Is Musicians Friend lying about price?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by HalfPlayer, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. HalfPlayer


    Jun 9, 2013
    I was browsing Musicians friend and noticed that all prices have been dropped between $200 and $400 dollars. The main reason I want to know is because I want to know the worth of this Squire VM series. The website says the retail price is $500 and the price with savings is $300 so i dont know if there just lying about the price and showing it dropped to get you to buy it.
  2. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    The high price is MSRP, Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price. Nobody sells much for MSRP anymore and yes it is deceiving, but standard practice.

    Before chain and big box stores the MSRP of a product used to be more meaningful, now everythingis sold at lower margins, but thatis how the economy has evolved over the years.
  3. MSRP is a fiction created to make everyone think they are getting a good deal. Just ignore it.
  4. curbowkid

    curbowkid Guest

    Jun 27, 2011
    Brooklyn, New York
    I noticed something odd about that site. On numerous occasions id go look at an instrument and lets say it was priced at 450. Id leave the page and look at other options. Id come back and the price would be 550 or 525 or something like that. In a 30 minute period. Kinda odd
  5. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Many online retailers often also use dynamic pricing based on your browser cookies. I didn't think MF would because they always try to have a low catalog price. Amazon is the king of this, I often see different prices whether I am using my PC where I shop very little and my wife's that she uses to shop all the time for the kids toys and clothes.
  6. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Beat me to it. Delete your cookies when browsing. Airlines do this a lot, too.
  7. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    There used to be a pretty standard relationship between dealer cost, retwiler cost, and retail price. MSRP was/is typically double the retailer's cost, enought to cover overhead expenses and make profit. These days big retailers take much less margin to get higher volume and can often get lower cost than is/was standard. This has made the whole MSRP system sort of arbitrary and it is impossible to tell whether it is an actual representation of the value of a product or an inflated number, which it probably is in most cases these days.

    A lot of good reading out there aboutthis fascinating subject if you read business papers or follow economics. Herp.
  8. CRMaile


    May 3, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    My name is Chris and I work for Musician's Friend. Our pricing can change depending on stock, sales and other website updates. For more details please see our Terms and Conditions.

    We do have a Pricing Guarantee. For more details please visit our website.

    If you have further questions or concerns about our website, feel free to contact me at [email protected], thanks!

    Chris M.
    Musician's Friend Customer Service
  9. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i think the mf price depends on if the person you talk to on the phone is a tool or not
  10. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    Straight from the source - gotta love that.

    I've purchased through Chris several times and he is a total pleasure to deal with. I look forward to giving him and MF more business in the future.
  11. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Standard retail pricing or MSRP is more or less fiction. I worked briefly at a warehouse for Sennheiser/Neumann and sat in on the process of how they set pricing. They work backwards from the cost to what they think they can get for it, and then base the "retail" price on what the actual market price will be vs. making that price look like a good deal. So if a mic has a cost of $100 and the standard margin ratio for that segment is 10%-15% then they set the street price around $109-$119. Then they set the MSRP to something like $200 so when you buy it from a retailer the customer thinks they are getting a good price.
    "Cost" is also a very murky thing. There is real construction costs, dealer cost, and retail cost. Manufactures are very careful with their production costs being secret so that way if a retailer sells something at "cost" they will still make a minor profit. Just like what it cost a retailer to buy something and what "cost" is at the register are two very different things. On some items the difference may be cents, others tens of dollars.
  12. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    yep, yep, yep
  13. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Yup. In the old days the system really meant something and was quite strict. The idea was to protect mom and pop music stores who sold maybe a couple of instruments (or anything else) a month. There were the manufacturers who would only sell to distributors who would only sell to stores and not to the public. Markups were typically the manfacturer would charge double their actual manufacturing cost, the distributor maybe a third above that and retail would be double the wholesale price. Selling below the MSRP was forbidden and could lose you the line if you did it too much. I can tell you this made for EXTREMELY overpriced music gear and was one reason behind beginner basses being such crap in those days. To sell at beginner prices through the system, you had to build the basses for just about free!

    There were cracks in the system. The phrase "I can get it for you wholesale" came from that era where someone with a connection to a distributor sometimes could cut out the retail markup. The system was widespread and not just music. But I recall that it was pretty easy to get electronics at wholesale prices but music gear was much tougher to find cheap.

    Eventually the big "discount" stores applied irresistable pressure to the old system. They in effect acted as their own distributor and retailer allowing them to set markups at whatever they wanted. Which was usually designed to undercut all the smaller stores selling at MSRP. And that pretty much put then end to the old system as well as to many mom and pop stores who were not able to operate on smaller margins.

    But oddly the MSRP remains as a remnant of that previous more civilized age even though it means little today.
  14. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Commercial User

    May 3, 2011
    Madison, WI
    MSRP means different things to different companies. Some of what is written here is true, for some companies, some of the time. It's not a price anyone usually pays though at least as far as instruments are concerned. MF didn't change anything. They've always show list and then whatever selling price as some huge % off even when it was about as high a price as you could find. So does everyone else. You'd be wise to shop around. most places will always match a price you find that is legitimate, Sweetwater may not, but everyone else will. There's factors other than price when you are buying something though. People seem to forget that. Service? Support? A guitar that's been checked out and set up by a human rather than a box picked by a robot in a giant warehouse? Some items I'll buy solely on price, others I won't no matter what the savings.
  15. I buy from Chris on a regular basis as well. I have only found better prices on the used market.

    Email him at his address below and ask for a TB quote. I doubt you will be disappointed

  16. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs Commercial User

    May 3, 2011
    Madison, WI
    You always get a better price by contacting someone direct. MAP prices go away when there is a phone call or email. I'm embarrassed by how low some of our sales people sell for but if you look on our site it just looks like everyone else.
  17. John Freeman

    John Freeman Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Happy Valley, PA
    Chris and the MF gang are professional and no nonsense. They are my first choice whenever buying anything music related.
  18. Matt B

    Matt B

    Mar 31, 2012
    New Zealand
    In my experience the MSRP you see in the USA (which you never pay if living there) is typically pretty close to what the actual retail price is in most other countries. So I would guess the MSRP is based on the all the necessary margins being there assuming manufacturer>>distributor(importer)>>retailer. Since in the case of a lot of the big music companies the manufacturer is the importer and they are US companies there is more room to discount in their home market. Hence you get a pretty good deal in the USA on most gear. How that good deal is presented to you is marketing so it is up to the buyer to be smart on deciding how good the deal actually is.