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dirtiestkidever
12-18-2013, 05:09 AM
There are two local music shops that are great for ukuleles. I also like the people at both and would love to support them. That being said, I still see myself making all of my ukulele purchases online (probably used) to get the best deals.

Typically when I go into one of these stores I play the instruments for 20-30 minutes and then buy something small like a set of strings or a tuner. But I have all the strings I need. So now when i go into these stores (probably about once a month) I just look at the ukes rather than playing them.

Is it rude to go to music stores and play the instruments with no intention of buying? How long is a reasonable time to spend playing the instruments? How do music store owners feel about this? I realize there are no right answers I am just trying to get a feel for what the etiquette is as I really have no idea.

hoosierhiver
12-18-2013, 05:19 AM
We've got a small retail shop and this is my take on it. If a person wants to try them out, that's fine, but just playing for fun isn't doing the shop any favors and quite possibly putting some minor scratches or "shop wear" on the instruments making them harder to sell. You should be able to get the feel for the instrument after maybe 5 minutes of playing. The thing I really dislike is someone who comes in with no intention to buy and just wants to play to show off for their girlfriend, that's annoying as hell.

and always take off your coat/jacket before picking anything up to avoid scratching the instruments with zippers etc.

flyingace
12-18-2013, 05:40 AM
I agree, if I go in to a store and play something that I really enjoy, I buy it from them. Some of my advertisers (small mom and pop businesses) have a hard time (one in particular owns a baby/maternity store) with mom's coming in to tryout car seats, strollers and cribs only to leave and either purchase online or go down the street and buy at a big chain store. It's killing their business and it's just plain RUDE! They give great customer service and that has to be worth something!

That said, I tend to buy online and used because around here there aren't any ukulele's for sale. Guitar center stocks the basic low end. Although I went in back in August and one of the regular guys there who knows me helped me out a lot, played with me and we had a nice chat, (i even taught him a uke song to play to customers to help sell them), I walked out with the little Fender Nohea. I never would have bought that model if I hadn't played it and loved it.

Just be upfront about it and be careful with their stock (like Mike said).

RichM
12-18-2013, 05:41 AM
I think Mike said it well. Going into a shop to try something out is reasonable. Sitting and playing for an extended period of time really isn't. Think about it from the perspective of a clothing store; they expect you to try on the clothes, maybe even walk around a little to see how they feel; they don't expect you to go out to dinner wearing them.

If you are considering a purchase, I think it's right to tell the shopkeeper that and to spend an extended time with the instrument. Some shops are happy to provide you with a practice room to really get a sense of the instrument.

As always, you owe the shopkeeper the utmost care in handling his instruments. Those are his bread and butter, the stuff that puts food on his family's table. It breaks my heart when I see people wailing away on a new instrument with a pick or banging instruments around pulling stuff down off the wall.

JonThysell
12-18-2013, 06:35 AM
I find that most local shops are mostly stocked with low to mid-end ukes, and I generally don't pick any up unless it's a brand I've never tried before, and even then it's just so I can get a quick feel for its quality for future reference. The higher end ukes, if they have any, I try out, but since those usually stay hanging for quite some time, I usually only need to try it once unless I'm actually looking at buying it.

I still buy a lot of accessories in local shops just because I always see something that I can use extras of. The thing I probably buy the most in stores are cases- there's no substitute for taking your uke to a shop and finding the perfect fit.

But until HMS franchises out they're still my number one place to buy ukes, on-line or off.

mds725
12-18-2013, 06:39 AM
I frequent a few ukulele stores in my area, particularly Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto and Aloha Warehouse in San Francisco's Japantown. At Gryphon, I'll play an instrument I'm curious about for a few minutes, just to get a feel for it. In the past, I've bought a used Kamaka tenor, a new Kamaka 8-string tenor, and a used baby Taylor guitar from them, so I feel comfortable stopping in, playing stuff (especially when they have something unusual, like a Compass Rose) and leaving with only a small purchase, like an ukulele strap. I've also referred people there for ukulele purchases and repairs. I'm friendly with the owner of Aloha Warehouse (we attend the same monthly kanikapila, and I often go in just to say hello. He likes to show me the new things he's gotten in. Unfortunately, I loaded up on Kamakas before he became a Kamaka dealer (Aloha Warehouse now sells Kamakas, Kanile'as and KoAlohas!). I'll make it a point to buy stuff from him that mightn also be available online. I recently bought a laminate Makai concert as a gift for a friend), I've bought some accessories and ukulele CDs there, and I've referred friends to him who have bought ukes from him. I usually only play the higher end ukes there that he wants to show me, even though he probably knows I'm probably not going to buy them.

Yesterday I stopped into Sylvan on my way back from picking up new Compass Rose baritones from Rick Turner's work space. I played a few of their instruments, including the two lovely new CRs that are there now and a new Santa Cruz baritone guitar, for a few minutes each, and then bought a copy of The Daily Ukulele (which I could have gotten for about half the price on Amazon) as a gift for a friend.

I beleive that if I'm going to play the ukes at local music shops, I should occasionally buy something more expensive than strings or tuners, like an inexpensive ukulele to give as a gift. I think that good will should feel to the shop owner and employees like a two-way street.

vanflynn
12-18-2013, 08:11 AM
My local shop has no problem with me coming in, tuning up and playing them. I do know the owner and know he doesn't have a problem with it and appreciates the instrument getting some "play time" exposure for the customers in the store.

That being said I have bought 2 ukes from him in the past, though.

Bill Mc
12-18-2013, 08:24 AM
It is like any other kind of etiquette: put yourself in the place of the other person and ask how you would like to be treated in a similar situation.

hammer40
12-18-2013, 08:55 AM
I think they should mention somewhere, the fact that a uke has been on display and played (shop worn) before you buy online. I purchased a uke online last year, it was fairly expensive, from a music store but not a chain. When I received it and gave it the once over, I was surprised by the amount of strum marks that it had on it. I returned it for a refund, now had the salesman mentioned the strum marks prior to, or gave me a slight discount because of it, I probably would have kept it. He was actually pretty snarky on top of it, when I called to let him know how I received.

One other time I had a chance to see a Kamaka, I drove a long ways for the chance to see one one person. We don't have higher end ukes here where I live, that I know of anyway. He brought it out and was fine with me playing it, I finger picked only, since I did not want to put a single mark on it. I asked him if he would play it, so I could hear it better. He starts to strum, I can hear right away his finger nails on the soundboard. When he gave it back to me and left me to play some more, I looked at it and saw his strum marks. I know they are going to get dinged, but I want them to be my dings.

bnolsen
12-18-2013, 09:20 AM
It is like any other kind of etiquette: put yourself in the place of the other person and ask how you would like to be treated in a similar situation.

not many people are shop owners so its difficult for us to put ourselves in their shoes. There's one used place I visit sometimes, bought some tenor sax reeds and some strings there once. They did hold a used instrument for me that was on repair, which I didn't take. I'm absolutely certain I will be buying a violin or band instruments from this shop in the future (yes I have 3 kids) so I'm personally not feeling like I'm cheating them, just want to mostly look over their stock every 6 mos or so. I probably will grab some hohner kazoos from them later this week even...I'll ask about nose flutes as well.

mm stan
12-18-2013, 09:39 AM
My take on shope ukes being used....go to a store that has high turnover and you wont see high end ukes last a few days....especially ones that are sought for.
besides I would like to buy the uke I try and liked playing a floor model rather getting a new uke from the back...all ukes have their own voices like you and me
I usually look over the uke well in the shop too, as you know many buyers are so excited in the buying process they may overlook if it has flaws and even some
the tone....take your time and feel out the ukulele if you are an intrested buyer....

RichM
12-18-2013, 09:48 AM
My take on shope ukes being used....go to a store that has high turnover and you wont see high end ukes last a few days....especially ones that are sought for.
besides I would like to buy the uke I try and like instead play a floor model and get a new uke from the back...all ukes have their own voices like you and me
I usually look over the uke well in the shop too, as you know many buyers are so excited in the buying process they may overlook if it has flaws and even some
the tone....take your time and feel out the ukulele if you are an intrested buyer....

When I bought my mahogany Mainland concert at Ukulele Source in San Jose, I played one on display that had a bit of shopwear and liked it very much. They told me they had several in the stockroom, and wouldn't I rather have a pristine one from the back. They brought out three or four fresh in their boxes, and none of them sounded as good as the one I had tried out--so I bought the shopworn one gladly.

Stevelele
12-18-2013, 10:18 AM
I definitely think that people shouldn't just play instruments that they have no intention of buying unless the model is clearly a floor model that is not for sale and is already dinged up. When it comes to nice instruments that are for sale, particularly premium ones, I do not think they should be played if you have no intent to buy. I have declined to play instruments that music store owners have said they want me to try bc I don't think it's fair to the store.

I feel for the store owners--you don't want to have people playing all your nice instruments and messing them up--that's your inventory and that's the only way you make money. On the other hand, as a consumer, the whole point of a music store is that I have a chance to try before I buy. I've been to a store before where there was a really expensive uke. The person there told me I couldn't try it--can't say I blame him--he had no idea that I was a serious buyer of ukes, and it was a very expensive premium instrument. I had him strum it for me, but it's just not the same, so I passed. So there's is always that possibility that opportunities are lost.

Bill Mc
12-18-2013, 10:28 AM
not many people are shop owners so its difficult for us to put ourselves in their shoes. There's one used place I visit sometimes, bought some tenor sax reeds and some strings there once. They did hold a used instrument for me that was on repair, which I didn't take. I'm absolutely certain I will be buying a violin or band instruments from this shop in the future (yes I have 3 kids) so I'm personally not feeling like I'm cheating them, just want to mostly look over their stock every 6 mos or so. I probably will grab some hohner kazoos from them later this week even...I'll ask about nose flutes as well.

So you have to be a shop owner to appreciate the basic notion that a shop owner does not want you to screw up his goods when you have no intention of buying. Give me a break.

mm stan
12-18-2013, 11:26 AM
I remember I was in HMS one time and a young kid, around 15(probally could never afford a high end uke) asked mike if he could play a high end Kanilea..
Mike passed the uke to him with no hesitation....after the kid played, he was handing over the uke back to Mike and he accidentally bumped the
bottom bout of the uke on the counter....Mike did not say a word but looked and examined it for a long time...the kid never said even sorry or may
not have understood he damaged a high end uke....I am sure after that, he could not play any high end ukes behind the counter...mike did not scold the
kid though....I am sure that uke was discounted after that....

Osprey
12-18-2013, 11:30 AM
I bought my first and only (so far) ukulele at a local music store here in Pensacola. Blues Angel Music is very Uke friendly. Every Sat morning they have a free intro to ukulele class. Then our local Uke group meets in the store for an hour. One member of the staff works with us as we learn new songs. If we want we can pick a ukulele off the wall and give it a try. Customers often come and watch us. We do buy stuff there including the occasional instrument. The owners have told me how positive the experience is for the store and it is certainly positive for us.
This maybe an unique situation but they have convinced me to support my locally owned music store
Cliff

katysax
12-18-2013, 12:07 PM
I go into the local shop frequently and play the ukes all I want. However, I know the owner; he doesn't mind. In fact, my playing helps sell ukes. He sells mostly mid and low end with a few high end. I've bought a few low end ukes from him, send everyone I know who is looking for an instrument to him, buy strings from him, and I have bought keyboards and other stuff from him. If someone comes in and wants to play uke or guitar I don't play so they can hear what they are playing. I know he doesn't mind, and even though I haven't bought any high end ukes from him I've been a good customer and bought quite a few things.

What bugs me are the kids who go into the acoustic room at guitar center, plug in the "acoustic amps" and start jamming all day long not allowing anyone else to play anything.

OldePhart
12-18-2013, 12:07 PM
The bottom line - if you want your local music store to be around a while, patronize them, and that means buying more than strings. This is especially true of mom and pop type stores, as opposed to something like Guitar Center.

I used to help out an elderly friend in running his radio control airplane shop - he had hundreds of thousands invested and had a very good inventory. He was very well known in the hobby, having judged national events for years and so on. People would come into the shop all the time and literally take up hours of our time asking about this and that and handling engines, radios, checking out the kits, etc. Then they'd leave without buying anything and a week or two later we'd see them at the field with the exact same stuff that they'd checked out in his shop but they'd ordered it from Hobby Lobby or what have you to save often as little as ten or twenty dollars on a several-hundred-dollar purchase.

But, oh lordy how they'd complain if they busted a prop or ran out of fuel on the weekend and we didn't have exactly the replacement they wanted in stock... :rollseyes:

BTW, he, like far too many good local shop owners, eventually realized that he was losing money keeping the doors open and closed up shop.

Now granted, there is often not much choice locally and when that happens order away! I order stuff online all the time - but, I don't steal from local shops by wasting their time and handling their merchandise when I have no intention of buying from them.


John

Osprey
12-18-2013, 12:40 PM
John,
I agree buy from a locally owned shop whenever you can. You will get good service and support local jobs. If they don't have what you want see if they can order it

Cliff

Skinny Money McGee
12-18-2013, 12:57 PM
Using your local store as a showroom for Amazon, or some other tax free online source, is quite rude in my opinion.

The store I frequent is Elderly Instruments, and they encourage you to sit, play, shoot the bull, whatever. I buy from them because they will deal, plus you get lifetime service if you buy the instrument from them. (the higher end stuff)

Bumgardner
12-18-2013, 04:41 PM
My rule of thumb is to not touch if I don't intend on buying.

In Nashville we have some amazing guitar stores. With stores like Gruhn, Corner Music, Artisan Guitars, Cotton Music and a few others we have a ton of quality high end stores. They will set you up with a private room to try out instruments, you get the all star treatment. You can really sit down and get a feel for the instrument without being drowned out by a 16 year old cranking an amp to 12.

acmespaceship
12-18-2013, 05:39 PM
When you find an Ukulele Petting Zoo that is run as a not-for-profit charity, then go ahead and play all day and never buy anything. Also tell me about it so I can go and play, too. Meanwhile, stores in the real world need you to pony up some money now and then. Saving a few bucks buying a uke online will be small comfort when your local stores go out of business. You pay a little more for the opportunity to play before you buy. Seems like a fair deal to me.

janeray1940
12-18-2013, 06:00 PM
The bottom line - if you want your local music store to be around a while, patronize them, and that means buying more than strings.

Yes. This!!!

In an unrelated recent thread, another member advised me not to buy from my local shop because of their markup. I'm well aware of their markup - everything is always priced at full MSRP unless on sale, and the sale prices are usually comparable to the everyday online prices for Amazon/Musician's Friend - but generally if the local shop has what I want, I'll buy from them anyway. The shop has been there my whole lifetime (plus a couple more years!) and I'd like to see it stay that way, so even when I know I can get something elsewhere for less, I'd rather keep my dollars local. Not to mention that the shop will stand by the products they sell - I'm not sure that the Big Boxes would do the same.

dirtiestkidever
12-18-2013, 08:57 PM
Wow. Tons of responses. I appreciate the feedback. I think you are all reinforcing what I was already feeling. At first I didn't even think twice about picking up ukes a trying them out. With many other products (take the Apple store for instance) we are trained to go in and play with the merchandise and then go buy it online (showrooming). Obviously things are quite different for a mom and pops ukulele store. It took awhile until I finally started thinking 'maybe the store owners don't appreciate this'. Maybe I am just a little slow or too self absorbed to realize how other people felt about it. Or perhaps the ukes themselves were too irresistible to think about anything else. In any case, I don't play them any more. And I do appreciate the responses. Happy holidays.

Captain America
12-19-2013, 04:06 AM
Fun to read the responses.

Myself, the times I go into a music store usually mean I'm looking to see if they have any weird or unusual guitars. I have no problem whatever playing the store's guitars---I figure that the time will come when somebody's brought in something fantastic that I just have to have, and that's it, it gets bought.

But I don't go in, in order to strum new stuff. . . unless I know they're carrying what I'm looking for. I guess I'm more into old acoustic guitars.

You know, I got into ukes because there's a nice music store that I was stopping by to check their situation, didn't see anything but was in a rare "buy" mode and I got talked (half-talked; I'm also responsible) into buying a cheap Mahalo. So it goes.

The idea of using the local store to check out something before ordering on-line doesn't fly well with me: I respect the practical differences between instruments too much; I've seen how models vary, and since I buy an instrument for life, the extra $50 or $100 doesn't matter all that much, since I know exactly what I'm getting and I'm happy getting it.

Cornfield
12-19-2013, 04:43 AM
Wow. Tons of responses. I appreciate the feedback. I think you are all reinforcing what I was already feeling. At first I didn't even think twice about picking up ukes a trying them out. With many other products (take the Apple store for instance) we are trained to go in and play with the merchandise and then go buy it online (showrooming). Obviously things are quite different for a mom and pops ukulele store. It took awhile until I finally started thinking 'maybe the store owners don't appreciate this'. Maybe I am just a little slow or too self absorbed to realize how other people felt about it. Or perhaps the ukes themselves were too irresistible to think about anything else. In any case, I don't play them any more. And I do appreciate the responses. Happy holidays.

I think the general feedback has been, "Go to your local music store, try their ukes and buy from them". The idea is to not use the dealer for "show rooming" but as your actual resource. As Captain America said, a few extra bucks on a uke really doesn't amount to much over time. There are so many areas of my life where I can save money but I WANT to support my local music store.

My local camera store chain "Ritz Camera" has closed. Now there are a lot fewer choices available locally. Same thing with my local hobby shop. I would hate to see the music stores go that route.

Pondoro
12-19-2013, 10:26 AM
Well I read this thread yesterday and then today I found myself with 20-30 minutes to kill between two appointments and a Sam Ash store in between. Stopped in. I had no intention of buying anything, but of my 13 ukes three were impulse buys, one a used baritone from that very store. So if I never go in unless I have an intent to buy then Sam will never sell me anything.

Anyway I played a Kala uke for about 15 minutes, very carefully, while the salesman ignored me and sold a woman a guitar (probably for 3x the cost of the $175 Kala). I left the store with one uke that was in tune, because I had tuned the Kala. So I think I did them a good deed, and I might have bought it. I didn't but still. I did not go home and order that exact uke off the internet. That seems like cheating.

I was in a music store in Germany and the sales guy noticed that I was tuning a uke before I played it. He handed me an electronic tuner and said, "Tune any uke you like." So I tuned all of his ukes - they all needed it.

janeray1940
12-19-2013, 10:58 AM
So if I never go in unless I have an intent to buy then Sam will never sell me anything.


The issue here is not going in to browse and leaving empty-handed - I think many music stores (as well as other stores) know that if they allow browsers to spend time with their wares, impulse buys will happen. But that's a whole other thing than going in to a local shop try the merchandise, and not buying it there but instead buying it from a cheaper retailer. Like you said - cheating! Not fair! :)

OldePhart
12-19-2013, 12:08 PM
So I tuned all of his ukes - they all needed it.

BWAA-HAAAA - don't they always! :)

I bought a Kala pocket uke in Sam Ash in Manhattan when I was up there a few years ago (last time I go on a business trip for a week without something to play in the hotel). Anyway, it was behind the counter and the sales guy actually grabbed a tuner and tuned it before he handed to me. Of course, he tuned it to GCEA so the strings were floppy loose and the intonation was terrible - but, hey, he was tryin'!

John

Pondoro
12-19-2013, 01:16 PM
That is funny John, the uke I played today was a Kala Pocket Uke. I tuned it by ear to whatever sounded good. So it is not in any standard tuning. But the next person who plays it will be able to make it play, if he or she arrives in time. So I did help. I think if I worked within walking distance of a music store I would volunteer to go in and tune them all three times per week. For free. It is so frustrating to walk into a store and find all the ukes untuned.

I was a bit irritated that the Kala has a nicer action than my homemade mini uke. I need to go back and adjust now.

Preacher
12-19-2013, 03:31 PM
I would buy an 'ukulele from the local stores if they had any worth buying. It's just not an instrument they really focus on around here. I will always choose local over Internet if we're only talking a difference of $40 or so (which is about all the difference I find, if it's even that much).

That said, I hope (plan!) to visit the "local" store in Nashville, Indiana when I'm down there next month and come home with a new uke. I've already set aside the money and done a ton of research so I have every intention of helping the small business owner that runs Mainland Ukes.

pakhan
12-19-2013, 03:59 PM
Having run brick and mortar music stores, online music stores, and exhibitions/fairs, I can say this;

If you're seriously considering an instrument, short of damaging the instrument, pretty much you're welcome to try it out, plug it in, get a new set of strings on it.

If you're just curious, most of us don't mind you trying it out for a couple of minutes if you take care of it.

If you're looking to jam, I'd say give it a little thought. Coming in with 5 band mates and jamming on 3 instruments in the middle of sat crowd rush ain't gonna win you any friends... on the other hand if you pop by chat with the owner during a quiet period and ask if it's cool, you may have a bit more joy.

itsme
12-19-2013, 04:48 PM
My old favorite mom&pop went under a couple years ago. :(

There's Old Town Music in Pasadena and it's walking distance from a place I frequent, so I stop in sometimes. They have a few low-end ukes on a rack and a couple nicer ones (I remember a Fluke) on the wall, but I don't think anyone who works there is really into them.

Last time there I bought a pair of shakers, and a folding music stand with a nice shoulder strap carry case for $10. I didn't really need one, but thought I could offer it at the next meetup (several people don't have stands) and take orders for my next trip if anyone wanted. (They had a huge stack of them.)

Pondoro
12-19-2013, 04:48 PM
I would buy an 'ukulele from the local stores if they had any worth buying. It's just not an instrument they really focus on around here. I will always choose local over Internet if we're only talking a difference of $40 or so (which is about all the difference I find, if it's even that much).

That said, I hope (plan!) to visit the "local" store in Nashville, Indiana when I'm down there next month and come home with a new uke. I've already set aside the money and done a ton of research so I have every intention of helping the small business owner that runs Mainland Ukes.

You will like it!

iamesperambient
12-19-2013, 09:17 PM
There are two local music shops that are great for ukuleles. I also like the people at both and would love to support them. That being said, I still see myself making all of my ukulele purchases online (probably used) to get the best deals.

Typically when I go into one of these stores I play the instruments for 20-30 minutes and then buy something small like a set of strings or a tuner. But I have all the strings I need. So now when i go into these stores (probably about once a month) I just look at the ukes rather than playing them.

Is it rude to go to music stores and play the instruments with no intention of buying? How long is a reasonable time to spend playing the instruments? How do music store owners feel about this? I realize there are no right answers I am just trying to get a feel for what the etiquette is as I really have no idea.


When i was after a martin soprano(which i didnt eventually buy) and sadly i sold (no i regret it soooooo much )
i went to sam ash which had it and looked it a few times, and played some other ukes. Eventually i put it on layaway
and would go in and play the thing until i had the full amount to take it home.

I don't think its bad to go to a store once a month and try things out, it may give you a sense
of what you may want to buy brand wise in the future. Also its great to test out brands...even if
you are going to order online you may go 'hey that cordoba concert uke at guitar center was great, ill check
musicians friend now to order it".

Manalishi
12-19-2013, 11:34 PM
I agree with most of the replies on here about using common
sense and showing a bit of restraint as to not 'showing off'
and taking over the store!
In a previous life I was a guitarist,and I had one musical friend
who would think nothing of going into a store,playing a guitar
for half an hour,then move onto another and do the same.
I always found that a bit extravagant to be honest!
Any stringed instrument I was considering, a few minutes told
me how responsive it was,and what it sounded like.Which for
me seemed perfectly fair,as a prospective (and usually certain)
buyer!

Dan Uke
12-20-2013, 04:00 AM
Yes. This!!!

In an unrelated recent thread, another member advised me not to buy from my local shop because of their markup. I'm well aware of their markup - everything is always priced at full MSRP unless on sale, and the sale prices are usually comparable to the everyday online prices for Amazon/Musician's Friend - but generally if the local shop has what I want, I'll buy from them anyway. The shop has been there my whole lifetime (plus a couple more years!) and I'd like to see it stay that way, so even when I know I can get something elsewhere for less, I'd rather keep my dollars local. Not to mention that the shop will stand by the products they sell - I'm not sure that the Big Boxes would do the same.


haha...that was me!! You were talking about a used uke and I was giving you the used price benchmark and recommending not to use the MSRP from the store...different scenario. If buying new, that store is a good place to consider as they have the inventory and will give you 70% of your purchase price credit within 3 years in case you want another uke.

I've purchased 2 ukes from the same store but I don't play any ukes more than 5 mins if I don't plan on buying one. I've been offered to try out their Taylor uke which I refused since I knew I wasn't going to buy it.

Skinny Money McGee
12-20-2013, 05:23 AM
I don't think its bad to go to a store once a month and try things out, it may give you a sense
of what you may want to buy brand wise in the future. Also its great to test out brands...even if
you are going to order online you may go 'hey that cordoba concert uke at guitar center was great, ill check
musicians friend now to order it".

Guitar Center & Musician's Friend is the same company. Checking out a new Martin (for example) at a Mom & Pops store knowing full well one will order it online to save 20 bucks is bad mojo in my opinion.

mm stan
12-20-2013, 06:49 AM
Guitar Center & Musician's Friend is the same company. Checking out a new Martin (for example) at a Mom & Pops store knowing full well one will order it online to save 20 bucks is bad mojo in my opinion.
I thought music 123 was musicians friend sister company too......

RichM
12-20-2013, 07:36 AM
I thought music 123 was musicians friend sister company too......

Absolutely correct. Guitar Center's big box is bigger than most realize. Per Wikipedia:

"Guitar Center's sister companies/subsidiaries incorporate Music & Arts, Musician's Friend, GuitarCenter.com, LMI, Giardinelli, Musician.com, Private Reserve Guitars, Woodwind and Brasswind, Music 123, and Harmony Central."

iamesperambient
12-20-2013, 07:51 AM
Guitar Center & Musician's Friend is the same company. Checking out a new Martin (for example) at a Mom & Pops store knowing full well one will order it online to save 20 bucks is bad mojo in my opinion.

its not bad mojo if your a poor ass honkey like myself.
I live pay check to pay check, so 20 extra dollars is a few
days worth of food for me. I think being smart is fine.
Not to mention a lot of mom and pop stores
are over priced to bloody hell, i understand they gotta
make their money and so forth but to be honest
id rather buy it on sale or cheaper from a corporate
store like guitar center which is usually cheaper or online.
I dont make enough money to 'support the little guy' when
their prices are 20 or 30 bucks more. I still dont see
the harm in trying something out at the closest store
than looking for a cheaper deal and buying it else where.
Not everyone has crazy amounts of money and in this day
and age where the economy is in the shitter saving 20
bucks is important to most of us except the 1 % suits.

Osprey
12-20-2013, 09:17 AM
Jamesperambient,
It is a tuff situation. I also don't have a lot of extra money, however I would not try a Uke in my local music store and then buy the same model at a cheaper price online. I would do without until I saved enough to buy in the store. I would buy online if I wanted something that was not available locally. If we want the service of a local store we have to support them
Cliff

iamesperambient
12-20-2013, 09:32 AM
Jamesperambient,
It is a tuff situation. I also don't have a lot of extra money, however I would not try a Uke in my local music store and then buy the same model at a cheaper price online. I would do without until I saved enough to buy in the store. I would buy online if I wanted something that was not available locally. If we want the service of a local store we have to support them
Cliff

theres only one local mom and pop store here and all they have is no name brand sopranos and i think maybe a mahalo.
so ill be fine trying out better ukes at guitar center than buying them online.

OldePhart
12-20-2013, 09:46 AM
At one time (and it may still be) there were several online and B&M stores owned by the same parent company. I know that included Musician's Friend and Guitar Center. I believe Mars Music and Music 123 were also owned by that same parent parent.

John

iamesperambient
12-20-2013, 10:07 AM
At one time (and it may still be) there were several online and B&M stores owned by the same parent company. I know that included Musician's Friend and Guitar Center. I believe Mars Music and Music 123 were also owned by that same parent parent.

John


music 123 is for sure. i actually just ordered a uke from them. very fast shipping
in fact i got my soprano lanikai and my les paul from there too.

Uke Republic
12-20-2013, 10:57 AM
I hate when people come into our store eating doughnuts and then ...not share them. Pfft, the nerve!

Osprey
12-20-2013, 11:12 AM
I hate when people come into our store eating doughnuts and then ...not share them. Pfft, the nerve!

Good comment. I really chuckled.

Cliff

coolkayaker1
12-20-2013, 11:27 AM
I, wholeheartedly, agree with testing and buying from your local shop if possible.

I can tell you from personal experience, I stopped buying books from Borders, candy from Woolworths, videos from Blockbuster and stereos from Circuit City. See where that got me?

I've started buying from Sears again (even though Roebuck, himself, no longer shops there) because I know that it's on the ropes and teetering like a concussed pugilist with "This Space For Rent" on the soles of its shoes.

The only downside of supporting Sears is that I'm forced to switch from my Levis back to Toughskins and Garanimals.

greenie44
12-20-2013, 12:13 PM
I agree in trying to help out the local store, especially when they are run by people in the business for the love of the subject. That type of dedication should be appreciated, if possible.

I recently had to stop by a music store to try out a higher end uke I was thinking about getting. This, BTW, is a real problem - how do you decide between varieties of ukes that cost some real money without trying them out? I found one I really fell for, and was going to buy it from that store - in fact, I would have if their hold policy had been more flexible. But while I was waiting to close the deal, I found a used one for half the price. That was too good to resist.

But I certainly would go back to the store next time.

OldePhart
12-20-2013, 12:42 PM
Sometimes it just can't be helped and you have to order online even though you want to buy from the local store. A couple of months ago I had a perfect example of that. I wanted a full-face motorcycle helmet - since fitting is critical on those and sizing varies from brand to brand and even model to model I didn't want to blindly order online. I was also prepared to spend enough to get a really good helmet. So, I went to a local motorcycle shop that I know carries a good variety of quality helmets. After trying several I found exactly the one I wanted - it fit perfectly, etc. Unfortunately, the only thing they had in my size was flat black (and they had three or four of them, all in flat black). This is Texas, you really think that people with three brain cells to rub together want to parboil them inside a full-face flat black helmet while sitting in DFW traffic? When I asked how long it would take them to get one in white they kind of grudgingly (i.e. after trying really hard to convince me that I really wanted the flat black) said they could get one in two or three weeks.

So, while I felt bad about having taken up a salesman's time and then going online, I did so anyway and had the helmet three days later - cheaper and with no tax and no shipping. Sometimes retailers just seem determined to drive customers to eshopping...

John

OmegaMatt
02-10-2014, 02:02 AM
We have a couple of retail stores and these issues do sound familiar. We sell a lot more ukuleles online, where price competition is greater. And running a shop costs money - so we did run a system of two prices - a web price and a retail price. Basically, to have a shop at all meant having someone standing there while people tried ukuleles, which could take some time. Not that people aren't welcome to try, but all the time people were trying, someone was being paid to wait in case the customer needed anything.

What we've done to counter this is merge our shop and our workshop together and introduce one price (which is the lower, web price). A customer can come in and try what they like, and buy it at a competitive rate. But behind the shop counter we have our workshop, so our staff continue to work setting up instruments ready for online orders while there are customers trying things in the shop. This seems to have worked really well.

cdkrugjr
02-10-2014, 02:20 AM
Don't play Cat Scratch Fever, Sunshine of Your Love, or Inna Gotta Davita?

I nearly always want to play a uke before buying, and that nearly always means "Road Trip to Lansing (Elderly)."

Tigeralum2001
02-10-2014, 09:40 AM
Not sure why one would bother playing a wood instrument in person then go buy one online! They all have subtleties such that no two are alike. Even amongst the best luthiers there are differences. The whole idea of playing an instrument is to find the one that sounds the best and fits you. If you are going to take the chance of mail order, why bother trying them out first?

dirtiestkidever
02-10-2014, 12:09 PM
Not sure why one would bother playing a wood instrument in person then go buy one online! They all have subtleties such that no two are alike. Even amongst the best luthiers there are differences. The whole idea of playing an instrument is to find the one that sounds the best and fits you. If you are going to take the chance of mail order, why bother trying them out first?

Each uke is unique to some degree but most companies have a reasonably consistent sound. And they definitely have a consistent feel (neck shape, nut width, etc). For example KoAlohas are always going to sound quite different from Kanile'as. When I first wanted to upgrade ukes I had no idea which direction to go, except from reading reviews here. But accurately guessing what an instrument is going to sound or feel like based on reading reviews is a fools errand. So I tried a few different ukes at 2 different local stores (one of which I bought my first uke from). At the time I didn't know if I was going to buy a uke from that store or not. I just was looking for a new uke. But by playing several I determined that I liked how KoAlohas felt and sounded. And shortly after that I found a used blem on UU which I got for a lot less than the retail price of a non blem.

I certainly would not go by a new one online just to save a few bucks. I love our local uke shop and try to support it as much as I can. But by buying used and blemished I got one that is 50% of the in store price. I don't make enough money to ignore that difference.

Do I feel guilty? A little bit yeah (which is why I started the thread). I certainly don't lose sleep over it but I have changed my ways a bit. Now that I have owned and played lots of ukes I don't feel like I need to go to the stores and try them because I have a reasonable idea of how ukes are going to feel and sound. So now I just look if go into the stores. And I always try to buy strings, cases, stands, etc at my local shop and only go online if they don't have what I am looking for.

Everyone's responses, especially those from people who own stores, were really informative. Thanks.

Inksplosive AL
02-10-2014, 01:08 PM
Don't play Cat Scratch Fever, Sunshine of Your Love, or Inna Gotta Davita?

I nearly always want to play a uke before buying, and that nearly always means "Road Trip to Lansing (Elderly)."

I was thinking smoke on the water and stairway to heaven.

OldePhart
02-10-2014, 01:23 PM
I was thinking smoke on the water and stairway to heaven.

My thought exactly except I was going to put them in the opposite order!

John

Icelander53
02-10-2014, 02:30 PM
There are two local music shops that are great for ukuleles. I also like the people at both and would love to support them. That being said, I still see myself making all of my ukulele purchases online (probably used) to get the best deals.

Typically when I go into one of these stores I play the instruments for 20-30 minutes and then buy something small like a set of strings or a tuner. But I have all the strings I need. So now when i go into these stores (probably about once a month) I just look at the ukes rather than playing them.

Is it rude to go to music stores and play the instruments with no intention of buying? How long is a reasonable time to spend playing the instruments? How do music store owners feel about this? I realize there are no right answers I am just trying to get a feel for what the etiquette is as I really have no idea.

I'm chiming in very late but this topic interests me. I have to admit that I sometimes go in just to see how good something is and I plan on buying elsewhere. With ukes not so much because the prices are about the same as I buy new almost always and the store does a set up. But the thing I wanted to mention is that sometimes, maybe as much as 20% of the time, I find that I want it now or find something better and buy it on the spot. It's a crap shoot for the store owner but if I owned a shop I'd welcome guys like me in and take those odds. I'm always very respectful however and don't overstay my welcome.

stringy
02-10-2014, 03:45 PM
Although I don't always make a purchase, I go to my favorite local Music store when I am in the market to buy something. I never bought a musical istrument on line and it is something I am not interested in doing. It is way too personal of a buy for me.

I try not to judge others but I really have a problem with handling a local store's ukuleles when you know you are just using the store to see what you want to purchase later on line. Scratches, nics, etc are inevitable. It also takes the sales person's attention away from a real customer.

Like I said, I don't always buy, but my intentions are pure and I certainly do not go in just to take advantage of them.

Icelander53
02-10-2014, 05:41 PM
It's business in the end. I've dealt with enough dishonesty from sales people to know it's a two way street. They are schooled in the art of psychological manipulation. It's how they make a living.

kvehe
02-11-2014, 12:05 AM
(I would like it duly noted that I have recently used both Stairway to Heaven [post #7498] and Smoke on the Water [post #7527] in the Song Title game in the General Discussion section. Both posts pre-date the songs' appearances in this thread.) :D

To give this post a bit of relevance, I'll say that I have only purchased two ukuleles from local shops (a Kala Watermelon [during my first week of UAS] and a Martin C1K [a bit of retail therapy when my dog died {or ascended the stairway to heaven, if you will}]). All of the other purchases were online or at festivals (which may count as local sales), and there is zero chance of my going into a shop just to play ukes.

Icelander53
02-11-2014, 03:37 AM
After reading through several posts, I would like to propose that ukulele players unite and always play the following tunes:
Number one. Stairway to heaven
Number two. Smoke on the water
No-one should dictate to us what is cool or not. Stairway to heaven played averagely on a low priced uke would be a good lesson for music snobs. It is also a good tune to use to check out a uke because it is in A minor and you can pick it out in the first five frets, or around the fifth fret. We should take over and own both of these tunes.
Play it loud as you can without trying to tune the uke and tell the shop assistant it is not your fault if they don't keep the instruments in tune. If you have a dreadful voice, sing as well.
Maybe invent a story that tiny Tim played it once. Talk about Nigel Tufnel's new uke album and book and ask them why they do not have it in stock.
Try not to be so serious in the music shop.


I bow to your superior reason. I'm heading in to try it out today. :shaka:

JoZe
02-11-2014, 04:12 AM
I am about to buy my first ukulele. On the particular model I want I have found cheaper prices online. But I want to support my local B&M. I will have to drive an hour to get there, but I will get to play it and decide if it is the right uke for me. And I have found that what I would pay in shipping cost negates the savings.

Icelander53
02-11-2014, 04:18 AM
That's interesting. The music shops in my area charge the same prices I find online. Plus there is the benefit of a set up. If where you shop is charging more then make sure they do you a proper set up.

JoZe
02-11-2014, 04:26 AM
I'm going to Uke Republic to buy my uke. From what I've read they have a great reputation. I would only save about 30 dollars on the uke I'm looking at. The shipping cost would eat the savings alone. And once I'm in there looking at all those beautiful instruments, I may decide to buy something else.