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Bay Area Bass Shop?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BZadlo, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I'm planning to open a bass shop here in The Bay Area.
    Any thoughts from Bay Area bass players are appreciated.
    I'm not necessarily looking to focus on high end gear only. I want to have good gear for different tastes/levels.
    Wasn't sure which section to post this in.
  2. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Former SF native here.

    I always had trouble finding strings I liked as there isn't much variety in the smaller stores. And many of the smaller stores in the area just carried run of the mill crap in the beginner-intermediate range so something like Lakland would've been appreciated.
  3. Bofee


    Aug 19, 2005
    Grass Valley, CA
  4. I'd check out Gelb Music in Redwood City, Guitar Center and Haight Ashbury Music in San Francisco, and try to find a niche or plan that will differentiate you from them. Gelb has the high end thing covered...GC has the volume/price thing covered...Haight has the location...
  5. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I was looking to work with smaller instrument and electronics builders.
    There's a lot of great stuff out there that lacks representation and not all of it is expensive!
  6. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I've been to all of the stores that you all have mentioned but, I still buy most of my gear online. I just can never find what I'm looking for.
    I usually order from Bass Nothwest or Big City Strings or here in the classifieds.
    I mainly want to help people find that tone that they have in their heads.
    I'd work like a consultant.
  7. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I would have little pressure from big manufacturers and distributors. I would pass that lack of pressure on to the consumer.
  8. YourDarkestDays


    Feb 8, 2008
    I'll tell you what, you get that shop opened and I'll be the first one in there looking around haha. But yeah I mean, a lot of the local bay area shops are a Guitar first, bass afterthought set up. Even Gelb, while having a decent size bass set up, its still stuck to pretty set brands, not the most variety. Although I saw an American made Specter in there once.

    In all honesty if you got the word out right, bass players would be happy to just have a bass centric shop, I don't know if you planned to sell other instruments or just basses, but having a shop that knew basses, and stocked basses first and foremost would be a fantastic.

    Oh, and on another note, I don't know if you are trained in any kind of bass maintinence and repair, but also having a bass shop, as well as an all in one place you could take your basses to get set up and possibly repaired would be fantastic, but that may be more of a long time goal.

    Anyways, sorry this turned into a long post, if you do end up opening the shop, PM or Email me!
  9. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Find some local guys - Ken Lawrence is up there, right?

    And I'll second that post - you actually open a shop, I'll find a way out there to check it out and show some support.
  10. blen dem

    blen dem

    Jun 22, 2001
    USA, Vallejo
    Open up the Shop and you got another REGULAR buddy! I live in Vallejo which sits almost in the middle of my two favorite music stores: Redwood City's GELB MUSIC & Rancho Cordova's BASS & BEYOND! I have room for another favorite:hyper:
  11. something like The Perfect Bass here in the bay area would be nice. A good selection of strings would be nice. A nice classy shop would be sweet to visit.
    This would be a sweet store to use as a model.http://www.atlantabassgallery.com/guests.php
  12. I would support you! I don't really know what I want in a local shop besides huge variety of strings and used gear.
  13. Not to derail the thread or try to rain on the OP's parade, but there's a bit of misinformation here:

    Gelb stocks MTD and Roscoe at the least, and Ed there is VERY well-informed and helpful (and yes, I'm a bit biased, as you may guess based on my user title...;) ).
  14. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for all of the great input!

    Definitely bass first although I might do some drum and guitar accessories.
    I'm going to look at some space in Oakland tonight. It's right off Route 24.
    Talkbass will be the first place that I advertise once I'm up and running. I don't have much start up capital so, this will probably take a few months.
  15. ^ (To Gard's post...) Add Zon, F, Mike Lull, Lakland, and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting...not to mention Fender, Ibanez, etc. to that list. I'm biased too, only because I've been shopping at Gelb since 1991. :D Sure there are brands/items they don't carry, but I'm not sure there's a niche that would support another shop.

    Aside from the retailers listed above, don't forget Bronstein's in South City, Gryphon's in Palo Alto, or any of the stores in the South Bay or East Bay. Also, don't forget that a relationship with a small luthier has to have some benefit to that luthier as well. If you're acting as a consultant, what value are you providing beyond what the builder can do her/himself?

    I don't want to dissuade you, but I'm not identifying a successful business model here. Good luck if you decide to pursue the idea. I wish I could be as helpful as some of the posters above me, but unless you can ensure better service and expertise than what I'm already getting locally, better pricing than I can get either locally or online, and somehow a better or more distinct selection than what's available through any existing channel, I'd just be blowing smoke if I said I'd be onboard. Sorry to be so direct, but I'd have to suggest that I'm in the realistic majority on that one. I could certainly be wrong...wouldn't be the first time...but there's a long line of failed bass-related retailers out there.
  16. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I hear what you're saying VroomVroom. I prefer honesty.

    I do however have a unique situation which would enable me to carry very little overhead. I want to grow and adapt with my environment.
    I have a few unique relationships with small builders too.
  17. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I'm not looking to be "fluffed" here. I want to hear why this is a bad idea and why it is a good idea.
  18. Right on, man - and again, all the best to you. The small builder relationships seem to be at the top of the list of advantages. There are certainly basses I'd love to try, but simply don't have a current avenue to accomplish that. I think you might be able to leverage the market for folks, like me, who want to try before they buy. Unfortunately, I just don't know how big of a market that might be. And when times are tough...ooh, boy. For example, there are some simply outstanding boutique instruments that have been on the rack @ Gelb for more than a year now. That's a storm they seem able to weather, but a smaller shop, without the advertising muscle and ample reputation?

    Accessories...I don't pretend to know the market, but I'd think cracking this area could be even more difficult. Regardless of overhead, there has to be some relationship between margins and volume, right?

    Anyway, all the best. I - and I suspect many other fellow bassists - have dreamed about doing something like this. I admire your courage and creativity in considering it and trying to find a model for success.
  19. Bad Idea:

    -Economy blows chunks right now.
    -If it's strictly for bass players, you lose a good number of potential customers.
    -If you stock more boutique then starter gear, you lose another good number of potential customers who would keep coming back to you from beginning up to and through professional career.

    Good Idea:

    + Your TB breathern would TOTALLY back you up.
    + The SF/Oakland/Berk area is FILLED with musicians who would desire your services.
    + I really don't like the attitude of most the Bay Area stores. Too "If you aren't buying something, GTFO of my shop" attitude. You could potentially change that.
    + Through networking here on TB, your business would most likely flourish well over time.
  20. No offense intended, or any effort to start an argument, but a couple of questions/comments....

    How can you say for sure? Not that I have my finger on the pulse of the bay area, but my network of fellow pro/semi-pro musicians is fairly extensive. I can't remember ever hearing anyone comment about a serious lack of existing services.

    Gelb is certainly my 'home away from home', but in 17+ years in the bay area I've visited more than a dozen shops. I've never experienced that kind of attitude or approach.

    I guess my point is that it's very dangerous for any of us to provide feedback in terms of absolutes. At that, let me take my own medicine and say, IMO, IME to all of the above. :D

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