#1
I just noticed you can "add to cart" on fender's site.

Is this the writing on the wall for big box stores like Guitar Center and Sam Ash?

What say you?
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#2
no. my understanding is that this is kind of an experiment on Fenders part. you have to look at the price charged as well. as we know many guitar players are finicky and want to try before you buy. i kinda doubt Fender will want to have as liberal a return policy as GC does. stores tend to be just as much about impulse buys as selling to a customer that has determined what they want ahead of time. you aren't very likely to just go to fenders website and oder a guitar just cuz. in stores you may just try one and get GAS and say wtf i want it.
#4
Good lord I hope so. Worked a summer job there, they're a shit place to work.
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#5
Quote by jecooper86
Why would it be?

because they won't need GC (or anyone else) to sell their guitars?

you can just order them from fender.

or what if fender were to just open a store? is that the next step?
or has that already happened?
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#6
Guitar Center has enough other financial issues that Fender selling direct won't make a dent.
#7
There are too many other companies still selling through distributors, store fronts and online vendors. One manufacturer won't make a difference - it would take many doing it. Besides, there are still people who want to have a guitar physically in their greasy little fingers, before they'll lay down the cash to buy it. I know - I'm one of them.

Edit: Besides that, do you think Fender will offer sales aligned with holidays, like Musician's Friend and GC do? I refuse to pay retail for my gear. Last summer, I did my yearly gear purchase and got everything at 30% off. I'm doing the same thing this year - on a $6000 to $7000 purchase, that's a big savings.
Last edited by KG6_Steven at Feb 13, 2015,
#8
Quote by dspellman
Guitar Center has enough other financial issues that Fender selling direct won't make a dent.

Yeah- the whole Bain-managed era, when the company took on massive debt in order to fuel rapid growth is a major source of their present woes.

If/when GC goes into Chapter 11, they'll probably be smaller but healthier.

Who knows, maybe, in an effort to fill their inventories, they'll opt to start diversifying their stock with smaller manufacturers with good reputations: Godin, G&L, Fernandes, Reverend, etc. Or try out other new ideas.

Hell- if I were the man in charge post-restructuring, I'd reach out to the community to have local builder showcases 1-2 times a month.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#9
Quote by gregs1020
because they won't need GC (or anyone else) to sell their guitars?

you can just order them from fender.

or what if fender were to just open a store? is that the next step?
or has that already happened?


no point in opening a store it wouldn't pay off. as far as not needing store fronts i think that for the reasons i already stated that would be a foolish move on their part. in order for that to work for them they would have to find a way to convince people they definitely want a fender. for long time users great for that first time guy not so much.
#10
Carvin has been doing fine with direct sales and a 10 day return policy but they make a really nice guitar at a really low price .....

I do agree with Danny , this could be real good for other guitar makers like Reverend and G&L to name just two..... I don't think it will hurt Sam Ash though
#11
I have no clue. Fender and GC are both black boxes and both suspected of being in terrible financial shape that puts them one step away from Chapter 11. But Fender has been throwing shīt at the wall for so long that there’s just no way to know if this is part of a long-term strategy, a hedge against GC collapsing, or just some random whim. We’ll know more in March/April, because GC has debt payments coming up that some analysts estimate to be triple the company’s cash on hand. GC probably owes Fender a pile of cash as well, so if GC tanks hard this spring we’ll probably see Fender make a big reaction.
#12
Quote by Fumble fingers
Carvin has been doing fine with direct sales and a 10 day return policy but they make a really nice guitar at a really low price .....

I do agree with Danny , this could be real good for other guitar makers like Reverend and G&L to name just two..... I don't think it will hurt Sam Ash though


Carvin isn't an impulse sale. you actually have to want one and know about them. a big part of a brick and morter store's sales are impulse. i see, i want. while Carvin makes excellent guitars they have shit resale value. why becasue they don't have the high visibilty of a Fender or a Gibson.

i don't think that there is a way around the whole impulse thing. how many of us have walked into a guitar shop just looking for strings and ended up going home with a guitar (amp, pedal) cuz it was there and called to us. stores rely on that way more than you think. pretty sure if the business went strictly online that you'd see a fair drop in overall sales.
#13
I've been looking at Carvins on eBay and Reverb for the past 15 months or so...resale values are not as low as they used to be.

Yes, I can still find some relatively new ones under $700. But they're usually the ones with the plane jane finishes. Any of the ones that would make you go "whoah!" are still $1k+
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
Carvin's story is a LOT different from Fender's.
Everything they do is a custom build for a specific customer.

They aren't trying to fill over 200 GC's plus all the other dealers' inventories, etc.
Most of the Internet Wizdumb regarding Carvin is out of date (low resale prices, sterile-sounding pickups, etc.).
#15
Quote by gregs1020
because they won't need GC (or anyone else) to sell their guitars?

you can just order them from fender.

or what if fender were to just open a store? is that the next step?
or has that already happened?


Walk into the local GC and you'll find a LOT fewer guitars on the wall and, specifically, a lot fewer high end guitars on the walls. There's a lot of cheap filler, including from brands you've never heard of. Both Gibson and Fender have significantly reduced the amount of inventory they'll supply on credit. Overall, there's a lot less inventory. There's a display box on a shelf with nothing behind it, or you'll get, "Let me get on the computer and see where we have one of those..." More frequently now, I've run into a requirement to place a special order ("We'll have it shipped to the store for free...").

For example -- I'm after a Korg PA3X keyboard (about $3K+) that they carry. Not one in stock anywhere in the LA area. I wanted a Variax JTV-89F the end of December as a backup to the one I already had. No Variaxes at all in the Pasadena store. No JTV-89Fs in LA, and none in the entire GC system nationwide. I special ordered one and it arrived the first week of February.

The first of the year saw an influx of Gibson guitars on the wall, but I'm told that most of what the local GC has on the wall is *all* of their inventory allotment, and that one guitar sold will result in one replacement guitar being shipped from their "fulfillment center."

If you want high-end Fenders in SoCal, one of the best stores is Wild West guitars, a hidden-away store tucked into a light industrial complex with only a tiny sign to identify it, and a locked door to greet you. There's no foot traffic, no picks, no pedals, none of that. Just high end Fenders and Suhrs, etc. Most of their sales happen over the internet, but there are still high-buck buyers wandering through the various rooms of guitars unassailed by the wall of brootz noise you get from the Wayne's World Wankers at GC.
#16
Quote by dspellman
Walk into the local GC and you'll find a LOT fewer guitars on the wall and, specifically, a lot fewer high end guitars on the walls. There's a lot of cheap filler, including from brands you've never heard of. Both Gibson and Fender have significantly reduced the amount of inventory they'll supply on credit. Overall, there's a lot less inventory. There's a display box on a shelf with nothing behind it, or you'll get, "Let me get on the computer and see where we have one of those..." More frequently now, I've run into a requirement to place a special order ("We'll have it shipped to the store for free...").

For example -- I'm after a Korg PA3X keyboard (about $3K+) that they carry. Not one in stock anywhere in the LA area. I wanted a Variax JTV-89F the end of December as a backup to the one I already had. No Variaxes at all in the Pasadena store. No JTV-89Fs in LA, and none in the entire GC system nationwide. I special ordered one and it arrived the first week of February.

The first of the year saw an influx of Gibson guitars on the wall, but I'm told that most of what the local GC has on the wall is *all* of their inventory allotment, and that one guitar sold will result in one replacement guitar being shipped from their "fulfillment center."

If you want high-end Fenders in SoCal, one of the best stores is Wild West guitars, a hidden-away store tucked into a light industrial complex with only a tiny sign to identify it, and a locked door to greet you. There's no foot traffic, no picks, no pedals, none of that. Just high end Fenders and Suhrs, etc. Most of their sales happen over the internet, but there are still high-buck buyers wandering through the various rooms of guitars unassailed by the wall of brootz noise you get from the Wayne's World Wankers at GC.


that depends on the GC location and what level the store is. locally my GC still has a reasonable selection of higher end guitars. still a reasonable selection of amps and pedals as well. the market here is good enough for them to justify carrying a better selection. yeah the days when they might have 6 or 7 of the same high end model to chose from seems to be gone but what can you do. economics prohibit that and it's not just GC either.
#17
Quote by monwobobbo
that depends on the GC location and what level the store is. locally my GC still has a reasonable selection of higher end guitars. still a reasonable selection of amps and pedals as well. the market here is good enough for them to justify carrying a better selection. yeah the days when they might have 6 or 7 of the same high end model to chose from seems to be gone but what can you do. economics prohibit that and it's not just GC either.


I'd suggest that LA is probably a "good enough" market, but the 7 or 8 stores (more?) in the area are all (but one) going through the same thing. That exception, of course, is the flagship store on Sunset in Hollywood. It doesn't help that there's a Sam Ash purposefully located close to each GC, either.

The larger issues include the economy crunch (*real* unemployment figures of nearly 25%, with 23% of Californians living below the Federal poverty line, etc.) and baby boomers retiring (no longer buying guitars, and the guitar heros of yesteryear gone to seed), and the lack of guitar bands in the top echelons of pop music and the takeover of personal music gizmos (iPods) so that there's really not a generational "shared" soundtrack, as was the case with the big radio stations and then MTV. MTV and VH1 have pretty much ceased to be relevant with reference to music and the largest sellers in the pop industry are one-name chick singers and the occasional hip-hop artist, all of whom are using heavily synth-based backing.

Guitars have dropped to metal (much of it one-finger droning of low-tuned mud) and to "New Country," which is, essentially, classic rock with the occasional hat and boots.

The mom and pops are renting band instruments and selling lessons, picks, accessories and music books. See McCabe's in Santa Monica for an archetypical version of that.

Add to that the fact that GC can't/doesn't/won't provide service at most levels. Their tech/repair "department" tends to be a revolving door (sometimes a traveling tech that will be back NEXT Tuesday) and most of them suck. And with a few exceptions, the guitar staff is just barely more experienced than the beginner/intermediate range (if that) and of little or no use to a higher end player.

It's not a pretty sight and it's unlikely to be turned around any time soon.
#18
Quote by dspellman
I'd suggest that LA is probably a "good enough" market, but the 7 or 8 stores (more?) in the area are all (but one) going through the same thing. That exception, of course, is the flagship store on Sunset in Hollywood. It doesn't help that there's a Sam Ash purposefully located close to each GC, either.

The larger issues include the economy crunch (*real* unemployment figures of nearly 25%, with 23% of Californians living below the Federal poverty line, etc.) and baby boomers retiring (no longer buying guitars, and the guitar heros of yesteryear gone to seed), and the lack of guitar bands in the top echelons of pop music and the takeover of personal music gizmos (iPods) so that there's really not a generational "shared" soundtrack, as was the case with the big radio stations and then MTV. MTV and VH1 have pretty much ceased to be relevant with reference to music and the largest sellers in the pop industry are one-name chick singers and the occasional hip-hop artist, all of whom are using heavily synth-based backing.

Guitars have dropped to metal (much of it one-finger droning of low-tuned mud) and to "New Country," which is, essentially, classic rock with the occasional hat and boots.

The mom and pops are renting band instruments and selling lessons, picks, accessories and music books. See McCabe's in Santa Monica for an archetypical version of that.

Add to that the fact that GC can't/doesn't/won't provide service at most levels. Their tech/repair "department" tends to be a revolving door (sometimes a traveling tech that will be back NEXT Tuesday) and most of them suck. And with a few exceptions, the guitar staff is just barely more experienced than the beginner/intermediate range (if that) and of little or no use to a higher end player.

It's not a pretty sight and it's unlikely to be turned around any time soon.


well i can't say i share your rather dismal view of guitar music these days. yes things are changing so a new approach would probably be in order. there is still a viable indie rock scene that uses guitars as much as metal. as for country, that is a growing section in the music world these days. since it does promote the use of guitars that isn't a bad thing. i agree that with my generation getting grayer by the minute that the reverence for certain guitars will most likely decline. the vintage market for fender and gibson will certainly take a big hit as the younger players don't really care as much about them. pop music is disposable at this point so i ignore it. no it doesn't inspire peope to pick up a guitar so yes those days are long gone. still plenty out there to inspire the players of the future.

ok GC sucks for the most part. that can be said of damn near any corporate run business. having said that they are still better than nothing and in many cases mom and pop shops as well. not having places for folks to actually try gear will kill things faster than the internet. yes people try and then go on line for cheaper prices and perhaps better selection. take that away and players will think way more than twice about purchases especially pricier ones. many complain about guitars that have been beat on. if the internet allows returns then you will end up potentially with the same issue except guys will have a guitar for a few days (or more) to beat on and then send them back. same guitar could be sent to several customers and get some abuse. if the internet no longerallows returns then once again folks will be hesitent to buy. kills business. no real good way around this.

as for fender offering online i still doubt it will have much impact. if they offer certain guitars online through them only then it could be an issue.
#19
Quote by dspellman
Walk into the local GC and you'll find a LOT fewer guitars on the wall and, specifically, a lot fewer high end guitars on the walls. There's a lot of cheap filler, including from brands you've never heard of. Both Gibson and Fender have significantly reduced the amount of inventory they'll supply on credit. Overall, there's a lot less inventory. There's a display box on a shelf with nothing behind it, or you'll get, "Let me get on the computer and see where we have one of those..." More frequently now, I've run into a requirement to place a special order ("We'll have it shipped to the store for free...").

If you want high-end Fenders in SoCal, one of the best stores is Wild West guitars, a hidden-away store tucked into a light industrial complex with only a tiny sign to identify it, and a locked door to greet you. There's no foot traffic, no picks, no pedals, none of that. Just high end Fenders and Suhrs, etc. Most of their sales happen over the internet, but there are still high-buck buyers wandering through the various rooms of guitars unassailed by the wall of brootz noise you get from the Wayne's World Wankers at GC.

i noticed that the walls were half empty at GC lately, and used gear is taking up a much larger area.

i never really buy at GC though, i have a good sam ash by me (that i used to work at) so they cut me good deals when i buy something from a store.

but i'm sure they'll feel the impact of fender selling direct as well to a large degree.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.