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Buying on Fender.com

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by FuzzFace90, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. FuzzFace90

    FuzzFace90 Strat-Talker

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    Hi all,

    I’ve searched around the web a bit and haven’t seen any feedback on purchasing from fender.com. Has anyone here purchased a guitar from the Fender website? If so, how was your experience? I see they have a pretty friendly exchange and return policy. Also, right now if you sign up for a free trial of Fender Play they will discount 10% off of your purchase. This has me thinking why not just purchase a new strat from the source itself? Naturally I would rather I would like to purchase a guitar in person but I just don’t have that option where I live. Any feedback would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
    CyFan4036 and circles like this.
  2. The-Kid

    The-Kid Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Id hit them up personally and ask them for a 15% discount minumum since thats what every other brick and mortar store online offer all day everyday.
     
  3. archetype

    archetype Senior Stratmaster

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    I prefer to buy from resellers at the same price, because I prefer to keep them in business. I prefer Sweetwater if I'm buyng online, but hit up the local music stores when I'm looking for something.
     
  4. FuzzFace90

    FuzzFace90 Strat-Talker

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    You’ve got a point. My initial thought was to go with sweetwater but they don’t have the color I want so I thought I’d ask here if anyone had used the fender site. Thanks for the input.

    Cheers!
     
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  5. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I've bought hardware and necks from Fender, both through the Fender site and through Amazon (Fender seller).
    Never had a problem with either... but I have not purchased a guitar direct.
    Sometimes Amazon is cheaper, sometimes they are more, so it pays to compare. Usually, Amazon is cheaper.
     
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  6. Strums

    Strums Strat-Talker

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    I bought two necks directly from Fender. They arrived very well packed and flawless. No issues. I wouldn't hesitate to buy anything directly from them.
     
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  7. FuzzFace90

    FuzzFace90 Strat-Talker

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    Good to know. Thank you for the input! Sounds like direct from Fender might be the way to go for me.
     
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  8. Johnny Danger

    Johnny Danger Senior Stratmaster

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    I've worked in distribution, retail, and manufacturing in that order so I've got a good general feel on how money and everyone making their cut works one each level. it's nice that Fender sells direct, but I wouldn't buy from them unless I was in love with the idea of them making more money. For obvious reasons, they can't undercut their dealers because that would be insane. But when Fender sells a guitar to the retailer, they are marking it up to cover all their overhead. And then the retailer is marking it up to cover their overhead. So you're probably giving Fender 2-3 times the amount of profit they would otherwise get from the same instrument. Great for Fender, but not so great for the local or online retailer that could have used the sale.

    I would go with Sweetwater if I wanted to purchase online. They will apparently (I've never ordered from them) give you a deal if you ask nice enough and they have great customer service. For higher end purchases, I would go to Wildwood guitars for an online retailer.
     
  9. FuzzFace90

    FuzzFace90 Strat-Talker

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    Thank you for your detailed response. My initial thought was to go with sweetwater but for some reason they don’t have the classic series 50s strat in fiesta red. Musicians friend has the guitar. After reading your response believe I will contact them before I do anything with fender.

    Cheers!
     
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  10. LawFlow

    LawFlow New Member!

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    I've bought small stuff from the Fender site with no problem. The pricing is going to be the same everywhere unless it's some sort of special deal. I see no advantage or disadvantage buying direct from Fender. I only bought from Fender because I couldn't find what I was looking for anywhere else.
     
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  11. ryunker

    ryunker Senior Stratmaster

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    I have purchased a guitar, a neck and some hardware at different times over the past five years direct from fender and had perfect experiences.

    I have also ordered fender parts thru Sweetwater, and two guitars from them. In my experience part ordering and service were equivalent. On the two guitars purchased from Sweetwater, I wish I would have gotten them elsewhere. That being said I am a Sweetwater fan, go to there gearfest celebration every year for the past four years, and have registered for the upcoming one in June.

    Guitars, I purchased a mustang bullet when they came out direct, because no one had availability in the blue except direct from fender. guitar became flawless and played very well.

    The two from Sweetwater, a PRS se standard 24 Christmas time 2016. Guitar shipped well, no customer service issues just needed much setup work to play well. The second one was last month, the Epiphone DC pro in ivy green. The guitar shipped well, and fast, but really unplayable. The action was 4/32" too high. Truss rod not right, intonation bad, just bad. In the box was a document signed off for there 55 Point setup inspection, guess they should add a few more things like action etc... and make it a 60 point inspection. Every thing comes with a bag of candy, but I rather have the guitar show up as playable.

    Happy shopping for your new guitar
     
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  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    "Screw the factory making more money"

    ... what if Fender sold everything online? No Dealer and no Retailer markups to be concerned with?

    If you look at Chapman guitars, they are going from factory to retailer and skipping the normal dealer layer and that is how they are selling at the price point with upgraded woods/etc.

    I hear a lot of good things about Sweetwater, but the argument here is like donating cash to an extra person in the loop. Might as well send a couple hundred to anyone on the forum. Or buy used from a CL guy.

    The general pricing model is the factory sells to the retailer for half the retail price. Factories do it so they get their cash "now" rather than little bits all year long. However, that's a big markup in the system. What would it be like to get that new $1,500 Strat for $750?

    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  13. TimTheViking

    TimTheViking Strat-Talker

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    Sweetwater has never done me wrong and bends over backwards to help me. You get a rep assigned and mine have been genuinely concerned with helping me in whatever it is. Even though I'm just a very small-time purchaser. They have been know to spend an hour on the phone with me just talking about various nuts when I wanted to replace one on my ES-335. Just last week I spent 30 minutes talking with "Chuck" about options for tube replacements in my Line 6 Valve. Still ordered what I was intending but he gave me some insight and other options if I don't like what I bought. Also always order from your rep and never online. You'll miss the added discounts that will be thrown in. My Squier VM Sonic Blue was a "demo" and "damaged" they had on their site for $269. ($30 off $299) I almost pulled the trigger but thought I'd call just to see if I could shave a few more bucks off the price. I asked him if he could do any better and he asked me what I was looking for. I said, "How about $249?". He told me he could even do better at $237. I ended up getting it for $230 by getting some other stuff with it like a stand, strings, etc. which were also discounted from the price on the site. The "damage"? A 2mm dimple with no cracks in the finish that nobody will ever see and can only be found by searching under bright light and at a very specific angle. The funny thing is that it looks worse in the picture they sent me than in real life. Plus the Sonic Blue was a Sweetwater exclusive and is no longer available. Not that I'm selling it anytime soon but it will be a little more rare than most of the other colors.
     
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  14. Johnny Danger

    Johnny Danger Senior Stratmaster

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    I wish the best for Fender, but they don't NEED more money to survive. Their business model has worked as is for decades. The industry as a whole benefits if I purchase from GC or Sweetwater vs direct from Fender. Nobody wants to pay retail, but if that is the only available pricing, I would rather have more than just one entity benefit if the pricing structure is already rigged that way.

    You mention getting a $1500 strat for 750 and how nice that would be (which, as a side note, margin is most likely NOT 50% on actual guitars the way it is for accessories, but I could be wrong), but Fender can't do that because every last Fender dealer would drop them. The dealers make less money and have less product to offer and Fender can't offer the face to face customer service experience and will lose sales and make less money. Fender is never going to offer "factory direct" pricing because it would immediately devalue their brand and hurt everyone involved.

    The industry I worked most recently in retail was the bicycle industry. I left (graduated school) just before Trek significantly changed their business model by allowing direct sales online. You can imagine how dealers in an already tenuous business model felt about this. They made the difference by making sure that anyone buying a bicycle online still had that bike delivered to and assembled by a dealer. The dealer got a little bit less of the margin because in that scenario they didn't have to work for the sale or house the inventory, but it still worked out. People can still buy accessories (which is where most margin can be had) without seeing a dealer, though.

    Years ago I worked for distribution in motorcycle accessories and apparel. They had some house brands and I eventually moved to a job where I saw margins and cost for things. They released a house brand of apparel (in this case helmets, leather jackets, race leathers, etc.) that would be priced near the premium stuff, but cost was hugely different because it was all factory pricing. So they were making a KILLING on this stuff and they were pricing it so that the dealers also got more margin to incentivize them to push the brand. It was pretty rotten at the core.

    In the guitar world, the only major company I would want to buy direct from would be Martin. They do factory tours and you can hand pick a guitar from the showroom. But, you work with a local retailer, even negotiate a price, then you do your tour, pick out the best of the available examples for the model you desire and the dealer still gets their cut.

    If you really don't like the whole retailer business model, go find some builder that doesn't work with any sort of distribution chain and only sells direct. You'll get a much nicer guitar and have all the benefits of working directly with someone who directly benefits from your hard earned cash.
     
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  15. John C

    John C Senior Stratmaster

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    I guess I'm not following with Chapman - maybe it's my use of the terminology. You say "they are skipping the normal dealer layer" but to me retailers and dealers are the same thing. Do you mean "distributor layer" and they are acting as their own distributor directly to the retailers - skipping any kind of wholesaler/middleman?
     
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  16. John C

    John C Senior Stratmaster

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    Fender actually shares a warehouse with Musician's Friend/Guitar Center in North Kansas City, MO. I'm sure if you're "buying directly through the Fender website" you're really just accessing a 3rd channel parallel with MF/GC and getting goods shipped from that central warehouse. But Fender isn't offering the discount coupons like MF and GC do - so you're going to always pay full MAP when you buy through Fender.com. Outside of accessories/clothes/assorted swag I don't see any reason to buy from Fender.com
     
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  17. CB91710

    CB91710 This is a Custom Title Gold Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Both of my necks, and several pickup sets all shipped from Corona.
     
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  18. John C

    John C Senior Stratmaster

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    I was referring to instruments - they are warehoused in that shared warehouse in KC and a couple of other places. However, it makes sense to me that parts would be warehoused in Corona.
     
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  19. diogoguitar

    diogoguitar Senior Stratmaster

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    Like others said, I'd just go to a local guitar store if possible to help them stay in business. If they don't have the color in stock they might be able to order that for you
     
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  20. FuzzFace90

    FuzzFace90 Strat-Talker

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    I wish it was an option. One of the downsides of living in the countryside. I support a maw and paw shops as a first priority if I can.

    Thanks for the contributions, this thread has been pretty enlightening. It’s always good when you can learn a thing or two!
     
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