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What qualifies a "Good/Great" dealer?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Rich Briere, Jul 21, 2000.

  1. Rich Briere

    Rich Briere

    Jul 5, 2000
    OK, here's your chance to politely sound off as to what you'd like to see your LOCAL music store doing that would make you more likely to do business there.

    Let's leave out the obvious stuff: Lower prices, FREE!, etc. What SHOULD they be doing that they're not doing?

    Do you TELL the shop owner about their shortcomings as you see them, or, do you just tell others/friends about the store's shortcomings?

    Your "polite" thoughts please.

    Bass-ically Yours,
    Rich Briere
  2. membranophone


    Mar 19, 2000
    Madison, WI
    it'd be great if stores included the cases with basses that are supposed to come with them. also, if they could hire employees that know something about the products they are selling, that would be an improvement.
  3. The one thing that is really lacking at the music stores I go to is instrument maintenance. Half the basses I pick up to play either have dead strings, or the neck is way out of adjustment and it buzzes from top to bottom.
  4. dmaki


    Apr 29, 2000
    There are a few stores around me that I go to. There is Guitar Center, which has good prices, but most of the salesmen there are jerks just trying to push products out the door for commission. There are some cool guys there, but most of them are jerks. There are 2 independent shops near me too. One of them isn't very good, mainly because they don't have much selection and everything is overpriced, plus the dude that owns the place is creepy (ex-drug addict who's not having such a fun time...) and isn't too friendly. Then there is Joe's Music (which now has 2 locations) and the people there are cool. They help you out as soon as you come through the door, don't mind if you just come and mess around with all the basses, and tell you things that you really don't need. For instance, I just got new EMG pickups installed there and got a setup. When I first walked in I was looking to buy passive pickups, but after explaining the sound I wanted, they said to go with active. Then I asked them to wire it for 18v instead of 9v, but they said it doesn't really make that much of a difference and to try it out with 9v, and if I don't like it to come in and they'll wire it for 18v. They also put GHS Boomer's B52's on when I got everything set up because they were out of regular Boomers (because they were out) and I hated the sound of the B52's, so they said to come in and they put Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky's on for free for me, which are much better. Plus, they have relatively competitive prices to Guitar Center. I think the most important thing in a music store in a knowledgable and friendly staff, and competitive low prices help too. That's just my 2 cents...

    "Music's what I need to keep my sanity." - 311

  5. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Rich ~

    For me the biggest gripe I have is lack of selection. Madison is a relatively small town and there really are basically two music stores. They just don't stock much in the way of basses or bass amps that I'm interested in. They will stock plenty of MIM and such but so far I've only seen one reissue and neither of the two dealers carries any used gear to speak of. Even small items like strings, I find that they have a rather limited inventory. Financially, they may be unable to do much about this because of the demographics of their location but it doesn't help me and therefore, I find myself buying quite a lot of gear over the net or I drive to Guitar Center in Chicago.

    Oh and BTW, I don't find that their prices are overwhelmingly good either.
  6. Rich Briere

    Rich Briere

    Jul 5, 2000
    Excellent relies so far. The question that's being neglected here, however, is this: Do you "politely" make your feelings known to the BOSS? It's MUCH more important than you might think. :)

    Bass-ically Yours,
  7. For me the number one trait I look for is educated staff. So many of the music stores have staff that don't have a clue about the gear they are selling. I live in Canada and we have two main chains for central and eastern Canada: Steve's Music and Long & McQuade. Both of these stores leave much to be desired. The sales staff at Steve's act like they are rock stars and for most of my dealings with them have been clueless. I have vowed never to shop there again. Long and McQuade are a bit better but their guitar and bass staff act as though you are bothering them when you ask for help. (actually their old bass guy was cool, but he quit!)
    There are smaller independant stores but most of them lack quality gear and good prices. There is a shop in Toronto that is called Club Bass. This is the main shop that I buy gear at now. The owner is a guy named Dave Freeman and he is very knowledgeable about equipment. He carries gear that is more high end (EA,Kern, Sadowsky etc.) Dave has never steered me wrong when it comes to gear. He is always courteous and offers individual attention to customers. I wish all stores were like this!
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Hey, Rich. great topic. I can't wait to see it in Miscellaneous. wink.

    Will C. cool.

    I'm not a genius. I'm just a hard working guy.

  9. Things I think make a great music store:
    <LI> A good selection from low priced MIM Fenders to mid priced MIA Fenders to high priced Laklands.
    <LI> Knowledgable salesmen that are there when you need them but know when to take a hike and let you check things out.
    <LI> A good, quiet place to check stuff out with no stereo blaring, no wankers twangin' away on Marshalls set to 11, no other bassists doin' their Flea impersonations. Preferably small sound proofed areas set off to the side where you can go in and have the space all to yourself. I've only seen that at one music store and, sadly, they're gone now.
    <LI> A policy that allows you to take the equipment you're interested in purchasing and use it on a gig or an excellent return policy.
    <LI> Zero interest long term credit plan (okay, maybe that's a little overboard smile. ).

    Have I ever told any of the music stores these things? No. I guess I've had the attitude that its up to them how they run their business and if I like it then I'll buy and if I don't, then I won't. I let my $$$ do the talking.


  10. ross

    ross Guest

    Mar 17, 2000
    rich i live near you i have say just to have a guitar center or mars would be awesome there is a lack of great music stores in our area.sure there are some music stores around here i am curious to know whitch store you go to?

    save the trees ban john turner conklins
  11. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bass Boy:
    Both of these stores leave much to be desired. The sales staff at Steve's act like they are rock stars and for most of my dealings with them have been clueless. I have vowed never to shop there again.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Next time you're up to Ottawa, if it's during the day (aka during school hours), you should drop by Steve's on Rideau. I've dealt primarily with Dwayne, an older fellow there who's pretty knowledgable and easy-going.

    I say during school hours because when school's out or it's the weekend, the store is packed. You can sit down in the bass section and try the stock at your leisure. If the setup isn't to your liking, Dwayne will modify it accordingly.

    Nice thing is, if you don't like the stock flavours, they'll call up Montreal or Toronto and get you something else. Take my fretless Peavey Axcelerator. They had a gold one that I played and liked, even used in our demo session; there was a cyan (sky blue) one in Montreal that they shipped in and had for me in a few days. The climates were different enough that I did have to take the instrument back in to get some final setup done - no problems there.

    I'll have to check out that Bass store next time I'm in TO though; thanks for the heads-up.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I like a store with salespeople who know less than I do about their product. I also like transactions to take at least an hour. I never want to see the same salesperson twice. I want hundreds of guitars on the wall, but I don't want a single one of them to be set up properly. I want easy access to the high-end basses, so I can take them off the wall and put my belt-buckle signature on them. Unfortunately, I just can't seem to find an establishment that meets my criteria. Can you?
  13. at the gc near my house, they only have the combo amps on, and the amp heads (the nicer ones) unplugged, and yell at you when i try to turn them on, oh, and all the basses buzz and sound the same.
    And the slappers, i want to kill them all!
  14. Rich,

    Aside from the obvious music store requirements, I think that most dealers could use a good dose of common customer service advice. For instance, my local used shop (Galaxy Music-Stone Mt.,GA - no affiliation) recognizes me everytime I come into the store. I've bought some small things there but until recently hadn't bought a guitar. That doesn't stop them from a warm greeting and essentially allowing me run of the store for my own purposes. Of course that has kept me coming back and eventually it paid off with a bigger than usual sale.
  15. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    I spend an incredible amount of time and bucks in various music stores and have never said anything to the owner if I thought something was wrong or bothered me. I tell them with my dollar. A good portion of them seem to have an attitude of if you don't like it go somewhere else.

    Now conversely, I do try to tell them when things are good, taking the positive approach. Jerry J
  16. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Here are a few suggetions, brought to you by the company that makes me think of suggesting changes (Guitar Center... and some Sam Ash)
    (Sorry if I repeat, too)

    POORLY SET UP INSTRUMENTS: It's not tough to adjust them. Granted, in a store with 400 guitars, adjusting all of them is tough, but they should at least have a few set up and then adjust the others when they are sold. I played a few basses in my day with the strings hitting the pickup (plus a spector with the string resting on the pickup).
    SALESPEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW SQUAT OR LIE: Some guys are just plain FOS when you ask them about a product. Also, I took my Warwick in for an adjustment. They broke the truss rod and took 3 months getting it fixed by a pro. Either these people need training or put them in a field they know.
    AMPS NOT PLUGGED IN: Come on, people. This is the very least thing that they should do.
    BROKEN/DEAD STRINGS: Put good ones on in the first place (basses at least). GC put some elixirs on a MM stingray and it sounded great for months.
    PEOPLE IN THEIR SALES SPOT: I've been places and the salesmen are nowhere to be found. No cords either. This may be because of understaffing too.

    There are more, but I've got stuff to do.

    Carpet cleaning sucks
  17. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Big Wheel, I'm gonna let it sit here for a bit longer, then I'll zap it over to ya. (It's sorta related to buying basses smile. )


    I can't add too much different than what's already been said. Not getting what comes with an intrument is a biggie for me, not just the cases (that Guitar Center policy has to be the worst thing in the biz), but also the accessories, hang tags, "manuals", etc that all ship with the instrument. No excuse for not supplying those.

    Could anyone here imagine buying a car and not getting the manual, spare tire, and jack?

    I know that issue has been discussed to death on other forums, but, really, it's almost embarrassing, and I wish manufacturers wouldn't let GC get away with that. Why should Fender, for example, bother putting all those accessory packages together when they're just going to sit in a big box in the back of some shop's warehouse?

    Knowledgable sales staff. Not $5/hr guys on commission, but career oriented buyer assistants. (I know, I'm living in a fantasy world, but could you imagine?) Anyone that's ever dealt with Sweetwater knows what I'm talking about. Those guys will all but come to your house and hook things up for you. Outstanding.

    Instruments set up properly.

    About 6-10 "practice rooms" (like dressing rooms at a department store) where serious buyers can tote a bass and an amp and try things out in privacy and quiet.

    That's about it for what I can think of at 7 am...


    [This message has been edited by gmstudio99 (edited July 24, 2000).]
  18. Gear_Junky


    Jul 11, 2000
    There's basically 3 music stores in the area - Guitar Center, Sam Ash (chains) and Sodja Music - privately owned.

    I never bought anything big from GC, but still had a problem with them and had to deal with unprofessional staff and attitudes. Some of my friends bought equipment from them and had plenty of problems.

    Sodja was the store where I bought my first good guitar and many other things since then. They were there long before GC and SA. They have fair prices, but don't have enough people to attend to the customers all the time. I still have a good relationship with them, cuz they deal with me on a personal level, give me good discounts, excellent service, etc. They're also my small parts supplier, cuz they can get most stuff in a matter of days.

    Sam Ash is my favorite store. I've been shopping there since they opened here about 4 years ago or so. They treated me very well - knowledgeable help & support. They always help me with unusual issues. Their problems are that their system is outdated and it takes very long to complete transactions.

    The way I'm treated at a store is very important. I do spend much money on gear but I don't like salesmen looking down on you if they think you're not buying anything this time. That's exactly why I never bought anything except used effects pedals and pickups from Guitar Center. Oh, they also declined me credit, although I have credit with SA and Sodja. I know it's not the staff's fault, but still.
  19. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Some of this is wish-list stuff, but here goes:

    -- Personal service -- salespeople who know me when I come in (especially if I've already dropped a couple Gs on gear in the place!) and will help me buy what I want.

    -- Knowledgeable sales staff -- These guys ought to be at least somewhat expert in what they're selling.

    -- A good selection -- They don't have to stock EVERYTHING on the planet, but there ought to be a good variety in terms of price and range.

    -- Good in-store technical service -- Nice to know that if I have a problem, or even if I just want a piece of gear modded or setup, I can take it back where I got it and not ship it off to strangers.

    -- A willingness to sell me what I want -- Even if it isn't in stock. Stores like to sell what's on the floor (hey, inventory is money), but I may not want that. If they want my business, they'll factory order it for me.

    -- Good pricing -- I didn't say best or lowest pricing. Most of the stores I know that provide the other things on my list are smaller stores that can't offer rock-bottom pricing. I'm willing to pay a little more for good service, although I don't want to get totally rolled either. Typically, however, I've found that the stores specializing in good service usually have competitive pricing.

    Thats it for me.
  20. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I don't want to beat a dead horse even more, but I'll tell you that I couldn't agree more.

    But, in response to your other question, "Do I tell the owners how I feel?" Generally not. I feel that if I walk into a store and have the feeling the salesperson is just going to try to take advantage of me like I'm a novice buyer, then I'll let 'em rot away! I have all the real gear I want right now, and don't care to spend money in those places. That's an advantage of living in Chicago.

    If they treat me with some respect and ASK me...actually sit me down and ASK ME, I'd probably offer some opinions. Guitar Center is the worst!!! Oh...wait...Sam Ash is a close second!

    I remember once I bought a Modulus (which is gone now). I was not only treated courteously...very courteously, that I'd have bought the instrument from them even if it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. They even called me at home with follow-up calls to see how I liked it, about 1-2 months later! In addition, the salesman sent me a HANDWRITTEN thankyou note!

    That was impressive. Oh...one more thing that impressed me? I went in to that same store a few months later for a new set of strings and the salesman remembered my name!

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