Instrument Abuse at Music Stores

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Gabu, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    After going to 3 different Guitar Centers I am a bit wary of the abuse these instruments take. I was really surprised when at the redondo Beach store they had a Jazz with the input jack ripped right out of the bass. They also wouldn't go down on the price. So eventually I walked out... still empty handed. Am I better off buying online? Finding a MIM Fender Jazz Deluxe in good confition for a fair price has been a real drag.
  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    It's true, when they were holding a bass for me the guy brought it out, with a HUGE dent in it!!! Luckily they had another in a box. People beat the hell out of them and GC seems to think it's cool to try and sell them that way. Maybe a you break, you buy policy is needed.?
  3. Man, that's nuts! You MIGHT be better off buying online. My guess is that places like Musicians Friend just keep everything in the factory box until it's time to sell, and then ship it without ever opening the box. Considering the (non) setup that most basses at GC get, you'll probably be on equal ground ordering a bass in that fashion.
  4. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Hey Gabu,
    I agree that it is a wonder some basses even survive some of the abuse they can get in any shop. Last week I was in the city at a GC and a guy was slapping the hell out of a fairly high dollar bass(a sixteen y/o playing a $3500 instrument, so I doubt he was a serious buyer). No one there even gave it a second thought. One time I put a bass up on consignment at a small shop. I asked the owner to try and keep an eye on the kids pounding on the basses. I could hardly sleep at night worrying about the bass, and soon pulled it and sold it private party. I can see the other side, as a shop that restricts players is considered a 'snob' store, and some might go elsewhere where they can sample the goods. Good luck finding that Jazz Deluxe.
  5. flipperwhite


    Jul 12, 2001
    usa if I had bought my bass from MM instead of rik's I would have paid over $1.000 more:D
  6. BWB


    Aug 30, 2000
    Knoxville TN

    Price isn't everything - visit a local retailer that has
    the time (and care) to make sure their instruments
    are cared for properly. GC isn't going to give a
    **** about what's on the rack - they're just
    "widgets" to be moved out the door.

    Guitar Center is for kids and cheapskates. GO
    somewhere that deserves your money.

  7. BWB


    Aug 30, 2000
    Knoxville TN
    Oh - I hadn't read the post right above mine.

    I "highly" recommend Rik's Music at the URL above.
    I've even been to their retail store in Knoxville,
    just a rock throw away from the Knoxville Guitar
    Center. THEY are worth your money.

  8. Hmmm...
    This reminds me of that one Tobias I saw in Tom Lee's a few months back...

    The price tag on the thing was something like $15,000 (HKD, don't worry, folks. :p) and I take a closer look at the thing and what do I see? A big fat dent in the wood, on the front of the bass, near the bridge on the...uuh...upper horn side (?) of it. I was tempted to ask the guys in the store how they could let something like that happen, or at least tell them to drop the price to a maximum of $3,000, which is probably all it was worth with a dent that wide and deep, but I figured they'd probably think I did it, seeing as I'm "just a kid" anyway. Feh.
  9. Nails


    Jun 4, 2000
    Austin, Tejas
    It seems to me that Guitar Center doesn't really care about basses or bassists. Which is why they are guitar, not bass, center. That and Bass Center doesn't have the appeal to anyone aside from bassists. My local GC has a 5 string Warwick Thumb missing the G string, it's been like this for at least 6 weeks if not longer:eek: What a brillant way to sell gear, "Here's how it would play if you happen to break the G string mid-song." They may be on to something here.:rolleyes: Meanwhile there is not a guitar missing a string in the entire store.

    I like to imagine that when a string in broken a siren goes off which is amazingly loud so it can be heard over the guitarist playing death metal as loud as he can, a team of specialists dressed in white rush out to the scene from out of nowhere, 2 or 3 of the specialists gently carry the guitar to the back while the remaing team members console the guitarist telling him it was not his fault. When the guitar is in the back it is restrung, tuned, intonated, string setup, pickup setup, truss rod adjusted, wire connections checked and rechecked. Meanwhile when a bass breaks a string, a big burly guy dressed in black rips the bass from the bassist's hands, then he hangs it back on the wall. I've never seen this happen but I'm positive that's the way it goes down.
  10. You can avoid that problem at GC. Just find out when their shipment days are... and go on that day. If you know what you want, you can usually get one that hasn't hit the floor and suffered yet. Plus then you get the 30 day return policy and save on shipping...
  11. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    It's a fine line to walk for some of these shop owners. I was in a store one time and the guy I was with picked up a PRS guitar and started strumming it. The owner (who five minutes ago seemed totally uninterested in helping us with the basses) snaps at him, "Watch the zipper on your coat -- that's an expensive guitar!" I guess both of our first thoughts were, "No sh*t, man!" I mean, I am 27 and he's 26 and we've both been around instruments for enough years to know how to be careful with something that isn't ours. On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with saying something to someone that is beating the hell out of something (or is scratching the back of it with the zipper from their coat), to be careful. The thing that always sticks in my mind is that these stores are in business to sell instruments, right? They bitch and complain because the Internet stores are making it hard for them to compete and stay in business, right? Why is it then, that when you go into one of these places, almost everyone in there is either sitting on their arse, drinking a soda or smoking a cigarette outside, when the guitars hanging on the wall are detuned or out-of-tune and no one has taken a cleaning rag to them since they hung them there? Whether it's a hundred dollar bass or a $1500 bass, or a $1000 guitar or a $50 consignment item, they should be tuned properly and cleaned on a regular basis, until they day they leave that store! Another question that could be asked is why do people think it's all right to treat these instruments like they do? I have never treated anything that wasn't mine (even if I planned on buying it sometime soon) with anything but respect and care. I guess that's the difference between me and some of today's youth. BTW, If I ever took something to someone on consignment and I was in there and had to watch someone beat the hell out of it and not one of the employees said anything about it, I would certainly have something to say about it! :mad:

    Here's a little story, that has nothing to do with basses and everything to do with respecting someone else's things and property: Back in 1995, I worked at a Honda shop as a motorcycle technician. Since about 1993 or so, I had dreamed and talked about owning a Ducati motorcycle. My opportunity came in 1996, when I bought a beautiful, brand new, still-in-the-crate Ducati M900 (affectionately called a Monster). I would ride this bike to work and park it in the back warehouse where not only the used bikes were displayed, but also where the other employees parked their rides, the stock and unassembled models were kept and some of the customer's bikes were stored. Every time I rode it there, I would move three or four bikes, put it way in the back and then put those three or four bikes back in front of it. Oh yeah, it was also far enough away from the used bikes for an intelligent person to know it wasn't for sale. Anyway, one day while our parts guy was back there doing some rearranging, two kids came in and started looking at the used bikes. They tried out everything from the full-dress Goldwings to the entry-level Nighthawks and then they happened upon my Duck -- way in the back corner behind several other bikes. The parts guy watched in amazement as they crawled over the other bikes to mine and STARTED TO GET ON IT! It was then that the parts guy cleared his throat and said, "That's not for sale and I wouldn't sit on it if I were you." After they left, he came and told me what happened and I couldn't believe that someone could be so ignorant as to how things are supposed to be. Anyway, hope you enjoyed this story and took something away from it. If not, then "Pfffft" on you! ;)
  12. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    While I agree that much of the blame is on GC, I can't say that I'd be willing to put the "good" stock on the walls for all the tire-kickers to abuse either. Ever heard what kind of god-awful noise emanates from a GC or Mars Music on any given Saturday morning? Never figured out why some "players" feel the need to validate themselves by wanking their asses off in the music store. Is it any wonder those instruments are in the shape they're in? I'd put the beaters up too, and wait for a serious customer to ask before I brought out the good stuff.
  13. I agree with BWB... go to a smaller mom and pop type store. Although you live in LBC, if you're ever up north in berekely, check out Blue Note Music, or Gelb (or is it Gleb) music, both stores have very very nice gear, and you'd never know it was out of the box. At blue note, they make sure that every guitar or bass is in a stand, no leaning it up aganst somthing, and if you're caught doing that, and they see any physical harm done to the instrument, (and i mean tiny little dents) they'll make you pay for it. They make it clear before they hand you the axe of how you've gotta treat their stuff, and i think its worth the fear, knowing that somone else went though this, so you'll always walk out of the store with an axe that seems like you're the first person to play it.
  14. Fender Jazzbass with crack in the neck.. need i say more ?

    anyway.. i had a fight with some jerk in a local music store once, because he was being pretty rough with a bassguitar.. i asked him to be carefull about it, because it's not made out of steel.. he gave me an attitude and kicked (!) the bass..i gave him a push and then the storemanager came and kicked him out.. the bass was damaged.. warwich streamer standard.. big dent on it.. :mad:
  15. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    You did the right thing, Allodo. That was probably the same guy that broke your J Bass! ;)
  16. MmMmMmM...Gelb...
    I didn't get a chance to stop by Blue Note this time 'round, but I remember walking in there 2 summers ago and feeling all warm & tingly inside. :p

    I did, however, stop by Gelb a few times, and ended up buying my Spector from there. :D

    I love those guys, they're so nice! :D
  17. flipperwhite


    Jul 12, 2001
    I just checked the rik's music site,21 day return policy and no shipping charge;)
  18. I was at Mars Music and I saw a guy trying to hang a guitar up on the lowest rack. The guitar dropped on the floor, banging into the wall on the way down. The sight and the sound of this made me cringe. I think I was the only person who witnessed this event.

    In the same store, I saw a Modulus Vintage Jazz bass with a big, noticeable scratch in it. The scratch was about 2.5 inches long and fairly thick. It was immediately noticeable.

    That kind of stuff actually makes me feel for the store, but more importantly, it makes me think twice about buying anything that was hanging on the wall, especially a quality instrument.
  19. I manage a store in New Zealand, and I sympathise with all the comments made here, BUT, there are two sides to a story. Our guitar tech checks the action, intonation, and string condition on all our instruments about every two or three weeks, and I polish all the basses about twice a week. I believe any store that does'nt do this should be avoided. As for dents and dings, well there are very few customers out there who have respect for our instruments, and dents and scratches do occur. I cant stop people playing them, I would never sell anything. I also cannot just let people play "beaters", they want to try a range of gear, and a kid who cant afford a $3500 bass today, may very well be able to in two years time, and I want to be the one to sell it to him. If I say no now, I'll likely never see him again. We cannot afford to have a sample of everything on show, and duplicates of everything boxed up, so we have nothing at all boxed. Really noticeable dents or scratches we get repaired by a luthier, small ones we will offer a discount.
    BTW, we also offer free setup for a year on all basses we sell.
  20. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    I do believe that GCs around the world will be the same way. The one in hollywood seemed really bad, but they probably have the most people abusing their gear. I honestly don't mean to pick on GC... I understand that they can't stop stupid people from banging on the merchandise. I was mostly venting because of the poor condition on all the gear I was hoping to buy.

    I am expanding my search to include Sam Ash and Mars Music... Sam Ash has the same bass I like... in better condition... for $70 more. I don't know if I would pay that much more when GC could order it for me and I could get it new in the box in a few weeks. Next I will see what Mars has.