Guitar Shortage?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Merc, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Gretschie

    121
    Aug 16, 2019
    United States
    Yeah, I'm not a fan of Sweetwater any more, either. I used to get the sense from them that they were about doing things honestly, an old fashioned and rock solid kind of service-and-honesty throwback that made their generally higher pricing worth it. Now they just seem like another big retailer, and they'll make whatever choices make them a buck. Which is not a horrible thing, IMO. That's how most businesses run. But they no longer have any distinction in my mind other than higher than average pricing.
     
    thunder58 likes this.
  2. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    406
    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    One anecdote does not a trend make.

    Stock could be down for several reasons.
    • Getting stuff from overseas isn’t as straightforward.
    • The myth & flaw of JIT manufacturing exposed.
    • Could be the factories are experiencing supply problems & employees down & ill.
    • If you anticipate an economic downturn, why carry too much stock.
    • Trade wars.
    • Too many choices not really in stock.
    I doubt its dealers trying to drive up prices.
    You do that & people go elsewhere, you erode brand loyalty.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
  3. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    406
    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    Internet Sales. That would not be hard to do.
    Fact is, Mom & Pop probably have a lame homemade website, or a canned one with insufficient detail.

    Do you really expect them to be web designers, copy writers & proper photographers, as well as technically proficient salesmen?

    Mom & Pops. Other than a few bigger regional stores, whenever could you walk in to find a guitar to try that was what you had in mind when you walked in? Excepting the usual suspects: the standard Fender strats & teles & a Les Paul or two. Would you find a Gretsch in a lot of them & would they have one of each flavor?

    You can only try & buy what they’ve got. Everything else is a special order.
    How many walk into a mom & pop brick building looking for a thousand or three thousand dollar guitar? People walk in imagining their dream guitar, but walk out empty, or with a $500-$800 “settle for” guitar that meets their budget & comfort zone.

    The big retailers offer so many guitar options it makes your head spin.

    Its not Warehouse 13 chock full of magic.
    You just know they aren’t stockpiling them all in every color or configuration. They are selling mostly stock not yet received.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
  4. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    406
    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    Though “used” gems are not bargains anymore (?)

    Ganging up topics: On ppl going into local stores for strings:
    Nobody carries every obscure string choice either. It just isn’t practical.

    Shelf space is precious. For strings.
    For guitars that actually get bought & pay the rent.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  5. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    That Eric Johnson interview really impressed me. I was surprised to hear that he and I share some influences, such as Jazz pianist Bill Evans. He struck me as being a bit of an intellectual and seems to possess some interesting insights.

    The function of music in our time is much different than it was in the past. Music has always been very important to me, so maybe I’m not the best barometer, but my non musician friends also took music very seriously. There were FM stations in Denver, when I was in my mid teens, but the cars we drove all had AM radios.

    If you were a teen, driving down the road in Denver in the early ‘70s you were probably listening to either AM 95 KIMN or AM 1280 KTLK. The first time I heard Rod Stewart singing Maggie May was probably simultaneous to the first time many of my friends heard it; we all listened to the same stations.

    Im not certain that music holds that place in modern life. My generation depended upon the radio and our friends to learn about new music. As Jim mentioned, music is less precious now. It’s ubiquitous at this point and somewhat taken for granted. Being able to buy music online has changed matters dramatically. We used to have singles and albums, but now music can be downloaded by the track. We can listen to just about any song we want on YouTube. If we’re looking for an obscure recording, we can probably find it on eBay or Amazon. Going to a record store and browsing, in hopes of finding something interesting is no longer a necessity. (I used to drive from NW suburban Denver down to Peaches, across the road from DU, and browse for hours. Now, I can’t even remember the last time I bought a CD in a store.)

    Essentially, I’m echoing Jim’s sentiments, and I think that his conclusion about music being less precious is right on target. The thing is, when something becomes less precious, it also can become cheapened, in the sense that the production of the product changes to reflect its lowered societal value.
     
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  6. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    406
    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    Define “decent.” In terms of price points.
    (if we assume that price is generally a function of quality).

    When you talk store traffic, its not all collectors or professionals walking into the average music store.

    When 10 people walk into a guitar store & actually BUY —
    how many buy a couple thousand dollar guitar, or do they usually make do with something that won’t bend their budget as much?

    If its their first, or second guitar, or third:
    Do they feel confident enough in their purchase choice to spend big money? I’d bet most have trouble assessing an instument. Thus, they wouldn’t know a used bargain either.

    I’d guess that the possibility of future buyer’s remorse informs their choice: they settle.

    If anybody is buying a guitar with that $600 covid money
    some are receiving, chances are few are buying guitars with it, & surely not the fancy models.
     
  7. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    406
    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    Sorry if this is getting a little tippy in my 2 cents worth, but they balance my wisecrack posts...

    That point about what people are listening to, is on target.
    Not so very long ago, radio dictated what most people heard, good or bad music. People didn’t isolate in headphones.

    [Some might have marched with a boombox on their shoulder at one time & other people heard it, whether they wanted to, or not. It may even have been an active expression of territory. Your personal space “bubble” extended to the range the music was listenable].

    The devaluation of music likewise is a byproduct.
    Because with the advent of new devices & online music, even a group of teenagers gathered together may not be listening to the same “soundtrack of their lives.” If they are, the music may not be in sync; the cultural downbeats are mismatched.

    The same holds true in what people watch on TV.
    Everybody gets to isolate, quarantine in a bubble of their own biases.

    How much is new & how much is just a little different approach?

    To what degree can somebody acquire music without paying for it. Does that devalue music? Its always a mindboggler that kids today steal music they like & pay for music they don’t.

    You were more concise than I.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  8. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    For the purposes of my post, a decent guitar would be something that is both playable and repairable. We’ve all seen guitars that looked more suited to launching arrows than to being played. It’s not as common as it was in the days before adjustable truss rods were common, even on entry level guitars, but it still happens.

    By repairable, I mean a guitar which is built well enough to be economically repaired. This point has become tricky, because there are plenty of playable guitars available at a very low price point, so even fairly minor repairs may easily approach the replacement cost of a low end instrument.

    I have a Korean made Telecaster that is over 15 years old and is flawless. It is a set neck instrument. I would venture that if it ever needed a neck reset, it would not be economically repairable and would be cheaper to replace, but at 16 years and counting, there’s no sign of the need for any such repair. It may last indefinitely. I haven’t adjusted the truss rod since I did the initial setup, so it looks pretty stable. Coincidentally, it cost $600.
     
    Runamok likes this.
  9. Runamok

    Runamok Gretschie

    406
    Aug 25, 2017
    USA midwest
    A guitar worth restoring to playable condition. There is that, yes. :cool:

    A refretting costs from $250-$450 if you have someone else do it.
    I would not refret my dime store bow, I guess. [Archery is another thing I am not good at. Why it has frets is beyond me].

    By the same token, for fun I thought about replacing the cone in my Alligator or Republic resonators with a National cone to see if the hype really bears out, but it would not be a good comparison unless I had 2 that sounded identical, 1 to remain unchanged as a control & one to alter. That was too much to invest on a whim. o_O
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020
  10. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    In one sense, it’s good that our tastes are not as easily molded, as they once were by Top 40. But the counter effect is that the incentives have changed. Top 40 started out as a radio format that used the top 40 songs played on jukeboxes. It was whatever singles interested people. When I listened to Top 40, in my teens, there was a mix of genres. One might hear Country, Gospel, Easy Listening and any number of novelty tunes. Lawrence Welk was a Top 40 artist into the ‘60s. It was like the front page of a newspaper, in that it changed rapidly and reflected the mood of the moment. It was both good and bad, because it did put us all on the same page, musically speaking, but it was a page subject to influence and manipulation. However, the manipulation was not as powerful as the will of the listeners and songs that were rejected by listeners didn’t tend to last long.

    Even in the glory days of the ‘60s & ‘70s, they realized that hits shared certain traits. Music was analyzed and people sought ways to make lightening strike. Knowing what would sell was a talent, in and of itself.

    But that has been taken to an extreme in our day. Yesterday, I had to transact some business and found myself in a waiting room for about 30 minutes. A Country station was playing through the building’s sound system and the contemporary Country sounded like it had been cut out with a cookie cutter. There would be three identical measures followed by a fourth measure that resolved and brought the energy level down. I’ve been hearing this motif in Country for a number of years, now, but apparently it still sells. I have no idea why, because it is as predictable as the sunrise.

    A couple of years ago, after band practice, we would go to a local BBQ place. The music on that sound system all but defined description. It seemed to have roots in the Blues, but it was likewise, little more than a series of predictable cliches. Both the bassist and I took note and couldn’t believe our ears. One song like this would have been understandable; and an obvious flop, but the songs we were hearing seemed to all be built on the same model and used the same handful of cliches.

    Perhaps this phenomenon is a byproduct of the headphone culture. Without peer sharing, various sub-genres appear and burrow into their own, ever narrowing, definition. Top 40 drew on many influences and was something that gave us a common point of reference. Nowadays, there are so many options that we no longer have that musical common ground.

    There’s one more element to the matter which, IMO, deserves a mention. In the AM days, radio stations had extraordinary range by day, but at night, the very characteristics of that frequency range meant that the local stations shut down and various frequencies were opened for the clear channel, 50 watt, powerhouses. AM was good for local and regional broadcasting during the day, but it went out to a much larger area at night. WLS, in Chicago, all but ruled the night. There were a number of these clear channel powerhouses and they could spread music far and wide. I remember listening to WLS when I was a kid, probably Dick Biondi, and being mesmerized. On a good night, WLS could mesmerize kids in 38 states.

    Now, even a tiny station can stream over the Internet and the relative importance of these clear channel stations has diminished, greatly.

    In the end, there is no right or wrong to this; it’s just that the world has changed and music has changed as well. I haven’t drank from the well of Top 40 in a long time, but there are plenty of wells out there to choose from. YMMV.
     
  11. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Does anyone else find it incongruous that the guitar shortage thread is right next to the How many guitars do you own thread?
     
  12. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    How many guitar shortage threads have you posted in? :)
     
  13. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Just the one. I don't remember any others. I'm certainly not short of guitars.
     
  14. Tadhg

    Tadhg Gretschie

    193
    Aug 8, 2019
    Qld - Australia
    It's something that will be interesting to track, but which will sadly track beyond our lifespans. But over a shorter period than painting. Because painting and other visual artforms have experienced the same issue, over a longer period of time.

    500+ years ago, all art had at least some element of story telling. In Australia, that even extended to music (Australian Aboriginals had 'songlines', which were songs that described where and when things were located and happened). I'm sure it was true elsewhere, but it's much more recent here.
    If you look at art from before the 1500's in Europe, it was all story telling for the illiterate. Whether it was rock art showing the hunt or stained glass showing religion, it was messaging. The printing press changed everything, seeing increasing literacy rates over the next few hundred years, and spreading from Western Europe to the rest of the world.
    Up until that time, art seemed to track for accuracy in storytelling, which then ultimately ended up leading to incredible accuracy in detail. To the extent of almost photo realism, and to the extent that the great sculptors were often secret dissectors.
    As literacy increased, art found a need to spur emotion. So we ended up with impressionism, through cubism and everything we have now. It's not about creating a record of someone, or inserting faces of patrons into history, it's all about creating an emotional reaction.
    The same happened in literature. We started with histories and religion (which, in context, could be argued to be the same thing), sciences, and progressed to the trashy fiction paperback. Where it's not about teaching, and using established tropes isn't about anything more than finding a way to create emotion.

    Music's now on the same path. We don't see people sing to know where they need to be when the stars meet a certain alignment. We don't see people singing to explain history. There's less singing in code, like the old slave spirituals (which were full of emotion, but also were for communication). It started to happen over 100 years ago with folk moving to country and similar movements. And now, even in religion, the tone of language in lyrics has changed. It'll be fascinating to see where it goes.

    Oh, and, given the discussion about longevity of guitars? I spent yesterday (Saturday) afternoon doing a fret level and dress on an 86 Ibanez my son was given. Next fret job on it will be replacing the frets (cowboy chords were well loved by previous owners, I couldn't fully remove the divots out of the first three frets), but it's generally in good nick and sounds good... And has a very flamey maple top.
     
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