GUITAR CENTER ≠ GUITAR HERO
I just found, thanks to a friend on Facebook, an interesting article on GUITAR CENTER, written by a fellow WordPress Blogger. Although it’s a month old and is written from a drummer’s point of view, I think guitarists will be interested and maybe can relate. It confirms what I’ve heard from other sources over the years. WordPress has a REPOST feature that allows bloggers to publish another blogger’s efforts basically as is, but I don’t dig that concept very much (even though people have done it to me), so just follow the link below.
The author provides a personal account of his experiences with of some of Guitar Center’s business practices. Guitar Center is a company that started from very humble beginnings back in 1959, but is now the largest musical instrument chain in the world. They also own Musicians Friend and Harmony Central, among others. So they are now basically the WALMART of musical instruments. Awesome. Also they have connections to Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs (never a good sign) —
“On June 27, 2007, Guitar Center agreed to $1.9 billion buyout from Bain Capital, totaling $2.1 billion including debt. The deal was led by Goldman Sachs and amounted to a per-share price of $63, or a 26% premium on the June 26 closing price. The deal was approved by shareholders on September 18, 2007, and closed October 9, 2007
I realize that most people don’t want to think about stuff like this when they need a set of strings for a gig or a new phase shifter for the space rock song they just wrote. I’m also totally aware that there are plenty of good people who work at Guitar Center, while some independent stores are staffed by complete schmucks. But I can’t say GC is a place I go to on a regular basis because…well, it sucks. I tried…I did make an effort, but it’s not my idea of a positive business or shopping experience.
I have a GREAT relationship with two small instrument stores in my area and one online retailer. I’ve mentioned the online retailer, DJANGOBOOKS.com on here a few times. I like shopping and just hanging out at the places I go because it’s great to deal with people who know your name, your musical background and what you might be looking for in that eternal quest for the perfect musical experience. It’s also cool that you can get them on the phone, and they don’t look at you funny if you have a problem with a purchase. There is also a chance they’ll really go the extra mile for you once you’re a regular customer and that is an element that is sadly missing in corporate culture. It’s always pretty hip that you can all hang and BS about music or other stuff and have that kind of personal connection and I believe this connection has certainly made it easier for me to buy and sell instruments and accessories over the last few years. It’s also way easier to do business when there aren’t 45 teenagers all trying to play Linkin Park 20 simultaneously in the background. I realize not everyone out there has the same options I do, but if you do, a good relationship with a helpful, knowledgeable dealer can make the difference between Satisfaction and Singing the Blues. It is also a better choice for the environment…the musical environment. It really is worth the extra couple of dollars or the extra blocks you gotta walk or miles you gotta drive.