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Thread: Guitar Stores Online-US

  1. #11
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    May 2017
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    Confluence of the Mississippi and Rum Rivers
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    Could try Willie's American Guitars in St. Paul MN. https://www.williesguitars.com/

    I'm close enough to be able to drive there if I might want. I've had very good service when in the store. I've heard some grumbles from other folks but even though I have not bought when in the store I have always been treated well and could try out instruments for as long as I wanted.

    They do ship but I would imagine you'll pay for good shipping.

    I've bought an amp and some other gear from Sweetwater. All good and smooth transactions. Just ordered and effects pedal yesterday.

  2. #12
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    Dec 2019
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    Durham, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Do yourself and others a favour and deal with Sweetwater on the phone before lumping them in with GC & MF. I am a member of Acoustic Guitar Forum, these people are as crazy and knowledgeable about all things guitar as we are about ukes on UU. Huge support and positive feedback from the members buying guitars for Sweetwater.

    I have not bought a guitar from them (live in Canada) but many other smaller items. I turned Luis who builds LfdM ukes onto them and he loves how knowledgeable they are and they excellent service.
    I was just responding to the OP, who seemed to be saying they didn't want to work with GC. I personally prefer not to support the mega-stores when possible, but I'm not telling anyone else what to think/do. And mos def I am not knocking any of the great folks who work at the mega-stores. Just was pointing out that Sweetwater is a mega, MF and GC are subsidiaries of Sweetwater....
    ,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";, ;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''" ;,

    Romero ST Concert
    Tiki King Flea Soprano
    J&D Solid Concert

    ,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";, ;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''" ;,

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Oakland CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    Do yourself and others a favour and deal with Sweetwater on the phone before lumping them in with GC & MF. I am a member of Acoustic Guitar Forum, these people are as crazy and knowledgeable about all things guitar as we are about ukes on UU. Huge support and positive feedback from the members buying guitars for Sweetwater.

    I have not bought a guitar from them (live in Canada) but many other smaller items. I turned Luis who builds LfdM ukes onto them and he loves how knowledgeable they are and they excellent service.
    I agree with you about Sweetwater. My first and only purchase from them was an $8.00 set of strings about 2 weeks ago, and the communication and follow up was extraordinary. You would have thought that I had purchased a $10,000.00 guitar.

    I was so impressed that I called them about taking some measurements on a wind instrument I have been considering, and they were very helpful. Sweetwater just moved to the top of my list.

  4. #14
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    May 2016
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    Honolulu, HI
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    Quote Originally Posted by kozmoboxman View Post
    I was just responding to the OP, who seemed to be saying they didn't want to work with GC. I personally prefer not to support the mega-stores when possible, but I'm not telling anyone else what to think/do. And mos def I am not knocking any of the great folks who work at the mega-stores. Just was pointing out that Sweetwater is a mega, MF and GC are subsidiaries of Sweetwater....
    Sorry, this is wrong and wanted to correct it. Ares Management owns Guitar Center, but Sweetwater is it’s own thing. Completely separate from Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend. They also send candy with orders, which is nice.
    Last edited by Just Russ; 02-09-2020 at 02:16 PM.

  5. #15
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    Dec 2019
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    Durham, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Russ View Post
    Sorry, this is wrong and wanted to correct it. Ares Management owns Guitar Center, but Sweetwater is it’s own thing. Completely separate from Guitar Center or Musician’s Friend. They also send candy with orders, which is nice.
    I stand corrected. mea culpa
    ,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";, ;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''" ;,

    Romero ST Concert
    Tiki King Flea Soprano
    J&D Solid Concert

    ,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";, ;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''";,;"''" ;,

  6. #16
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    May 2016
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    Honolulu, HI
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    I really like Chicago Music Exchange. It’s a great shop filled with a knowledgeable staff that wants you to be happy with your purchase as opposed to Guitar Center, which just wants you to purchase. I watched a girl at my local GC ask a rep about what ukulele to buy and he pointed to one saying “I don’t know a thing about ukulele, but this is only $80.00 so why not?”

    And. She. Bought. It.

    Anyway, CME isn’t like that.

    I also like Sweetwater because they have a similar vibe. You get assigned a sales engineer (mine’s named Bart) and you can ask them all sorts of questions. I bought a Tele and they were very helpful in the process. I also like that they weigh the guitars and you pick a specific one that has a ton of photos.

    Ultimately, though, I think in the guitar world, it all boils down to brand. With some brands getting drunk off GC’s bulk purchases and trying to apply that same tactic to small shops (like when Gibson would dictate that shops had to stock X Gibsons which, because of their price, move slowly before they’re allowed to order one Epiphone) a lot of small shops lost specific brand names’ contracts.

    Which all causes a downward spiral of sorts where you have shops that could afford these shenanigans competing with small shops that only have one real brand or, in the case of my local shops that aren’t GC, knock-offs.

    But if you find a brand you like, you could narrow it down to a specific shop if you’re so inclined. The good news about the crash of music stores is that the ones that are there are generally staffed with appreciative salespeople and less condescending snobs.

    For instance, I like Gretsch Guitars and there’s a small shop in Ponca City, OK named Shanghai Music & Sound and they’re a fantastic shop who set up everything they get and really try to make the customer happy. They also build their own house brand of tube amps. It’s a really cool shop. But if you wanted a Fender, it’s not going to happen or, at least, not from them.

  7. #17
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    Aug 2009
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    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
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    I have bought things like capos, Autoharp parts, inlay, fret wire. . . from on-line/mail order stores, but the idea of buying an instrument without first playing it seems strange. I've played D-18s (for instance) that looked identical, but played and sounded very different. When I bought my Eastman MD605 mandolin, I tried half a dozen 605s and 615s and they were all nice instruments, but one of them blew the others away. It's now mine. Had I bought through the mail or on line, I might have been able to request, "Send me the best sounding MD605 that you have," but might get someone who thinks, "They're all good."
    My wife bought me an octave mandolin through Mandolin Brothers about 20 years ago and I am still quite happy with it, but I figure I just lucked out.
    Perhaps people who say, "A J-45 is a J-45. Send me one," aren't as fussy as I am.
    Last edited by Jim Yates; 02-10-2020 at 02:36 AM.

  8. #18
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    on a sunny FL beach
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    I have dealt with both Elderly and Sweetwater many times and both have been excellent. Knowledgeable and great customer service.

  9. #19
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    Apr 2014
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    Southern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Yates View Post
    I have bought things like capos, Autoharp parts, inlay, fret wire. . . from on-line/mail order stores, but the idea of buying an instrument without first playing it seems strange. I've played D-18s (for instance) that looked identical, but played and sounded very different. When I bought my Eastman MD605 mandolin, I tried half a dozen 605s and 615s and they were all nice instruments, but one of them blew the others away. It's now mine. Had I bought through the mail or on line, I might have been able to request, "Send me the best sounding MD605 that you have," but might get someone who thinks, "They're all good."
    My wife bought me an octave mandolin through Mandolin Brothers about 20 years ago and I am still quite happy with it, but I figure I just lucked out.
    Perhaps people who say, "A J-45 is a J-45. Send me one," aren't as fussy as I am.
    I agree with your post, but if one is looking for a specific instrument the store may not carry them. I have bought instruments on line for just that reason. Good music stores are not always just around the corner.

    But, then, I play banjos, so I’m not that particular anyhow!
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE - Finger style
    Gold Tone “Mini” Travel Banjo - Steel GCEA - Noodling
    Luna “Peace” concert - CGBD Plectrum Banjo music

    Kala tenor eight string - gGcCEEAA Strum ‘n Sing

    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA - Wall hanger
    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B Wall hanger
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano - Wall hanger
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - Bookshelf

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Thank you all so much for the ideas! I'll definitely hunt them all down! I'll also give our local store one more shot, my last time in was 13 years ago. . .

    Really my ultimate goal is to support a business with excellent customer service that provides a good setup. Working in customer service for over 10 years left me ultra picky about who gets my money. Guitar Center has served me well especially for little things but they just grab a box and do nothing with it.

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