Order strings online or support the local guy?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by madbassplaya, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    Well guys, I kinda have a delimma.

    There is a local guitar shop in town and I hangout there all the time. I usually buy used basses, so i've never bought a bass from the guy and usually just buy smaller stuff like strings.

    I've always bought 5 string sets from him and he's usually a bit higher than the online store, however I would still rather support him.

    Recently i've bought a 4 string precision bass and I was going to buy some strings from him but when he quoted me the price it was the same as the 5 string set.

    For SITs or Fender strings he charges $30 bucks plus tax.
    For DRs he charges $45 buck plus tax.

    My delimma is this: I want to support him, but I can get those SIT strings from juststrings.com for a little over $14.00. 2 sets of the SITs will cost me like $35.00 shipped. 5 bucks more for two sets.

    Which would you do? Pay more and support the local guy or save big and order online?

  2. RobertPaulson


    Dec 11, 2008
    Des Moines
    I'll usually give a locally owned business a 10%-15% price window, if it's any more than that over an online price and I don't need it today I'll order online. As much as I want to support local businesses, I'm not a charity, my mother didn't name me unicef.
  3. Toshiro


    Jul 21, 2004
    I use TIs exclusively, so buying local isn't an option.

    If it were me, I'd buy online. $30-$45 for garden variety bass strings is a lot of money. Still buy your 5er sets from the guy.
  4. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    I'll usually pick up the strings if I'm there and I need them. If I'm not already there or going there, I'll order online.
  5. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    buy online
  6. I buy local, but my neighborhood shop is pretty reasonable.
  7. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    yea, i talked to the guy about his prices, but he says he can't come down any.

    i hate not supporting the guy, because I think its important to have a local music shop. one time i got a call to play bass at my church, but i had not brought my bass to college yet, and i went to him and he loned me one of his basses. its things like that, that make me want to support him...but dang those prices are high!
  8. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I'd like to buy from the nearest music shop but they don't usually have the strings I want, e.g. flats. Not a single set. I once ordered a set of chromes via the shop. It took a couple of weeks to get it and it was 30% more expensive than if I would have bought it online (freight costs not considered, but that's not a problem if I'm buying more stuff at once).
  9. I like this answer. You've always bought 5 string sets from this guy so that's not a problem. The only problem is the price on the 4 string sets. Stick with him on 5 string sets and buy 4 string sets from juststrings.com
  10. CPplaysBASS


    Mar 17, 2007
    I understand your feelings, but one or two customers feeling they are "doing the right thing" won't save his business.

    The customer always has to rule ... at the end of the day, if the local shop can't compete on price, they need to have some other kind of competitive advantage.

    The local shop I go to has strings at a higher price but they do the best repair work / setups at the lowest cost and often do it while I wait (the "chain" shops typically have 2week waits). That to me is worth paying more for strings.

    Ultimately, the onus is on the owner to find a successful / profitable way to run their business.
  11. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007

    i get my basses set up at another place. the local guy here doesn't really do setups.
  12. T-Bird

    T-Bird Guest


    Over here the small shops can match the on-line prices or even go somewhat below so it's a no-brainer for me. If I'm around a small shop that is, I won't go there on purpose just for the strings etc.

    The problem, as stated many times earlier, is often the lack of variety. Not everyone wants to use the same exact strings, no matter how good/cheap they are.

    I like the 10-15% price slack idea, more than that, it's charity.

  13. 082752


    Jan 1, 2009
    The internet has put the hurt on the music stores in this town. We used to have 3. One went bankrupt. One went out of biz and the one that's left started selling Archery equipment and put in a indoor Shooting range. I called them the other day and they don't even have any Bass cabinets or speakers, It's all special order. Maybe they should consider putting in a Scotch Tape Boutique.
  14. Slats


    Apr 25, 2004
    Maybe mention your dilemna to the owner. You won't be hurting him, but helping. Possibly let him know you don't mind paying a bit more for his customer service, but also you want enough money left at the end of the month to pay bills and afford strings too. :cool:
  15. sirpug


    May 8, 2008
    Everett Wa
    I have a similar situation here. I always bought my strings from the local hole in the wall shop just because I really never looked online. I would just take him my bass and let him put them on when I got them. I recently learned how to install my own strings so I bought a set on Earnie Balls from him (he doesn't carry DRs) and went home and was happy. Then I checked out juststrings.com for the hell of it and I :eek:. The power Slinkys are $18.90 online and he charged me $45.00 for them. I'm upset but I have to chalk it up to my own ignorance. I know where to go from now on. I will still go in there to chat and play. And he does great maintenance, repair and set-up work so he's still my go to guy for that but come on, that's around 150% mark up over on line so I'm sure that's like a 200% mark up over wholesale.

    I want to support local business because my wife owns her own store, but on the other hand, you can't drive your customers to your completion.

  16. :eek::eek::eek:

    Wow, thank God for the internet, but I'm sure some of that cost was the labor to restring your bass, I hope it was anyhow.
  17. sirpug


    May 8, 2008
    Everett Wa
    No, that's the thing. I didn't have him do the restring this time; I was going to learn to do it myself. Before I always thought that the install was part of the price but he charged me the same price when I walked out the door with them as when I had him do the labor. He's either doing the install for free or he's punishing me for not having him do the labor. Knowing the way he runs his business I'm thinking that it's more the free labor case. I'm starting to wonder if his setup prices are good. He charges $60 for a full setup with new strings, $45 without strings. I suppose it doesn't matter since, unless I want to drive to Seattle, he's the only one around.
  18. I know that mom and pop shops like the one you go to don't have the ability to buy in huge lots like the online companies do, like justrings, musiciansfriend, music123, etc., so they have to charge more per unit to get the same profit, but $45 for a set of strings you would normally pay $25 for at the most just seems ridiculous. My Sadowsky strings cost less than that after shipping.
  19. sirpug


    May 8, 2008
    Everett Wa
    Yeah, I'll be ordering a bulk stock of strings online so that I'll always have some. I'll still let him do the set-ups that I need.
  20. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    A set of DR Long Necks (for my 55-02) are 57€ (about $77) locally. Online, they go for 33€ (about $45). GC sells them $36.99 (about 27€)!

    No way I´m getting them locally. I´m lucky to have friends who visit US quite often...