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Music salesmen who know nothing about bass EVER

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Ian the bassist, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. I'm not sure if anyone else gets this. I live in Dublin, Ireland. While yes, technically, there are a fair few music shops, the stuff you can get for bass is limited. But what's seems to be even rarer than left handed basses(just a small dig, ignore that haha) in music stores, is someone who knows ANYTHING about bass.

    Today i asked something that they just didn't know the answer to, i looked up on my phone, while in the shop, even though they were next to a
    Computer and found out the answer myself. It was about a particular bass they had in stock that was rare(a Fender urge II) i Said "i thought they Were discontinued, How did you come across one? He replied "haven't heard of it, what bass is that?" i pointed "oh, well we got that the other day" that was all he said and walked away. I think because he knew nothing about it and didnt want to answer any more questions.

    Now don't get me wrong, they're are always nice, know prices of anything in the shop, generally good service. But it's always a guitarist who doesn't seem to know about bass. Ill tell you a really really really, in my opinion, stupid thing that happened when I asked a question to them. I don't claim to know everything about bass or bass equipment, I have learned more than half of what I know about electronics, equipment etc from here. But, it's just ridiculous to me anyway.

    I went into a music shop and told them I needed acoustic bass strings(I had never played an acoustic bass before and it was for a very small intimate gig, they insisted it be all acoustic, I even had to play a right handed bass upside down, but I got through it haha). So I go into the music store(had been to about 3 already) and this was the 4th that had no acoustic bass strings. So I said to the guy "do you know anywhere around that would sell them" he replied " well there's no demand for acoustic bass strings, but you could just put electric strings on them and they would sound the same" I was in shock, but that's not even the funny part. I then replied "acoustic strings sound completely different" to which he said "you wouldn't really notice it on a bass because you won't really be heard" me-"would you play an acoustic with electric strings" him-"we'll personally no, because it wouldn't sound the same"

    Face palm. I left that second and found the strings after looking for hours. Does anyone else think these guys need to seriously get people who actually play bass full time? It's something I have no faith in immediately when I walk into any music store.
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Buy stuff on the internet ... they will ship it right to your house. I never buy strings in stores.

    Music stores are often manned by people who do not know what they are selling, because of low pay and high turnover.
  3. Rebop


    Jul 9, 2008
    La Honda, CA
    You were probably the only person that ever shopped there for acoustic bass strings. I've had 2 people in 5 years come into my shop looking for them. I only move them online.

    And to be honest, you probably wouldn't have been able to tell much difference between the strings in a live band setting. He wasn't that far off.

    Even when the Fender urge was brand new, it wasn't exactly a common bass. I've never seen one being gigged and if you recognized what it was in my shop I would know there were no questions that needed to be answered; you already knew what it was. Play it, all your answers were right there.

    Do you regularly go into music stores to test the staff like this?
  4. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Happens all the time. I work at a music store. I'm a pretty knowledgeable guy, but as soon as someone wants to ask about pianos or drums, I point to one of my coworkers. They do the same for guitars and basses.

    There's a lot of products and brands to learn, even in a small music store. Not everyone feels compelled to go home and read up on all the stuff they don't know in order to do their job better.

    We're a pretty bass-centric store. I keep a good variety of strings in stock, plenty of accessories, and lots of basses on the wall. Probably more than I need, actually. I've never, not once, despite selling several acoustic bass guitars, had one customer come in and ask for acoustic bass strings. I've never even had an acoustic bass-buying customer ask me "How often should I change these." I don't expect I will until one of them breaks a string.
  5. It's not that I'm testing them, it's that sometimes I generally don't know the answer and expect that they would know. Now I half knew the answer to the fender urge question, but I just thought it was a bit rude how he walked off and got annoyed.

    I worked in retail, i never get rude with staff or treat them unfairly and I don't expect them to know EVERYTHING, it just seems that when it comes to bass, you rarely get someone who knows about it.

    I think they should have a dedicated person for each section of the shop. Seems to not really be the case with bass though, they generally get someone for bass and guitars who doesn't know much about bass.
  6. I agree to an extent. I worked in a computer game section of a toy retailer. I haven't played every game in the shop, by a long margin. I do know a lot about games, read
    Up reviews on games I don't even play, and want to keep up to date on what's going on. (Always on big releases, but generally even kiddy games i would never play)I think this Is what makes a great salesman instead of just a good one. But the second someone asks about toys, straight over to the people in that section of the shop for them to answer hahaha.
  7. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    To answer your question, Ian - yes, I think they do, too. Fortunately for me, there are a couple of stores here in Las Vegas with bassists on staff, so I don't often have that problem; just the eternal one of finding something left-handed that's worth buying. I still wind up buying a lot of strings on-line, though, but I sometimes need strings for some unusual basses, not just "what everyone wants". Long scale banjos, on the other hand....:meh:
  8. It's much worse over here. At least they don't straight-up denigrate you without knowing a thing.

    I went to a single-guy store here and got taunted and asked to sell off my current bass, owing to its 'poor sound'. The guy didn't even know what wood it is made of and what the pickup configuration is. Further, I asked for a detachable pickup for my acoustic bass. He dissed me for having an F-hole acoustic bass made - in his view, it's impossible to have an acoustic bass without a round hole. "Are you crazy?" were his exact words :meh:

    I'd rather get stuff imported for twice the price than go to a place like that.
  9. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Ian, we get it. It's not just music stores either. It's like that when buying computers, kitchen appliances, cars, power tools, and almost anything retail in the US.

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