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Who owns what? Corporate monopolies, etc.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Blackbird, Aug 21, 2000.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Have you noticed that although new companies are popping up all the time, there is a trend among manufacturers to simply bring old names? For instance, Fender bought Guild to compete with Martin and with Gibson, Sunn to make up for their low credibility in the bass amp field. There is no interest to improve their product. They just bring an old name back from the dead.

    Gibson owns Steinberger and Tobias due to their lack of recognition in the bass guitar field. The examples obviously don't end there.

    Of course, we all end up losing in the end, as competition is reduced as stores are filled with products from a single company. Guitar Center has plenty of Fenders,Squiers, Guilds and DeArmonds, but I've never even seen a Ken Smith in my life! :(

    Granted, the price ranges differ, but you get the general idea. I can't help but imagine how many smaller builders can't get any exposure in the stores because there isn't any room for them, let alone the interest to make room for them. To me, the addition of the Conklin Groove Tool line to GC's inventory is a miracle. Why don't they carry Reverends?

    Maybe this rant is going in a thousand directions at once, but I'd like some general comments on this state of affairs.

    Will C.:cool:

  2. hell_awaits


    May 2, 2000
    I think it just has to do with the fact that guitar center is your typical capitalist corporation. They sacrifice diversity(product wise) and decent customer service(they're some real d!ckheads working there, and they are far from knowledgeable too). I personally hate the place, but I don't have much of a choice since it's the only local music shop. Though; if I was considering the purchase of an amp or another bass, I would definitely opt for another shop(I think it's worth the 40 minute drive).
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I used GC as an example. I chose it as a name that most people would recognize. I'm looking for opinions on the trend of false competition created by many brand names being owned by a single company and the resulting lack of options to consumers. Good point though.

    Will C.:cool:
  4. SmartLobster


    Mar 26, 2000
    Isn't their something saying that corporate monopolies must be broken up? Sherman Anti-trust law or something? I dunno. If Fender and Gibson are buying smaller conglomerates, then even if you buy something from a little company, chances are you're still buying something Fenderish or Gibsonish, somehow. I'm a little confused, but still, i know they broke up the Standard Oil place years ago for what seems to be the same reason...
  5. BaroqueBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Salem, OR
    You are correct Biski! Howevers, Sherman Anti-Trust usually applies to monopolies that affect a large portion of the American population. Everybody uses oil (Standard) most everybody uses telephones (Ma Bell) and most everybody uses Windows (Microsoft) Howeverrrrrrrrrr.. as much as we would like it to happen, most peoples' lives don't hinge on the fact that if they don't get that Lakland 4-string then they'll fall into a deep dark depression from which they'll never awaken. (I want a Lakland 4-string by the way. ^_^) But I'm sure you can e-mail your congressperson and ask them to look into this.
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Small builders can't get space in the megastores because they are geared towards products that move quickly. That's typically in a lower price range for the lowest common denominator. This is where the boutique bass stores and the Internet have an opportunity to thrive. If you want something out of the norm this is what you'll probably have to deal with.

    As far as lack of competition goes, there's competition, from Carvin, from offshore manufacturers, from small builders here and abroad. Most people will probably buy a Fender, Ibanez, MusicMan or a Warwick, that's what they see in the stores and on TV.

    As a small builder, it's a tough business. You have to be financially strong enough to weather the startup, the period prior to acceptance of your instrument, if that ever happens. Even if you're very successful I doubt you'll be lighting cigars with $100 bills anytime soon.

    In the case of Gibson, while they're not one of my favorite companies by a long shot and their long term strategy eludes me, they didn't buy Tobias under duress. The end result so far is that Tobiases are now available to practically anyone who can afford a bass. Good or bad thing?...I don't know.
  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    one of the biggest reasons the GC buyers gave to westheimer and conklin as to why they were really interested in getting the groove tools line in their stores was that the managers of the 2 stores in Atlanta were pushing them to check them out.

    one of the biggest reasons for this was that i went to both stores often with my custom basses. the GC buyers even mentioned my name to the westheimer guys and to bill conklin - the store managers really liked what they saw of my customs, and liked the reaction of the customers whenever i came to the store, and i gave them the pitch about the groove tools, which really motivated them.

    the stores in atlanta used to be owned by rhythm city - the marietta store was originally american music. while i didn't go to rhythm city too much, i probably spent US$20,000 at american music in bass gear and recording gear. when they moved and got bought, the guys at american, who, unlike the usual GC employees, were older and had worked at american a long time (like years). anyway, i got to know the manager of the marietta store pretty well, jeff fontina, and he really pushed their buyers to check out the groove tools after he checked out my basses.

    i am not trying to say that i was solely responsible for the basses getting in to GC - i'm sure the basses themselves had something to do with it :D - but i do know that the GC buyers would've been a bit leery of getting new instruments into the stores that they felt wouldn't move quickly or wouldn't have any interest. the atlanta stores saw how much interest there was in my basses - every time i went in to a store with one i would spend a coupla hours talking to guys about it, and giving them info and conklin catalogs. so my involvement definitely helped, enough for the GC buyers to actually mention me by name to the Westheimer people - the owners of the plant where the groove tools are made.
  8. I have seen two Reverend Rumblefish basses at the Lynnwood, WA GC. Most of the stuff they carry is crap, though. Lots of Ibanez, mexican fender, and low end Yamaha. Even at a corporate store there are still individuals that work there, though. Once you get to know the people going to a 7-11 (one on every corner) music store is not that bad.
  9. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    You're exactly right BW (let me make that perfectly clear upfront please). The saddest part is that this technique works. People buy the big brand names they've heard of. So, its easier for a company to buy its way into a category than it is for them to research, develop, and market its way into it.

    Its very discouraging to go from store to store and see the same three brands of basses these days.
  10. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I hope that you're also taking the time to read (and understand) other people's posts yourself, Brewer. You don't have to worry about me. After all, as you said once, I'm a genius...

    Glad to see the thread back at the top, though.

    Will C.:cool:
  11. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    Good call BW. I didnt read everything thoroughly cuz I'm F'ing off at work and have to sneak my visits here quickly. But the topic is one I get very frustrated with and wanted to weigh in too. Sorry if I duplicated anyone else's posts.


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