For the last few months, I have been browsing dozens of web sites, talking to friends and musicians, all in the pursuit of a guitar I could be happy to play — and possibly take onto a stage with me one day. One of my co-workers is a stage musician who has spent countless hours playing different guitars both on and off stage. He told me that I should go for a Gibson Hummingbird if I wanted a guitar that could be my one and only.  I will review the Hummingbird in a future article, but today, I want to tell you about Guitar Center.

Though I found the guitar to be appealing, I was not crazy about the price — even though it was under $3,000.00USD — because at this stage in my education, I am not sure if I will have the fortitude to commit to years of learning to play the guitar — or if it will fall by the wayside as the violin did in my life.

I studied the violin in grade school and then, when I was forced to choose between taking a particular math class and violin class, I had to drop violin. I haven’t really picked it up since then.

My co-worker told me that if I wanted something similar to the Gibson Hummingbird, I could go for the Epiphone Hummingbird, which is essentially an inexpensive version of the Gibson Hummingbird. Interestingly enough, though Gibson and Epiphone were once major rivals, Gibson purchased Epiphone in 1957 for $20,000.00USD

I browsed some online guitar stores but decided to go with the one with which my co-worker had the best experience:  Guitar Center.  My decision to make the buy was close to Father’s Day and Guitar Center had a sale on Epiphone guitars — $250.00USD for the particular Hummingbird I wished to buy. I placed it in the digital cart along with a travel bag (it did not come with a case) and a three-pack of D’Addario EXL115 strings.

I specified my place of work for the shipping address since I am there during normal UPS delivery hours and placed my order. When I received the confirmation e-mail from Guitar Center, I was confused to see that the shipping address had shifted to be the same as the billing address. I immediately called them to see if we could change it.

The Guitar Center gentleman with whom I spoke told me that, for some reason, the system wasn’t letting him change the order and so he canceled and placed the order anew. He then told me that he had to place me on hold. About a minute or two later, he got back on the phone and told me that he had found a Father’s Day coupon and that my guitar was going to be $50.00USD cheaper as a result. He then asked me if I wanted to buy extended coverage for twenty dollars.

Normally I would not do it but since he had saved me fifty dollars with no effort on my end, I thought it would be only right to get the coverage — I am guessing the sales people get some kind of commission from selling the coverage. A few days later, the guitar came and my co-workers inspected it and determined it was set up and ready to play — albeit out of tune. It only took a minute or two to correct this.

It doesn’t happen to often that I am overwhelmed by good customer service but when it does, I feel compelled to write about it. I paid for my order with my own money and Guitar Center is not even aware I am writing this review — I am just really pleased with their excellent service.

10 Comments

  1. I am thrilled with the success of your experience with Guitar Center, Gordon. I know some people don’t like that shop, but they are a major player on the music scene. They also own and operate MusiciansFriend.com and Music123.com.

    We can’t wait to read your Hummingbird review!

    You mentioned strings in your review. You bought acoustic strings and not electric strings, right?

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070806152351AAD9zmm

      1. Guitars are strings and wood and are highly affected by heat, cold and humidity. Tuning is relative.

        Newly strung guitars need to have their strings “stretched in” so that guitar will require more tuning intervention than one that has been strung-in and used for a week.

        So the wood of the guitar is always breathing and expanding and the strings follow the want of the wood. That means strings can lose a bit of tension between days. You’ll more likely have to tune up — tightening the strings — than tune down.

        Some electric guitars have locking tuners and LSR nuts that are supposed to help with tuning stability — but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to retune to get the precise pitch you want from your guitar.

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