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Guitar Stores and you


LWAG
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There's only one store for me, and I'm typing to you on it right now. Internet.

Some of my greatest ever finds were done offline.

I'm talking 1960's Framus Hollywood, 1950's Catania Carmello, a custom build....

All great finds/all the sellers mistakenly under sold because they didn't know what they had so wasn't correctly listed for your internet, that I too have used.

One guitar, cool, has a horrible action, and another, turns out the business owner got busted for fraud soon after I bought that guitar and it was luck I even got my order since all the complaints I heard about this business I found on the internet say they've paid and not received their orders and are talking to the local police and, the business who sold me that guitar have been removed from Reverb and their Instagram has been deleted...

Internet, knows what everything is, can't trust anyone.

Edited by LWAG
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Online?

 

Sweetwater mainly.

Amazon Prime.

Zzounds.

American Musical Supply.

 

 

In my area, in person, I love the Huntsville Guitar Center.

The Fret Shop on Jordan Lane.

Madison Band Supply, just off Hughes Road.

Railroad Bazaar over in Athens.

 

I love 'em all.

 

[tongue]

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Sweetwater for anything major, Musicians friend as a backup.

 

Local store about a mile down the road is a good option too,, well stocked but mostly imports for guitars. Although stocking some USA fender stuff.

 

Good line up of AMPS PA Gear, cables, accessories tho. You can actually FIND what you're looking for there, unless you want to try a Humming Bird, or J45, then, you're outta luck.

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It's the internet for me, but everyone's different. Some people will probably never buy on the web. They want to see it, feel it, play first. That all makes sense but, depending where you live, you may not have access to a bunch of shops with decent inventory. Of course, the internet itself may be responsible for that. When I was a kid, the local music store was a few blocks away and I could walk there or ride my bike and the owner of the store was there every day. Where I live now, the closest store to me is a Guitar Center that's over an hour away and they have a bunch of kids working there that don't really seem to know much about the products or really care.

 

The internet + UPS/FedEx = happiness

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Yep. In fairness to music stores, I'm a committed vintage geek, who also lives far from the madding crowd. I'm sure I'd be the kid in the candy shop if I walked into a Nashville, or other big town store, with a stocked vintage room.

 

With internet buying you really need to ask the right questions. I noticed a hairline head stock finish crack in a recent internet transaction, and pestered the seller with a fistful of questions, until the seller basically renounced his own 'no return' policy to get me to bite. When it arrived with the completely snapped off peghead I sent a pic. He sent back a prepaid return label, full credit, and an apology. Nice and neat.

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Sweetwater

This. Never been disappointed, and have bought several guitars, amps, etc. from them over the years. You don't like it? Send it back. Still use them for incidental stuff (strings, etc.), but why take the time to go to a brick/mortar store if you know what you want? One click, and it's in your mailbox in a couple of days. Haven't been to a Mom/Pop or GC store in...hmmm...still thinking...well, it's been a while.

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when i lived in toronto, i was spoiled. i admit it. i had the 12th fret less than 1 station away, and L&M was only a short subway ride. both are great stores.

 

here, afaik, i am not so lucky. there is a place close by, but they carry stuff i'm not interested in. the staff is friendly, but the store only carries brands i don't use. not bad stuff, just stuff that's not for me. there is another place about the same distance the other way. it's a guitar center. they have some cool stuff there. but it's all 20' ft off of the floor. if you want a starter guitar, it's right on the floor. middle of the road stuff is about eye level. mexi fenders, the better epiphones, etc. the really good guitars are so high you'd need a ladder to get one down. i'm not used to shopping that way. i don't want some salesman hanging around while i try out 3 or more guitars, each time getting another one and putting the previous back.

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The OP asked about music stores, and half the responses list mega online dealers. Those aren't stores. Some great guitar stores are Music Emporium in MA, Truetone, Norman's, and, yes, the Hollywood GC in LA. I like the places that have great new and used, and some vintage, guitars -- the whole range -- and that are honest, set up their instruments, and know more than you about guitars. Sure, these places are vanishing. The online dealers are another story, and some are fine for what they are, but they are nothing -- nothing at all -- compared to these shops and the people who run them. I buy from individuals in person or online, or from guitar shops. I do not support mammoth online retailers. I know some people live in areas where that's the only option, but I'm lucky enough not to. Still, I've hit some great shops in seemingly out of the way locations -- try Midnight Joe's Guitar Heaven in Arroyo Grande, CA, for instance.

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Yep, I miss the good old days when a kid like this could ride his bike down to the local Cadillac dealership and test drive Escalades and El Dorados all day long.

On the other hand - maybe we're going Back to the Future: Amazon has announced a new program where you can try stuff out before you buy it. Order Clothing from them online - Try It Out and then pay for it if you like it, or return it if not.

I'm only buying my bathing suites in brick and mortar stores from now on.

Seriously though...

When I was 14 and getting music lessons at our Mom&Pop 25 miles outside of NYC on Long Island - he only had one Gibson model - a C-O. Which I purchased when I graduated to Mel Bay #2.

A year of so later, done with lessons, I stumbled upon a Sam Ash in a neighboring town. They had dozens of models. I traded my C-0 for an LG1. So, I think there's always been a dearth of selection in the Mom&Pops - although there were the rare ones scattered about that focused on Gibson acoustics . Even in the heyday of The Folkie Revival within a (long) bike ride of The Village - the pickins were slim unless you went to a major city. I think we've got more 'access to acoustics' today - because of the Internet.

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I go to a mom and pop shop about 30 minuets from my house. For some reason he has great prices on Martin's. GC is over and hour away, and I might go there for pick or strings, but buying gear no way. I shop online at Reverb, SW or MF or for strings I go to Strings And Beyond.

 

pretty much the same here. there's a privately owned music store about 20 some minutes from my house. they give me great deals. every once in awhile I'll use Sweetwater for a few things. Strings & Beyond I've used from time to time. they have pretty good prices. I poke around on Reverb just to have a look see. I've gotten & sold a few things on their site.

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Locally Twang Guitars - a Mom & Pop shop - is a five minute walk away.

They don't have any new 'high-end' stock but the new stuff they do have is all good quality at affordable prices; they know their likely clientele in this small corner of South-East London. Second-hand stuff is FAR more interesting. At the moment for instance they have a few really tasty '40s, '50s and '60s f-hole archtops at very reasonable prices...

I buy - or have bought - my strings, cables, straps and a few spares from them. I've even bought a cheap'n'cheerful-used-and-abused Epi S310 (Strat-style) for practically nothing. They also do fantastic repair-work. I've had them fit a new nut and fret-dress on a Les Paul and a replacement bridge on my 38-y-old Dreadnought. Both guitars were returned with perfect playability and, again, the cost in each case was a fraction of what it would have been through a Denmark Street dealer.

 

In town Macari's is always worth a visit and I've picked up a couple of Les Pauls and my D'Angelico from them. My favourite Denmark Street shop, however, is Wunjo guitars. Superb new stock with truly eclectic vintage gear.

 

Pip.

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Earle Teat Music in Delmar, De. mom & pop store. they have a nice inventory, price match the chains and give me really nice prices on used gear. where I give him so much business and send a lot of people to him there's been times he's let me have a used guitar with very little added to what he gave as a trade to the previous owner.

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