., said he was very glad that I had shared with him exactly what I wanted. He stated several times that this makes his job much easier and that he really appreciated the fact that I had a good idea of what I wanted. He also said that even though he is primarily a guitarist, he also plays bass, and was in a position to understand my tonal requirements. So far, so good!

    Bob plugged in a Fender BXR100 :confused:, which if I remember correctly was a 1x15, and grabbed a PRS 4-string. His only comment was, "I know this is 4-strings, but give it a go and tell me what you think."

    Well, the very first thing I did was politely request a different amp and cable. I told him that I play through a 1000-watt hand-built system into a 4x10 arrangement, and I profusely apologized for coming across as a "problem customer," (he assured me I wasn't), but mentioned that I spend hundreds of dollars of my cables and that a Rapco would not adequately give me an idea of the tone of the bass. He grumbled a bit and plugged me into a Peavey rack-mount amp, I do not know what kind (I don't exactly make a habit of keeping current on Peavey offerings!), and a SWR Goliath III 4x10. I held my tongue regarding the Peavey, as it was at least a major improvement over the BXR100, and I am very familiar with the Goliath III, having owned one.

    Now, I am very familiar with PRS guitars, and I have never liked them. They sound very flat, and the low strings have a distinctive "thunk-thunk" tone that is really only useful if you use a lot of distortion, a la nu metal. I should have told Bob before I started playing that it was not what I wanted, but I tried it anyway, and after about 10 seconds said, "This is the exact opposite of what I want." It was extremely bright, extremely clear, and punchy. He was *surprised,* and asked if there was a bass that I would like to try. I pointed to a Michael Tobias 6-string and said that it was more my taste. He got it down for me, returned the PRS to the ceiling, and walked off. There was no price, and I had a few questions about the bass, but he did not so much as say "Excuse me for a minute." I played it for a few minutes and really liked it, but imagined it cost more than I wanted to spend. I had the distinct feeling that he had written me off as a problem customer and it took me about 10 minutes to get his attention again. I asked the price, and he told me it was $5,000. I asked him if it that was the MSRP or MAP, and he said, "Well, the MSRP is $4,700." :confused: More than I wanted to spend in either case, but if he knew it was $4700, why did he tell me it was $5000? I told him it was more than I wanted to spend, and asked if there was anything similar in stock for less money. He pointed to the wall and said, "You tell me." I chose a used Carvin 6-string, and he got it down for me and promptly walked away again. I played it for a minute, liked it, but not enough to buy it. It took me several minutes to get his attention again, and I told him it was nice, but not "the one," and thank you anyway. He just kind of looked at me. :eyebrow:

    Cintioli's has a wonderful selection of some very nice gear, but I'm not sure I will shop there again. When I ask for a recommendation, I do not expect to hear, "You tell me." I especially did not appreciate the "stretching" of the price on the Tobias. Considering I was looking at several-thousand dollar basses, I do not understand why he plugged me into such a cheap amplifier, especially knowing that I had such a specific idea of my ideal tone. Wouldn't you put together that I was just as picky about my amps?

    After a quick phone call to the guitar shop in Missouri that housed the Washburn fretless, it was mine, and I've been in touch with knight about the FBB also. I think I will be very happy with my selections (I have not taken delivery of either yet).

    I don't understand how people like Bob stay in this business. Oh well. If you're ever in Philadelphia, check out Cintioli's, but avoid the salespeople. :rollno:
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    thanks for the in depth review - this would probably be better served in miscellaneous.
  3. RandallFlagg

    RandallFlagg Guest

    Aug 18, 2003
    Kansas City
    Actually, I think it does belong here. This is exactly the kind of thing that goes to some of the problems with bass buying. Now, I realize that everyone and his second cousin absolutely hates Ed Roman, but the experience I had at his place was exactly the opposite of this gentleman's. The staff there was more than patient and allowed me to try a wide variety of basses until I found the one that was right for me (the Ric that I purchased).

    Maybe a "review" section could be set up where we could check out dealers before heading to them....

    Too often I have gone into a guitar store and found a 16 year old kid that couldn't even tell you what a "Speakon" is, let alone differences between manufacturers. I don't know, just a thought here...
  4. Stephen Soto

    Stephen Soto

    Oct 12, 2003
    Are you kidding me? Saying "A Rapco will not adequately give me an idea of the tone of the bass" would probably make most sales people slap you. It's probably one of those "had to be there" kind of things, but keep in mind, most people would be pretty irritated.
  5. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    "A Rapco would not adequately give me an idea of the tone of the bass"

    Are you serious?! You think that because a cable is cheaper it distorts the tone to a point where you can't even get an idea of what it's like?!

    I've tried some expensive cables before but I've never found any cable that actually alters the tone of the bass.

    brad cook
  6. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    While I recognize that there are other factors of tone that affect the outcome a lot more than the cable (how dead the strings are, on a demo model, for example), I don't see why I should try to juggle the tone difference in my head of not only 1) not playing through my amp 2) not playing through my cab 3) not using my strings AND 4) not using my cables. By removing as many variables as possible, you can truly compare the tone of a bass you're trying out to another one.

    Monster Bass 500 cables, for example, allow up to 6 dB of low-end (40-80 Hz) more than cheapies to flow through. On a bass with a weak low-end, this can be the difference between hating it and finding it more than acceptable. This would be the equivalent of pulling one of the sliders in a graphic EQ all the way down in the 40-80 Hz section.
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Wow...that experience most have been very, uh, traumatising. I mean, here, I was thinking that other TB'er whose daughter and friend being the subject of statements like "I'd like to tap that" in a Sam Ash was bad, but damn. Your salesman was an absolute fiend. Rapco cables? PEAVEY AMPLIFIERS? What the hell was he thinking? What a prick.
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Wait a minute. You are playing through Carvin cabs, and you get all anal about using a Rapco cable and a Peavey rackmount head?

  9. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
  10. ApeIsHigh81


    Aug 24, 2004
    Someone watched tonight's SNL re-run ;)

    Honestly, Dave, you NEED a Cafe Walter headphone amp to take with you shopping. I mean, you should be able to afford it since you spend hundreds of dollars on cables.
  11. mattmcnewf


    May 27, 2004
    your mad becaude some dude getting paid peennys dosen't know what u want. Why didn't u tell the guy i need a bass with spirit there are way too many soulless basses.

    Mod edit: please reread the usage agreement.
  12. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I think the point is, no matter what he requested, the saleman had a duty to, at least, try to please the customer and keep his internal turmoil to himself. If I have a customer who wants something stupid, I'll try to guide him in a different direction, but give him the respect that $$$ deserves (if I want to get any of those $$$).
  13. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX

    Brad's idiot rule of thumb: Learn english before calling someone an idiot.*

    brad cook

    * Only applies in environments where english is the common language.
  14. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    Well, I hate to tell you this, since your "1000 watt handbuilt systems" owners handbook didn't, but if you can't sound good through a cheap one, there is no way in hell a expensive one will help.

    The first thing I do is usually find one of the most basic halfway decent combos to try out a nice bass through, 'cause again, if it doesn't sound good through something basic.......Also,and this comes from playing bass as long as you have been alive, the last thing you want to do is plug into sone high-end amp that your not familiar with. Use something like a simple amp that way you can tell what sounds good or bad and not get confused by bells and whistles.
    Or better yet, plug the bass directly into the return of the amp, by-passing the pre-amp section and hitting the power-amp directly.

    And, loose the "hundred dollar" cables, blindfolded you couldn't tell the difference. And don't lie, you really can't............no you can't...........nope.......................sorry..................you can't.
    Well, OK you can, in a perfectly tuned studio mastering lab, and then it's so insignificant, blindfolded you couldn't tell............no you can't.................... ;)
  15. Hahahahahahhahahahaaha.............
    This is the funniest thread I've seen in a while. Sorry dude, someone's gotta say it.... deleted.
  16. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Thanks, lbanks. I'd like to say that I have worked in guitar stores, and if you don't like catering to customers' wishes, even if they are ridiculous, don't expect to make any money as a salesman.

    By the way, I'm a *lot* picky-er when I'm deciding what gear to buy than I am when I play. Live, I use all sorts of things, and I'm much more concerned with being in tune than having good tone. I perform with a Carvin 4x10 because it's durable and loud. I know that good tone is in your hands, but when I'm shopping, why color the tone with a cheap amp? When I'm recording, I know I won't be using a cheap amp - *that's* the tone I want to hear when I'm making my decision. I'm really not anal-retentive... I swear! It's just that if I'm spending a lot of money, I think it's only right that the salesperson do everything he can to help me the way I want to be helped.

    I really do apologize for coming across as a jerk - like the other guy said, I am new here, but I'm also a "Vintage FDPer" and I guess I haven't earned the right to be so candid on this forum yet. My apologies to everyone.
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Cool, now that you put it into perspective, Dave.:)

    I can understand using something durable and loud live, I used Peavey amps for years.

    Of course you would want to use something higher quality for recording. Me too.

    Your post just came across as pretty arrogant, and that is why most of us reacted the way we did.

    If I am demoing a bass at a shop, I will be just as adamant about the bass that I am handed not being what I am looking for as you were. And even the amp, if it is a small combo.

    But if the amp is decent and powerful, the cab is reasonably full range, and the cable actually works(tall order in these GC dominated markets;)) then I figure I can get a pretty good impression of what the bass sounds like.

    If it sounds good through a Peavey head and Ampeg cabinets, then I know it will kick ass through my iAMP and Schroeder 1210.
  18. :)
  19. fastplant


    Sep 26, 2002

    I love how you are angry with them, yet you basically give them a free ad :D

    I know what you mean though. Sales people can be very frustrating. It sucks even more when you tell them you are going to be spending big money and they still brush you off.
  20. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Wait, you disliked the PRS, which was, "extremely bright, extremely clear, and punchy", but you really liked the MTD?

    Huh? I imagine you confused/annoyed the sales guy when you told him "exactly" what you were looking for, then pick a bass which most people wouldn't associate tonally with fat, thick, non-slap oriented.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.