Home Gear My Plea To Guitar Dealers

My Plea To Guitar Dealers

by Larry

I try to frequent as many guitar shops as I can, just to dream a bit;  to see what is out of my reach and also to realize what I have isn’t so bad.   The biggest beef with some of these stores, both big and small, is that they don’t take the time to setup what they are trying to sell.  Old strings, truss rod hasn’t been adjusted or something simple, like tuning.   Basically, it’s in the same condition when it came from the manufacturer. 

My Plea:

If you expect for me to spend hundreds, if not, thousands on a guitar in your shop, please invest thirty or so minutes in setting it up.  First impressions are important and if the guitar isn’t setup right, I will not take a chance and buy.  So please, put on a new set of strings, adjust the truss rod to the new environment and tune it.   I won’t guarantee that it will sell the guitar on the first day but it’s a nice start.

You may also like


MacNichol Guitars December 14, 2008 - 9:59 am



As a guitar shop owner, I hear you. My ears are always perked to what customers are looking for.

I agree that the new strings and truss rod adjustment should be done, but keeping 30 to 50 guitars in tune for one person is a bit too much of a job for one or two people. Granted, it should be close to in tune, though, not with strings slack.

My recent idea as a solution to this is to show the customer Planet Waves new SOS tuner, which tunes the strings based on string vibration rather than sound. This gives the customer a chance to check out something new while tuning the instrument, and only takes an extra two or three minutes. What do you think?

Larry December 15, 2008 - 12:05 am

Thanks for hearing my rant. I agree that it might be too much to keep all guitars in perfect tune. But I agree with your take on not having the strings slack. I’ve actually been to some stores where they had a $1500 Taylor with slack strings.
That’s a good idea to have a tuner available to the customers and a great cross-promotion idea. I’m in the market for a new tuner and even if I don’t buy a guitar from someone, I might end up getting a new tuner.
The only other idea I have is to have picks and capos available for customers. Sounds obvious but I’ve been to a few that not only didn’t have capos available but disallowed the use of capos completely.

Dave January 5, 2009 - 11:00 pm

You’re asking too much. The bog box stores won’t waste time setting up instruments because they know the halfwit tab kiddies who spend all Saturday EVERY Saturday in there “shredding” will just screw them up. But they let the kids play–seriously, whart are the odds that some dickless pimplefaced gothmetal wannabe is actually going to pull out the $2,500 for that Les Paul and another $3,000 for the vintage Marshall?

And the indies are no better. Generally they’re either bitter old coots who do most of their business selling entry-level band instruments and method books to the mommies and daddies of fourth graders to care about you as a guitar customer. Except, of course, they’ll be happy to show you their “special” 1963 Gibson ES 330 they’re gonna save to put their grandkids through college.

Screw it. I love teh Interwebs!

Larry January 5, 2009 - 11:18 pm

I don’t think I’m asking too much. But let’s remember that I’m an acoustic guitar shopper where proper setup is even more important and where the guitars I’m looking at are just a bit more expensive than then Mexican Strat hanging on the wall at Guitar Center. Those are my standards and I have found a few shops that do exactly what I asked in the post and guess what? They get my business. There isn’t any guitar out there that I have to have so it’s easier to set higher standards when I’m shopping.

Caleb January 20, 2009 - 5:17 pm

I think that big box stores should not have to do all of this, but what gets me mad is when you actually purchase the guitar, they wont do that. I think that they should change the strings for you right there and adjust the truss rod for you, and set or adjust the intonation.


Leave a Comment