Visit two Guitar Center stores … Walk out with two new guitars

I mentioned yesterday how I went to my first ever Guitar Center. In that article I mentioned that I had planned to visit the Orange Outlet Guitar Center store. I have to say, that visit went well. It went very well. For me, for Ibanez and for Guitar Center. Mostly for me.

Why? Well, because I ended up buying two new Ibanez guitars that I now have to somehow get home to Australia. How hard can that be?!

I will say this early on. My Guitar Center experience was without a doubt my best in-store experience (from a guitar purchase point of view). The staff at Guitar Center are not arrogant or holier-than-thou and they are keen to help the smaller guy. That’s me. Although not based on height.

I wasn’t pestered and when I did ask for assistance, I was told “You want to talk to Tommy. He’s our main guitar guy.”

That worked perfectly for me. I asked Tommy my amateur-hour questions and he answered knowledgeably without making me feel like more of an idiot than I already do. He also set me up in the demo room on my own so I could play the electro-acoustic and the 7-string electric I was considering. I had my choice of amplifier too. I chose the Fender as I at least have that brand at home. That was one sweet amp too. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was a Hot Rod Deluxe III.

My goal walking into Guitar Center was to actually buy my first 7-string guitar. That’s what I was there for. I had seen the 7-string Jackson in the Hollywood store and planned on buying that or another guitar from my recent article on affordable 7-string guitars. The Jackson had been sold in the last day, but I saw the SGR and Ibanez models from my article. So I still had options.

When I saw the Ibanez RG7421 though, that all changed.

There were two shade/tint options, but the white guitar caught my eye the most. It’s beautiful. Also, for reasons unknown to me—they were explained, but I still don’t understand—the white was $80 cheaper than the black model. Luckily for me the black and white options work for me. Regular readers here know I only like black and white guitars. Well, like enough to own.

What happened next took me by surprise. Before deciding to trial the 7-string Ibanez, I thought I’d take a better look around the Guitar Center store. It seemed rude not to really. That’s when I ended up in the acoustic guitar room. I’m as bad on an acoustic guitar as I am on an electric guitar, but I enjoy playing them all the same. I don’t own what I’d call a good electric guitar, so I always like to play an acoustic better than mine.

I started playing the acoustics that were at ground level. It was just easier. Also, that’s where the black acoustic guitars were. If I’m going to play acoustic guitar, it still needs to look metal.

I played a few Fender options and although they were nice, for entry model guitars—I was playing their entry model acoustic guitars—they played as well as my current electro-acoustic guitar does. When I played the Ibanez AEG10II though. That was like a dream. The neck felt right, the strings produced absolutely no buzz and the guitar just looked amazing. When I saw the price, I had to double check. It wasn’t really on sale, but for the price, I was surprised how good it played and sounded (unplugged).

As my wife and daughter were still shopping for clothes—the advantage of having a guitar store in a shopping outlet—I decided to play the acoustic and the 7-string electric. Which was exactly what I did. As mentioned earlier, Tommy set me up in the demo/practice room and I played both guitars. I loved them both and decided I had a problem. So, I left the guitars with Tommy who promised to put them aside for me until I worked out what I wanted to do and worked out with my boss wife what my budget actually was.

One short shopping spree and several clothing bags later, I ended up back at Block at Orange and purchased both guitars. My budget was still happy.

So, there you have it. My adventures at Guitar Center have most likely come to an end. Until they decide they need an Australian store that is. Or perhaps someone to manage that store and live this dream every day.

Next steps for me? Go to NAMM and investigate the best pickups to put in this new 7-string. Seems logical right? Nobody tell my wife.

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