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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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Señor Member
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12,297 Posts
It really is astounding how the GC executive team has done everything they can to make the stores as unappealing as possible.
It's actually depressing to be in there, like, to such a degree that calling it 'depressing' doesn't fully convey how bad it is.

It used to have a counter when you came in where there'd be a greeter who also checked 'trades' at the door and they'd check receipts on the way out the door. Counter is still there but now it's literally always stacked with empty boxes. The accessories room used to have pedal displays/kiosks in the middle with a couple guitars hung up to jam and some fresh trades hanging on the wall, that room was totally gutted and it's got like three big black boxes that are supposed to be the lesson rooms or something. They used to have one desk near the high end gear what was the guitar sales desk, with a setup bench near the middle of the store and a 'repairs' guy desk on the opposite end, both repair and setup benches completely gone, the 'sales' desk no longer has registers, it's just basically an open air break/meeting space, I think there's only one actual register in the whole building. The bass room used to have basses floor to ceiling, it's literally just empty hangers new with maybe 4 or 5 hanging around ground level and a couple amps sitting in the middle. The whole store is just littered with empty boxes also.
 

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Señor Member
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@Alan I've had a pretty good relationship with Drome Sound for a while, they used to be a totally honeyhole for used gear and they'd also offer stuff below MSRP without even having to ask. It's kinda dried up the last few years, ownership and management is mostly unchanged but the people working the floor did and I noticed a big change in the stock along with it, kind of a bummer. Used to be a hangout for musicians and people with other shops even, so you'd get a good mix of used gear but it's dwindled to half or less what it was before. First 7-string guitar I ever put my hands on was a COW 7 they had at the previous store.

Love Parkway and the guys there. Even if I don't do all my shopping there, that's how you run a music store. Lots of stuff, great energy, lots of guys that are out in the community gigging or teching, etc. That's the right kind of environment and mix of gear for a shop, feels a little congested and as big as Clifton Park is, I feel like they'd do even better in Albany but still, that's prolly the only local shop that doesn't feel like it's dying or dead (including GC).

I think they all caught their ass with Craigslist and Reverb, tbh. From a buyer's end, I prefer buying from a store because they prices are honestly close and it's nice to buy gear, and be able to return or have it serviced where you got it from. But as a seller, I can stomach a 5% - 10% cut going to shipping and fees plus waiting a few days to a week, versus bringing stuff in to the music store and getting kicked in the balls with a low-ball offer and settling on 50%. Used gear is what makes a music store, otherwise you might as well buy from Amazon.
 
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