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What are the proper ways to negotiate on your new guitar purchase?


Biff Velvet

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I'm looking to buy my first Gibson this summer, and I wanted to know what the proper ways to negotiate are. I don't want to try to push things too hard, but I'd like to see what kinds of perks one should be looking to get when buying a new guitar.

 

Most likely I'm going to buy from a Long and McQuade where I've already bought 2 previous guitars, an amp and a bunch of accessories. I've bought all these things without trying to haggle, and paid face value. Does my previous spending history allow me to vouch towards a better deal?

 

I'm asking this question with genuine noobishness and am open to all opinions and interpretations.

 

Thanks!

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I'm looking to buy my first Gibson this summer' date=' and I wanted to know what the proper ways to negotiate are. I don't want to try to push things too hard, but I'd like to see what kinds of perks one should be looking to get when buying a new guitar.

 

Most likely I'm going to buy from a Long and McQuade where I've already bought 2 previous guitars, an amp and a bunch of accessories. I've bought all these things without trying to haggle, and paid face value. Does my previous spending history allow me to vouch towards a better deal?

 

I'm asking this question with genuine noobishness and am open to all opinions and interpretations.

 

Thanks![/quote']It's pretty simple these days with the internet.

 

Research the price of the guitar you want to buy on the net and go in with that information ready when you make the offer to close the deal.

 

I remember in the old days driving miles, going physically from store-to-store to get prices and then making the rounds again to play the offers off one another. I'd always get the "Don't tell anyone else I'm selling it to you for this price" admontion from the salesman after me saying "Well, I'll come back later. I need some time to think about this". [-o< It was really the only way to do it back then with high ticket items. Unless, of course, money was no object.

 

Time and gasoline were alot cheaper back then, too. =D>

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Thanks for the input guys. Price however, wasnt the only thing I had in mind. If one store wanted to throw in a nice 40 dollar strap and some strap locks, along with a free setup or something...that would be an attractive offer as well. But how much is too much to ask for?

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But how much is too much to ask for?

 

If they're in the ball park of the price you want to pay and they're nice reputable people willing to throw in some extras, that's a good sign. Sometimes you'll even be willing to pay a little more if you like and trust the people you're dealing with. Some smaller shops may even make a concession to set up the guitar to your liking as part of the deal.

 

Always go in with, and keep, a good friendly attitude.

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As an EX-salesman in two different places with 2+ years of retail work, Im veryyyyyyy cheery with salespersons helping me out. However, I can spot a ca-ca spewer very easily. Even the smallest lie or fib can really turn me off in a sales situation...

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As an EX-salesman in two different places with 2+ years of retail work' date=' Im veryyyyyyy cheery with salespersons helping me out. However, I can spot a ca-ca spewer very easily. Even the smallest lie or fib can really turn me off in a sales situation...[/quote']

 

Then you should also know a buy/sale sometimes can be a delicate, diplomatic situation. But the winner(buyer or seller), always keeps his/her cool and sense of humor no matter the outcome. [-o<

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Ever notice that the price on a given item on the internet is identical at every (or nearly every) web dealer? They all know what each other is doing. But it's good for us customers - their competition saves us the haggle hassle. The retail stores are well aware of the internet and more often than not, will match or beat prices. As far as thrown-in accessories are concerned, it's quite simple - if I'm paying $30 more than the "best" price, perhaps I want $30 worth of accessories. All this relates only to basic, raw dollars and cents. As stone mentioned, you may be willing to pay a few bucks more at a shop that provides superior customer service, i.e. not Guitar Center.

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I just bought an Ovation Legend LX 12 string. The price was way, way under list. I have bought about five guitars from the same salesperson. I asked if he would set it up, as he is fairly good at that. He did and gave me and my wife a t shirt as well. Was a very good deal.

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I too check the Internet first to get the average low price.

 

Then I go to my local music store armed with that information, but also prepared to pay a reasonable amount more than what is offered on the Internet.

 

Why?

 

1) You get MUCH better service out of a local music store. I recall even being loaned instruments, amps, etc. when my primary gear was out for repair. This comes after you have a good relationship with a good local store, and it is priceless.

 

2) No two instruments are alike. With the local music store you get to hold and play the instrument you are thinking of owning. You can see the fit and finish and you can feel and hear the response.

 

3) More often than not, the local music store has a guitar tech that will set up the action and intonation for you before you bring it home.

 

4) Some of the money spent in the local store stays in your community. If you are a gigging musician this is important. The more money that flows in your community, the more people have to spend on live music. Every little bit helps.

 

I am a local businessman in my duo The Sophisticats, and if I expect people to come to their local live music venue and support their local musician, I should be prepared to support other local businesses when I can.

 

You may spend a few more dollars there, but it makes sense (pun intended).

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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If one store wanted to throw in a nice 40 dollar strap and some strap locks' date=' along with a free setup or something...[/quote']

Bear in mind it costs the dealer less to give you something for free instead of discounting the guitar, so they may be more inclined to give you something (or some things) with a retail value of $100 rather than knock $100 off the price of the guitar.

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All pretty much true. If you ask nicely, a salesperson will probably knock the price down a bit for you... say maybe another 5% off the top. Or, as mentioned, he may feel inclined to give you some freebies.

 

What we hate are the bozos that want to avoid paying taxes, figuring that if they pay 'cash' we won't have to charge the tax. Unfortunately since it all goes into the cash register and is recorded, we have no latitude in this regard. Besides, a 13% discount is not exactly a small amount.

 

Another area of latitude concerns ordered items. I work in a small mom & pop sized store and as such our inventory is limited. However if a customer wants to order in a particular guitar we can quote a very competitive price based on the fact that it's a quick, 'guaranteed' sale. We also try to match if not better the 'big' competition in Ottawa and Montreal.

 

In a nutshell, don't be afraid to ask for a deal but don't nag; however with your experience I'm sure you know this already.

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In looking for an amp, I checked the US big boxes online for a price and then started calling my Ottawa area stores for their price. I found Steve's, in spite of my purchasing 2 guitars there, wasn't willing to drop the 30 bucks that L&M was charging or throw in anything, the manager I talked to wasn't willing to do ANY deal on the amp because they can hardly keep those amps in the store...so much for building customer loyalty. St. John's would match L&M and hold the amp for a day or two (they had stock.) I'm not a fan of the shopping experiences I have had at L&M and don't shop there. St. John's, who are in my neighbourhood and a short walk away for strings and stuff, they said would meet the price L&M had and they got the deal.

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In looking for an amp' date=' I checked the US big boxes online for a price and then started calling my Ottawa area stores for their price. I found Steve's, in spite of my purchasing 2 guitars there, wasn't willing to drop the 30 bucks that L&M was charging or throw in anything, the manager I talked to wasn't willing to do ANY deal on the amp because they can hardly keep those amps in the store...so much for building customer loyalty. St. John's would match L&M and hold the amp for a day or two (they had stock.) I'm not a fan of the shopping experiences I have had at L&M and don't shop there. St. John's, who are in my neighbourhood and a short walk away for strings and stuff, they said would meet the price L&M had and they got the deal. [/quote']

 

Yeah, Steve's is big enough that they don't really feel the need to build any strong customer relations. Still, it's a great place to go when you want to try stuff out.

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I like the service I received at Steve's when I bought my guitars there. BUT, the fact that they wouldn't even throw me a couple of packs of strings to get me to buy at their store, and pay the higher price, led me to believe that they could afford to lose my sale....so they lost my sale :0) The fact that I bought in my neighbourhood will also help to make sure that I still have a shop in my neighbourhood next week!

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It may be different for you (especially with a higher-price item), but when I was shopping for my Casino, I just said "I can't afford that."

 

They lowered the price to $495. I wasn't lying, I still couldn't afford that, but they did it.

 

This was at House of Guitars, though.

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The best way is to build a relationship.

 

I shop at 2 local stores and am lucky in the Chicago market they are able to compete with GC and Sam Ash. Both stores will beat both the big guys by a few dollars, and they know me if I have any future issues with the guitar.

 

The same at GC if you can find someone who knows something. I knew one guy at the Villa Park GC who was a guitar player and knew his stuff. We always talked guitars and he used to give me stupid deals. I told some of the local guys what I paid for my 2 casinos and they said they could not touch that for cost. Both my casinos were new out of the DC in the box with all the tags, poster, cord etc. Keith always got me special order stuff or told me you don't want that one the kids have beat on it let me get you a new one. Always followed up with phone calls on questions or status of my orders.

 

Keith got his own store in Kansas somewhere so ended my stupid deals at GC. You can build a relationship with some of the big stores but it is hard to find people who care and are not just there for the paycheck.

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The best way is to build a relationship.

Keith got his own store in Kansas somewhere so ended my stupid deals at GC. You can build a relationship with some of the big stores but it is hard to find people who care and are not just there for the paycheck.

 

Byrds1965, Where in Kansas, is your friend Keith's store?

Might want to look in on it, if it's not too far away?

 

CB

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I can see this one from both sides because I would in retail for a major electronics store and some times you have to come down to make the sale. Usually if you go in with a idea of what you want and how much your willing to spend thats best and then tell the sales person a number and below that and say that may be willing to go up to that amount. Then if you see the guitar that you want at the price you want you can always say something like "Well.... I don't man. Its still just a little high for me." and they'll usually come down alittle bit. I've used this technique at both guitar stores that I regularly visit, I won't mention names on here, and it works. It also helps if you work with a sales person that you have done business with in the past because you already have the relationship with you and will sometimes do what ever they can to make it. Main guy that I buy from is a guy at guitar center that i've bought alot of merchandise from and he knows what I like . I hope this helps man. Happy hunting.

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Byrds1965' date=' Where in Kansas, is your friend Keith's store?

Might want to look in on it, if it's not too far away?

 

CB[/quote']

 

I think the guys at the VP store told me Kansas City? If you find him mention the guy with the Lennon J160e, and the burst, and natural casinos. He got me all those guitars special order from the DC.

 

He was transfered a couple of years back and there is such a high turnover at GC I don't think there is anyone there I could ask now that would know. He used to be the guitar manager and I was told he was promoted to store manager. I'm not sure how many GCs there are in Kansas.

 

If you find him tell him thanks again for all the help and deals he gave me.

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What we hate are the bozos that want to avoid paying taxes' date=' figuring that if they pay 'cash' we won't have to charge the tax. Unfortunately since it all goes into the cash register and is recorded, we have no latitude in this regard.[/quote']

Not to mention the fact that if the state discovers a retailer is not charging sales tax, they'll be in trouble.

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I'm looking to buy my first Gibson this summer' date=' and I wanted to know what the proper ways to negotiate are. I don't want to try to push things too hard, but I'd like to see what kinds of perks one should be looking to get when buying a new guitar.

 

Most likely I'm going to buy from a Long and McQuade where I've already bought 2 previous guitars, an amp and a bunch of accessories. I've bought all these things without trying to haggle, and paid face value. Does my previous spending history allow me to vouch towards a better deal?

 

I'm asking this question with genuine noobishness and am open to all opinions and interpretations.

 

Thanks![/quote']

 

How to negotiate with a music shop.

 

1. Have money in hand and be ready to buy before asking for a break on the price-Nothing is more annoying to the shop and nothing will shut a deal down faster than to go into a shop and start negotiations, ask for a price and then say..."well, I don't have the money yet but..."..only to return a few days later again asking for the deal of a lifetime... I think people think that each time they ask the deal will get a little sweeter but the dealer already has a bottom line and what he says isn't usually going to change very much and if he recognizes that you're just fishing or using his price to help you negotiate elsewhere, his initial price isn't going to be his best price but if you're ready with cash in hand you're going to do pretty well. That doesn't mean it isn't wise to shop your prices, just don't think that it will always work playing one dealer against another. The other dealer knows what's going on as well.

 

2. Realize that the dealer is working with a pretty small margin on guitars and amps. The bigger dealers will usually come down to 60% of list but smaller dealers with smaller capital and greater overhead will usually be at about 70% of list. This is why it's important to know the list prices before hand. It's the bench mark from where dealers set their pricing. They may "price" their instruments at only 20% off list but this allows them some wiggle room so the public can feel they're getting a bargain when they come down another 10 or 15%. Strings and accessories are high mark up items and a dealer may be more willing to give you another 5-10% of the list price in this way rather than a further reduction from list price.

 

3. It is quite common to ask for an "out the door" price meaning a price with sale tax rolled into it which in Michigan means another 6% off and a lot of dealers will write it up as though you're getting the guitar tax free by reducing the price of the guitar accordingly but I don't know of any way that they are able to not charge any tax. I did have one Bozo who tried to tell me that sales taxes are the customer's responsibility to pay so the store shouldn't charge him at the point of sale but leave it for him to later deal with the state for the taxes owed...Unt uh...a shop is taxed on sales at the point of sales and every transaction is recorded with the shop being responsible for seeing that the tax is paid.

 

4. Be careful with places like GuiTarget Center who work from a list price that includes a case but then at the point of sale want to add on the cost of a case. Epiphone list prices don't include the cost of a case but Gibsons and Fenders do. Also, the employees of these kinds of places are using that job as a stop over point on their way to their degree in restaurant management or computer programming or while waiting for their rock star to rise so they may not be the most informed, knowledgeable people you'll ever deal with in a shop. If you know what you're buying and know the list pricing and have money in hand you can often do great deals in these kinds of places if you say.."go tell your manager I have cash and I'm willing to pay 60% of list on this guitar (or something similar and reasonable)"...Another thing, when you use a credit card it costs the dealer about 3-4% of that sale...When actually paying cash it doesn't hurt to ask for an additional discount for using cash...even 3% of $1500 is another forty five bucks that stays in your pocket.

 

5. If you expect your sales person to be professional and accommodating then enter that shop with the same attitude you expect in return. Don't go in saying "well, shop "A" will sell it to me at such and such price...what's the matter with you guys, are you trying to rip people off? " Every shop has their own philosophy about pricing but every shop is working with practically the same margins so the "deals" may differ as I said in the way of accessories,cases and set ups. One of my Christmas time promotions used to be "free strings for a year"-which meant one set per month for a year or about $36 cost to me but the psychological savings to the customer made that seem like much more....and seldom did anyone make the trip to the shop for the free strings without buying something else while there. Don't tell them I said this but the markup of strings is 400% so when the strings list for say $10 and the shop sells them for two for one or $5 a set the shop is actually paying $2.50 a set or less. Also, don't tell anyone I said this but one of my local rather large and important dealer told me that he bare bones his Gibson and Fender prices for turn over and actually uses the guitars to bring people into the shop because while the guitars aren't sold every day to everyone coming into the shop, they usually buy at least something like strings or picks which are both HUGE mark up items. He admitted his money was made on accessories and the dealer's cut on in-store lessons which I already knew to be true.

 

Have your money ready, know the list prices and understand what the margin the dealer is working with is, go into the transaction with a professional and courteous attitude and you'll get the best deal possible.

 

...and Al's your uncle.

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