The Guitar Store Problem
I am in the market for a new e-guitar since I am tired of my own. My guitar did a good service for that price but there are definitely much better guitars out there. When I wanted to play a great guitar, I borrowed the Fender 70`s American Standard Stratocaster of my grandpa and I really loved it. Sadly my grandpa had to sell this guitar so that this is no option anymore. Back then I played different Strats (as people call them too) in music stores, I developed a love for Strats with vintage pickups or vintage hardware in general. I mean guitars with this evil blues or 60`s electric sound. Since I play 60`s stuff and blues most of the time, that would be a good fit for me. But I don’t mind if the guitar is a bit more flexible. I just know what I want and nailed it down to the Fender Deluxe Roadhouse Strat. It’s not an American one, it’s made in Mexico but I don’t mind if I can take a look at the guitar first in a store, and here is the problem…
There was a time when you could find all kind of guitars in our local music stores, but that is the past. Today they have a very small collection and of course if you know what you want, you will hate all of them. I always thought they have less and less guitars because our city basically became wasteland over time, I basically imagined that there are barely people who could afford a guitar at the €1000 range and thus it would not be worth it for a store owner to show off a whole collection of different guitars. The point about poor people is probably still valid, because people can’t throw around money in our city, but the reason why the stores have just a few guitars is a total different one as I learned today…
I talked with some guy in a music store and to be honest he was very unfriendly. When I asked him if he could order this guitar so that I can check it out in the store, he replied that this would not be possible since he would hang it on the wall for the next 10 years if I would decide not to buy the guitar after testing. He said that in a tone as if I was offensive. I mean it was possible back then, was I really right? Do people barely buy guitars in our city? His statement just confirms my assumption. Even if I disliked the way he talked to me, we talked about the subject further. He said “If you would, let’s say, want to buy 5000 Fender guitars, I could set this up”. Oh boy, what an idiot I thought but continued to listen to him. He continued that manufacturers like Fender or Gibson would today only work with stores together on commission if they take that amount of guitar and if they are in the position to pay off the commission.
I didn’t “fact-check” this today because I am already too tired, but even if that would be true, it’s still evidence of incapacity for the local store if I consider that the owner makes business in our city since several decades. I wonder why he still has to rely on commission, it must be what I thought, he doesn’t sell a lot of instruments in our city, for whatever reason. In other words, he tries to stay afloat and can’t just order enough random guitars for his customers. Back to this guy, he told me that he could order the guitar I mentioned if I would pay first and I laughed and replied “Look, I don’t even know if I like to play on this model, and even if I would already know it I could also just order it online”. He then tried to persuade me into buying another brand, one of those cheapo guitars but that annoyed me even more since I dislike it that some sales persons can’t accept the fact that there are also customers that know their own direction already from researching. I said “No, thanks” and left the store.
To be honest, if this store has these issues, I respect that. But I disliked the tone this wise guy used. He even mentioned conspiracy theories like “Fender and Gibson will be gone very soon”, yeah sure, and my grandma got through the NASA tests and they will send her to Mars, but this is a different story. While I respect the fact that the store might have economic problems, I just disliked the discussion with this sales person. Talking about myself, what are the left options? Well, I can still ask other local stores, but I wouldn’t wonder if they don’t order the guitar for a test either. It’s that bad here, our music stores have been much better in the past, but now they are just not worth it anymore. The next option would be to visit a store in Hamburg, it could be that they have bigger music stores, although I know the biggest ones are in Frankfurt and Cologne but that’s a bit far away to purchase a guitar unless I connect this with a travel weekend. Just ordering the guitar online would be an option, but as said, I like this model of guitar in theory, but I want to see it in action first.
It’s funny, saving money was not the issue, testing and getting the guitar is. I planned to get myself one of the Sigma or Tamron 150-600mm lenses first but over the last weeks I started to believe that the guitar could come first since I played one that is just ok, for so long. Apart from that I have such a huge backlog of not uploaded photos, and some decent lenses already, which means I can take it easy with lens purchases at the moment. But who knows, if the guitar issue is annoying to solve, I might change my plan yet again and go with a new lens out of a store instead.