Mom & Pop Shops

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by beobass, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Hey All I recently have had some of the best shopping experiences at my local music stores and wanted to share some thoughts. I began my search at GC where I found dudes mostly not interested in helping but very interested in selling. There are no longer any negotiations on used instruments or amps. Only coupons on new stuff. Wait was I at the grocery store? Coupons? Just give the discount... anyways I found a great bass at a small shop on main street and the price was perfect. A Sterling Ray34CAFL. I could not be more stoked. Same thing on strings at another small shop a town over. I was looking for a specific sound. The owner helped me dial in that sound and put me on Mangan Strings. Couldn't be happier! It's nice knowing that GC is NOT the only option. So here's a plug to support the little guys instead of the share holders.
    blkpwdr, spanndrew, Solar and 30 others like this.
  2. madmanmerc


    May 11, 2015
  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I sometimes wish I'd just bought the Fender Blacktop when I saw it the first time at the local Fender dealer, but NOOO!!!

    I drove all over hell looking for the perfect bass & landed on Blacktop, which I bought used from GC, after Fender quite distributing them.

    I've bought one big item from my local Fender dealer, a ABS case for my Strat.
    I have bought some accessories there, like speaker cables, but have since learned to make my own.
  4. Tommy33


    Dec 11, 2015
    I don't like gc but 20 percent is tough to beat the local shops we're I live will let's just say thay have bad custmer service with guitar center stealing all the work
  5. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    The last instrument I purchased at a brick & mortar store was an Ibanez 12 string acoustic, at a mom & pop. The place is the size of a living room with friendly folks. Not much of a selection but interesting vintage gear. The only thing they tried to sell me on were some 12 string guitar lessons. I also got my bass set up there.
    Helix likes this.
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Everything's local when it's online :) (which is where I do most of my shopping for music related things... especially since I just buy consumables now, strings, picks etc.)
  7. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    I haven't been in GC in about 15 years. Most of that is because the nearest one is an hour away, and I can get what I need from the stores closer to home. I do my best to shop at the local store, Loud & Clear in Cotati (formally Zone Music).
    Charlie Blue likes this.
  8. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    I've decided its better to establish a relationship with a small shop and pay a little more to my neighbors than save a few bucks at the big box... it was nice to talk about instruments to just talk instead of having some guy ask "can I help you with anything" and then disappear... because he figured out I was still trying/looking and not at the buying phase yet. It's the GC culture. It's not about the instrument (which they call 'gear'... like tackle to catch fish or something) is about sales... and since the GC selection has greatly dwindled, I cannot see any reason to go there and buy a pick let alone a bass. The only place they can get me is with Markbass amps. I do really prefer markbass and they are exclusive to the box... that's how they get ya...
  9. I haven't had to buy anything (nor could I afford to) in a long time, but the Mom&Pop I frequent matched online pricing on big ticket items. I bought a Fender Reverse Jag Bass and a Squier Jag bass there for the same price I could've got them online (or at GC for) plus they set up every instrument they sold.

    Get that? Every instrument that walks out the door is ready to play. Big box can't guarantee that.
  10. todd0864


    Mar 9, 2015
    Twin Cities
    I buy 99% locally now. And not just musical gear, I'm talking everything. I only buy online if I absolutely have to. I hate waiting and dealing with shipping.
    catcauphonic and tzohn like this.
  11. KickingBass

    KickingBass Look into it

    My local chain of music stores, as much as I've tried to like them and as much as I like to go there to mess around with basses, is not really an option for me. Reason being that I bought one of my first basses there and when the bridge went bad they said theyd help because of warranty and all that but nope. Months went by and I called and called but to no avail. My BL took the bass to Guitar Center one day, and asked the tech about it. He called Ibanez right then and there and had a new bridge shipped to me for free. He then replaced the bridge for very cheap IIRC. Night and day difference. Theres a lot to be said for customer service. That being said, I prefer to buy online. A lot of people on here say to play the instrument first but IME the basses I've played at stores tend to be so horribly set up and messed with that I wouldnt want that bass anyway. My two current instruments came to me online and are great.
    LowG and lancimouspitt like this.
  12. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015
    I don't buy from large conglomerate music stores. I do go in occasionally to see new stuff. I always buy strings locally from a small mom and pop as a matter of principal. I don't think it will hurt GC, but I know small shops appreciate it greatly.
    Bajo Clarkko likes this.
  13. KickingBass

    KickingBass Look into it

    Wish I could do that. No music stores in my area (not even GC) carry the strings I need. Lord forbid I should ever need strings in emergency right before a gig and not have backups.
  14. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    Unfortunately, we have no more mom and pop stores around here. It really sucks. We used to have 3 or 4 AWESOME stores in town for guitars and basses. Places where you could just go and hang all day; noodle on instruments; meet and talk to people from EVERY SCENE in the, very versatile selections of new and vintage....basically these were the places where you learned the "rules" of being a local musician; you gained all of your non-musical wisdom about being a player in the scene...

    now we have a GC, a Sam Ash; and some Music Go Rounds, and they are all very cold; full of the usual suspects showing off; indifferent un-knowledgeable sales staff; very limited selection....of the 3 stores, I only go into GC b/c I know 2 of the guys who work there. It is usually to just buy strings
    lancimouspitt likes this.
  15. Blue9


    Jul 22, 2012
    Portland, OR
    We've got a few great shops in Portland, but I'm always disappointed in their bass gear. Still, I always like going into those shops because they're real shops. The only time I go into GC is when I'm doing a home improvement project and have to go to Lowes, which is across the street from GC - I just go in and give a quick glance at their used gear and quickly leave.

    Thunder Road in Seattle has a GREAT selection of basses and guitars. Vintage Used and Rare Guitars - Thunder Road Guitars Seattle
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    We have plenty of mom and pop shops around here. Unfortunately most of them sell absolute junk at ridiculous prices. I don't know how they stay in business. Of course there are exceptions. But I am glad to see the weekly GC bashing is still ongoing.
  17. Plutonium244

    Plutonium244 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2015
    You can still buy from a Mom and Pop shop online or remotely... I remember reading about a Mom and Pop in a Tacoma Thunderchief thread that was said to routinely beat all big internet deals... just knowing which M&P will make the deals, and which want you to pay more because they have higher per-unit overhead as a small outfit, is key.

    Wish I could remember the name of that one. I might try looking it up, it would be good info to have handy when price shopping... any M&P that will match or beat the big retailers will get get my business as long as they treat me well and back up their stuff.

    Also, final thought, some online retailers ARE the little guy... for instance, our own Jason at, who also carries some pretty nice non-string gear... a lot of Aguilar stuff... I bought two Aggie SL-112 cabs from him, price was much better than the big retailers, and his customer service is outstanding. Guy even returns emails on Sundays and has shipments readied over the weekend, and stuff like that.
  18. Dluxe


    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    GC is 2.5 miles from my house and the staff in Austin is very knowledgeable. I've lived in Austin for 34 years and was treated like crap by some of the local stores when I was young and broke. I've never forgotten that and the ones that survived get none of my money. The only exception is South Austin Music. Been shopping there since 1986. Ray's Heart Of Texas Music was great but are no more.
  19. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    There are a couple of small shops in my area that carry absolutely nothing but my local GC is full of gigging muscians who I have a very good relationship with but in all fairness they carry next to nothing also.
    alembicguy likes this.
  20. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I only go to the Guitar Center in Nashville if I need a laugh, or to check and see if they've pulled in any more of my stolen basses (I found 2 out the 5 I had stolen there, and they HAD the serial numbers and pictures I had given them when the theft took place, yet they purchased them anyway!). I feel VERY lucky to live here in Nashville because we have a number of locally owned shops that I always go to when I'm purchasing something. Corner Music and Rock Block come to mind. Both will beat, or at worst, match a GC price, and the repair people actually know how to repair things.
    Thumpinshelton likes this.
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