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The end of Low Down Sound?!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by levis76, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. levis76

    levis76 Seconds from getting ba...

    Apr 14, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    :crying: That's right, Low Down Sound in Ferndale, MI is going out of business. Owner and renowned bassist Don Oatman is still going to be supplying the bass world with his wonderful custom cabinets and restoring old cabs to better than new condition from his home in Grosse Point, but the business itself is shutting down for good. I wish all his employees the best of luck in finding new jobs. A sad day indeed. :bawl:
  2. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Very sad :( I bought an LDS cab and Don was very helpful. I recommended LDS whenever I could.
  3. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Wow. That is too bad. Do you happen to know the reason(s)? Was the store not bringing in enough revenue? Or maybe Don just wanted to concentrate on building cabs, and he couldn't justify the extra overhead?

    In any event, I am relieved to hear that he will continue to build custom cabs, as I had received a quote from him for some cabs that I would still like to order when I can. Would you happen to know if his contact information will remain the same?

  4. :crying:I was doing my regular browsing on a couple of sites and i came across this on the front page of Low down sound:

    "Low Down Sound will be closing its doors for good on 09-19-2008. We'd like to thank bass players worldwide for supporting us the last 6+ years. Stop into the store for special inventory liquidation deals."

    That SUCKS! I never even got to check out the store--one of the only (if not the only) all bass stores in michigan i might add. I know there are some sweet LDS cabs floating around TB too. I wonder the circumstances. :meh:
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    That kills that idea - I thought bass players would want something built for them to their own specs and not just buy off the rack gear.
    They'll become legendary.
  6. why is this happening!?!
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's a real tough business, owning a music store, even when you build such nice stuff. I didn't own any of his cabs, but he seems like a good guy from what people say on here, and his cabs were sweet looking with a cool vintage thing going on. I wish the guy best of luck in his future plans.
  8. I hope he resurfaces at somepoint to do more cabs, I had a few ideas I was hopin would be brought to fruition :crying:

    But still, wishin them the best of luck with the future :)
  9. Just to clarify, Don will still be making LDS cabs. The cabs were really never a direct part of the retail store, and Don's primary workshop for cab building was not in the retail store (he just did final assembly in the back room).

    As other's have posted above, the economy is rough right now, and even rougher in Detroit. I think the combination of less and less gigs for the working musician in Detroit, the bad economy in general, and the lease/rent on the store continuing to increase all combined in a sort of 'perfect storm' to sink them.

    I will really miss that store. It was a very cool place, nice people, and a wonderful location to meet and hang with other players.

    However, again, the cabinet business will continue on, and my guess is, Don will have even more time now to focus on that side of the business (as far as I know at this point). I assume there will be a new website for Don's cabs soon.

  10. +10
    I haven't been around long but LowDown Sound will be missed.
  11. OldogNewTrick


    Dec 28, 2004
    Germany, EU

    cool, I really like browsing his collection of custom cabs.
    Loads of neat non-mainstream ideas there.
  12. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC

    Not sure people outside of the Detroit area realize how bad things are there.
  13. staccatogrowl

    staccatogrowl Savoring time on a spinning, shimmery, aqua sphere Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2006
    "Detroit is the nation's poorest big city, with about one in three residents living below the federal poverty level -- $19,157 in household income for a family of four.

    The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that 33.6% of Detroiters had income below the poverty level in 2004, compared with about 23% in 2002. In the two-year span, "you're talking somewhere easily between 75,000 to 80,000 more people living in poverty" in Detroit, said Kurt Metzger, research director of Wayne State University's Center for Urban Studies."

    Not many buying basses . . . many struggling to buy food . . . :help:
  14. Detroit is definitely an interesting and complex city. My wife and I have been here a little over 4 years, and we have grown to love the city.

    It really is the clearest example of the 'haves and have nots' dichotomy that I've seen. The 30 to 50 or so square blocks downtown anchored by the baseball and football stadiums and the Fox Theatre is just wonderful, and we head down there all the time. It's very alive at night, lot's of concert venues, restaurants, clubs, etc.

    Also, the near in suburbs (we live in the Grosse Pointe area) are as nice as anything we've experienced in the other cities that we have lived in, and the 'farther out' suburbs are also very nice, if you are into that sort of thing.

    However, the vast majority of the City of Detroit is very, very sad. The poverty is overwhelming when driving from the burbs into the downtown 'hub'. However, it's a gritty city that has a lot of spunk and attitude, and I hope somehow, someway, things will get at least a little better for that 33.6% that you cite.

    The Low Down Sound thing was tough. They were quite 'high end' when I first started hanging out there (there was always a new Smith, a Fodera, a Roscoe, some Sadowky Metro's, etc. on the wall). That high end business seems very tough for a small 'bricks and mortar' store, since there is such a bigger selection of these types of instruments available on the web from the bigger stores, and also 'pure internet dealers, like Austin Bass Traders (for example). I think it also became very expensive to pay for these high end basses up front, and then having them hang in the store for 2 or 3 months prior to sale.

    Then, they seemed to change strategy and go 'mid line and downscale' (lot's of lower end Ashdown, Hartke, recently Genz, etc.). Nice stuff, but they were then competing directly with the Guitar Center type store. As mentioned above, a small 'mom and pop' retail music store (especially one focused on just one instrument) is a tough deal.

    It really was just an awesome place. Many times, I'd be in there hanging out, and you'd hear some guy just playing beautifully, and then find out that he is Aretha Franklin's bass player, etc. (I'm not kidding). Amazing experience.

  15. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I bought my first BSX at LDS :(
  16. kazamamaster

    kazamamaster Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    LDS CLOSING? WHAT!?!?!?!!?!? They also are liquidating the store? Why did I have to be so far away from home when this happened?

    Seriously, man, I was just visiting my family back home in Detroit back in June and happened to be in the Royal Oak area, and I decided to stop by LDS just to say hi to everyone. Afterall I hadn't visited the store in years after moving here to VA. Come to find out, I completely forgot that the store doesn't even open until 12pm lol. I was there at 11am. So, I didn't make my wife wait the hour for the store to open and missed my opportunity to see LDS once more.

    I feel even worse knowing I won't be able to make it to Detroit by Friday. Are you guys back home throwing some sort of party/going away thing for those guys?
  17. qtowens


    May 30, 2008
    Ferndale, MI
    I don't think that the full realization of the loss we all are about to experience will be realized in the short term. With the attitudes of todays "disposable society", where we can get what we want when we want, the uniqueness and personalized service that Don and Ryan give is something that will become somewhat legendary.

    I remember when the only musical instrument store in Ferndale was Georges Guitar. Other than that, you went to Meyers Music (God, I hope I spelled that right...!) in R.O. If you could get there, Zoppi's on 8 mile was the place you really wanted to go. Huber's was too far out for me to get to (at the time). Basically... THAT WAS YOUR OPTIONS!!!

    I would recommend to all who can, please visit the store and let Don and Ryan know what they've meant to our community these last six years. Dig deep and buy some stuff to help them with the final "move" out. Lastly, realize that the lucky ones of us who have personally dealt with them are all better people on some level than we were before.

    God Bless,

    Ron 'QT' Owens

  18. Actually, Ryan is the only one really left, and we see him all the time. Don spent less and less time in the store itself, given his cab business, and Bob left quite a while ago.

    It's been kind of a 2 month slow 'wind down'. The store has been pretty empty for a couple of months already.

    I'm sure most of us will pop by one last time on Friday. Ryan hopefully will be working at another shop in town (and by definition beefing up the bass section of that store). We all hope that happens.
  19. I will definitely be ordering another cab from Don. His work is top notch and my LDS cab with Beyma Speakers is my #1, my Epifani UL310 is my #2. That's ashamed the store is closing, but I'm just glad the cab business will continue!

  20. Hey guys. I just talked to Don to make sure I was giving you all the right scoop.

    While closing down the retail store is obviously taking a lot of his time and energy at the moment, he is totally pumped about putting 100% of his effort into his cabinet design business.

    He indicated that he would have a temporary update to the current site that will explain everything and provide new contact info in a couple weeks or so, and then will launch a new site dedicated 100% to the cab business.


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