the guitar center experience post covid-19
I detail my experience at Guitar Center after their reopening.
At the time I recorded the podcast above, Guitar Center had recently just reopened. The experience was weird.
While the GC Plano store did the best they could considering the current state of things, I'm really hoping what I encountered is not the new norm. If it is, that's enough of a reason for me not to go shopping there anymore.
To be very clear, GC Plano did nothing wrong. But it's a guitar store. This is a business where everyone touches everything in close quarters, because that's how guitar stores work. That has now changed.
Having everything in an ultra-sanitized state absolutely destroys the guitar store experience. Seeing everyone in masks and gloves, only allowing 10 people in the store at a time, spraying everything down and so on is not inviting at all. In fact, it's terrible.
Guitar stores simply can't work like this, and a ton of effort will be placed more towards selling online to pick up the slack, but...
The guitar industry was already heavily leaning towards this direction anyway
Guitar Center's online arm, so to speak, is Musician's Friend (who by the way just knocked $400 off the Fender Elite Telecaster Thinline at the time I write this). You buy from MF, you're buying from GC, more or less.
Outside of GC, guitar companies have been selling online direct for a few years now. Fender does it, Gibson does it, Schecter does it, ESP (and LTD) does it, and so on. These guitar makers have had their buy-direct online systems from their own web sites for a while now.
The bad part about this? You can't try before you buy. Not good. The guitar store needs to exist to actually make that happen.
I've personally become more comfortable with buying guitars online over the years, but more than a just a few would have a hard time adjusting to that.
Let's just hope this pandemic stuff doesn't spell out the end of the guitar store.