Why don't stores set up basses decently?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rickdog, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    Yesterday I stopped in a music store I don't get to very often, just to browse. They had an Epiphone Jack Casady on the rack. Jack was one of my very first inspirations to play bass, and I've always had a little GAS for one of these....

    Took it down to noodle around on it, and YIKES! The action was high, but the G string buzzed from about the 7th fret up to at least 12th.

    I really doubt anything was wrong with the instrument that couldn't have been fixed with about a half hour of setup.

    Why would a store have a nice instrument like this in nearly unplayable condition?
  2. All the basses at the local Guitar Center have twangy, old strings and some have messed up action. They'd make a lot more money if they took the short amount of time to do setup on at least the display models.

    (The music store in the next town over has great sounding basses, played a Ric 4003 and it was perfectly set up. Even the cheap basses were set up)
  3. taurus1


    Sep 13, 2006
    Vancouver B.C.
    there could be a dozen reasons, like maybe it just arrived and hadn't been dealt with yet, or brought to their attention.

    three weeks ago I went into store that had about 100 basses on the wall. I picked up and played a used 62AVRI P bass with serious consideration of a purchase.
    it played awful, too much neck relief, high action I couldn't put it down fast enough.
    total downer and wrong first impression for that bass.
    I pointed it out to the bass department manager, he played it and agreed, said they'd set it up.
    I went back a week later and played the same bass, it was unreal, possibly the nicest P bass I've ever played, night and day, low action, neck almost dead straight, no buzzes.
    I would just point it out to the staff and see if they'll set it up properly, I'm sure they will.
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Setups change with the weather. I know of a store that if the setup isn't good on a bass when you play it in the store, they'll set it up for you right then.
  5. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    With weather changes set ups change.
    It can be very time consuming to keep every guitar and bass in stock set up just like YOU like it.
    They get kids and people that come in and abuse them and hang them back on the wall.
    If auto dealers let just every kid and Joe take their cars for a test drive unsupervised every car on the lot would have bald tires and burned out brakes.
  6. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    They just wait for the client/possible buyer to ask gettin' it properly done

    I mean
    Some small shops just sell a bit of nearly everything in music and sometimes that's not exactly what they're into: they could initially start up an electricity spare parts shop, or electric home appliances/devices repair shop
    Some large retailers have a consistent turnover in instruments (wether it be department by department) and display instruments directly out of the boxes, quite certainly havin' more in backstock: they'd just wait for the client/possible buyer interested in some item in particular, to ask for gettin' it properly setup.
    IME, whenever I found a correctly setup instrument hangin' on the wall, it was because of its former owner and so secondhand
    Otherwise, I'd eventually have to express my interest for an item, for it to get prepared at my spec.

  7. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    I suppose if I was going to head in to try out a bunch of basses, I'd call ahead and ask if instruments are set up.
  8. while not the primary cause, also remember that one setup being good for one person doesn't mean it will be for another.
  9. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    some places never setup basses that are brought in. What happens is something is taken out of the box and set on a rack. I know a few stores that do this. the repair tech(s) are too busy doing real work for money to waste time setting up things that customers will want setup when they buy.
  10. My local store sets them up if you buy them or when they ship them out. The techs are probably too busy to set up every one that goes on the rack.
  11. Set it up? For who? For what kind of player? To what specs and standards? Yours? Mine?

    (think about it)
  12. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Because people buy them anyway.
  13. Hi.


    Anyone who's worked in a music store or have close friends who have, know that the low to mid priced instruments on the wall/floor are not worth anything beyond the most basic setup.

    There's no money in setting them up in advance, quite the contrary.
    People who have the balls to ask for the instrument to be set up, are interested in it enough so the shop will probably do it.
    The strings, the same thing. You can throw in a fresh set or a two of their preferred brand/model when someone actually buys the instrument.

    Boutique or hi-priced instruments are completely another matter, but those are then kept out of the greasy hands of the mundanes.

  14. My local store does a great job looking after its instruments, and the only people who work there are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

    It's not a massive store, but it's by no means a mom and pop store.
  15. Mossmatic

    Mossmatic Compulsive Modder

    Jul 19, 2012
    The closest GC where I live doesn't even have anyone on staff who can do repairs/set-ups. They just have a guy who comes in twice a month to pick up whatever work they might have and returns them two weeks later.

    I was talking to one of the managers there once and I asked him why they didn't give the guitars at least a rudimentary setup before hanging them on the wall, and he said if they did that, they wouldn't have time for anything else due to the amount of inventory they have. Also, due to climatic changes, handling, etc., they would probably need another setup a week or two later anyway.

    Smaller shops usually do a better job of maintaining their inventory, but they have fewer instruments to look after, and the owners/employees are typically more knowledgeable than what you'll find at Guitar Center... Unfortunately, those shops are a dying breed.
  16. faulknersj

    faulknersj Inactive

    Apr 4, 2008
    Scottsdale Az
    cost benefits analysis
  17. Dr Improbable

    Dr Improbable

    Apr 15, 2013
    When I bought my MM3 I told the guy at the store that the action was crazy high and the neck was bowed. He said "you don't want low action on a bass, you want to give the strings room to vibrate". I vote that a lot of stores (that I've been to) don't know/don't care about a setup. One place I went to had all the basses tuned down a whole step to hide playability issues. *shakes head*
  18. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    That's what I'm used to as well from shops I know.
  19. gunlak


    Nov 24, 2009
    our local stores here told me that they intend to sell them on factory setup. ****** or not.. but most of the time, it's ******..

    I hope each store has an inhouse luthier that knows how to do basic setups. I bet they'll sell better.

  20. I feel happy for whoever buys the Hofner Ignition I returned. (Returned it because I could comfortably play it and it wasn't all too good). It was set up and had a set of Rotosound 77's on it. Much better than the display model at GC.