Riff City parting ways with Chapman Guitars

ed lespaul

Well-Known Member
#21
What’s sad is CG being associated with GC.
...
I’m rooting for Chapman but I’m also looking forward to a Guitar Center collapse.
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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 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.
Looking forward to a corporation's collapse is ridiculous. I have gotten a ton of great gear from Guitar Center, mostly from their used listings. They have a fantastic used area, and if you're patient, you can get incredible deals from them.

Although they may be few and far between, I have also been privileged to meet some wonderful salespeople there. People who really care about the customers and products. I have witnessed salespeople walk someone without any knowledge of guitars, through a daunting task of picking the instrument that is right for them.

I usually stand back, when this situation is happening, and just listen. If I think the person is just trying for a commission, I interject. If the salesperson is genuine and righteous, I end up talking to the that salesperson, and become friends with them. This has happened a number of times. On several occasions, I have posted here about some of them. Some have moved on to another part of their careers, and some are now demoing products at NAMM.

So, to generalize that Guitar Center needs to go away, is just ridiculous. There are a bunch of clowns working there, but the good ones really stand out, and they make it a pleasant experience. I wish they would make it a rule that any new worker needs to tune the guitars on the wall when they are not helping customers.

- End of my rant -
 
#22
Looking forward to a corporation's collapse is ridiculous. I have gotten a ton of great gear from Guitar Center, mostly from their used listings. They have a fantastic used area, and if you're patient, you can get incredible deals from them.

Although they may be few and far between, I have also been privileged to meet some wonderful salespeople there. People who really care about the customers and products. I have witnessed salespeople walk someone without any knowledge of guitars, through a daunting task of picking the instrument that is right for them.

I usually stand back, when this situation is happening, and just listen. If I think the person is just trying for a commission, I interject. If the salesperson is genuine and righteous, I end up talking to the that salesperson, and become friends with them. This has happened a number of times. On several occasions, I have posted here about some of them. Some have moved on to another part of their careers, and some are now demoing products at NAMM.

So, to generalize that Guitar Center needs to go away, is just ridiculous. There are a bunch of clowns working there, but the good ones really stand out, and they make it a pleasant experience. I wish they would make it a rule that any new worker needs to tune the guitars on the wall when they are not helping customers.

- End of my rant -
It’s ridiculous? Get off it, I’m sorry. Your post reads like a GC official response.

It’s not integral to the economy.

Guitar Center has sleazy policies. Who hasn’t been harassed for an extended warranty and if you read the fine print it’s terrifyingly bad.

I could go over the multitudes if personal experiences but that’s not the point.

Yes, I’d like to see GC go under and go away.
 

ed lespaul

Well-Known Member
#23
It’s ridiculous? Get off it, I’m sorry. Your post reads like a GC official response.

It’s not integral to the economy.

Guitar Center has sleazy policies. Who hasn’t been harassed for an extended warranty and if you read the fine print it’s terrifying bad.

I could go over the multitudes if personal experiences but that’s not the point.

Yes, I’d like to see GC go under and go away.
Yes, it's ridiculous. Then don't go there. 'nuff said.
 
#27
I've no experience with GC however I've experienced shocking service and attitude from staff in small, family owned stores.
It’s corporate.

Pushing lousy “pro coverage” warranty. Horrid quality control; expensive set up (50$); Guitar Center is the last place someone new to buying a guitar should go.
 
#28
Once again, just don’t go there. Nobody cares.
It’s all relevant to the thread.

Chapman guitars. By who and where they are distributed in the United States.

If they are at GC only the suggestion is they will get a bad reputation. I agree.

And your response implies that you care.
 
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Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
#29
I've no experience with GC however I've experienced shocking service and attitude from staff in small, family owned stores.
It's kind of like a feedback loop from hell. I see it in the Netherlands as well. First complain that business is slow because of the big internet stores. So they sell less because of that. Then, when they finally have a customer willing to buy something in their store, they get cynical and assume they won't buy it anyway, because of the big internet stores. So their potential ends up going online and not buying from them, so they start complaining again.
 
#30
This is sad news because I feel like they were the perfect partnership. Riff City actually does setup your guitar before sending it. I've had a couple of lemons from Pitbull Audio who claims to set up and definitely didn't and Guitar Center ships using original packaging so I don't even think they open them up.

Any import guitar needs to be set up before sold. They aren't priced to afford the extra time of a setup. When Andertons and Riff City were the only Chapman dealers the only thing you heard about Chapman was that they were incredible value for the money. After Guitar Center and other distribution channels got involved you heard more and more about them being overpriced and low quality. I know Chapman recently changed the manufacturer for their standard line and the standard and pro lines happened around the same time as Guitar Center. So maybe the 2 aren't related but I felt like Riff City was a HUGE ADVOCATE for Chapman Guitars. The recent models made exclusively for Riff City were some of the best Chapmans I've ever seen. Sad to see this relationship end, hope they're all still on good terms.
 
#31
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.

I think they were trying to expand and Guitar Center are the one store that has locations in just about every American city with locations in any concentrated suburban area as well. With Chapman exceeding the $1000 mark most people would want to play it before buying. I know I wont buy a guitar at or exceeding $1000 unless I've played it. So Chapman had to get in bed with the devil to make their guitars accessible for people to try before they buy because they decided to offer a premium line.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
#32
I think they were trying to expand and Guitar Center are the one store that has locations in just about every American city with locations in any concentrated suburban area as well. With Chapman exceeding the $1000 mark most people would want to play it before buying. I know I wont buy a guitar at or exceeding $1000 unless I've played it. So Chapman had to get in bed with the devil to make their guitars accessible for people to try before they buy because they decided to offer a premium line.
Well yes, but that's the easy way. You would need an office in the US, and Sales reps visiting all the small stores. Then you could achieve the same with smaller stores. It's a lot of hard work and it costs a lot more money.

It could just be an entry strategy. Get the brand known in the US then when it's grown enough start going back to smaller dealers.
 
#33
I think they were trying to expand and Guitar Center are the one store that has locations in just about every American city with locations in any concentrated suburban area as well. With Chapman exceeding the $1000 mark most people would want to play it before buying. I know I wont buy a guitar at or exceeding $1000 unless I've played it. So Chapman had to get in bed with the devil to make their guitars accessible for people to try before they buy because they decided to offer a premium line.
I’m certainly - personally - not begrudging Chapman’s move. The opposite, in fact.

I really respect CG for making happen. I also agree: I needed to play my Chapman Pro before I made that purchase. I will be willing to take a risk on my next Chapman.
 

ScutMonkey

Well-Known Member
#34
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 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.
1. All the GCs in my area do free setups after you buy. Getting good sales people is hit or miss, but that's just the way it goes. I live is a somewhat large city and my GCs go from meh to excellent.

2. GC going out of business will be really, really, really terrible for all mom and pop shops for at least a year or two and might put a bunch of them out of business because GCs entire stock will be liquidated at crazy low prices to pay off vendors. Remember, GC is also Musicians Friend, Music123 and all of those local Music and Arts shops.

That will be an absolutely massive glut of new and used instruments hitting the market that won't clear for at least a year. It would be horrific for smaller businesses. If they survived it, maybe they'd come out stronger on the other end, but probably not. Also, it would then be very easy for a strong supplier like Sam Ash or Sweetwater or other large entity to buy up all of those retail spaces at cut rates and then just move into that market. Now you could have Sweetwater kicking the crap out Mom and Pops locally with much better everything. GC is the "Devil you know."
 
#35
Well yes, but that's the easy way. You would need an office in the US, and Sales reps visiting all the small stores. Then you could achieve the same with smaller stores. It's a lot of hard work and it costs a lot more money.

It could just be an entry strategy. Get the brand known in the US then when it's grown enough start going back to smaller dealers.
Here in lies a the problem with GC for me. They built locations - as far as guitars stores are concerned - really close together. They pushed out and bought out very other large dealer in my area.

New guitar buyers, especially in the west, don’t have many options. You’d have to really search and buying a guitar and going into the store can be a little intimidating.

One poster suggested guitar center eases this burden and I again think nothing could be farther from the truth. But to a new buyer, the megastore or GC can be less intimidating because at least you sort of get lost in the crowd.

We all know the story from corporate stores of that nature. They know me at my GC’s. They know I won’t be buying “pro coverage” or in need of a “Pro setup” but they have to ask. They literally have to ask. I know they do and I let them and politely say no but they have to push that stuff. Nice guys or not, their job depends on this stuff. That sort of thing creates a moral problem at the stores, too. They aren’t fools, they know it aggravates me and up selling someone things they don’t need doesn’t necessarily make you feel good.
 
#36
1. All the GCs in my area do free setups after you buy. Getting good sales people is hit or miss, but that's just the way it goes. I live is a somewhat large city and my GCs go from meh to excellent.

2. GC going out of business will be really, really, really terrible for all mom and pop shops for at least a year or two and might put a bunch of them out of business because GCs entire stock will be liquidated at crazy low prices to pay off vendors. Remember, GC is also Musicians Friend, Music123 and all of those local Music and Arts shops.

That will be an absolutely massive glut of new and used instruments hitting the market that won't clear for at least a year. It would be horrific for smaller businesses. If they survived it, maybe they'd come out stronger on the other end, but probably not. Also, it would then be very easy for a strong supplier like Sam Ash or Sweetwater or other large entity to buy up all of those retail spaces at cut rates and then just move into that market. Now you could have Sweetwater kicking the crap out Mom and Pops locally with much better everything. GC is the "Devil you know."
I specifically asked just two weeks ago and I was told 50$. If nothing else, the discrepancy says something.

But like a GameStop, they’re pushing stuff like “pro coverage”. Not one of the guitar centers here as ever offered a free set up. I’ve had employees I know there set one up for me quick. But I know all the employees and get along really well with most. They roll over a lot.

I used to shop up used amps a lot.

As far as Sweetwater goes, if they go bad, I’ll drop them. That said, Sweetwater is the best customer service I’ve ever had, period. Not just when buying an amp or guitar. The best service I’ve ever had.

I’ve been to their brick and mortar while on the road and for the entire duration of my online dealings I’ve had the very first rep that was assigned to me, still to this day. I really like it.
 
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ScutMonkey

Well-Known Member
#37
I specifically asked just two weeks ago and I was told 50$. If nothing else, the discrepancy says something.

But like a GameStop, they’re pushing stuff like “pro coverage”. Not one of the guitar centers here as ever offered a free set up. I’ve had employees I know there set one up for me quick. But I know all the employees and get along really well with most. They roll over a lot.

I used to shop up used amps a lot.

As far as Sweetwater goes, if they go bad, I’ll drop them. That said, Sweetwater is the best customer service I’ve ever had, period. Not just when buying an amp or guitar. The best service I’ve ever had.

I’ve been to their brick and mortar while on the road and for the entire duration of my online dealings I’ve had the very first rep that was assigned to me, still to this day. I really like it.
I bet the setup fee depends on competition. Where I live there is a local chain that has about 5 locations through the whole city. They always give free setups and have all the major brands - Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, PRS, etc. If GC wants to compete here they have to offer something more than selection and low prices.

Also, that's my point with Sweetwater. If GC goes out of business, mom and pops won't have to compete with a guitar store everyone hates with bad policies and spotty support. They'll have to compete with a first class business who can bury them on price. The only thing GC has going for them is selection and price in most places. Mom and pops can compete with that on better customer service and the personal touch. Sweetwater has that too. Moms and pops would be screwed.
 
#38
I bet the setup fee depends on competition. Where I live there is a local chain that has about 5 locations through the whole city. They always give free setups and have all the major brands - Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, PRS, etc. If GC wants to compete here they have to offer something more than selection and low prices.

Also, that's my point with Sweetwater. If GC goes out of business, mom and pops won't have to compete with a guitar store everyone hates with bad policies and spotty support. They'll have to compete with a first class business who can bury them on price. The only thing GC has going for them is selection and price in most places. Mom and pops can compete with that on better customer service and the personal touch. Sweetwater has that too. Moms and pops would be screwed.
They crushed the competition here. I do like a lot of the employees but if I were to list my experiences it would be too much.

It did however take a really bad turn not too long ago but I don’t blame anyone but the individuals involved and sadly it happens a lot.

My girlfriend has had some unbelievably bad experiences at guitar stores being harassed by employees but at a GC recently she was really disgusted. I specifically told her “hey, I can only get this axe at guitar center. You cool with that?”.

She’s a remarkable player, too. I met her at University and she too was studying Jazz and her main instrument was guitar.

Jazz is still an unbelievably sexist culture. That always annoyed me because it deals with racism so well.

It is funny watching a guitar sales person try and chat her up, show her a thing or too, and then she starts playing and they just sit there and look stupid. They immediately know they’ve failed and sometimes they get nasty after eating crow.
 

drittal

Nerd on the Prairie
#39
Brick and Mortar are all feeling the pinch of online retail.

Sweetwater will never put brick and mortar out on their own. Many of us have reservations purchasing new guitars sight unseen.

Even then, many of the Brick and Mortar have moved their inventory online. I have purchased from Flipside Music a handful of times and plan to again in the future.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
#40
Brick and Mortar are all feeling the pinch of online retail.

Sweetwater will never put brick and mortar out on their own. Many of us have reservations purchasing new guitars sight unseen.

Even then, many of the Brick and Mortar have moved their inventory online. I have purchased from Flipside Music a handful of times and plan to again in the future.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Flipside? I’m in the Denver Metro area and Flipside is my store of choice. They don’t have American made Fenders yet, though. That’s where I grabbed my MIM Player series, though. An HH Tele. Really nice instrument for the money.

But, they are a Doc Z dealer and that, for me, is bad ass. I love Dr Z amps.

They also have the best pedal selection in town by a wide, wide margin.

I love Flipside. That’s where I’ve been getting strings and picks and the little side stuff and I grabbed a cheap bass a few months ago.

Flipside definitely has my support. They’re kind of far from me and have really bad hours. That’s why my girlfriend orders her strings online. It’s just easier. But that’s where we’ve been buying pedals.

I’d also add: as to what happened at GC, two in my area had the Chapman I wanted. Had the store where she was really - to the point of being frightened - harassed, been the only store, I would not have a Chapman right now.

I won’t go there for my sake.

You can say “depends on the store” but that a store in that condition and with employees like that, is allowed to persist, is enough reason alone to hate GC.

That was my last GC purchase. I am confident with Chapman. I will buy more unplayed. Right now it looks like I might have to order from over seas.
 
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