Riff City parting ways with Chapman Guitars

SemiCullen

Still haven't got the hang of Thursdays
#1
Just got Riff City's new promo email a little bit ago and they're blowing out all their Chapman stock. The text below the image:

Although we have thoroughly enjoyed our relationship with Chapman Guitars and had so much fun bringing the brand to the United States, sometimes companies grow in different directions. We truly wish our friends at Chapman the very best going forward, however, we have made the very difficult decision to not continue with the brand.

Prices have been reduced on most models, they still carry the one year manufacturer warranty and courtesy return period if you are not happy!

This will be your last chance to get a Chapman Guitar with our signature pro setup and of course, one of our famous cookies.
 
Last edited:

everfreetree

I... I like trees.
#3
Absolute end of an era...
The first to pick them up has finally set them down.

I hope things only improve for Joe and Co., since the store expansion and such didn't go so well.
Still some of the best guitar shop service I've had, even for non-Chapman things.

Sad to see them go separate ways.
The wonderful folks at Riff City will definitely still be on my mind for future shopping.
 
#7
I’ve seen lots of positive stuff about Riff City, who I discovered after discovering Chapman. They aren’t in my area and I’ve never dealt with them personally.

I’m interested in how this effects Chapman guitars, if at all. I’m really rooting for Chapman. It’s the first non-fender electric guitar I’ve kept.

If not for Chapman, I’d have just purchased another Fender (just made a purchase a few weeks ago). For various reasons, other brands never appealed to me and Chapman came out of no place with a different presentation and vibe.

And.... yeah I’m just rooting for them to become established. Best of luck to RC but I was intending to look into them for online purchases. Not anymore.
 

drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#10
I personally don’t think this is a good move for Chapman. Riff City went that extra mile that many of the small stores got burned by because of the factory direct sales. Now the consumer will be the QC department and Chapman reputation with take a hit for it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#11
I generally agree @drittal. There are always two sides to these sorts of business deals, so it would be presumptuous for me to state that it was Chapman's move or Riff City's move, but - losing a good U.S. dealer that does a good online business is a bummer.

I bought an ML-1 Pro from Guitar Center. I could see it was a fantastic guitar in many ways, but the setup was pretty bad when I got it. At my cost I took it to my favorite Luthier (I wanted it solid once, I can maintain it now through seasons and minor changes) and it's been great since then. Most users (especially buying Standard Series) wouldn't spend the money on a great setup and Guitar Center is clearly a mix bag (often their setup is far from desirable even when you pay for it). The results will be buyers with a lesser experience that have little to do with the quality of the guitar. I have three Guitar Centers available to me and only one is worth my time and still not worth $ for a setup.

Having a solid dealer network with some options for consumers is so valuable.

Curiousity got the best of me. Based on the Chapman Guitars site, these are the deals in the U.S. (except for Riff City and GC).
No idea of the quality of any of these dealers, if anyone knows about ordering from any of these companies that could be useful.

https://alvasmusic.com/index.php/guitar/electric.html
https://www.octavemusicstore.com/collections/vendors?q=Chapman
https://www.warehouse66music.com
https://britishaudio.com/pages/brands-we-service (looks like service only)
 
Last edited:

everfreetree

I... I like trees.
#12
I generally agree @drittal. There are always two sides to these sorts of business deals, so it would be presumptuous for me to state that it was Chapman's move or Riff City's move, but - losing a good U.S. dealer that does a good online business is a bummer.

I bought an ML-1 Pro from Guitar Center. I could see it was a fantastic guitar in many ways, but the setup was pretty bad when I got it. At my cost I took it to my favorite Luthier (I wanted it solid once, I can maintain it now through seasons and minor changes) and it's been great since then. Most users (especially buying Standard Series) wouldn't spend the money on a great setup and Guitar Center is clearly a mix bag (often their setup is far from desirable even when you pay for it). The results will be buyers with a lesser experience that have little to do with the quality of the guitar. I have three Guitar Centers available to me and only one is worth my time and still not worth $ for a setup.

Having a solid dealer network with some options for consumers is so valuable.

Curiousity got the best of me. Based on the Chapman Guitars site, these are the deals in the U.S. (except for Riff City and GC).
No idea of the quality of any of these dealers, if anyone knows about ordering from any of these companies that could be useful.

https://alvasmusic.com/index.php/guitar/electric.html
https://www.octavemusicstore.com/collections/vendors?q=Chapman
https://www.warehouse66music.com
https://britishaudio.com/pages/brands-we-service (looks like service only)
British Audio are pretty nice folks, but they didn't exactly have a lot of Chapmans, last I checked, and now that I check again, they no longer appear to carry them at all, at least they don't have them on the site anymore.
I don't know anything about the others.
I have a baaad feeling that Chapman is wanting to go all-in with Guitar Center, at least in the US.
That won't end well.
 
#13
I generally agree @drittal. There are always two sides to these sorts of business deals, so it would be presumptuous for me to state that it was Chapman's move or Riff City's move, but - losing a good U.S. dealer that does a good online business is a bummer.

I bought an ML-1 Pro from Guitar Center. I could see it was a fantastic guitar in many ways, but the setup was pretty bad when I got it. At my cost I took it to my favorite Luthier (I wanted it solid once, I can maintain it now through seasons and minor changes) and it's been great since then. Most users (especially buying Standard Series) wouldn't spend the money on a great setup and Guitar Center is clearly a mix bag (often their setup is far from desirable even when you pay for it). The results will be buyers with a lesser experience that have little to do with the quality of the guitar. I have three Guitar Centers available to me and only one is worth my time and still not worth $ for a setup.

Having a solid dealer network with some options for consumers is so valuable.

Curiousity got the best of me. Based on the Chapman Guitars site, these are the deals in the U.S. (except for Riff City and GC).
No idea of the quality of any of these dealers, if anyone knows about ordering from any of these companies that could be useful.

https://alvasmusic.com/index.php/guitar/electric.html
https://www.octavemusicstore.com/collections/vendors?q=Chapman
https://www.warehouse66music.com
https://britishaudio.com/pages/brands-we-service (looks like service only)
Edit: Actually that’ll maybe make me pass on Chapman’s because I just remembered MF is part of GC.

If I get (when, likely) another Chapman I’ll probably go with Musiciansfriend. I just checked, they have Chapman’s listed.

GC has three stores me and I won’t even bother to walk into two of them. GC is hit and miss but I don’t want to shop GC anymore.

If I could only get Chapman’s from GC, I’ll pass. That’s because I just got an ML3 modern pro semi-hollow from GC; it was the first time I’ve shopped there in years.

It was lousy. On my receipt was a hard case charge and they tried to give me a gig bag. It was a pain and after waiting 30 minutes for them to find the case, even though I really wanted the guitar, I almost canceled the sale and walked out. They actually never found it but arranged for another store to give me one of theirs. That was after the really horrible employee blew me off and I had to insist on talking to the manager.

The guitar had a scratchy volume pot (easy fix but still) but other than that was set up nicely.

All the same: I won’t go back.

Sweetwater is my favorite dealer. Some of the service and employees at GC years ago was so horrendous I didn’t shop there for years. Chapman got me in the door and I love the guitar but not enough to deal with GC again. I’m done.
 
Last edited:

SemiCullen

Still haven't got the hang of Thursdays
#15
I shop GC pretty frequently, but it's mainly things like strings and stuff. Still, if I played a good guitar in the store, I would buy it. That said, I agree with most here that CG apparently going all-in with GC seems a bad move. They will never give the customer service and individual care that Riff City (and stores live them) can.

It also seems as though this was a very recent decision. Just 10 days ago they were pushing Chapman products on their various social media platforms.
 
#16
CG seems to be really burning their bridges in the US.
The thing is, it’s been that way for a long time. All my friends are musicians and several guitar players. Of course they sell keyboards and drums and so on.

I’m really the only one willing to go to GC. Two order all their strings online and I started to do that myself. Other than it’s local stores for strings and my Fender guitars are easy to get at and avoid GC.

I really don’t need GC. I went there only because it was the only place in my area I could go play a Chapman. I purchased it.

I really like Chapman so I’m looking at shipping from over seas.

For one, I’d really like a British Standard. My current Chapman has given me enough confidence to buy one I have not had a chance to play.
 
#20
If they really are planning on betting on one horse in the US, that's a big risk. If GC goes bankrupt, CG is in trouble as well.
What’s sad is CG being associated with GC.

I’ve gotten on board with Chapman as the sort of company that wants to build profits off quality and attention to detail.

Quality, attention detail, honesty, are not words I associate with guitar center. Fender and Gibson and PRS all have a legacy that supersedes any of that. Chapman is new on the scene they don’t have that sort of luxury.

I’m rooting for Chapman but I’m also looking forward to a Guitar Center collapse. GC is propped up by first time guitar buyers. Some of who’m (40 something’s who wish they would have learned, mid life crisis types) have the money to buy an expensive first guitar.

GC going away would bolster the mom and pop stores and create a healthier competition for business in my area. And I frankly just see and associate GC with sleaze.

I am rooting for Chapman but if they get too close to GC even I’ll retract my support and good will.

This post was actually precipitated by another, unrelated store. I’m just sick of sleazy business and I don’t blame the employees at the store: these companies make the work place a real nightmare for their employees and it’s management at the corporate level that makes the atmosphere in these stores so toxic.

I won’t even shop at GC again, now joining many of my friends who, as far as they are concerned (we), Guitar Center doesn’t exist.

With the horrible quality control; terrible price for a basic set up; sleazy pro coverage; Guitar Center is the absolute last place anyone new to buying a guitar should go.

I can recommend several places in my area where you’ll get a free set up and they’ll show how to do it right then and there for yourself, too.
 
Last edited:
Top