Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another Exercise in Futility - Guitar Center

I had to order a small p.a. system for work, so I went with Guitar Center.  Ever since, they have been sending me email.  Lately I hear from them more than my own family.  I am desperately seeking a way to order my dream Custom Shop lefty Strat through them and have the company pay for it.  From what I hear, it won't be the first time.

But I digress.

I am obviously a person who does not learn through repetition.  The great majority of my trips to Guitar Center end up in disappointment, yet I keep going back; like a battered spouse, hoping the outcome will be different.

Some of my online buddies have been making noise about the Fender Mustang series amps.  The real troublemaker in the group discovered that he could hook the amp to his computer and edit the presets deeply.  Like dominoes, others in the group went off to purchase these amps.  And they're having a lot of fun with them.

These particular amps have two strikes against them (at least in my game):  they have no tubes and the software does not run on linux.  That aside, the smallest (Mustang I) is tiny and goes for a hundred bucks.  Not a ton of money for a decent-sounding amp for the living room.  Further research showed that there is rudimentary functional software for linux and that it got good reviews.

So I figured what the hell - GC is always sending me email.. why not pay them a visit.

I located the amp in question but had to hunt for a lefty Strat with which to try it out.  The store had exactly three lefty guitars.  This is my personal hell, akin to my very own Monty Python cheese shop sketch.  There sure are a lot of guitars on the wall....

Got stuck with a new Standard Strat.  It sure looked nice but playing was another story.  Maybe I'm spoiled but I haven't played a new Fender neck I liked in more years than I care to remember.  It was like holding some other instrument that wasn't a guitar.  They put this neck on everything.  Don't even get me started on how Fender wires the pots backwards on new guitars.  Counterclockwise should be down, not up, guys.

The Mustang was definitely a cute little toy.  I didn't have a ton of time but it definitely sounded like it was at least worth the price.  Naturally as I was trying to tune the guitar, others were trying to play louder.  I have yet to pick up a guitar (in a store or at a gig) where another guitarist didn't step all over me.  I am not competetive (volume is inversely proportional to talent) and don't play loudly so I don't get on others' nerves either.

I tracked down the nice saleslady, who was kind enough to leave me alone as I tried out the amp.  I'm not used to being waited on by women in guitar stores, for better or worse.  She was rather attractive, except for the army boots, but none of this matters unless she knows what she's talking about.  I told her I'd take the amp.

She told me there weren't any.


Small wonder I had such a difficult time finding one: there weren't any.  Only the demo, which didn't have the accompanying books, software, and ephemera.


Understand: I am not really upset - just confused and amused.
It seems that I leave Guitar Center disappointed most of the time.


The Guitar Shop - starring John Cleese:

Do you have any lefties?

Not really.

Do you have this $100 practice amp?

Ummmm..... let me check.....  No.

This is a guitar store, right?

Yes - finest in the land.

By what measure?

It's very clean.

Yes, it's certainly free of guitars and amps.....

We could order you one.

There sure are a lot of guitars here.

Yes sir - thousands.

And barely a lefty.

You could try playing in a mirror.

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