Mesa Boogie Boogies on Guitar Center

Mesa_Fade

 

It is with regret – and we certainly wish GC well, but it’s important for us to provide musicians with a thorough and professional representation of our products. We work hard to exceed expectations in everything we do, so it’s vital that we have a focused network of dealers who share our commitment and ideals” – Randall Smith (Founder, President, chief designer Mesa Boogie Ltd.)  

 As we’ve been reporting at TheToneKing.com, Guitar Center hasn’t had the best of luck lately. Excessive debt, flawed management strategies, and multiple credit downgrades has had people asking the question, “How long until the world’s largest guitar retailer gets buried so deep that no one can shovel them out?”

Well, Mesa Boogie just announced that they will not renew Guitar Center as one of their authorized dealers.

What made Mesa Boogie decide that it was no longer in their best interest to deal with GC?

And, how long until another major manufacturer makes the same decision?

 

Boogie on the block

Mesa Boogie was founded in 1971 by Randall Smith when he modded a Fender Princeton amp and brought it Carolos Santana for him to try out. Carlos loved the amp, saying, “Man, that little thing really boogies!” The name stuck and Randall Smith has been building guitar and bass amps and pedals in Petaluma California ever since.

Boogie’s decision to pull out from Guitar Center is pretty bold, especially considering how discriminating they are when choosing retailers to carry their line. While the amount of gear that dealer’s have to order throughout the year isn’t as vast as many other companies, dealers are still held to a very high standard when being considered.

Basically, it’s easier to buy Maserati than it is to become a Boogie dealer.

Once you become a dealer, it doesn’t stop there. The most important thing to remember is that Mesa Boogie doesn’t allow dealers to haggle with their prices. A Mini-Rectifier will cost you $999.00 whether you buy it online from Sweetwater or if you buy it from your local dealer.

 

So, what happend with GC? 

Right now, everything’s about as easy to read as GC’s financial reports.

There hasn’t been much press on this. The only substantive proof that this even happened is because of a small paragraph on MMR’s website.

You would think this would be bigger news.

Even GuitarCenter.com has abruptly all but completely erased any proof that they were a Mesa dealer.

Screen shot 2013-04-28 at 11.33.27 PM

If you look closely, you’ll see sadness in this pic.

As we mentioned last week, Mesa’s pricing law is so sacred that those who break it are tarred, feathered, and ultimately banished from the world of Boogie dealership. Which could be why Mesa decided to break ties with GC. Remember, GC sent out a letter to its manufacturers letting them know that MAP was crap and that they (GC) would sell their gear for whatever the hell price they wanted to.

That couldn’t have sit well with Boogie.

More speculation that’s been making the rounds is that Boogie didn’t think that GC knew how to sell their gear. Randall did say,

 It’s important for us to provide musicians with a thorough and professional representation of our products.

Of course, this implies that GC was doing the exact opposite of that. How GC was unprofessional in the eyes of Mesa Boogie isn’t exactly clear, but it must’ve been significant to warrant pulling their gear from GC stores.

Mr. Smith also mentioned a “focused network of dealers who share (their) commitment and ideals.”  Which brings us back to the notion of manufacturers moving away from big-box stores and refocusing their efforts to smaller, independent dealers. (TTK previously reported on this here: The New Game)

 

Where do we go from here? 

There is a shift going on in the music industry. Whether that shift really means the end of Guitar Center or not is impossible to say at this point. Guitar Center is still the biggest dealer in the US by a mile. There is still Fender, Gibson, Marshall and a slew of other manufacturers who still want their products in GC stores. Mesa Boogie’s move as a beginning of some sort of mass exodus is doubtful. Still, the shift is there. And it doesn’t seem to be favoring Guitar Center.

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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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