30 Responses to Guitar Player III

  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH – Today is my bday, and you gave my a true gift with this history !!! I thought only women received such treatment idiot as this, at music stores. It´s common, I will go to store to buy picks, cable or strings, ask about one and he show me other thing. Probably he think: “this blond is stupid or buy for her boyfriend”. The same when I bought my M-Audio. I visited some stores to see prices, and they persist in show “the great news for homestudio” that NEVER is what you are search. And is what they never sell too. I think that in my case is because im girl. In other occasion, took to repair my Crate and waited at the counter 40 min. Only for he attend me.

    The guy dont recognize you is the small of things, I already flew with Mike Stern and dont recognized him ! hahahahha – I put my bag together his guitar , he help me with my bags and I simple dont remembered his name !

    • I’ve had other women tell me the same thing, that they thought it was just because they were women, but its men too. BTW, Mike Stern is a very nice guy, in addition to being one of the all time greats. We cross paths every now and then. I heard him a few weeks ago, it was as good as ever…

    • I'm actually surprised because I always expect to be treated like “some stupid woman” when I walk into a music store but luckily have always had decent to great customer service. I also tend to shop more in locally owned places rather than the big chains….maybe that has something to do with it (or maybe people in Pennsylvania are just really nice…haha!) But even on the rare occasions that I've shopped at Sam Ash or Guitar Center, I've been lucky – no problems.

      Happy Birthday MR!

  2. Hey, c'mon. The story with the knotted cable was hilarious. I think this guy had a sense of humor. Don't tell me you can't laugh about this now, decades later. The other two guys' behavior is certainly unacceptable. Your next post should be about a real pleasant experience in a guitar shop 😉

    • It would have been funnier if he'd let me in on the joke before I left the store. But you're right, I suppose he wasn't half as bad as the other two guys. Maybe I'll write about a more pleasant music store experience at some point. Then again, I don't think folks would relate to it nearly as much!

  3. I don't think that truer words have been spoken about the behavior of clerks/sales staff at music stores. I myself have been on both sides of the fence and when I was on the sales side, I was always trying to walk that fine line between being as helpful as I could while making sure to give the customer the freedom to try things as they needed or wanted. Often I would be doing some sort of repair and then I would see or overhear the arrogance (or ignorance) that you described coming from a coworker towards a customer. I did think that it was rather funny how once that guy found out who you were his attitude changed. I saw that same thing happen a few times when bigger local bands would come by and then a regular customer would come in and they were not treated as well.
    Then on the other side, I was used to how I would try to treat people (and it wasn't always as great as it should have been but I'm human) and I would be blown away how I wouldn't even get a “hello” or any acknowledgement from the sales staff or if they would try to talk me out of buying the strings that I have used for years or trying to talk me into something that I didn't need or want. I'm glad that someone like yourself wrote something like this because other than from a customer service stand point, it feels like when you tell stories like this to people who aren't into music, it kinda feels like your speaking a foreign language to them.

    • You were one of the good guys, obviously. Yes, this story needed to be told. I'm surprised it hasn't been yet.

  4. Hello Alex!

    Awesome stories, i laugh a lot!! i'm sure that everybody gone through something like this…and it is really embarassing

    You're sure you are not a journalist? you write very well!

    Good Luck dude! =)

    • It's a similar creative process to music. I get inspired by good books/essays as much as by great albums. Thank you.

  5. It sounds like going to buy a new car and a salesperson saying “these ain't toys, are you sure you can drive?”, except that this would actually never happen. I couldn't help but laugh really hard out of embarrassment several times while reading your article, I wonder if the guy in the 3rd story has realized all this by now. But as you and some other people already mentioned, there are also very nice, helpful ones too. I've had a really pleasant experience with a certain clerk myself – I always felt that those people are usually often quite annoying and arrogant too, but this guy was exceptionally helpful and sincere, and I will definitely go back to his shop if I'm in Seoul again and need something. (Actually I do need a new guitar, but I'm afraid flight tickets are a bit too expensive!) Thanks for this great blog again Alex, I really enjoyed it.

    • RE: the guy in the third story. Someone on GP.com had a story like mine at the same store around the same time. I'll bet it was the same guy. Not sure who he is, but I hope he finds out we're all talking about him…

      • Yes!!! And I also hope the other grumpy guy I mentioned on FB earlier also reads this blog too, although I don't think he is intelligent enough to understand your words, ha! (This gives me another good reason why I need to translate this into Korean, lol… His store was part of a very well-known, huge musical instrumental shopping mall). I still regret that I was still being very polite to him and didn't have a chance to tell him what a jerk he was… maybe I'll go there again and show him who the boss is. Those people should be banned from music (or any kind of) store business FOR LIFE.

  6. I thoroughly enjoy reading your Guitar Player posts and this one in particular was brilliant.
    I guess that regular customers of Music Stores have similar stories. I sure have mine and it was at Sam Ash on 48th Street.
    I had written to Mr. Paul Ash ordering a Seymour Duncan 59 pick-up to be collected at the store at a specific date. I was flying from Portugal and had an e-mail with the name of the employer who would take care of my order.
    When reaching the store I asked for the person but he wasn't in so I asked the gentleman behind the counter to help me. I explained my situation and handed him the e-mail with my order. The guy seemed annoyed and it looked as if he was making me a favour. He was puffing, talking to himself and being unkind. At that moment all I wanted was to walk out the door and leave but since Mr. Paul Ash had been so kind I decided I would put up with the guy and leave quietly when all I wanted was to slap him in the face.
    He finally found my order and I then asked for some strings and headed of to the cashier. The guy was so clumsy that it looked as if it was his first time processing a payment. He got it wrong twice but finally got it. During this ordeal he never smiled nor apologised for his lack of efficiency.
    As you said not all employees are pricks but a some are just abominable.

    • Yes, it seems like 48th St. is notorious for bad music store staff. I have encountered some good ones up there, but they're few and far between.

      • I have been shopping at 48th St. for the last twenty years and only on the last couple of years did I notice the lack of professionalism. In the 90's there seemed to be much nicer staff. I still shop at Sam Ash because there are some nice people there and because Mr. Paul Ash is always eager to please the customers even if it means me ordering from Portugal and paying for the items upon collection, which for me is very convenient, and I always get special prices there.

  7. This post has been getting quite a reaction on GP.COM, FB and Twitter. What amazes me is that no one is surprised or saying “Really? Gosh, I've never experienced anything like that.” Instead, there is a universal outpouring of acknowledgment, empathy and sharing of similar experiences. Even music store people, the good ones, are lining up in agreement. What does this say about the music retail industry?
    We can all benefit by remembering that we're not alone, calling these people out on their bullshit and letting them know we're not going to stand for it anymore. Music store customers unite!

  8. Music-stores are… Weird. There's this one store in my hometown that claims to specialize in Ibanez so once, when I was fidging around with my RG during string-changing and I saw a minor part come flying off, I decided to take it to them rather than to my usual shop. It was just a spring on the stringholders at the bridge but I didn't want to screw the guitar up so I thought it'd be better to be safe than sorry and have someone look at it.

    When I got there and tried to explain what had happened, the store-clerk started off by saying “Well, that can't be true”. I explained it to him again and his reply? “I don't buy it”….. What the fuck?! Finally, after like half an hour of him arguing that “Well, that part isn't supposed to be there”, I took the guitar out and showed him. “Well, still, it shouldn't be there!”…. I mentally counted to ten, then asked him if he could just take a look at it and make sure nothing was wrong. “Okay, fine, it'll be done tomorrow or the day after that.” so I leave the guitar along with my phone-number and wait. For the record, this store has extremely few customers, I've been in probably 30 times in the last 6 months and I've seen another potential customer there 3 of those times. A week passes and I still don't hear anything, so I go there to check.
    Surprise, surprise, not a soul there except for the store-clerk. I ask for my guitar and he brings out the case… When I open it, I'm baffled by the fact that it's been there for a week, a full five days longer than it was supposed to yet it hasn't even been opened once! I grab the handle and just walk out of there in disgust. Luckily, it was still an hour before the other, my regular, store closed so I went there and asked for help. It got taken care of, on the spot, free of charge! The difference is hilarious yet frightening at the same time.

  9. Horror stories. Guitar Center in Canton and Roseville, Michigan. (I normally go to the one in Flint never had any horror stories there lol)

    Roseville, MI GC – I bought my very first guitar there and some other goodies, hadn't been in there in years, but I assumed the service was still good. I had just moved down to the Detroit area for a little while and I needed some music equipment, as usual. I remembered the GC and was pretty excited to go back considering I had nothing but good memories there. Walk in, people looked like tattooed zombies. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe their manager was being a prick that day or it just wasn't a good day. Who knows. Shrugging that off I went to go look at what I needed. One of the zombies wandered over to see if I needed any help. I said yes, I need a couple of those monster cables way up there. Can't reach them. So, like many other stories he goes on and on trying to get me to buy something else and I really have a short temper for that stuff. Finally I sighed, and I just said, “No, those are the cables I use, those are the ones I would like. Please get them for me, or I can go down the road to the other music store and pick them up without the hassle.” He looks at me with surprise for a second then gets the cables rings me up.

    Canton, MI GC – Friend of mine and I were in there because he was looking at buying a bass. I'm just wandering and dinkin around with some of the basses while my friend is looking. Manager walks up to me (didn't look much older than me, either) smiles and asks if I need help with anything. I just smiled back said, “Nope, just looking around, thank you though.” Then he stays and starts talking about something. Of course I'm not paying attention because I assumed that he was talking to my friend who was actually interested in buying a bass and continued playing around with the bass I had in hand. I look up confused as to why this guy was still talking to me, but I didn't want to be rude. I just smile and sort of nod and continue playing. So then comes the cheesy pick up lines. Thinking to myself “You've got to be kidding me.” Nope, he sure wasn't. I sort of expect that kind of behavior at a bar or concert… not Guitar Center. It wasn't cute or sincere, it was obnoxious. I stood up, smiled, explained I had to go. Got my friend went on with the rest of my day.

    On the flip side of that I work at a music store giving guitar lessons, I'm always happy to be there. I don't see what could be so bad about being around a bunch of musical instruments all day (gives me something to do if nobody is in there) the people I work with are all cool which is a plus. Sure some customers are a pain in the ass, but the faster you help them with whatever they need, the faster they get out of the store. 🙂

    • Tattooed zombies,yeah. I've spotted a few of those in other locations. And I saw where that other one was going. If you're a girl- watch out for those lonely music store guys… lol

  10. Hi Alex, first time I reply to one of your post. I've read all the other ones and it's always fun reading, but this one surprised me. I would have never thought such things happened to a guy like you… Here are other stories for you :

    One day, I bought a Dean VMNT (Mustaine signature) at one of my local stores. The guitar costed me more than $1000. When I got it, there was a little hole in one of the wings and one of the volume knob wasn't working. I asked if they could change the guitar for the other one (they had 2 in the store), they told me to give it to their luthier and that he will take care of it for free. When he gave it back to me, the volume knob was working, but the hole was still there and he said he couldn't do much with it and that anyway, since it's a V, it will soon get a lot of scratches and that it's normal. He had a flying V and he got a lot of scratches on it… I just said : “hmmm, I've had another V for 2 years and there's no scratch on it…” I thought he was such an idiot… After that, I showed my guitar to a friend, and he said : “oh you have a big scratch on it”… I was thinking that he was talking about the little hole, but no… While trying to repair the hole, the luthier just made a big scratch on it and tried to cover it with paint…. I was so mad, that if I would go back to the store, I would have punch the guy in the face or smash their other V on his head… Since then, they've never had any more money from me…

    Since I said I would never go back to the last store, one day, with 2 coworkers, we decided to shop for accoustic guitars… We went to another local store. We entered the store, got no “hello” from the 3-4 sellers who were talking to each other. We started looking for guitars, started to try some of them… After 10 minutes of playing alone in the store with getting no answer, we just left… That day, another store just lost 3 customers ready to pay like $400 each on accoustic guitars… And they didn't know that I've already purchased 2 guitars and 2 amps at their place, so I was a serious buyer, not a random guy trying to spend time by playing guitar in a store…

    • Pardon the late response, I missed these last few comments. Yes people seem to think if you're in my position, you're immune to such stuff. Maybe if you go in with nose in the air, spouting your resume, but I refuse to do act like that.

      Good story, what a drag. Hope you find some better stores.

      • That's ok Alex ! Your so busy. I was at the Canadian Carnage in Quebec City. What a night. Two of my favorite bands (Megadeth and Testament) in the same show. Can't wait to hear the next Testament CD and see you on another tour. 45 minutes of live Testament isn't enough ! If Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes near Quebec or Montreal this year, I'll try to catch it this time.

  11. Hey Alex, I've enjoyed reading your blog(and your music) for awhile, just thought I'd post a story of my own

    I had turned 16 about a month before this happened(Just for reference, I'm turning 17 in about a month, so it was almost a year ago). I go to a guitar center in Mass with birthday+doing odd job money, because I'm looking for a new electric. I have an idea of what I want, a Jackson king V. So I pull up into the store, and every stereotype of guitar center shoppers are there. You know, the one kid who is getting really excited because they're buying their first electric(Which always puts a smile on my face at least), to the guy who just HAS to test the guitar loud enough for everybody to hear him, and everybody in between. So I go in, I take the V off the wall, and I plug it into one of the amps. Mind you, I'm noodling, and while I'm not super good, I'm applying to Berklee(And all the music teachers in my school say I'll get in no problem, I hope I do, it's like my dream school) so it's not the sound of cats being lit on fire and put inside a grand piano that was pushed down an up escalator.
    So as I'm just playing some stuff quietly on the amp for about a minute(because I'm not a fan of playing really loudly to get attention), a guy walks up to me and says “Hey bud, you gonna buy something or what? Nobody came here to hear you play” in a very rude and sarcastic tone, with body language to match that. Never have I ever had somebody disregard my actual ability to instead base it on my age. Disregard the fact that quite a few people have just turned up loud enough so even God has to put on earplugs, and have been playing for a very long time, because I'm young and look like the stereotypical metalhead, that he just takes shots at my playing. I'm actually quite proud of the fact that the amp was on clean, so if he had made any “Shredding” remarks, I could have just stopped him right there. As it ended up happening, I smiled and said “Not anymore”
    However, I feel it wouldn't be fair unless I talked about a good experience. As it turns out, I bought another guitar about 2 months ago, a Jackson soloist. I bought from a mom and pop place in Northern Mass. While walking from the train (Because I live about 50 minutes away from our drummers house, I have to take a train with our rhythm guitarist, singer, and bassist who live in the same town as myself) we walk by a music store where our drummer gets lessons. I go in, and I fall in love with this thing. They got it on Thursday(it was Saturday), and the lady working said it would be alright if I reserved it, no money down, for 48 hours, while I talk to my parents. Just out of nowhere. I ended up buying it from there, and I got 150$ off because our drummer takes lessons from there, my guitar teacher is good friends with both the drum teachers, and I know the other drum teacher. It was a great experience.

    • Just remember that many of us, myself included, have been that young guy who gets told 'No one wants to listen to you.' Glad to hear you had a better experience at the other place. We all have to spread word about the good stores so they stay in business.

  12. That´s nice Sherry, I would suggest created a group : “woman in store music united”, but now with your experience it´s not possible more ha ha ha ha –

    😉 – Tx for the BD wishes.

  13. Hey Alex, Ugh Music stores. Not only with the sales people but the noise level in any of those Guitar Denters is usually at “CRAZY ASS” levels. My buddy and I wanted to install a switch board connected to all the amps in the store so when one of the “Mr. Wonderfuls” starts CRASHING through a supersonic run on the guitar at ear bleed levels the staff can have a button behind the counter just press it and take out the amps sound. Kinda bring one of the “MORE ME” type guitarists back down to earth a little. Or they can wire the amps to a big red button on a post in the center of the store and when you're tired of hearing the latest clown whos playing at an alarmingly loud volume, anyone in the store can run up and press the “PLEASE MAKE IT STOP BUTTON”! It could be sort of a gong show thing. 🙂

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