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  1. #1
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    What do you brohams think about the quality of guitars that musicians friend sells? I just ordered a Epiphone LP Classic Goldtop from those guys and i'm wondering how this guitar is going to perform when I get it. Some of my guitar buddys swear that Musicians Friends guitars are shitty.
    I dont understand how they sell them so cheaply either. My guess is that music stores jack up the prices on their guits to make a bigger profit and Musicians Friend sells them cheaper therefore earning a smaller profit but gaining more business because of those lower prices. But anyway has anybody ordered a guitar form this company.

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    Top Of The World stratogibson's Avatar
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    06.24.09 @ 01:54 PM
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    Donor

    I'll throw in a couple cents on this one. Your guitar that you receive will be just as good as any other guitar you buy from a store. What you'll need to do, however, is go to your favorite tech right when you get it and have it set up. Musicians Friend makes their money by moving gear, volume, volume, volume. Once they have your guitar in the warehouse, it's a number, and getting it the hell out of there while touching it the least amount of times and storing it for the least amount of time is the key.

    Now guitar shops, yep, they'll tack on some extra for margin, but if it's a good shop, they'll unbox it, play it, tune it, set it up with the guage of strings you want, set the intonation and the action etc. Guitar shops will "dial" it. Your buddies are partially correct. Some mail order guitars play like shit, but that's because manufacturers bolt em together, and send them on their way, very little in the way of final setup. Once you get it dialed, you'll be happy. I can tell you that most guitar shops will match Musicians Friend for pricing and still have some margin to work with. [img]smilies/sleep.gif[/img]
    You know the best tone I ever had was with that little bandmaster cranked to 10. Edward Van Halen, 1980, Guitar Player Magazine.

  3. #3
    Sinner's Swing! Rick S's Avatar
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    06.23.17 @ 09:49 PM
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    i agree and simply go to your local music store to see the model if you can then order from muscians freind. those les paul epi s look pretty nice to me...with a few upgrades they can sound pretty good.
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  4. #4
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    01.11.08 @ 09:17 PM
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    I've gotten some stuff from there and it's pretty good stuff. No guitars from there, but what I got was great stuff [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by stratogibson:
    I'll throw in a couple cents on this one. Your guitar that you receive will be just as good as any other guitar you buy from a store.

    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Although I wish that were true, it's not. Working at a Fender dealer for years, I was around a LOT of business talk between the owner and the Fender reps. One guy, who last I heard was given the Nashville run (THE gig for a Fender rep; he was a great guy and he did an amazing job), admitted that Fender makes special orders of guitars for Musician's Friend, and the quality control is intentionally LOWER than the ones made for their regular dealers.

    They do this because it saves them a shitload of $$ in manufacturing costs. Ergo, they can make MORE guitars and sell en masse. Your comment about sales volume is correct. Many people go to stores, try everything out (which is good), but then they turn to MF to buy without asking the dealer to match or beat the price (that's BAD).

    The number of Fenders I REPAIRED, not just set up, from MF is unreal. I know the normal Fender quality inside and out; the MF guitars are about 3 times more likely to have something wrong with it. The idea is that those people will take the guitar to an authorized tech (like me) at a dealer, and buy more Fender goodies while they're there. If you wonder, Fender is TERRIBLE about reimbursing the dealers for warranty stuff; tons of red tape, and lots of bullshit. Like an insurance company, they allow a very LIMITED claim. If a job took me 1.5 hours, the best they would bill it out for is 3/4 of an hour. The owner of the store was a great guy-he paid me in full regardless of what Fender reimbursed him for.

    I collected more pickups, switches, and other hardware than you can imagine while doing these MF repairs, as Fender is lazy when it comes to auditing. I used a lot of those parts for non-warranty repairs and really cashed in. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

    Anyway, at least with Fender (and I imagine many other companies are the same way), the guitars they make for MF are NOT the same average quality as those shipped to dealers.

    The moral of the story is to buy from your dealer if you can. Nothing grates on the soul as much as hearing MF mentioned by someone who comes into a store, and the dealers will usually help you out to get your money instead of you giving it to MF.

    Notice that MF is an appropriate abbreviation. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

    Try and support your local dealers folks; they have families to feed too, and they have a hard time competing with the MF's of the world. Besides, a lot of them are really nice people who will go out of their way to make you a happy customer.
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  6. #6
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Well, you guys really put me in a bad mood. I'm getting worried about what my five hundred bucks went into.
    I didnt even think about trying to ask the dealer to match musicians friends price (damnit).


    What do you guys mean by getting my guitar "set up"? Couldnt I do all that shit myself?

    Abe, my brother ordered a ibanez from musicians friend and that thing has performed pretty damn good for the price (its one of the cheaper models). The only real problem he has ever had is the tone knob fucking up a little. Plus I fucked up his volume knob back when I first learned "Cathedral".... but you didnt hear that from me.
    [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

  7. #7
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    I wouldn't be too concerned Rafter.
    While it's probably true that some music stores will try to beat their price, there's a lot that couldn't give a shit and will sell you their product at their price regardless of how cheaply you're getting it somewhere else. I know a no. of sales people at different music stores who would just say, if you can get it cheaper somewhere else go for it.
    I also have a hard time believing that Fender or any other guitar company would make a special line of "cheaper" models for one particular seller. They crank out thousands of guitars on an assembly line, and send shipments to whoever has the cash to pay for them. Musicians Friend is actually a middle man type of outfit, buying and selling in volume, and saving you cash that way, and I'd have no reason to think their products are any better or worse than a music store's. I talked to a friend earlier who works at a music store here. The store, while selling a no. of different brands, is also an authorized Fender, and Epiphone dealer. He said they get their share of lemons from every company, and have to set them up before selling them. A good setup will cost you between 10 and 20 dollars, so if you're really saving bucks on the sale, the cost of a professional setup is peanuts.
    I honestly doubt you have anything to worry about just so long as it's properly packaged and insured for transit. Most of us set up our guitars once or twice a year anyway, and it'll take you a while of playing to break it in, at which point it'll probably need a setup again.
    I'd just have fun playing it, and maybe invest a few dollars in a book that teaches you how to do your own setups.
    That's fun in itself. Now Play the shit out that thing. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

  8. #8
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Tribb is right-don't worry about it so much. And yes, there are dealers that couldn't care less about your business. If that's the case, fuck them!

    BUT, Tribb, I got my info on the Fender situation from one of their most valued reps, and there was no reason for him to lie. Fender reserves their last production runs of the calendar year for their high-volume distributors:MF and Mars being the two main ones. Try to order something from them between Thanksgiving and the end of February-they ship ALL that stuff to the aforementioned places, and it is not as quality controlled as the rest of their stuff. Sure, there are dogs in every bunch, but the mass volume dealers' stuff is much less consistent.

    Anyhow, MF offers a money back guarantee if there's anything wrong, and they're very easy going about it. So, you should have no real fears about anything.
    Don't bark at me...<b>I</b> didn't name ya.

  9. #9
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    11.09.08 @ 08:18 AM
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    Kind of sorry I missed out on this Stupid Deal of the Day.

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/stupid

    That's a damn pretty guitar for a 140 coins.

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    11.17.15 @ 08:56 PM
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    My understanding was that Musician's Friend was the mail order division of Guitar Center (same company).

    Is this true?

  11. #11
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    I was under the impression that Musician's Friend was a different company. Pretty sure they are based in two different states.
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  12. #12
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    11.06.14 @ 05:13 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    My understanding was that Musician's Friend was the mail order division of Guitar Center (same company).

    Is this true?
    MF was purchased in 1999 by GC, but claims to be independent. That said,there is some intermingling of execs...
    I swear, it's like I'm playin' cards with my brother's kids or somethin'. You nerve-wrackin' sons-a-bitches.

  13. #13
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    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Kind of sorry I missed out on this Stupid Deal of the Day.

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/stupid

    That's a damn pretty guitar for a 140 coins.
    What guitar was it?

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  14. #14
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yerfdog View Post
    MF was purchased in 1999 by GC, but claims to be independent. That said,there is some intermingling of execs...
    it's not that they "claim" to be independant, it's that GC and MF are run as independent entities...just like American Music stores which are also owned by GC, which itseld is owned by a private investment group after being publicly held for several years. This isn't rare at all...Aaron's Sales and Lease is one arm of Aaron Rents Inc which includes Aarons Sales and Lease, Aaron Corporate Rentals and Rimco. All three, though owned by the same people are independant companies within a company.

    Look at it like this...yamaha makes everything from guitars to keyboards to 4 wheelers but Guitar Center can't special order you a 4 wheeler. Mitsubishi makes TVs, cars and a shit load of other stuff but you can't go to your local Best Buy and have them special order you a Galant while you're at the register paying for your DLP television. It is very very common for companies to exists independantly of eachother despite being owned by the same group of people.

    Musician's Friend was purchased because of its market share in the online and mail order business...it made more sense for Guitar Center to buy it than try to parlay their market share in the retail industry into similar success in the mail order business. The decision to keep the two independant from one another was based primarily on supply streams, name recognition and other such factors but as time has passed, the lines have slowly blurred. I imagine at some point the Musicians Friend webpage and catalog will begin to show the name "Guitar Center-Musician's Friend" or something along those lines. It's no big deal and has never, to my knowledge, been tried to be kept a secret. When the purchase went down, I never ran into anyone that didn't say "yeah we own them" or "yes, we were acquired by Guitar Center" or anything like that.

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    12.15.17 @ 02:13 PM
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    This is long, but for those that know, I answer honestly and while a LONG time ago, when I was younger, I used to trash the GC's and MF's, I try to be as fair as possible now. So after 10 years in the business with a mom and pop store that has been around almost 40 years, I will try and address this stuff.

    I work for a Fender dealer, a "mom and pop" store. I don't wanna call anyone a liar, so I will just give my $0.02. I have NEVER heard of different quality controls for Musicians Friend as opposed to anyone else. First of all, there are entirely different sets of reps for the big box stores (MF, GC, Sam Ash, Best Buy, etc.) than there are for everyone else, so I don't know why a rep would be speculating on someone else's terrority. Second, I would argue it would be MORE costly to have two sets of quality control standards for every single tolerance that Fender makes.

    I have toured the Corona facility from top to bottom, following the standard machine runs from start to finish, as well as the custom shop. I also toured quality control. Never did our guide say, "These guys do the quality control for everyone else, and these guys do a worse job for musicians friend." If this were true, there would either be specific guys set aside to do a worse job--which would cost Fender money, or each guy would have to recallibrate depending upon the guitars coming across--which would cost Fender money. My boss has also toured the Ensenada facility, and this was never addressed either. I just can't imagine this to be true.

    Also, Fender has so many brands: SWR, Ovation, Hamer, Takamine, Jackson, Charvel, EVH, Tacoma, Guild, Squier...would ALL of these have 2 different sets of quality control?

    Here's what I think: When we get a guitar in that has problems right out of the box, stuff that just SHOULDN'T be wrong, and isn't a quick fix, like, say sharp frets (the fretboard has shrunk due to lack of humidity), we box it back up, get an R/A, and send it back. Also, if there are things that need to be fixed, and it's a quick fix, we do it. We may not be able to set up EVERY guitar out of the box, but we WILL do so before it leaves, and for free as long as you own the instrument. Musicians friend will never do that. The guitar won't come out of the box until the consumer opens it, and therefore any problems the guitar has are masked until you try and play it. Also, we keep the store at 45% humidity, where guitars want to be. While it's not AS vital on an electric, it can cause problems. I can vouch for Fender's wharehouse, and I can vouch for our store. I can't vouch for the climate of MF's wharehouse. To sum it up, I think that the problems the MF guitars have are just problems everyone has, it's just that the mom and pop stores that unbox and test before they put the instruments out get the problems taken care of before they are sold, and MF won't find out until the guy who bought it unboxes at home.

    Companies, however, DO sell lower-quality instruments to big box stores--just not the MI (Musical Instrument--includes both mom and pop AND the GC's, etc.) ones. For example, with Fender, the Starcaster is NOT available to MI retailers, but is available to Target, Costco, etc. These are EXTREMELY low quality instruments, with almost no parts available. THIS is where I think companies like Fender are shooting themselves in the foot. They say they are trying to reach the player that would never come into an MI store, yet I have had to re-sell people on Fender who are upgrading from a Starcaster and HATED it so bad to where they never wanted to buy another one. I can only imagine the tons of people who will NEVER player a Fender again because they bought a Starcaster at Target or Costco and won't ever buy a better instrument because they don't know the difference. As I have said in other threads, Fender would be MUCH better served spending their money on television commericals getting people into OUR stores, and get the shitty guitars OUT of Target. But all these companies are stuck on product placement selling their instruments.

    Finally, while it IS true that there are some quantity discounts, it takes an EXTREMELY small store to not be able to qualify for the max discounts. Fender, for example, has periodic quantity deals which the smaller stores may not take advantage of, but the average guitar on the average day will be available to the mom and pop store for the same price that it is offered to MF or GC. This is where Minimum Advertised Price policy can protect the mom and pop stores in the sense that if the playing field is level, and we both paid the same amount for a guitar, as long as I match the internet price, the profit is the same. It's actually on ACCESSORIES (strings, capos, straps, effects, etc., etc., etc.) where the big box stores carry the advantage--there are HUGE discounts for quantity, and ZERO advertized price protection. And since accessories are the ABSOLUTE BACKBONE of the industry, this is where the problem is.

    Even in situations where we have met the requirements for the absolute mass discount, if there is no protection, the margins can BLOW. Take this example: There is an effects pedal by a leading manufacturer where the list price has a profit of $62. If a typical Minimum Advertised Price were enforced, the profit all around would be $34. BUT, at the everyday price of GC and MF, there is only a $4 profit.

    So it really isn't the serialized instruments that break the small dealers. Most of us, if good at our jobs, can survive. We typically know more, we can do onsite work, and we can match prices. We also usually have great personal relationships with reps, so it's easy to get taken care of, and the reps will pull strings to help us out because they have known us for so long, we go out to lunch, we get drinks together at NAMM, we go to each others gigs. The rep relationships are a HUGE advantage over GC. What it REALLY is is the accessories.

    My store is about to get our first test, though. There are 3 mom and pop stores for about 300,000 people where I am. While GC requires over $1 million people within a 30-mile radius to build, Best Buy is opening up all new stores with an MI department. Almost what looks like a small GC inside of all new Best Buys, and we have a 2nd Best Buy being built down the street which will likely be our first big-box competiton. Should be interesting...

 

 

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