Updated in 2008 in Blue, 2009 In Red
What will happen, if you continue to buy from them?
You will probably succeed in putting most of the small Mom & Pop stores out of business. Won't That Be Fun !!!! ( 2008 that has already happened) Oh Joy !!!
2009 The Superstores, Walmart, Costco, Office Depot, Guitar Center, etc. etc now dominate the musical industry. No one can afford a good guitar anymore!!
Because they don't have any money !!
Because they don't have a job
Ebay has contributed greatly to the devaluation of the entire vintage guitar market.
Then the Superstores will raise their prices even higher!! You will be forced to pay their higher prices.
(2008 Check out Guitar Center's Brand New No Haggling Policy )
It won't bother me either way, I specialize
in products that you can't buy at those stores.
So the next time you stop into that big chain store to buy a set of strings, remember, you will only be screwing yourself and all your friends in the long run. The next time you stop at a McDonalds you will be seriously compromising the eco system that makes our planet tick. Please do not support large corporations. They are all evil and they are all bent on destroying our economy so people will not be able to afford buying something good.
2008 Now that it's too late and there are no Mom & Pop stores left you have no choice. You can thank your lucky stars there is an Internet.
2009 The internet has been completely taken over by the Superstores, and their corporately made Chinese products. Greed has destroyed the guitar market. in the 90's boutique brands flourished. People actually could still afford to buy high quality hand made guitars.
|Some people may
read those rants, they may assume that I am just sour grapes on superstores for self
serving reasons. I have thought about it long and hard, I have assured
myself that my own agenda is truly unaffected by these stores.
I am in the custom guitar business, People who want my products are not interested in the crap you can buy at a superstore !!!
Naturally I stand to gain when they lose sales, I just think the world would be better off without large corporate entities trying to control more than the entire market. These entities can not possibly do anything positive for our industry or our economy. So The next time you are in a guitar shop try to buy American and be very careful. The bigger corporations all pretend to sell American products. when in actuality all they are doing is some Assembly in the USA. NEVER TRUST ANY BIG CORPORATION.
Companies like ESP are routinely treated like American Companies, Many people even think that ESP is an American company. They have a high priced product ESP and a low priced product LTD. So the average consumer wrongly assumes that the LTD is imported and The ESP is Made in The USA. THE ESP IS LARGELY KOREAN AND THE LTD IS CHINESE.
Corporate Guitars !!!!
Some major mass market department stores are selling cheaply manufactured guitars of questionable quality to unsuspecting consumers who have no idea what they are buying.
1. Come into a town with a big
Remember, Mom & Pop stores like to close on Sundays. They also need to make a profit to pay their rent and presumably make payroll. It becomes very hard when one of these superstores opens. They can't compete with the big city hype and hoopla that these mega superstores start up with. They can't afford to stay open the same long hours. They certainly cannot afford to advertise anymore so the radio stations and the magazines shun them and do articles on the superstores or have live in store broadcasts etc etc. You know the drill.
Ok, so lets say that your local family owned and run music store bites the dust. It usually takes a long time for it to happen because they are usually musicians and musicians have big ego's, and the last thing they would ever want to do is admit defeat. Like Meg Ryan did to Tom Hanks in the Movie "You've Got Mail". By the way the owners of the superstores are usually not musicians, they couldn't give a s#!t about the Van Halen tour with David Lee Roth and they certainly don't care if the guitar you bought won't stay in tune after the warranty has expired. In fact, one of these Superstores is publicly traded on the stock market.
The large publicly traded ones, constantly open more & more stores. This way they can continue to show growth (falsely) for the investors who are just too stupid to see that they are a house of cards waiting to tumble.
READ ABOUT GUS
Most of the little stores are already out of business, they
just don't know it!! There is a small dirty little grimy, mildew smelling,
health hazard of a music store in my town owned by a guy so stubborn he has hung
on for more than 38 years. (Let's call him Gus) Gus has had the same 20
or 30 guitars in his store for over 15 years. He survives by taking on a small
new line and simply not paying his bill.
In any case Gus is of no importance and certainly will never affect the local music market ever again.
After all the competition is dead and buried
Here at Ed Roman Guitars we have a standard form job application.
The application asks many of the usual questions and some that may seem a bit unusual.
1. What do you think of Ed Roman's DO NOT TOUCH policy regarding new and high end guitars?
2. What do you think of the MEGA SUPERSTORE MUSIC STORES?
We ask these questions to try and ascertain whether the applicant realizes why we do things a little differently here than most stores.
Recently an Applicant David O'Donnell answered the questions in such a way that I thought might be entertaining to my readers.
David sold guitars for a living in fact he was a 7 year veteran of Sam Ash Music in Hempstead New York.
1. What do you think of Ed Roman's DO NOT TOUCH policy regarding new and high end guitars?
Answer A customer who will normally purchase a high end instrument will usually not want a shopworn floor model. If an item is shopworn the retailer will be asked to discount it drastically. Also, some people intentionally ruin instruments, steal knobs and other parts or ask to to play instruments with their hands filthy.
2. What do you think of the MEGA SUPERSTORE MUSIC STORES?
Answer From the perspective of a salesman who worked for Sam Ash before they changed to a Mega Store, I have very strong opinions on this subject !!!
Not only did that change end the possibility of being a career salesman (I personally went from making $40,000.00 a year to about $27,000.00). It also ruined the shopping experience for serious customers. Every single knowledgeable salesman left after that change.
Guitar Center is totally geared toward the hobbyist or non playing music enthusiast. Their concept of "vibe", which includes blaring different recorded music from all departments simultaneously is completely counter productive to the choosing of a musical instrument. They pay their salesman nothing and it shows.
Goodbye MARSAssets of Mars Music to be Auctioned
October 21, 2002 -- The Mars Music superstore chain has abandoned plans to re-organize under its current ownership and will liquidate its assets.
1 down 2 more to go.... Yay team !!!!!!!
A bankruptcy auction will be held this Thursday in Florida.
Liquidator, Great American Group has entered an opening bid for all the assets, with plans to liquidate Mars' substantial inventory this fall in "going-out-of-business" sales at the Mars store locations if no higher bids come in.
Other potential bidders, however, are reportedly considering buying the assets in order to keep at least some of the stores open under new ownership.
According to the bankruptcy filing, several interested parties have already signed non-disclosure agreements and are reviewing both Mars' operations and potential business plans. Aside from liquidators, potential bidders could include investment groups, as well as other MI retailers looking to expand their geographic reach.
Mars founder and CEO Mark Begelman has resigned from the company and the Mars board, but it is not known whether he is working with any of the potential bidder groups.
Mars originally filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the intention of closing under performing stores, arranging new financing, and continuing with a trimmed down operation. The company put together business plans for both 29 and 20 store chains.
In the end, however, the company could not obtain financing, and decided it had "little choice but liquidate [its] assets," according to bankruptcy documents.
The liquidation could mean bad news for many in the musical instrument industry, both because many manufacturers may not be paid in full -- or at all -- for goods sold to Mars, and because massive liquidation sales this fall in several major markets could depress sales for other retailers.
As of October 6, 2002, Mars had $63.7 million of inventory at cost, plus another $1.1 million of inventory in a rental pool, according to the bankruptcy document. This inventory has declined since that date as inventory was sold, without new goods coming in. The liquidator has agreed to pay roughly 74% of the at cost value of the new inventory if its bid is approved, and roughly 26% of the at cost value of the rental pool inventory.
Congress Financial, Mars' primary lender, is owed about $33 million in secured loans.
Unsecured creditors generally receive payment only after and if secured creditors are paid. Certain other expenses, including attorneys' fees and costs incurred after the start of bankruptcy, also enjoy preference over unsecured creditors.
Nineteen of the twenty top unsecured Mars creditors are musical instrument are accessories vendors, with claims totaling over $13.6 million according to the bankruptcy filings. They include:
Creditors with claims too small to put them in the top 20 are not disclosed in the current filings, but it is certain that other musical instrument companies are among those with smaller -- but still significant -- unsecured claims.
Mars bankruptcy attorney Paul Battista said that there is still hope that unsecured creditors might receive some payment, but that it is uncertain. "The Debtor and the Committee are hopeful that monies will be available for unsecured creditors. We will not know for sure until several other matters get resolved."
Beginning with the acquisition of a small chain of Florida-based music stores in 1996, Mars pursued a very aggressive expansion plan, building dozens of superstores through the South and some far reaches of the US, complemented by an e-commerce web site.
At its peak, Mars Music consisted of 50 stores, but had already reduced its size to 41 stores by the time of the Chapter 11 filing.
Note from Ed Roman
Salespeople at Mars criticized me for not letting people handle our merchandise. In fact, Mars had a large sign which boldly stated ("We Want you to play the Guitars"). That is all well and good, while I applaud upper management at Mars for their attempt at a friendly altruistic attitude, I also see why they are out of business.
Routinely customers would walk into my store in Las Vegas and specify they wanted a particular model of guitar. They would tell us they had tried it out at a Mars store. Mars had a decent price and all, but the condition of the instrument was deplorable.
Management at Mars came from the idea "Lets do it better than Guitar Center or Sam Ash" Sadly management can't be everywhere at all times. Most people don't appreciate altruism, In fact they scorn it publicly. It saddens me a little, (Very Little) that Mars went under. I can think of two other companies that deserved it much more. (One of them rhymes with Trash and the Other one Rhymes with Renter) But I was glad to see Tom Triozzi at MARS, eat a little brown stinking crow !!!!!!! He was the sales manager at Hoshino, He directly caused me numerous problems in the late 90's. I hope the music industry will not see him again soon.
I wonder if Mars could have returned the merchandise from inventory to their vendors and creditors? Maybe they could have, if the condition of the inventory wasn't so incredibly atrocious. Maybe they might still be in business? I guess we'll never know.
I can see those poor saps at Mars when they were conceiving the concept of their stores. I can just see them sitting around the boardroom table asking each other questions. What can we do to make it a better shopping experience for our customers? How can we win all of Sam Ash's customers and Guitar Centers customers?
Some bozo probably piped up, "I really hate it when a store won't let me try out the instruments! Lets encourage everyone to try everything. In this way people will like us and want to do business with us."
The truth here is simple one, In reality people want new fresh un played, clean, non-dinged up merchandise.
So the next time you are in any store that seems to care a little about the condition of their inventory you should thank them from the bottom of your heart. Unless of course you are a no money browser, tire kicker, time wasting, Looky Loo. Usually, the Looky Loo crowd will brag about the five $3,000.00 guitars they own. They will attempt to try to get you to give them free reign and give them Carte Blanche use of anything in the entire store.
There are of course exceptions to every rule. In fact, I am sure I have lost a couple of great customers over the years. My commitment is to my customers. My commitment is a guarantee that my paying customers will get top quality, factory fresh guitars, basses and amps. All the time wasting Looky Loo's in the world will not change my commitment to my customers.
I Get Letters
I recently purchased from Scott at your Las Vegas location, a Rickenbacker 350v63mg. I thought you might get a kick out of what my guitar guy had to say about it.
I almost laughed when I realized that you have claimed all along that you "demand" the best of the best from your vendors and will not accept less from them. Apparently you weren't lying when you made this rather bold statement.
The scenarios go on and on: Some manager at Sam Ash (Garden Grove store) claims to hate you because you screwed over Satriani a hundred years ago by stealing 4 guitars from him. When I pushed him on this his story fell apart and the worst thing he could come up with was meaning-less. I stated that I just visited your store and was treated like a freaking KING by you and your excellent Staff (Scott). I truly do mean that it was the best "in store" buying experience I've ever had.
Your detractors are many:
Their claims in my judgment book are false and border on out right lying.
The "tard" at Sam Ash was only interested in steering me to what he had in stock rather than what I was looking for....(The Sam Ash stock was terribly damaged and "not new" as advertised merchandise). I left screaming and vowing to never return to the dark and very black days of Guitar Center and their flunky competitor Sam Ass............(pun intended)
I've heard them referred to as "Scam Trash"
I appreciate the letter and your support. There are a lot of rumors on the street. I've never heard the Joe Satriani one before. Being a Satriani fan myself, that one bothers me a little. I would appreciate finding out a little more as to what that particular situation originated as.
Thanks for your support and I hope you are happy with the guitar you bought and any others that we sell you in the future
Recently I hired a new sales guy who formerly worked as a Commissioned Carbon Blob at a Guitar Center in Clackamas Oregon. He told me that my store "Ed Roman Guitars comes up at every one of their sales meetings. He told me that the employees are led in a chant to the effect of "Put Ed Roman out of business" "Die Ed Roman" and other childish prattle. He went on to tell me that a local piano store went belly up and the employees all had a little celebration where they were led in cheerleader fashion "Another One Bites The Dust".
Today July 06 2006 one of my customers called me from LA,
He told me that he walked into a Guitar Center wearing an Ed Roman Shirt.
He told me they offered him $20.00 for it and they would give him a new shirt.
Any shirt he wanted off the rack. Jeez if they want my shirt so bad, why
don't they just order it online... Ha Ha Some people are pitiful....
I just thought I would drop a picture here
After all this is supposed to be a guitar site !!!!
Can You Tell What Kind Of Wood This Is ???
I have been visiting your site for a while now, and I have to say up front that I hold you in high regard. In a time when the P.C. crowd controls the thoughts and actions of the masses, it's refreshing to see that you are still a voice of reason and sanity.
Recently, I visited the local mega store which shall remain nameless (rhymes with Guitar Renter), spent a good twenty minutes being ignored, then being a glutton for punishment decided to ask the kid with the nametag if they could set me up with a special order. He favored me with a look that told me I was interrupting his very important work (standing around looking either cool or vacant, I'm not sure which), then directed me to "Doug", presumably a more informed automaton. So, I wait some more as Doug finishes his B.S. session with an over the hill, never famous local musician who was likely pawning his crappy 80's Asian made axe for a new supply of Rogaine to fool drunk bar chicks half his age. Doug finishes up when my clock hits about 35 minutes, and favors me with his best used car salesman smile, which dims noticeably as I identify myself as a bass player, since this puts me out of his realm of experience, and directs me to speak to someone in their "Bass Department" with a negligent wave of his rather limp wrist.
So, I walk back over to their weak selection - your standard Fenders, Ibanez, and so forth, just to be ignored further. The only thing out of the ordinary was a Nikki Sixx Blackbird, used and replete with shiny spots where the Gothic finish was touched by it's previous owner. With nothing better to do, I pick this thing up and maybe it's me, but I can't for the life of me explain why anyone would want such an ill made piece of crap. I always thought Gibson was a hallmark in the guitar world... shows what I know. To make a long story short, I spent over an hour in this mega store, only to be ignored, insulted, and ignored again. I left with the urge to do violence to others, until I got home and found your website through the ad in Vintage Guitar magazine, and you restored my faith in humanity (selectively, of course).
Not only will my next Bass purchase be made through you, but your articles and rants, especially on Jaros Guitars, and the guitars that you have made in your shop, have inspired me to attend Luthier School.
My question is about ordering a bass from you. Is it possible to order a bass from a company that doesn't produce bass guitars as a rule? I'm thinking a Jaros Bass, or even a Pagan Gothic. I'm looking for something in a bass that I can't quite explain. I have a Carvin B4, and a Fender P Bass, and they are okay, but there's something missing, and I suspect it's that handmade quality... plus, how cool would it be to have the first bass produced by someone? This is just an idea for a little further down the road, I'm on a layoff from my computer job at a big corporate printer (hence the wish for a career change to Bass Luthier), and haven't the funds at the moment.
Sorry to be so long winded Ed, but you have really inspired me, and that's the honest truth.
Best and Warmest,
St. Clair Shores, MI
My name is Michael Holley. I just wanted to let you know how wonderful and refreshing I find your site and your selection. Its about time someone with your capital used it for good and not housing 3000 black Squire Strats.
I used to be the buyer of guitars and amps for Guitar Center and had to quit because due to the fact that every decision that wasn't a black strat was believed not "safe enough". I brought in Baker 3 years ago and when they didn't sell out in 10 minutes my bosses flipped out. I brought in Hughes & Kettner amps to the same reaction. Finally I had enough and walked out on a 9 year career because they knew nothing about real guitar business and I just couldn't stand to listen to there corporate opinions any longer.
If you ever decide to open a store in Los Angeles, please consider me as a potential point man. I ran the Sherman Oaks GC for 3 1/2 years (2nd largest store in the chain), the Brea store for 1 year and sales managed the Hollywood store for years. I know guitars and live and breath the business.
Currently I have been commissioned by Danelectro to design their new line of guitars. It will be a very fun project as the owner, Steve is a wonderful man completely fearless of new, fun ideas that are not obligated to the oh so boring "me too" disease that runs rampant with the big manufacturers.
Anyway, thanks for putting it all out there, the great lines, your honest opinions, great pricing and having the balls to carry guitars that chains wouldn't touch because its to risky! Your store is fantastic.
I live in Utah, and was visiting my sisters house in Henderson Nevada on Saturday the 27th, and Decided I'd come into your store. I'd visited the website many times, and thought that your store looked like my heaven :), so me and my brother in law thought we'd drop by. The selection was awesome ( Unlike Guitar Center, where they don't have a single guitar I'd be interested in purchasing) and there were tons of guitars I'd love to own.
You showed us around the store a bit, like your shop in the back where you do some custom work....And I just thought that was awesome, Thanks a bunch
Wait till you hear this one. I recently bought a used PRS from my local Guitar Center in Dallas. The salesman told me it was the best sounding and playing PRS he had ever had in the store. It had a Tone Pros Tunamatic bridge on it and the body was slightly slimmer than usual. The salesman at GC told me (I think his name was Harry) said that the guitar was no ordinary PRS, Supposedly it was made for someone in Creed blah blah blah (I found out later that was an outright lie). Several other salespeople all agreed that this guitar had the PRS magic and it was the reason why PRS had such a good reputation.
I played the guitar and it truly did feel great, The neck was rock solid and was incredibly highly figured. The body has a beautiful blue flame top and a natural back. I sat there and tried about 12 PRS guitars, The salesman was right, none of them came close. The guitar had almost twice the sustain of any of the other ones and the neck was smoother and faster.
Anyway I could not resist buying the guitar, In fact I had to borrow most of the money from my bass player. They sold it to me for only $800.00. The reason it was so cheap is there was no serial number on the guitar and the PRS logo was not on the headstock. There were no bird inlays but that was cool !!. I was a little worried about buying a guitar with no serial number and no logo but they gave me a fully paid receipt so I figured it had to be OK.
The suited guy at the counter remarked that this guitar held tune better than any other guitar he had ever played. He told me that I made a very wise purchase and reassured me that I had made a good move. (He didn't know how right he was)
I took the guitar home and I used it that weekend on a gig, It performed superbly and I was one happy guy to say the least.
About a week after I got the guitar I discovered there was a push pull pot on it and that it slit the coils on the pickups. What a great surprise. further fiddling around with it I noticed that the pickups were bolted down solid instead of floating on springs like all the other PRS guitars. I unscrewed the pickup and removed it and lo and behold there was the inscription.
"Ed Roman Was Here". Everything I had read on your website came tumbling back at me like a ton of bricks.
This guitar appeared to have had a custom body not a PRS body, It had the step route pickups like on your site and the neck has that 1500G system that I read about on your site. The neck appears to be an original PRS but I see now the modifications you made to the heel and the tongue where the pickup bolts directly to it like a Quicksilver. That accounts for the extra sustain! I am assuming there is a Buzz Feiten System on this guitar because of the tuning stability.
I could probably sue Guitar Center for falsely representing this guitar. But I am thanking them from the bottom of my heart because I have one of the most awe inspiring guitars I have ever owned or for that matter even played.
Whoever this guitar was originally built for might have misrepresented it to Guitar Center but I am the luckiest guy in the world.
I was going to buy a PRS decal off that store in Cleveland that sells them but now I would rather it said nothing.
Long Live Ed Roman
Glad to see you like that guitar, I originally rebuilt that PRS for a NYC police detective by the name of Manny Poole, As I remember he lived somewhere in Jersey. The last time I talked with him had been injured in the line of duty and was partially paralyzed. So he must have sold it, I'm surprised it ended up in Texas. I did a number of cool PRS rebuilds for Manny.
Several other things that you missed.
The guitar has a Korina Body and Seymour Duncan Pickups, There were also 2 small stainless steel barrels inserted in the tongue of the neck to add mass and stability.
The original PRS fingerboard had been removed and a new ebony one was been installed. look carefully at the frets you will notice you can't see the fret tangs on the side. look at a regular PRS and you will see the tangs are completely visible.
I usually sign the PRS mod's in the pickup cavity and I usually Jokingly print " Ed Roman was here" Ala Kilroy was here... Just a little private joke between myself and someone who will remain anonymous right now.
If you want a letter or perhaps a copy of the original invoice for the work please let me know.