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5 String "too niche"?


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Popped into a nice music shop in the centre of York, good selection of guitars both electric and acoustic and a selection of bass guitars but not a single five string in a fairly big shop, I asked at the counter whilst paying for the item I bought if five string bass had reached this far north yet only to be told they had one in once but they are too niche, that one didn't sell and got sent back, same goes for fretless.

 

Ok then, odd.

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5 string niche... interesting! And vaguely preposterous.

Had a similar thing with fretless, but to be honest it's not unusual. Went in to a shop a few years ago and asked about the Squier VM fretless jazz only to be told not in stock as fretless doesn't sell and would be hanging on the wall for years.

As a fretless player that's vaguely depressing and quite preposterous!

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The last time I went to my local shop I said I wanted to try some flats on my Precision. The owner said, "Why, they'll sound like sh!t". 

 

That was years ago and I've not bothered going back. 

For shops like this, saying that the internet is killing them, is like saying the fly in your strychnine will make you ill. 

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34 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Methinks this means not what you think it means. It's entirely logical not to stock something that they only sell one every five years. Unless you mean they must be telling lies about 5 string sales?

Just seems a bit weird that a 5 string wouldn't sell... maybe it doesn't sell because they don't stock it! I can't believe in this day and age a five is not a popular choice, unless of course you're out of touch with your buying public. 

As for fretless, just disappointing. As a fretless player it's always a bone if contention that there's never a good selection, both in a shop and from manufacturers. 

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55 minutes ago, Downunderwonder said:

Methinks this means not what you think it means. It's entirely logical not to stock something that they only sell one every five years. Unless you mean they must be telling lies about 5 string sales?

Also, I could be wrong and just being prejudice, but the first thing that springs to mind is an old shop selling violins and pianos going 'oh, these new fangled electric things will never take on, and who is Hendrix anyway, sounds like a washing machine to me'!

Edited by Boodang
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8 hours ago, Downunderwonder said:

Methinks this means not what you think it means. It's entirely logical not to stock something that they only sell one every five years. Unless you mean they must be telling lies about 5 string sales?

They've based that whole business model on one bass they had in stock, maybe it was just a rubbish bass?!

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This is the good point for me with stores or even the Internet as I play six strings basses, which are mainly fretless... So absolutely nothing to catch my eye.

 

That said, it's also the job of the store to sell things instead of sitting and moaning. If they were demonstrating and explaining the pros and cons of say fivers and fretlesses, they would certainly sell some.

 

But most of these shops are run by people still thinking like 50 years ago. And it's exactly the same everywhere where things are sold.

 

The worst sellers are those pretending it's their job : they are unable to know what would suit you as they don't give a sh*t about what you're interesting in and never ask you a single question, but keep enumerating specifications that are absolutely useless for you as it's not what you need and they keep insisting for hours without listening to you, the most important person of the moment, the potential buyer !

 

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Sorry 5+ stringers and fretless folk - you are niche in the grand scheme of things.  Come to think of it, you're a niche within a niche - think bass guitars vs. skinny stringers.  I bet if you asked any mainstream manufacturer for a breakdown of their bass output it will be heavily skewed towards fretted, 4 string basses.  Not that they'd divulge such info to the unwashed masses like us, but I'm willing to bet all the same.

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3 hours ago, BigRedX said:

TBH anything that isn't  a 4 string, long scale bass with either Fender or Squier on the headstock is a niche instrument.


You are of course quite wrong - a bass guitar of ANY TYPE is a niche instrument in most music shops these days, from what I’ve seen.  

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3 hours ago, BigRedX said:

TBH anything that isn't  a 4 string, long scale bass with either Fender or Squier on the headstock is a niche instrument.

 

2 hours ago, Norris said:

In a lot of music stores BASSES are niche. Full-stop

 

2 hours ago, neepheid said:

Sorry 5+ stringers and fretless folk - you are niche in the grand scheme of things.  Come to think of it, you're a niche within a niche - think bass guitars vs. skinny stringers.  I bet if you asked any mainstream manufacturer for a breakdown of their bass output it will be heavily skewed towards fretted, 4 string basses.  Not that they'd divulge such info to the unwashed masses like us, but I'm willing to bet all the same.

 

1 minute ago, drTStingray said:


You are of course quite wrong - a bass guitar of ANY TYPE is a niche instrument in most music shops these days, from what I’ve seen.  

 

Oh well, if you've said it now it must be true ;)

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I'm happy to be playing a niche instrument. Didn't seem very niche at last night's jam though. Out of 4 bass jammers there was a total of 0 4 stringers. So including me that's 5 5 string bass players in one small corner of London. Nice.

 

I don't see local music shops catering for anyone other than school kids or absolute beginners. If the sales aren't there then they won't stock it. That's just business. There are plenty of retail alternatives for the discerning 5 string bass player.

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2 hours ago, drTStingray said:


You are of course quite wrong - a bass guitar of ANY TYPE is a niche instrument in most music shops these days, from what I’ve seen.  


I fear I may have done a couple of shops a disservice - the likes of Andertons stock quite a lot of basses - however many music shops stock vastly more guitars than basses - and probably sell far more of them to be fair. 
 

20 yrs ago it was a quite different picture - perhaps the allure of being a bass player has reduced. 

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7 minutes ago, drTStingray said:

. . . .  Andertons stock quite a lot of basses . . . .

 

Not as many as GAK (well the last time I was there). Andertons could do better. The Camden and Epsom Guitar Guitar stores had a reasonable selection when I was last there.

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