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Has GC-MF Become the Dumping ground for manufactures?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by hdracer, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    This has been on my mind for a while.
    I see it all the time on here and in real life.

    Has GC-MF become the place for large manufactures to dump their factory seconds?
    They sell Rickenbackers, Gibsons, Fenders, EBMM basses and guitars that would never go on the walls of guitar shops. I have never seen a Gibson at GC that I would even pay used price for. The GC by me has three EBMM basses that I can not believe left SLO and some of the worst Fenders I have ever seen.

    A independent guitar shop by me sells a lot of Gibson guitars. They have over 50 electrics on the wall at any time. Every one is top notch. The GC up the street from them has probably 150 on their walls and 50% are so-so and 40% are crap.
    I asked the owner of the independent about Gibsons quality control and why every guitar and bass that he had was nice. He said he has to send back about one in twenty because of QC issues. That tells me that they will not even try and send him a bad one. Where do the ones he sends back go?
    Look at the flaming Ric threads, where did the "bad" ones come from?

    When has a bad bass come from places like Sweetwater, Bass Central, Wildwood or any other place that takes the bass out of the box and inspects it before photographing it to show you the bass you are buying.
    I always roll my eyes when I read a post or a thread where someone says they tried a bass at GC and it sucked and they would never buy one.

    I think the reason GC-MF can give the great deals with % off coupons and 45 day no questions asked return policies is because they are taking discounted factory seconds.
  2. I wouldn't be surprised. I've been thinking this for a while too. GC/MF is kind of the Walmarts of musical equipment. But then again, the amount of guitars/basses that GC/MF gets in compared to a small shop would kind of skew the results.
  3. vegas532


    Nov 10, 2006
    Pensacola, FL.
    As someone who worked at a GC many moons ago, I can assure you that they very rarely have anyone on staff who gives a fiddler's damn about the "bass room". I did when I worked there: frequently polishing, cleaning, setting up, and replacing dead strings on the basses during my tenure. But they informed me that it was never done before they had me on staff, and nobody has done it since.
  4. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Cleaning and set up are one thing.
    A guitar or bass with QC issues is another. They have basses and guitars that should never go on the wall
  5. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    AZ, USA
    It's mostly due to the setup. A small store can well set up guitars/basses and hang them, whereas GC/MF just hang them and sell them. A small store can inspect every guitar/bass that it gets, whereas GC/MF can't. I don't think guitars/basses that GC/MF sells are inferior.
  6. M Sterling

    M Sterling Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    IME, there is very little to no inspection of instruments when they arrive at GC. They come out of the box, maybe get tuned, maybe get a price tag, and they are put on the wall. I'm sure this isn't the case in all stores, just the one I briefly worked at.
  7. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    Once again,

    I am not talking about set up.

    I am talking about quality control issues.
    Fret work, nut, Paint, binding, fitment of the neck or bridge.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Why can't GC inspect them? They take it out of the box, they tag it for inventory, they hang it on the wall. Why not actually look at it at some point in that process?

    I'm sure they don't care even if there was something wrong with it. Somebody will buy it eventually. That's probably why they don't bother inspecting them.
  9. vegas532


    Nov 10, 2006
    Pensacola, FL.
    And this also includes inspection. Don't even get me started on what they do with returns. :scowl:
  10. This has kind of been a dirty little secret of MF's for a long time...whether its true or not, I don't know but if the last few basses I bought from them are Ny indication, then most likely. There are lots of guys I know who used to be involved with the MI industry, from suppliers, to manufacturers, to retailers that say that depending on the brand and item, MF most certainly is a dealer in factory seconds sold as firsts. Apparently, it's mainly guitars and basses and mostly Fender and Gibson stuff, with the better stuff reserved for such places as GC Hollywood and Manhattan, Bass Central, Sweetwater and other dealers who have more hand to hand contact with both the instruments and customers. Not sure if this is true but sure seems that way sometimes.
  11. Guess I will be buying more from Sweetwater.
  12. I think it's a separate issue from just setups. I don't even take those into account at GC or through mail order. The issue is the mis-aligned bridges, stuck tuners and finish flaws that seem to be more common at GC and through MF then other places. That said, a few years back I received a new Lakland Skyline Bob Glaub that should have never gotten past the Chicago "inspection" that Lakland performs, let alone shipped to me by Bass Cental, who also supposedly "inspects" each instrument. So one can get a bunk bass from anywhere. The MF 45 day return policy almost makes it a non issue, but its more fun not having to return several basses before you find one that works. The return policy at those places is so lenient because they figure a large percentage of their clients to not even know what flaws to look for in a new bass. I wouldn't be surprised that Fender offers them deep discounts on lightly flawed batches and these are sold as new or in mint condition by MF.
  13. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
  14. ggvicviper

    ggvicviper Yamaha & Grosbeak. I’m Marc!

    Jul 16, 2011
    East Meadow, NY, USA
    This is absolutely classic. Most people look at the front of the fretboard for the dots?... Well, smack my @$$ and call me Judy!
  15. That Sustain

    That Sustain Inactive

    Jan 14, 2013
    The GC in my town seems to get factory 2nd Fenders. I've seen Jazz Basses with huge gaps around the pickups. They had a Classic Vibe with a twisted neck, etc.
  16. vegas532


    Nov 10, 2006
    Pensacola, FL.
  17. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    To answer the original post, yes and no.

    No, in that obviously nobody can make enough "seconds" to supply about 60%+ of the market or whatever the majority of US sales GC/MF account for. I mean, think about it. The numbers don't add up.

    No, in that I have bought near-perfect examples from MF made on the same day as disastrous ones only fit for firewood.

    Yes, in that most of the "used" or the old "scratch and dent" are absolutely factory QC rejects or defective retailer returns, and both parties will deny it. They're lying.

    I know that special runs of instruments are made with downgraded production routines in that particular lot for big sales undertaken by specific big retailers.

    I do not believe that FMIC or Gibson, Inc. have separate production for GC/MF and everyone else. I've seen too many atrocious examples from too many sources.

    I don't think there's a separate inventory for GC/MF and a cherrypicked one for independent retailers, but I would not doubt that reps tell independent retailers that, and I don't doubt that these characters tell their end customers that, either. ;)

    Like Gibson, Inc. really cares about some storefront guitar shop.

    I think what happens is that the storefront guys reject a bunch of the worst crap because they actually look at it, whereas GC/MF online (as well as all the other eTailers) sell literally everything that comes in without even opening the boxes, and then just dump the returns at a discount with some kind of credit arrangement with the manufacturer for their hassle. The GC stores essentially do the same thing, except they just tune them up and throw them on the wall and crush the boxes. When the returns reach a certain unacceptable level, they turn up the QC thermostat a bit.

    That's a perfectly valid business model between two big corporations. Nobody is sweating any of this. As long as dork buyers can be sold the fantasy that they're getting "legendary quality" and the axe doesn't actually fall apart in their hands, it's all gravy.

    [The manufacture and marketing of instruments are the most interesting things about them to me -- "The Business" -- because that's the most intellectually challenging part.]
  18. Thanks for summing it up, Bongo. In short, buyer beware. I think the one proven case of a retailer being a supplier dumping ground would be Best Buy's disasterous attempt at at music retail. It's kind if been obvious for a while that both MF and GC have been the leaders in this practice. But it's just like a lot of other businesses that sell what they can get away with. As I said, (and not to knock anyone here or any newcomers to bass) these companies pretty much count on the fact that buyers are for the most part ignorant when purchasing their first instrument. There are many, many unplayable Rics, US Fenders and Gibsons out there in the hands of some millionaire living out his rock fantasies. There are equally as many unplayable Ibanez, Dean and LTD's out there in the hands of poor, young players who don't know any better. There's a sucker born every minute.
  19. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Bought a really good Telecaster from GC in 1990 but that was a long time ago and maybe I just got lucky. I haven't bought anything from them since. There are 4 good independent music stores within a reasonable distance from here. I always buy from one of them, they usually have as much or more stock on hand than G.C. Lately I have searched for a 60' Classic Jazz, a G&L Tribute L2500 and a MM Classic Stingray 5 all without luck at my local G.C's and there are three of them near me. My local independents also sometimes match price with G.C. And at least two of them will do a set up however I want it at no extra charge.
  20. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    I bought a roasted neck Stingray Classic from GC a year and a half ago. I played six MM's there at the time. They were all quality instruments and I would have been happy with any of them. I don't think MM makes too many duds or at least they don't let them leave the factory. The Fender basses I see at GC lately...:rollno:.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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