A tale of guitar center

I think this is a great place to share a story of GC and learning:

6 months back I GASSED and picked up an Iron Label BTB 5string. The bass looks badass, sounds good, but I couldn’t really get used to the fat neck and couldn’t really justify the need for active pickups, wife said “you literally never play it!”

So I decided despite paying $850 for it I’d turn it in for something I actually would play. After some test play I decided I’d actually play a Stingray 4HH and so my quest to trade basses began…

Off to Guitar Center I went because I figured it would be fun to try to talk them into a trade where they win.

An associate immediately was like “sure, I’ll price out your bass bla bla bla” so I went to ogle in the bass room. He walks over, said the best he could do is $360, and they can’t sell it unless it has a professional set up - which they can conveniently do for $60 - netting me a whopping $300.

I say thanks I’ll set it up myself and think it over. I haven’t really ever done a full set up just tweaks - but I decided f–k their $60 charge, so I spent the better part of the evening watching videos and doing a lot of trial and error and finding tools. (I do have a measurement kit and the correct tools!)

I mustered up my nerve to return today and the guy who quoted me was too busy, (shucks) and another guy took the bass to play it. This time I started with “I’m trying to trade it for this product you sell online” (the 4HH)

The employee returns and says “Yeah it plays great, I priced it out and we can offer you $425”

So in the end, I lost on my initial investment, but I gained some experience in playing with neck relief and string height. We ordered the new bass and got some free strings tossed in the deal for the difference of prices.


Got pics? Which 4HH did you get?

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Will get it monday-ish, but here’s a link:

I was going to get a Stingray as my first bass, so I’m excited to pick it up where it will fit a nice pocket with my other two.


Wait! Run the story again please. How much did you get for your $850 bass in trade, and how much did you pay for this 4HH?


Ahah yes lots of words. I got $425 for the iron label, and paid $400ish for the Stingray.

I really didn’t want to go though private sales as I’m completely unwilling to ship an instrument properly. As far as store-trades go I am ok with the lumps I took here.


Well half back from your investment is not too bad considering GC and doing OfferUp you’d get haggle to death people will be offering your $100 for it, there are bunch of fools. Next purchase to GC just let me know I’ll hook you up with my guys, usually it’s a standard 15% off. Not too bad.

I bought my 4HH from GC when it was on a daily deal for $300 (this is before inflation) and put a $1200 1983 Sabre neck on it, :joy: it’s a bad ass, ha ha.


I’ll keep that in mind! I have a love/hate with the standard coloration on their basses. Sometimes I think it looks perfect other times the white oval just looks weird. Black black was a sell for me :upside_down_face:


GC is also supposed to give an additional 10% with a trade in. On top of 15%


Good Deal!

I made one attempt at a trade at my semi local GC (about 30 miles). It was my Squier PJ bass, upgraded with EMG’s. he says “Go ahead, look around we’ll price this out.” About 5 minutes later came up to me and told me I’d be better off tearing the pickups out and selling those on Craigslist of all places, and throwing the bass in the garbage as it “Isn’t worth anything.”

I was stunned. Now, I will never claim that my Squier is worth a lot, I payed $400 brand new. Didn’t expect to get $400, but certainly didn’t expect them to tell me it was garbage. Not like they were flush with basses, I counted. They had exactly 9 in stock, 4 were brand new fenders, the other 5 were various preowned, all with $500+ tags. My assumption is, they only wanted to stock merch they could sell for high price.

Really the worst part was what an ass the guy was. Whole conversation could have been exactly the same, but if done with less arrognce and more tact I probably would have had a better experience overall. I’ve heard of great GC experiences, so I’d definitely shop at a different one. But not mine.


I don’t work at GC but I’m under the impression their valuations are largely their commission for buying/selling. As long as your bass isn’t a total frankenstein that will never sell it’s just rude to say worthless - There is always someone who may be only looking at price points and wants a bass.

I only goto GC for sales when I’m too impatient for sweetwater or amazon!


I have successfully and gladly avoided Guitar Center for years and years.

Life throws everyone enough grief without willfully looking for it.


I go to Guitar Center when I want to put hands on something I’ve seen online, or when I have gear to trade in for something I want that they have. The one here in Fredericksburg has been a pretty good experience, so far. They gave me $160 for a Martin LXM (3/4 scale acoustic guitar) I paid $315 for originally. Adding the 10% discount for buying something with the trade in-store, my Fender Rumble 40 and a 20’ cable was $70.

Then I took my kid in the other day to look for something to blow some money on. There were probably 100% sure he wasn’t walking out of there with a guitar or amp, but one of the guitar counter guys got down like 5 different guitars for him to try out to get his hands on various brands and price points, and plugged him up to a couple different amps to get an idea of how different brands of amps sound. Was a good experience for my son, who is now saving his pennies for a Marshall DSL20 amp to go along with his Epiphone SG.


I don’t know, I don’t have anything too bad to say about GC. I’ve picked up a few basses there, and thanks to their 45 day return policy, I was able to try out a few basses and return them when they just didn’t click with me. One of the used ones I purchased (an Ibanez) came to me in OH from TX, and it looked like it had lived the last year in the Gulf of Mexico (bridge, tuners, and control knobs were corroded like crazy) although it as listed as being in great condition. My local GC took it back and even refunded the shipping cost without me asking.

I did order a brand new Jackson bass that arrived in the store damaged, but that was not GCs fault. Both my Fender (my first brand new bass) and my G&L came from GC with no issues.

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My experience with them is you tend to get judged in person pretty heavily and their initial purpose is to sell you as hard as they can if you don’t know anything.

In the case of exchanges/used gear having a warranty like that is essential, it would be really scummy to have a “as is no money back” policy!

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HAH!! I picked up a Ray34 used from GC that had the treble side tuner literally hanging off the headstock. Professional setup my bass.


Setting up a Bass is not hard at all-I took the time like you did to learn from Youtube. My GC gives me 60% of what they sell it for-and I get it done in 5 mins. If I happen to spend the money in the store that day they give me 10% off of what I buy. Overall more convenient for me personally than selling on Reverb/Ebay or whatever else. Probably more profitable as well.

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FWIW I have had good luck selling used instruments for about 50-70% of new price, and I have sold more than one at that higher end. I have turned a profit selling two instruments I bought used. Maybe the used market is a bit different here.


I don’t doubt it at all-when I decide to sell a bass I’m fairly impatient. I’ve had a few bad experiences with buyers as well. I definitely lose money when I sell but it’s in the few hundreds range at most usually-which I can live with. I’ve bought used and saved probably about as much as I’ve lost selling. I get what you’re saying though.

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Oh yeah a lot to be said for hassle free :slight_smile:

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I’m thinking this may be the route I go with the 734. I’ll take in my 174 and apply whatever they’ll give me for it (not much) to the cost of the new one. I won’t have need for the 174 anymore anyway since the new Yammie’s gonna be my “PJ” and leaves room on my guitar rack to get myself a J down the line.

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