If you’re anything like me, and I like to think that you are, you cringe the moment you step through the automatic doors of Guitar Center, deep in anticipation of the throngs of lame-haired salesmen who eagerly await your approach, clamoring over one another to greet you first (and thus claim your sale). Why does going in to buy a cord for my amp feel a lot like being shuffled through a cattle drive?
I find myself wondering why I even go to a place where I have to spend time walking through the parking lot rehearsing a speech about why I don’t need to buy a more expensive cord over the one for $12 less that will do the job just fine. I hate pressure sales and I especially hate big box retail stores. But sometimes you get trained into thinking that with all of the big ads you see on every billboard, in every magazine, and that pop up on MySpace, these places have the best deals and are our only option. But it’s not necessarily so.
Enter Giacoletti Music on the corner of State Street and Carlsbad Village Drive in Carlsbad. The building is a landmark of the city’s history and psyche. Though the business has been around since 1978, Giacoletti has carried out its operations from its corner location since 1982.
The store is deeply rooted in the minds of every local; I remember it being one of the very first places that stood out to me when I first moved down here from Huntington Beach in 1995 when I was just 14. Limited at such a young age to businesses that were within walking distance of my home, I would often go there to buy strings, picks, guitar tabs and other nonessentials. Though the place always did me solid and they knew me by name, somewhere between getting a driver’s license and a job, I lost my way. I soon found myself standing in a sea of deliberately overpriced guitars with red slash marks loudly announcing price reductions that only brought the instruments down to their regular list prices and amps stacked to the ceiling high. Yes, I soon found myself shopping at Guitar Center every time I needed to buy something new.
Luckily, I ran into someone who told me a wonderful story about going into Giacoletti’s earlier that day to get a piece on his guitar fixed. He and his band were playing a show that night so fixing his axe was an urgent matter. Roy Good, a man who has been with Giacoletti since 1983, gladly fixed the piece needing repair, made all the other necessary recalibrations and fixes and charged my friend just $2 for the service. I was absolutely floored by the story.
So I called Roy Good
up and he told me all about the business. They’re primarily a music school — they
give half-hour lessons once a week to students for piano, guitar, wind instruments, string instruments, vocals
and more. They proudly boast having more than 500 students in their repertoire. They They also have the largest sheet music collections around and are a major ukulele retailer. Giacoletti Music also stays very involved in the community — each year during Street Fair they put a miniature concert on in their parking lot featuring student bands and ensembles. They also work closely with our local school districts for their music needs.
Giacoletti Music is a back-to-basics kind of place that focuses on customer service — a commodity in of itself these days. “We don’t run a lot of print advertising so word-of-mouth is the best way we can get our name out there,” Roy said. “Being a smaller shop, we also have the ability to adapt quicker to trends than bigger stores and that helps a lot.” Last year, when a certain ukulele was all the jazz, Giacoletti Music was the one of the only places to get it. They just recently picked up Fender Guitars but also carry an extensive selection of Takamine acoustic guitars as well as Canadian-based Seagull Guitars.
I don’t know about you, but I’d pay almost any amount of money to not have to string my own guitar. To that notion, Giacoletti Music has an incredible deal for lazy guitarists: For $20 you can get a fresh pack of strings strung onto your guitar and a full recalibration or “tweaking” of your guitar so it sounds better than when you came in.
This is small town customer service at its best. These guys will never upsell you or try to scam you for more money. They’re honest, hardworking guys who appreciate the customers they have. They know without them, they’d never have lasted as long as they have. So the next time you’re in need of some strings, sheet music or are ready to get that Fender Stratocaster you’ve always wanted, stop into Giacoletti Music and see Roy first. I promise you’ll never go to another Guitar Center again.
For more information on Giacoletti Music’s services, visit www.carlsbadmusic.com.
Filed Under: Scene and Heard