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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
 

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TLDW? I watched for a bit, but stopped caring after they went off the rails a bit to make their video conveniently over 10 minutes long for monetization.
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
TLDW? I watched for a bit, but stopped caring after they went off the rails a bit to make their video conveniently over 10 minutes long for monetization.
The gyst was the Rickenbacher and Fortin news. The mismanagement isn't exactly news...

That's exactly what happened to Sears right before they went under.
 

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Aah. Rickenbacker was a surprise, I didn't even know GC had Fortin. I've honestly never even seen a Fortin amp, or known anyone who's had one.

I hope GC doesn't go under. I don't really shop there but the last time I went in, the one near me was full of young kids jamming out and making that cool cacophony of noise that is part of the guitar store vibe. I hate it as an adult because I'm old and boring but I loved it as a kid, it made me want to play.

If GC goes down, I don't think it'll be mom and pop stores that take it's place. It'll be Amazon. :\
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I definitely would love them to succeed. What they really need is someone who knows how to make a business viable to buy them, but with their huge debt load, it would have to be someone with deep pockets, all that business savvy and a love for rock and roll.

Their POS system is a POS. They don’t treat their employees very well. They clearly don’t have good vendor relations or a grip on leveraging assets and market placement for profit. But, for every McDonald brother, there’s a Ray Croc... GC needs a Ray Croc...
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This thread title is confusing. In British slang, tea leaf means thief.
Ah, in the US it means predicting the future... but, the video does mention how they told all the parents of kids taking lessons they wouldn't get said lessons, then charged them anyway...
 

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Not baked anymore.
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Aah. Rickenbacker was a surprise, I didn't even know GC had Fortin. I've honestly never even seen a Fortin amp, or known anyone who's had one.

I hope GC doesn't go under. I don't really shop there but the last time I went in, the one near me was full of young kids jamming out and making that cool cacophony of noise that is part of the guitar store vibe. I hate it as an adult because I'm old and boring but I loved it as a kid, it made me want to play.

If GC goes down, I don't think it'll be mom and pop stores that take it's place. It'll be Amazon. :\
They put one in about 100 yards from a high school a couple years ago down here, after 3pm each day it's a mad house in there. If I have to go there, I'll get there by at least 2pm, but occasionally I've been in when the after-school rush comes and as annoying as it is, it makes me smile with a "some things never change" mentality.
 

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Thread Killer
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Ah, in the US it means predicting the future... but, the video does mention how they told all the parents of kids taking lessons they wouldn't get said lessons, then charged them anyway...
Same here. Reading the tea leaves means one thing, being a tea leaf is something else.
 

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I didn't watch the video, but I was wondering what the hell "tea leaves" had to do with Guitar Center. I was thinking maybe Guitar Center released a pedal called "Tea Leaves Chorus" or "Tea Leaves Noise Gate" or "Tea Leaves Overdrive" etc. :lol: I was wondering how in the world you got "thief" from "tea leaf," but I guess it's another case of that bizarre Cockney rhyming slang.
 

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Interesting.

GC's business model, as explained here, is an odd one. The notion of the retail stores effectively being a system of "distributed warehouses" for their online business is clever (supporting both nationwide physical and online retail with the same infrastructure) but also quite expensive from a real estate perspective and cumbersome in terms of logistics. Their real estate costs have to be massive. Huge amount of floor space devoted to a product line that simply can't be packed in as tight as things like groceries, clothing, or home improvement supplies.

If these guys are correct, these little ticky-tack moves like shorting vendor payments and making managers pull triple duty during the COVID crisis do indicate a cash crunch. My guess is that GC thinks it can fuck over small-time vendors like Rickenbacker and Fortin without suffering any real consequences. GC has sort of a symbiotic relationship with Gibson and Fender, so undoubtedly anyone outside of that should be taking very good care of their non-GC business portfolio.

For me, GC went south years ago. I still go there when I need basics in a hurry, but the new guitar offerings don't have much pull for me and the used guitars that I'd be interested in are often wildly mispriced and with little or no haggling possible. Even the basic stuff, like strings, isn't as good as it used to be, as they've quietly cut back on the variety of their inventory. Still better than smaller mom-and-pop stores, but often not as good as larger independent stores (at least around here).
 

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Interesting.

GC's business model, as explained here, is an odd one. The notion of the retail stores effectively being a system of "distributed warehouses" for their online business is clever (supporting both nationwide physical and online retail with the same infrastructure) but also quite expensive from a real estate perspective and cumbersome in terms of logistics. Their real estate costs have to be massive. Huge amount of floor space devoted to a product line that simply can't be packed in as tight as things like groceries, clothing, or home improvement supplies.

If these guys are correct, these little ticky-tack moves like shorting vendor payments and making managers pull triple duty during the COVID crisis do indicate a cash crunch. My guess is that GC thinks it can fuck over small-time vendors like Rickenbacker and Fortin without suffering any real consequences. GC has sort of a symbiotic relationship with Gibson and Fender, so undoubtedly anyone outside of that should be taking very good care of their non-GC business portfolio.

For me, GC went south years ago. I still go there when I need basics in a hurry, but the new guitar offerings don't have much pull for me and the used guitars that I'd be interested in are often wildly mispriced and with little or no haggling possible. Even the basic stuff, like strings, isn't as good as it used to be, as they've quietly cut back on the variety of their inventory. Still better than smaller mom-and-pop stores, but often not as good as larger independent stores (at least around here).
I pretty much only go in the ones I know have a decent used section, and then not very often, as I can count on them NOT having anything I need. Matt's Guitars, Action and Atomic are really where I go for instruments.
 

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Safe Spaces Advocate
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Because I'm on their mailing list, GC sent me a note a couple months back hailing their cash for gear program. I had an American HH Strat (spotless condition, OHSC, candy, and tri-sunburst) that'd been hanging around for a while here and took it in. After 45 minutes of ticking around on his system, the "appraiser" came back with an offer of $325.

He couldn't even look me in the eye. I passed, of course. He mumbled, "I don't blame you."

Is an HH Strat the most desirable guitar? No. Does GC need to make money on the transaction? Yes.

But it was clear to me that the 65% deal was out the window and, I suspect, taking advantage of people who need money during this craziness is what was happening.

Thankfully, I didn't need the money.
 

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I sold a couple ultra-cheapo guitars to GC in the last month and got cash right in the store. Even if I took a hit, it was worth it not to have to try to sell them on Reverb or eBay, and Atomic Music is really only buying the more desirable stuff (basically, anything that says "Fender" or "Gibson" on it) right now.

It's hard to say whether I got 65%, since I'm not sure what the baseline valuation would have been on these. Still, I did notice that the Fairfax store's used inventory was on the light side. I also noticed that even their new guitar inventory was WAY down from pre-COVID levels.
 

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Bah. I still suck.
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I've gotten the email from them about gear buybacks each of the last 2 weeks. I have an Ibanez hollow body that I need to get rid of and casually thought about it. Then I searched GC's used inventory for that model and found one selling for the (fair) price I would sell it at so that's a nope.
 

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Señor Member
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Can't watch videos of people talking.

Re: GC and the downturn, I've mentioned it before but the local GC absolutely slaughtered the Mars Music and Daddy's Junky Music we used to have in Albany, and it was a damn shame.

The Mars was PACKED full of gear, you could barely walk through the place and the recording section had a fully dressed up and functioning recording studio that looked like fuckin' Abbey Road, it was amazing. They'd have musicians nights out, which were typically gimmicks to promote new gear but it was free food and jam sessions, sometimes a clinic and it was a fantastic environment. Great prices too. Besides 'family friend' small store purchases, that's where all of my first several pieces of gear came from.

Daddy's was a staple here for ages, and the clinics they'd get for free were insane. Billy Sheehan and Mangini, Greg Koch, Andy Timmons and some others I'm forgetting. The used gear was nuts, new stuff every time you'd go there and the system was great where you could have stuff sent there from another store for free, they encouraged you to buy but could get stuff sent there just to try out.

GC came in and it was packed like Mars but they had so many exclusives. I dunno if they were paying more or if it was just a more convenient system but everyone seemed to gravitate toward trading their gear in there pretty quick after they opened. Their access to other stores sucked (used to have to buy the item and pay shipping from one store to the next) and they had little to no clinics. They had drum or guitar competitions a couple times in the first year or two but after they killed Mars and Daddy's, they stopped community events all together.

The store itself also went way downhill. They had a recording section that mimicked Mars but smaller and more modern, not even remotely functional. Eventually all the functional items came out and it was just displays, and some years back, it emptied out almost entirely and usually it's all empty floor space with one rack of studio speakers on a table and that's it.

Guitar and drum department dropped WAY off. The floor and walls used to be packed similar to Mars, it took a few years to drop off but I'd say it's about 1/4 the amount of stuff there used to be. Floor is so sparse it's depressing. It used to be rows and rows of amps, shelves stacked two tall and now there's maybe three or so shelves with one or two amps on the, everything else sits on the floor. Lots of shitty beginner flavor of the week cheap guitars that big brands are pushing or their in-house brand. Can't find an Orange in there that's not a Crush, can't find a Peavey in there that's not a Vypyr.
 

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Guitar and drum department dropped WAY off. The floor and walls used to be packed similar to Mars, it took a few years to drop off but I'd say it's about 1/4 the amount of stuff there used to be. Floor is so sparse it's depressing. It used to be rows and rows of amps, shelves stacked two tall and now there's maybe three or so shelves with one or two amps on the, everything else sits on the floor. Lots of shitty beginner flavor of the week cheap guitars that big brands are pushing or their in-house brand. Can't find an Orange in there that's not a Crush, can't find a Peavey in there that's not a Vypyr.
My closest GC--Fairfax City--is like that, and it's gotten much worse since the lockdowns. I was in there a couple weeks ago, and it looked like half the rackage for new guitars was empty. Interestingly, they still have a fair number of custom shop Gibsons and high-end PRS guitars mixed in with the Chinese/Indonesian stuff. Weirdly laid out, too. The $5,000 guitars are reachable by foot traffic but on locked hangars. Meanwhile, $1,000 or so Charvels and Ibanez Premiums are way high up on the wall and unreachable.

Sometime in the last year, they remodeled the store so that the entire front half is now devoted to DJ crap. That tells you all you need to know about the musical instrument business, I guess...

The entire operation looks like it's owned and run by executives who (1) don't know shit about the gear biz and (2) don't give a shit, either.
 
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