It’s finally official... Guitar Center files Chapter 11

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Merc, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck I Bleed Orange

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Me too except I play very softly in the store, or even just unplugged.
  2. S. Rock

    S. Rock Friend of Fred

    I go to the "acoustic room". :D
  3. O Riley

    O Riley Gretschie

    Every one should try. Get in, get out. Before the note police show up.
  4. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    I better hurry down to play Stairway To Heaven one last time on a pointy guitar!
  5. mrfixitmi

    mrfixitmi Country Gent

    Mar 20, 2010
    We tend to go to the acoustic room frequently so that we can hear what we are buying. That said, we are buyers. The last couple of purchases, the poor employees appeared to be shocked to see someone playing that was actually a buyer.

    The small shop I worked in was owned by a guy who got slammed by the big box stores. The irony was he had low overhead, he selected the guitars that went on the wall, and set all of them up before hanging them on the wall. His downfall, was that customers would come in to play them, ding them, drop them, scratch them with never any intentions to buy...sort of the thing that happens at G.C.
    Many times people would come back to his store complaining about a guitar that they purchased from some place on line claiming that it did not play and sound like the ones on his wall.
    He would always price matched but people believe that shopping on line is always cheaper, so what was wrong buying from some Mom & Pop store?

    I reviewed our business model, and we made money on repairs and lessons, not retail. The new guitar sales portion was not sustainable. So we had closed the retail side.

    I feel sorry for the employees at G.C. they are going to bear the pain the hardest.
    Groutsch and thunder58 like this.
  6. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Synchromatic

    Feb 17, 2020
    I called my local GC store and the manager had heard of the pending filing but downplayed the importance, naturally. It is hard to predict how this will affect them, it may just allow them to restructure their debt but I'm no expert.
    MF has their reward points program that gives back 8% of what you spend, I wonder if that may go away if GC has to pinch pennies.

    I had written in the other thread that GC/MF give me a 10% Veteran discount and that I had $137 in MF reward points saved up. I was planning on waiting until next year but with this news I went ahead and called MF and ordered my new Fender GTX100 amp. They gave me the 10% off and used the points so I got a great deal. Hopefully it will ship today.

    I have heard of some unscrupulous companies that took orders up until the day they filed bankruptcy and banked the money without shipping product. All those who had placed orders were put on the list to be repaid but likely never saw a dime. GC/MF is too big and trustworthy to screw people like that; they want to stay in business.
    Merc and mrfixitmi like this.
  7. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    That's called "Style", you Philistine!

    Honestly, I'm not surprised. It felt like they got "too big for their britches". Haven't been back to a GC/MF/Music123 conglomerate in quite awhile. Last time I went, I had to hunt down a salesperson who was at least somewhat interested in making a sale. Luckily, we've got three locally owned music stores in our small city, and it's an hour to good stores in Indy, and two hours to Sweetwater in Fort Wayne, and well worth the drive.
    Duo Slinger, thunder58 and mrfixitmi like this.
  8. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    You wouldn't say that about Larry Fine would you...:D.
    thunder58 likes this.
  9. nickurso

    nickurso Gretschified

    Dec 24, 2012
    New Orleans la.
    I’m actually lucky to have a great local music store here in Nola. C & M music. One of the owners Mel, the M in C & M always takes the time to talk to the customers and show us guitars. Mel showed me 52 Les Paul. 63 strat and many other guitars that you can’t see in most stores
    Merc and mrfixitmi like this.
  10. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    When Guitar Center opened here 22 years ago they did have a good angle. They had salesmen that had information on the equipment they were selling. They had a good inventory of guitars and amps. Their Pro Audio room was truly pro or very near pro level. These days the salesmen there must have come from Radio Shack when it shut down. A large portion of the guitars are low end with lots of seconds hanging on the walls. The Pro audio room is a joke. They have more high end turntables and DJ stuff than studio speakers, mixing boards, etc. Even finding accessories there is getting harder to do. I hate to put them down but they are to the point that it's a waste of time driving cross town only to wind up having to order what I'm looking for on the internet.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
    BCRatRod73 likes this.
  11. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    GC will not be what it is in the future. Box stores are dying. I think, strangely, in many retail areas the trend will be online along with small local stores with box stores disappearing. The exception with be construction/remodel stores like Home Depot. On line or local small stores can’t compete due to the product size.
  12. Drock2k1

    Drock2k1 Synchromatic

    Feb 26, 2013
    I hate this for their employees but I have never had a great experience at a GC. I’m fortunate enough to live 40 minutes away from Sweetwater. Also, for better or for worse, the fact that everyone sells online, I can get service from great stores like StreetSoundsNYC or CreamCityMusic with usually better prices than I would get at GC.
  13. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I buy often from my local store that has been here with the same owner over 40 yrs. I have shopped there from their beginning.

    I also buy on line but try to throw my money at that local store first.
  14. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    And that’s the first thing I thought of :p
    Knuck knuck knuck
    Gretschtim1 likes this.
  15. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    We once ad an 84 Lumber here for years, and still have a great local lumber yard. We have Lowe's, Menard's, and Home Depot with employees that are uninformed when you can find them, overpriced hardware, and prewarped lumber. We'd ordered a truckful of lumber from one for a large scenery build. They sent us slivery knothole infested 2X4s that turned 90 degrees in 8 feet. The only thing most of it was good for was kindling. I don't expect furniture grade lumber (there's a specialist shop in Indy for that) or specially milled trim (we've got a local shop that does that), but when the wood's not good enough for building a chicken coop, there's a problem.

    We've lost many suppliers like this. Remember Radio Shack? Western Auto? Both sides of my family ran small groceries and meat markets. Big chains like Kroger put them out of business. I'd worked at a great hardware store. They got shut down by the big box stores as well. Local radio stations got snapped up by networks. Most of these places got closed due to the economies of scale. A car parts store I worked at in high school sold spark plugs for 79 cents. We couldn't compete with the chains that sold them for 20 cents cheaper. Of course the chains wouldn't bother telling you just what was wrong with your car. Customer service went down the drain in many businesses. So it goes.

    And it's supposed to be a "service economy".
    pmac11 and MikeSchindler like this.
  16. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Friend of Fred

    Sadly, I have two GC's nearby, and not much else. I do tend to purchase online, but I have purchased in-store before, especially when I want to get my hands on the guitar to make sure it's what I want.
  17. Merc

    Merc Country Gent

    May 6, 2017
    Technically yes I guess. To be honest I was multi tasking while watching the vid. However they did miss a $45 million interest payment this month and are in the 30 day grace period. But being $1.8 billion in debt is no small figure to climb out of. It’s more like “I’m not waving, I’m drowning.”

    I just read the a mega German music retailer called JustMusic is closing all shops outside of Berlin. All due to the economic times.
  18. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    How to make a small fortune?

    Start with a large one and open a music shop.

    Our local m&p shop doesn't even bother stocking big name brands anymore. The Fender price fixing, the Gibson quality issues and aggressive stocking policies, along with discounted online sales all pushed the shop towards medium priced entry level stuff.

    Thirty miles away we have Peach Guitars, who focus on the high end stuff, and seem to do very well. No widdly widdly on the shop floor, every customer gets a dedicated assistant, and a free wife-zone with coffee and interior design magazines for the ladies. Mrs D took her knitting last time.

    I guess it takes as much effort to sell a low end guitar as it does a top drawer one, so why not aim for the bigger spender.
    drmilktruck and pmac11 like this.
  19. flip

    flip Electromatic

    Jun 22, 2020
    Manchester UK
    Don't we live in interesting times? If you don't mind a longer post than usual, let's start by demolishing some myths.

    First, retail is changing – but then it's always changed. It's just that now the change is faster. More importantly, retail is the form of business most of us in North America and Europe have experience of, so we feel we know and understand it best. I don't think we do.

    Second, the change was not wrought by the Internet. It started way back, long before the world wide web.

    Third, in terms of volume, retail is an undeniable economic improvement and, regardless of how people feel about it emotionally they almost universally want to share the financial benefits.

    Fourth, there'll be no going back.

    I'll be as brief as I can, so my explanations. The origins of retail probably start when farmers found they could grow and raise more food than they needed for themselves. They sold the excess to people living in urban communities who couldn't produce enough to feed themselves. Periodic markets gave way to fixed trading posts and eventually to shops. Improved transportation, especially railways, meant a wider choice of products could be sold in every conurbation. Free enterprise meant entrepreneurs could group together and trade more efficiently and their shops became chain stores and eventually supermarkets. Only the ultra-wealthy can today afford to reject the economic benefits of this phenomenon.

    After the most competitive value (a combination of price and quality) people want the full range of goods where they live and buy. They're not interested in travelling somewhere else to buy a competitive product, they want it in their own marketplace. This demand led to brands and branding, both of the products themselves and of the outlets selling them. That in turn led directly to standardisation which itself was technically a by-product of the industrial revolution. It's true that a few men are still happy to buy a jacket made from Scottish tweed cloth the colour and texture of which may vary from weave to weave but few would consider buying a car that embodied the equivalent variations. Printing, photography and the whole industry of the media thrives on identical, branded products and the most competitive values.

    The cost efficiency of what could be typified as late-20th century retailing led directly to huge selling arenas, easily reached by private or public transport. There people could choose from the widest choice of branded goods in as many sizes and detailed variations as the market required, then buy and take home their choice. That extreme, old-style, retail selling model has been eclipsed by the internet and we are yet to see the change put into effect in all markets, but it's coming.

    In the 21st century retailing starts with product selection on the Internet – the largest catalogue of products the world has ever invented (how Sears or Great Universal Stores – to mention market leaders in the US and UK, would have envied the Internet). Some huge ranges of goods, especially those that can enhance themselves with the addition of branding, will be purchased over the internet and either delivered to the purchaser's home or picked up at a convenient distribution point.

    But there will be exceptions of course. Some products, tailored clothes for example that are best fitted by an expert, will be tried on – but at outlets that will in future need carry only one item of each line in each size and in each colour way. The real estate required will be minimal compared to 20th century superstores and the product chosen after fitting will be delivered to the buyer's home overnight.

    So where does the selection and purchase of guitars fit into this? The answer is that it doesn't, at least, not very easily. Like a few other products; fine jewellery, hand-crafted timepieces, antiques, folk-ware and one-off artworks (no doubt you'll think of other such niche products) guitars and other wooden musical instruments are difficult to standardise. The big brands try to do it and many come close enough for the general market, but the fact remains that each wooden soundboard or neck produced by Mr Martin, Mr Taylor or any of the corporate manufacturers we're familiar with is unique. I know. Thirty years ago I bought a Seagull guitar in a hurry from a reputable shop in London. Too much of a hurry to spend the time I took ten years later in a small Martin dealership in Worthing (a smallish seaside town in the UK) deciding to buy the HD28-V that I eventually chose. Had I spent the equivalent time choosing the Seagull I'd not have ended up with an attractive, well-made but lifeless and dead-sounding guitar that I sold on a few months later. And it's not the brand – I've heard any number of fine-sounding Seagull guitars.

    Since then I've bought five more string instruments and chosen a sixth that my wife bought me (ironically from Guitar Center in Nashville TN). Two were made in Mexico, two in China and one each in Spain and South Korea. The craftsmanship at all the various price points has been excellent – a benefit of industrial, high-tech manufacture – but I've played every one of them before I bought it.

    It seems to me that the large retailers like GC are a necessary evil. They keep prices at levels the market can afford for one. They provide space for the buyer to try out the guitar - and frankly it's unkind to criticise another's choice of music. My experience shows that you cannot buy guitars and stringed instruments on brand alone, you have to play the one you buy. Only once have I been able to afford the luxury of spending a number of hours in a small, privately-owned shop but if the large store will allow me the time and the space to play, I'm happy to buy from them and get the benefit of their buying power. It's the box-shifters that I feel are out of place and that creates a dilemma for people who can't get to a large, reliable dealer that can give them the time they need to choose. Until Messrs Martin, Taylor et al can devise a guitar not made from wood, all models of which play and sound as though they are made from the same wood, I don't have an answer.
  20. Jeff67

    Jeff67 Country Gent

    Nov 3, 2019
    Crockett, Texas
    Kinda reminds me of Giorgio Sukolos on Ancient Aliens;)

    Giorgio Sukulos.jpg
    BCRatRod73, CalicoSkies and thunder58 like this.
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