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Thoughts on opening a Guitar Center...

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by ElBajista, Jan 7, 2006.


  1. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    I recently did a search on any information about Guitar Centers and the overall consensus is: Bad management, horrid setups, unintelligent staff, and battered floor gear, among other horror stories. I've seen this myself, as I've been to several different stores, including Sam Ash(es), and I was appalled by the state of the instruments, the WalMart-like overstocking, and the overall worthlessness of the employees.

    Guitar Center could potentially be a much better company and could have much better stores. but it is the failings and inadequacy of the management that gives this company such a bad reputation.

    I realize that not all music stores are this bad, I'm talking about the 6 or 7 I've been to. Also, at one store there was one experienced bass-playing salesperson who actually discussed woodtypes and the overall differences in brand and basstype construction. He even fetched and opened a box containing a factory-fresh Spector Euro for me, just so I could try it out. I didn't even have to use the usual, "I have $500 and want to buy a bass today" speal. A needle in the haystack, he was.

    So, this got me to thinking: What about maybe opening a Guitar Center, only running it better and hiring qualified technicians and salespeople? I plan for the far future, of course, I'm only 17.

    Does anyone on this board work for/manage/own a Guitar Center? If so, what are your thoughts on my idea?

    Is Guitar center even a franchise like Burger King, or is it a self-contained company such as Walmart?
     
  2. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    way off-topic: i'm disappointed; i thought this was the return of "contrabajista." :(
     
  3. ElBajista

    ElBajista

    Dec 13, 2005
    Sebring, FL
    :eyebrow: Former flame?

    :D
     
  4. The local music store I go to is like that. It's awesome because all the people working there are great musicians and know what they're talking about. You can go there just to hang out or ask questions, etc. :bassist:
     
  5. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass

    Dec 26, 2004
    The one by my place is like that too, gear usually in good shape though there is the ocassional broken string, etc. and everyone is really nice and knows what they're doing. But I'll admit I'm lucky, many people have to deal with badly managed/stocked music stores and have to struggle to get some decent bare necessities
     
  6. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I admire you aiming high @ 17 and even thinking business like, but I've never met a GC owner, just managers and they are run out of Indiana I believe.
    The turnover there is high, the managers very young, which implies to me low pay. The musicians that do know thier stuff have working bands so their income is supplemented.
    I'd say until people stop shopping there they will not change their business model, and they have stuff going out in droves everyday. If you get the right person, they can beat anyones price they want. Running smaller stores out of business.
    Your best bet is find a niche market and compete w/ them. Bass Central went high end and carries stuff GC doesn't and they are selling all over the US and overseas for that matter out of one little place in Florida. They're kicking butt.
    Other wise you better have a LOT of money and some VERY good industry contacts.

    I've never worked at GC, but I do know some managers. As for me I ran a Wholesale Supply House for 10 yrs.
     
  7. dee rob

    dee rob

    Feb 3, 2003
    austin, tx
    As a former Asst Manager at GC, I guess I'm somewhat qualified to post a reply here. The company is self contained ( no franchises) and is headquartered in California. As for the quality of the stores, merchandise, etc.....that is really more of an idividual store thing. The store that I worked in had many knowledgable players in all depts. Some GC's are certainly better than others. I feel as though some of the folks on this board can be a little hard on GC. I've heard all the complaints, bad set ups, dumb employees...etc. I'm not saying that none of this is true, I've certainly been in enough stores to see that you will run across this from time to time. I guess the problem that I have with all the complaints is this.....there would be far fewer bad setups, and beat up instruments if we ( the consumers ) showed just a little respect for the instruments. GC is a hands on store, you can literally play anything in the store that you want. Whether its $300 or $3,000, all you have to do is ask. The problem with that is that you get customers who don't respect the fact that they are playing a high end instrument, and beat the hell out of it. As an employeee, you do your best to avoid that, but you can't see everything. I doubt that I would have had to setup 4-5 basses a day, if customers just showed a little respect. As far as dumb employees go, yes GC does have some. Does GC also have highly competent professionals as well? Of course they do, I have some very good friends who still work at various stores throughout the country. Again, it becomes a bit of a catch 22. Before the chain exploded in size, it was much easier to make a good living at GC. However, just as GC exploded, the internet exploded. What you have now is a situation where a customer can come in try out whatever they want, pick the salesperson's brain on various options etc, and then buy the instrument elsewhere. It's hard for any company to keep employees in that kind of environement. I guess the moral of the story is, if we want GC to be better, we have to be better consumers as well. I can still remember a time when I couldn't just walk into a music store and play whatever I wanted. I like this way better. Anyway, that's just my opinion....sorry for rambling on.

    dee
     
  8. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Deptford, NJ
    serena.... yes....
     
  9. AxtoOx

    AxtoOx

    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    Your not rambling this is infomative, and GC does get beat up a lot around here, but we all have good stories about at least 1 salesman per store, I had 2. Sorry about the Indiana thing, I knew they were owned in Calif. someone told me Indiana and w/ all the buyouts, I bought it.
    The turnover explains a lot of the complaints and I think you did a good job of explaining that.

    BTW, when I was a kid there were some instruments we couldn't play, if it was obvious we couldn't afford them. It's funny now because one of them was a BC Rich. Now they're beginner guitars.
     
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    You would not be able to afford to pay those types of people selling $300 Behringer amps. The big box stores are not about what you want to do. With some exceptions, they hire people who can breathe and type. Anything more than that is too costly, driving up the bottomw line, driving up inventory prices, etc.

    You are best off taking your idea to a smaller scale, and open a small shop with only a couple employees. A few TB'ers have done that. Guys like Jive1, and Daveomite come to mind right away. There are others.

    -Mike
     
  11. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I remember that time, too. It was Tuesday when I went to Guitar Center and they only had the same stuff they always have.

    I have been asking them to carry any kind of five string bass with the wide string spacing at the bridge. I would prefer it to be a 35" scale, if possible. But all I truly require is wide spacing at the bridge, so that it will fit my hands. It doesn't have to be something fancy. They carry brands of basses that do have wide fives, but they still haven't ever gotten one in. But we're a sleepy little town of only a third of a million people. Maybe those are going to the bigger cities.
     
  12. +1. I think that there's also the fact that people go to a place and get a good deal, walk out and everything's great. If they go in and get a raw deal, or have a problem, they've got to tell the whole world about it! Human nature, I suppose, but personally, I'm getting tired of hearing everyone bitching about everything! We've become quite a society of complainers and it's really getting very wearing when everytime I sit and talk to someone or look at a site like this, the only thing on the topic front is how bad things are going or what lousey service we get from some companies. Quit bitching and go somewhere else to get your stuff. That's what it's all about. Free commerce. Go where YOU like the deals and stay away from the rest. If they're that bad and people quite going there, they won't be in business anymore. (Amazing how many people here are complaining about GC, but keep going there!)
    ...or is bitching considered "advertising" in reverse, now??? :rollno:

    Sorry. It's very late and I'm feeling alittle "bitchy"! :bag:
    Y'all have a good night! ;)
     
  13. Bard2dbone

    Bard2dbone

    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Okay, looking at it that way...My GC (the one here in Arlington) seems to be the best one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They do have more competent, knowing staff tahn I have encountered at the Fort Worth store, or any of the Dallas stores. I just feel that they have gotten a lot of money from me over the years. And I would freely give them more if they would bring in what I want. But someone in management, there or elsewhere, is actively deciding to ignore my requests.

    Apparently my money isn't good enough for them.
     
  14. steve21

    steve21 Banned

    For the people who have worked there, can you guys answer me something?

    For every, say, 100 bucks a GC employee sells, how much of that will they see?
     
  15. dee rob

    dee rob

    Feb 3, 2003
    austin, tx
    Unfortunately, one of the rules of retail, is stock what you can sell. Apparently there isn't a huge demand for wide spaced 5's in your area. Is there a particular make/model that you are looking for. Outside of the one wide spaced thumb 5 that I special ordered for a customer, I didn't see any other brand new wide spaced 5's. However, if your not opposed to used, any of the AM's can do a chainwide search of used gear if your interested.

    dee
     
  16. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca

    thank you!

    i will now search for old posts and maybe cry a little. :(

    :D
     
  17. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    By wide, do you mean wider spacing than a 4 string? I'm asking because the GC near me is in a sleepy town (about 50K people) and they normally have wide 5 Warwicks and usually a Pedulla Rapture of some sort.
     
  18. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
  19. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Deptford, NJ
    i don't know what you are talking about.

    i was merely showing concern for a fellow bassist whom i hadn't talked to in a while.
     
  20. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    For GC to have well set up instruments, you have to take away the petting zoo.

    This is what I like about GC, the fact that anyone can walk in, pull the most expensive bass off the wall, plug it into the fanciest amp and biggest cab, wank for half an hour and not buy anything.

    A teenager will be hard pressed to get such a treat in a traditional music store.