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Old 20th January 2010 , 11:55 AM
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Location: North London
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Question Guitar Store Gripes

What Makes a guitar store great? It's a pretty difficult and subjective topic. Is it the size? How many guitars they have or how diverse a selection they have? Is it the people or facilities to demo stuff? Is it the music playing, or signs on the wall, or how clean it is? If you've ever had gripes about guitar stores this is the place to share them. Lets make a wishlist...
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Old 20th January 2010 , 12:52 PM
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Choice of guitars, friendly staff who are always willing to offer help, don't have problems with anyone wanting to try out guitars/effects, lots of time to try out equipment, don't feel pressurised into having to purchase there and then.

These are just a few!
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Old 20th January 2010 , 01:40 PM
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Iso rooms for trying out guitars/amps in are a must!! Nothing stupider than being serious about buying an instrument but having to compete noise-wise against some clown who you can tell absolutely isn't. I bought a guitar once from a small independent shop and some lady who had obviously never played a guitar before in her life decided it would be fun to play one in that shop, on that day, at top volume while I was trying to work out whether to buy a Telecaster... had the guitar not been a discontinued model that was hard to find at retail I would have walked out, it was so annoying!!!

Having a qualified service department is a must, too - you will probably see a lot more repeat business from me if you either do good work yourself or are able to send it out to someone reputable on a reasonably quick turnaround. Although I tinker with doing my own setups, once a year or so on average I'll pay for a pro job on all my guitars (that's 8 or 9 if you're counting, x 35-50 for the average setup + strings... obviously I don't get them done all at once, but it could be a tidy earner for you if you do the job right.)

I would like to see shops offer "setup with purchase" too... I would love to be able to choose a guitar, then go for lunch/coffee while your tech puts some brand-new strings on it and adjusts everything to absolute perfection. I know a handful of mail-order/internet operations in this country do that before sending stuff out (helps minimise returns I suppose!) and it's something I really value highly. I do order guitars sight unseen sometimes, because I know I can send 'em back (yay distance selling regulations!) - but it's a service I would appreciate very much both online and in-store.

Hmmm... what else... the basics have already been pointed out - have a wide range of stock - have educated staff too - don't make sh*t up when I ask you questions. I might be testing you, I do a LOT of homework before even looking if I'm in the market for something. Be educated about all your brands too, and maybe I can learn something from you - maybe you can show me a brand that I wouldn't have otherwise considered if there's a genuinely interesting talking point about it.

I once bought a second-hand delay pedal from a shop who is not DV, and the coolest thing they did was let me try it out as long as I wanted in an iso room with any guitar/amp I wanted in the shop... I opted for a mid-range Les Paul at that time, but they were happy to let me play absolutely anything, and they were totally cool about it. That's important!

I shall add stuff as I think of it...
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Old 3rd February 2010 , 12:33 AM
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Be focussed on the range of guitars ... don't just blindly stock a make, focus on the best in class .. beginner, improver, intermediate, top end .. and the same for the range of amps on offer.

Feeling comfortable when trying is important ... If you're going to sell high end guitars and amps, have an area where you can take a guitar for a test drive on a selection of good amps without competing with the kids who have just come in to shred metal riffs.

I've often thought that gear thats getting good reviews in the guitar mags that month should be featured in store.

Offer something to keep people coming back to the store ... look at the loyalty John Lewis have on TV's etc ..because they offer a free 5 year warranty .. why not offer free neck relief and intonation checks for life on bought guitars .. it's not that much effort, but buyers remember that sort of stuff and will return for other purchases .. this will certainly appeal to younger /less experienced players and their parents.

Invite buyers back for evening demo events at the shop regularly.

Just a few thoughts.
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