Poor service from bass / guitar makers.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Rockin John, Oct 12, 2001.

  1. A friend of mine went into our local music store and bought a new "mumble..mumble" guitar. He handed over his cash and they handed over his new axe.

    It didn't come in a box nor packaging of any sort. The tools that "mumble..mumble" apparently supply were unavailable. There were no aftercare instructions. Not even the name and address of the maker on a slip of paper. Nothing.

    The guy had to take his brand new instrument home on the bus with nothing more for protection than a store's named bag over the headstock.

    Now, I'm not knocking the maker or the store. It just seems that the musical instrument industry as a whole is prepared to sell (often very expensive) instruments with no thought at all of what happens after the money has changed hands.

    If you buy a kettle, say, for £15 it comes in a box with usage and aftercare instructions in 20 different languages. There's a guarantee form, maker's contact details and all the works.

    So what's going on?

    Why do we put up with this low level of service?

  2. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    This sounds to me like the store dropped the ball.

    Just because the tools weren't available, don't assume that the maker didn't send them with the instrument. Same goes for the warranty card, or care instructions. A manufacturer (especially one that makes high end gear) isn't going to send instruments out with stuff missing. At the very least, an instrument of value is going to come with a gig bag.

    I would wager money that the fault lies solely with the store for either a)trying to make more money by selling the case/bag seperately, or b)misplaced it, and don't want to settle up with the customer. And, as far as settling for this kind of stuff. I don't. If someone gave me a high end bass without a case/bag, and the materials that are supposed to come with an instrument, I would find a better dealer. It is up to the customer to know what comes with an instrument by doing their homework. And, if the store takes advantage of you, then you olny have yourself to blame. No one forces you to buy something you aren't 100% happy with.
  3. You might be right, Bassmonkee. I wasn't there at the time so I don't know the full details. I do know that the tools were eventually 'found' after another guy intervined. So from that angle, the shop were at fault.

    However I can say that the gist of my thread was raised with a very well known acoustic guitar maker at the UK Guitar show, last year. That company DID NOT AT THAT TIME supply aftercare instructions, nor a bag: the player was expected to buy that as an extra. The company were quite clearly unaware that customers might feel they needed such things. I found that very odd indeed.

    IMHO there is much apathy towards the buyers of guitars / basses on the part of the industry as a whole. For instance - and this is down to both makers and retailers - how many such instruments are for sale with dreadful setups? There is a USA Jazz in another shop with an action that must be close to 1". How on earth do those concerned expect players to try then perhaps buy something like that? It's just another facet of the same attitude IMHO.

  4. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Honestly, I think the set up thing falls with the store as well. I see you are in England, and there is no way that a bass shipped overseas from California to England can possibly have a good setup after a trip like that--I don't care if it was set up by Roger Sadowsky before it left. Any store worth their salt will make sure the instruments they sell are set up for playability. After all, you wouldn't buy a new car that had flat tires, or back fired when you test drove it, would you?

    As for the acoustic guitars, some builders are truly out of the loop when it comes to musicians' needs. The ones I have met tend to fall under the "Mad Scientist" category. Or, they would forget their feet if they weren't attached to their legs. If he fixed the problem after it was brought to their attention, at least it shows he can listen. If he ignored it, then the only option would be to vote with your checkbook. They'll get the message. All it takes is the ability to walk away from a deal.
  5. We're agreed. It is up to the shop. But I've seen reports of basses where the tester has said that the setup was great when he took the bass from it's unopened box. Perhaps not a really top setup but good nevertheless. I've a Squire Affinity P. The setup's really really good and I know it's not been adjusted by the shop. And I've seen the same basses hanging up, also with similar setups and the store has said that's how they come shipped.

    Dunno. Still can't help thinking the industry could do a lot more.

  6. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    There are always going to be exceptions on how an instrument is set up fresh out of the box. But, in the end, the store personnel are the ones who put it on the wall, and if it is set up poorly, they are the ones who dropped the ball. Putting a poorly set up instrument on the wall for display is akin to leaving a wad of gum on the neck that a careless customer left there. It might not be the fault of the store, but it is their job to maintain the inventory.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yeah it's undoubtedly the shop and nothing to do with the makers/manufacturers.

    There was a time when I was searching for the perfect Fender Jazz bass and tried literally hundreds in different shops in England. Some shops just take them out of the case bung them on the wall and then charge the retail price without including any of the extras which are supposed to be included :rolleyes:

    I tried loads of Jazz Basses and MusicMans that wer poorly set up to the point where they were unplayable, with staff who couldn't care less.

    But find a good shop and it's all different. So I happened to be on a Jazz Summerschool at the University of Glamorgan and went into Cardiff to "Cranes" music store. So I explained about the Jazz bass idea and that I would prefer a 5-string - sorted me out a few including the RB5 and took me to a sound-proof room at the back and let me plug into any of the great amp combinations they had and said to play them for an hour or so. The Roscoe Beck was set up perfectly and played like a dream, so I had to buy it.

    When they checked back on me, I told them I wanted it and they went off and found the case, which was sealed, with all the branded Fender accessories in sealed packs - truss rod adjuster, strap,lead, stickers, scematic diagrams of the electronics etc. etc.

    I must say the service was wonderful and all their basses were well setup - I have also since met people who bought the same bass from different shops and got nothing with it all!! :(
  8. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Some shops will advertise their prices on the internet mags etc as being cheaper than anyone else and they are. However they do not supply the case/extras with the instruments. Thats why it is cheaper.

    dont buy on advertised price alone.
  9. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    It is really all about what you want and how you buy. There many buyers out there who want to go into a store play a bass for hours, perhaps play 20 different basses for hours and want each one to be set up perfectly. I respect those people. I understand them. But others are like me.

    In my sixteen years of playing, I have probably bought for myself or helped others buy 20-25 basses. I can pick it up and know if I like the feel and balance in 30 seconds. Another one minute to examine the construction quality, 3-4 minutes though an amp that I am familiar with to run a few riffs of varying styles and I know whether or not it is a keeper. I can tell just by looking at the neck position, relief and the bridge saddle positions whether or not it can be set up properly. I know what I can do and what I want a bass to do.

    I would never pay someone to set up my bass. No matter how it is setup, I am still going to tweak it.

    I really do appreciate good service, and a good music store should be able to offer these kinds of things. But good service costs money. If a shop tech takes 90 minutes to set up a bass properly, it will be reflected in the cost.

    For my style, I care about on thing. PRICE. Wherever I get the best deal is where I am going to go. I guess that is why I like the huge chains so much. Great selection. Great price. Who cares if the sales help are idiots. I know what I am looking for.

    As for the tools. I guess I would expect a shopper to know what is offered with a new bass purchase. Most makers have websites and those sites list standard features and accessories. If they don't have it available, they either better get another one or discount the cost of you having to hunt it down yourself.

    As for the case, there was a post recently about that. Most all instruments are shipped in boxes without a case. For the most part, if the bass was shipped to the store in a case, they'll sell it with the case. Otherwise, you have to buy a case seperately. That is just part of the deal.

    I guess my question is why anyone would want to buy a bass and not buy a case? If I am buying an instrument, some sort of case or bag is part of the negotiations from the start. Any one willing to walk out of a store carrying a bass in a grocery sack has to also be willing to accept the fact that you bass might get trashed.

  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I do tweak my basses and with the RB5 mentioned I changed just about everything on it gradually over a period of months. But there are things that I would never touch - like active electronics - and I feel there is always the possibility of problems that I don't know how to resolve.

    So with my Tobias, I bought it from the Bass Centre in London and changed the strings to lighter gauges as they seemed to suit it; but I started to get an annoying rattle. I wasn't sure what it was - sounded like something "inside" the neck rattling to me.

    But I took it back to the Bass Centre and their setup guy identified the problem for me immediately and explained the setup issues to me. So basically the nut slots were too deep for the gauge of E and A strings I was using - he was able to remedy this for me in a way that didn't compromise the setup and string gauge I wanted, by filling the slots with ground up nut dust and quick setting glue. It was all sorted out in about 20 minutes and I learnt a lot about setup generally and for that particular bass.
    He charged me nothing and even gave me a particular small spanner that made adjusting the dual truss rods easier.

    To me this sort of service and advice is invaluable - I could say priceless - and so I will always try to support good shops and would never buy a bass mail order.
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I'm with Bruce on this one. I expect good service when I buy from a shop if they expect to get my money.

    While I can set up my basses myself, I really expect a shop to care about what it is selling enough to make sure it's in tip top shape. Whether it's set up for my tastes, or not, it should be set up at least to manufacturers specs. It isn't that difficult.

    I remember there was a bass at GC in the area that had a broken knob, and a scratchy input jack. Every time I was there, I pointed it out to the sales guys--different ones. And, it stayed broken for 4 months. This was a $3000 bass. Why would I trust ANY inventory from a store that cares so little about its merchandise?

    I usually bring a tuner, and my gui-tool when I try basses out. And, I'll set them up before I play them. Nothing too major--just raise the action since they usually have a string sitting on the fingerboard, and maybe the intonation. It's sad that I have to do that.