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Michael Jackson at Guitar Center


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Michael Jackson at Guitar Center



Okay, no secret here.

EVERYBODY knows how much I hate Guitar Center.


In fact, check out this nice video by Nice Peter.

Says it all for me, with some well-deserved profanity.





Anyhow, after church I decided to run into town to Guitar Center on the west side of Phoenix.

Had the boy with me (our 20 year old who hocked his guitars for dope) and dropped Mrs. Neo off at a department store to browse while I purchased a couple of patch cords for my new Fulltone OCD. The boy has rarely strayed into any guitar shops in the last couple years due largely to shame so he was happy to come along.


We walk in the door, not expecting much, and what are we greeted with?

Michael Jackson.


Yep, the PA equipment was blasting Michael Jackson - at GUITAR Center....


I told the slacker kid at the door who greeted us - I think, I couldn't hear him - that I felt like bustin' a move.

If you've ever seen my X-Xtra Large physique, you'd realize how funny that would be.




I was smiling (laughing actually) at the choice of music in a GUITAR Center when I spotted Eddie.

He's an okay guy that works in Guitars there.

I smiled and asked what was up with the music, about that time the boy yelled out "You need to shoot your DJ!"


Eddie smiled back and pointed to a guy behind me who asked

"What's wrong with Michael Jackson?"


I turned to him and shouted - out of necessity "EVERYTHING! In a GUITAR Center? C'mon!"


As I looked at the guy to sort of gauge his response, I was met with an unpleasant look.

He was really wounded!

He was a short little guy, maybe 5'2" and decidedly ambiguous as far as his sexual preferences might be...


Realizing what 'meanies' the boy and I must appear to be, I tried to make the best of it with humor.

I asked him to tell me what kind of guitar we were hearing right now (it was all synth) and he wasn't amused.


Oh well, Eddie shrugged his shoulders and looked the other way and the boy and I went to look at some guitars.

Same inventory, 95% cheap imported sh!t.


We went to the bass room so the boy could thump around, then the VIP room with the 'nice' guitars.

Not much there.

Then it was off to the acoustic room, where we really couldn't hear the MJ.

Came out to the electronics end of the store to look at cables and MJ is still going loud and strong....


One of the white kids saw us and started doing his best White Boys Can't Dance moves.

Ha ha.


Anyhow, bought a cord and left.


Neither one of us could believe what we had just seen.


As we were driving away, the boy was leafing through a handful of flyers and ads he had picked up at the door on the way out and he busted out laughing....

One of the flyers was for a Michael Jackson Tribute to be held downtown Phoenix - featuring a Moonwalk contest.


Got the flyer from GUITAR Center.

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Guitar Center was once The Organ Center, and the The Vox Center. They used whatever was popular at the time.


Besides, every single sound on the Thriller album, other than Michael's voice, could be made with something at a Guitar Center store - they don't just sell guitars. It's a store playing music that is more popular now than it has been in many years... not a big deal.

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Oh, I hear ya.


Do you ever get GC radio ads where you live?

No synth there, always ripping power chords saturated with distortion while the voice tells you about their sale.




Just one more reason not to shop there.


No big deal.

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I am fortunate to have a local musical instrument store nearby in addition to the GC so I was suprised that the local store being a Gbson dealer also could sell at a price under GC by not advertising. I saved a hundred on the SG I recently got from what it was at GC.

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I was suprised that the local store being a Gbson dealer also could sell at a price under GC by not advertising.

Welcome to the concept of the Minimum Advertised Price, or MAP.

GC tells you they undercut everybody in their advertising and it's a lie.

Your independent dealer doesn't advertise prices, so they can sell it for whatever they want.


And they LOVE undercutting GC.

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The HOG can almost always sell me what I want for less than Guitar Center - the only time they can't is when it's a more-expensive, less-popular item, like a harmonica I was looking at last year.


Guitars, though, that are shipped in by the dozens, are always, with a bit of a conversation, 80% or less of Guitar Center's price.

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Don't care.

I'm not a big enough VH fan to stomach the rest of it.

I was sick of that song in 1983, the years since have changed nothing.





The HOG can almost always sell me what I want for less than Guitar Center

Ah yes....

Heard much about those guys from Rocketman and a few others.

Top-notch retailer is a find indeed!


Here in Phoenix we have Bizarre Guitar, same deal.


We have 4 GC's here, they can't even carry a piss bucket for 'em.

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Michael Jackson excites you?


I wouldn't admit such things in a public forum....




And what would you presume to know about my taste in music, with such condescension involved?

Can't say I'm ever bored with blues/rock, it's a big world.



(Here we go again with the slow learners....)




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While I certainly understand big stores appreciation to the masses, this is the same mentality that Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and others market. Those places don't sell musical instruments (okay, Sears used to and where many of us got our first instruments), but those places aren't geared toward people who have specific interests... You want to buy a cheap instrument in a place that has cheap prices and appeals to that market, GC sounds like the place to be. However, if you are looking for something more specific, more specialized, you'd better be shopping at local dealers, whether it is for guitars, tools, guns, food, or what have you. If we don't put our money back in to our special shops in our own communities, those places will cease to exist.


Having the big stores selling beginners stuff and playing Michael Jackson isn't bad. It's the only place many figure out where to shop for their kid, if they can't afford a Gibson or Taylor or .... Nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is people plunking their money down there who expect the specialty shops that know how to set up a guitar, carry the LP customs, carry the Taylors or J200's to still exist if we don't frequent their shops for the lesser items like strings, capos, slides, cords, etc...



Not a knock on anyone, but if we really want the specialty places to exist, we need to support them. You aren't gonna find a Les Paul at Wal-Mart, nor will you find anything but generic clothing at K-Mart. Support those businesses that cater to your interests, even if you have to spend a few dimes more for strings or an effects pedal. GC will be the only game in town if you don't...


BTW, I do not work in retail in any fashion. I've just seen too many shops that catered to things I was really interested in fold up because folks turned their backs on them and gave the box stores their business, no matter how shoddy the product or service. Service and top of the line products cost money and should be worth the extra digging in our wallet. Doesn't mean you should be taken advantage of, but does mean "you get what you pay for" and "the future ain't what it used to be"....

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Amen Brother Phillips.

That's the sermon I've been preaching for years.


We now have an entire generation that never even considers the Guitar Center business model to be a bad thing, and figures they can always just buy online if that fails somehow.


I pity the people who never shopped in a nice, professionally-run, well-stocked GUITAR shop.

... and they're going away slowly....

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I always shop at my locally owned music store for strings. I used to work there so I get a discount :- Guitar center is a pretty disgusting place morally: a bunch of innocent instruments being ravaged by the hands of any player who should grab them, employees who are either nowhere to be seen or refuse to make eye contact with you, a brood of teens playing absolute garbage on a garbage that sounds like garbage, a store that sells not quality instruments, but wicked lies.

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They are going away. But it's not just guitar shops, it's your local butcher, your local hardware store, your local tailor, your local whatever...


I haven't shopped at a box store in a dozen or more years. While I do appreciate the appeal, it's not worth losing your local culture and town heritage for... I'm sure my local music store gets sick of me dropping by to shoot the breeze and buy strings, but they get my business, even though I could buy strings online for 1/2 the price. It's worth it when they can set the intonation my guitar and I don't have to ship it God knows where.


Having a place for whatever you are looking for that actually knows something about it, rather than hiring kids at minimum wage who couldn't care less about the product, your satisfaction or your neighborhood, and has no experience, is not service or good for our economy or community.

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It's human nature. No matter how depraved the individual SOMEONE will cry at his wake all the while, extoling his virtues. Some people just don't get it.


vis: Charles Manson and his followers, John Wayne Gacey, and the like.


To all the MJ fans... The normal period of mourning has ended. Stop your bawling and get on with life. We're at the point of the heirs making sure the money keeps rolling in.


BTW, when is the next Farrah Fawcett tribute and look-alike event?

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