If You Could Try Before You Buy?

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As many of you know, I am refurbishing my 150 year old barn, and making a drum room in the loft.  How would you feel if you could, for a small deposit, ask for a particular brand and model of drum kit to try out.  Now this wouldn't be in a Guitar Center, or Long & McQuade, where if they did let you, you would have people all around making noise, and the drums may or may not be in tune.  What if you could book an appointment, and come to a private testing of the drums and cymbals you are interested in, at a barn with a drum loft, where you could really play them.  These drums would be tuned, and have the model of cymbals that you wanted, if cymbals were also on your radar.  

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I think that kind of deal is what sold Graham his kit.

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I think that kind of deal is what sold Graham his kit.

I think you are right my friend!  What do you think of the idea?

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It's a great idea, but with a limited market.  What I mean is, I don't know how many of us are at a level or know exactly the sound we are after sufficiently such that we would pay for that service.  As cool as it is, I probably would not pay for it.  But I'm super cheap...  ;)

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It's a great idea, but with a limited market.  What I mean is, I don't know how many of us are at a level or know exactly the sound we are after sufficiently such that we would pay for that service.  As cool as it is, I probably would not pay for it.  But I'm super cheap...  ;)

Your deposit would go towards that kit or something else you buy.
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I might have done that if it went toward the kit and I was assured over and over that there would be no offense taken if I didn't like the kit. Before I got my kit the drum shop owner me tip bed he had a Saturn that was a kit Mapex gave him but he never played. His son was supposed to set it up for me so I could test it in the shop. I got tere and it was stacked in a back hallway and I felt rushed. I whacked the badly tuned floor Tom a few times and prayed I was making the right choice. It all came out okay, but it was not a great experience. Now I love near Dales drum shop and I've never seen a soul in there REALLY testing out a kit. And they're all badly tuned.

This brings up something. Why do the kits in every drum shop in America sound like crap? How do they sell anything with them tuned so bad?!

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That's my observation as well.  They don't really expect you to test them.  Maybe if you shop more specialized, more 'spensive places they are different.

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interesting proposition jag.

but i have to say, i'd force the issue to ensure my shop will let me tune the drum and check it out - if it is in stock before I buy. I try to be respectful about it but I do insist.

Case in point, I buy a lot of stuff at Maxwell's and they have a proper drum room and they let you play and test to your hearts content. I tune the drums the way I want to and they have stacks and stacks of cymbals to wack I love the setup so they get my money.

 

I don't know if I would be into paying to try something... If you are going to sell the product, it should be a free trial.

if the idea is to have a rehearsal/recording studio situation where people can sit down and practice AND get to choose a kit of their choice, that's another story.

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It's a good idea, for people at the level of finding the high end kit they want, or looking for a particular sound on a song/album.

 


This brings up something. Why do the kits in every drum shop in America sound like crap? How do they sell anything with them tuned so bad?!

You haven't been to Resurrection.

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I would personally charge...or would pay for (if a customer)...the testing appointment separate from the gear, with the balance being deductible from any significant purchase as a deposit.  I would also expect that each session would be at least a two-hour instance for ear-fatigue breaks when comparing cymbal, drum or head configurations/combinations.

 

I would also suggest that you set up one good stereo-pair mic set at the room's "sweet spot" to record each configuration with the customer playing, so that they can also compare/evaluate the kits "from out front."

 

This would be worth a few hundred dollars to me when making a purchase in the thousands.

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Sounds like a great idea, but one that would be expensive for the consumer with very little profit margin for you.

 

In recent years, I've purchased two new pro-level kits: Mapex Saturns and Ludwig Classic Maples. The buying experience for each was quite different. For the Ludwigs I ordered directly from a dealer that doesn't have a physical location. I have several friends that have newer Ludwig models. I tested their Legacy and Classic models before deciding on the Classics. I played the kits at my friends' tuning and head choice.

 

The experience in purchasing the Saturns was quite different. I went to the music store with cash in hand dead set on buying a Gretsch Renown kit. While there, my wife noticed the Saturn kit and liked the color. It was up against the wall but the salesman brought it to the middle of the floor, gave me a drum key and said "go for it". An hour later I walked out with the Saturns. I've never regretted that decision.

 

I do wish now, though, that I had purchased the Renowns instead of the Ludwigs.

 

 

 

 

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Sounds like a great idea, but one that would be expensive for the consumer with very little profit margin for you.

 

In recent years, I've purchased two new pro-level kits: Mapex Saturns and Ludwig Classic Maples. The buying experience for each was quite different. For the Ludwigs I ordered directly from a dealer that doesn't have a physical location. I have several friends that have newer Ludwig models. I tested their Legacy and Classic models before deciding on the Classics. I played the kits at my friends' tuning and head choice.

 

The experience in purchasing the Saturns was quite different. I went to the music store with cash in hand dead set on buying a Gretsch Renown kit. While there, my wife noticed the Saturn kit and liked the color. It was up against the wall but the salesman brought it to the middle of the floor, gave me a drum key and said "go for it". An hour later I walked out with the Saturns. I've never regretted that decision.

 

I do wish now, though, that I had purchased the Renowns instead of the Ludwigs.

Not sure why it would be exspensive for the customer?  You don't know what I can get these kits for!  :)  Probably cheaper than most other stores.  I am not in this alone.  :)  The profit would be there, don't worry.  I am not looking to get rich over night.  I am trying to offer a cool service to people that want to be taken care of properly.  There are lots of those out there.  They also have the experiece of trying out the kit in a cool environment, without all the distractions, and talking to somone that knows what they are talking about with the different kits, unlike many of the drum stores you go into.  I usually know more about the drums than the guys at the stores.  They are just putting in the hours.  

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 Here is the model!  

 

You call my shop becuse you are interested in a Gretsch USA Custom, and really want to try one out in a cool invironment, with no distractions.  

 

I ask you what heads you prefer, and what brand of cymbals, and wether or not you are bringing your own cymbals to play

 

You show up at an alloted time, with the kit set up, tuned, and you get to play it, with or without backing track.  

 

You also have the option of trying a few other companies high end kits that are set up in the room to compare the drums you think you want, to the other drums in the room.  

 

We talk afterwards about what you do or do not like about the kit, and what you would want to change.

 

You then have the option of buying the kit that is on the floor, that is probably lightly used, or you can order the colour and config of your dreams at a higher price, with the heads of your choice on them.  

 

You tell all your friends what a great experience you had!  smile.png

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I would have maybe

Gretsch USA Custom

Tama Starclassic Bubinga

Sonor Prolite

Mapex Saturn

Ludwig Legacy/Classic maple

 

I would also like to reach out to some custom companies to see if they would have any interest in supplying kits to my showroom for test driving.  

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I would personally charge...or would pay for (if a customer)...the testing appointment separate from the gear, with the balance being deductible from any significant purchase as a deposit.  I would also expect that each session would be at least a two-hour instance for ear-fatigue breaks when comparing cymbal, drum or head configurations/combinations.

 

I would also suggest that you set up one good stereo-pair mic set at the room's "sweet spot" to record each configuration with the customer playing, so that they can also compare/evaluate the kits "from out front."

 

This would be worth a few hundred dollars to me when making a purchase in the thousands.

All good points!  

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Glen,

First of all, I did not realize you wer a dealer. I thought you would somehow be bringing in kits and that the only profit you would realize was the ffe for the 'try out'.

 

I completely see your model now and how it would work.

 

No DW?

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Glen,

First of all, I did not realize you wer a dealer. I thought you would somehow be bringing in kits and that the only profit you would realize was the ffe for the 'try out'.

 

I completely see your model now and how it would work.

 

No DW?

Hey Boomer.  Love the questions!  Keep them coming.  The problem with DW is for one, I am not a fan, so it would be hard to get behind them.  Plus their profit margin is very small.  Not worth the effort.  

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...I do wish now, though, that I had purchased the Renowns instead of the Ludwigs.

Wow!  I think the Renowns are great drums.  Some of the best bang-for-buck out there.  Sorry you are not thrilled with your Luddies though.  Buyer's remorse at any level is a drag.  With some of the great deals out there on Renowns (and CRUSH, another line I am liking more and more), have you thought about taking the hit and unloading the Luddies and get something you are really happy with?  Yeah, you won't get your money back, but you should get enough to get a kit that you will be thrilled with. That's worth something. 

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Though it may be an inventory burden of sorts, I've always wanted to be able to do a single-component, apples-to-apples "line comparison."  The example would be to have a 9x12 tom from every single Mapex line, all with the same head selection and the same tuning, so that one could specifically hear the tonal/performance characteristics of lines side-by-side with other variables taken out.  It would also allow for direct comparison of build/component/finish quality between lines.

 

The burden would be keeping a 9x12 tom from each active series in the brands you'd sell.  If you purchased "off-colors" or warehouse extras, this may not be so bad.  

 

With this tom collection, plus the limited set of "full-kit" demos for evaluation, one should be able to make an educated forecast of performance expectations from just about everything from every brand.

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The experience in purchasing the Saturns was quite different. I went to the music store with cash in hand dead set on buying a Gretsch Renown kit. While there, my wife noticed the Saturn kit and liked the color. It was up against the wall but the salesman brought it to the middle of the floor, gave me a drum key and said "go for it". An hour later I walked out with the Saturns. I've never regretted that decision.

 

What store was it?  Sounds like they gave you a nice bit o' freedom and time.

 

Glen, I'm pleased and possibly a little surprised that your list does not look more like this:

- Mapex Saturn

- Mapex Saturn

- Mapex Saturn

- Mapex Saturn

- Mapex Saturn

 

:D  Just bustin' your chops a little...

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The experience in purchasing the Saturns was quite different. I went to the music store with cash in hand dead set on buying a Gretsch Renown kit. While there, my wife noticed the Saturn kit and liked the color. It was up against the wall but the salesman brought it to the middle of the floor, gave me a drum key and said "go for it". An hour later I walked out with the Saturns. I've never regretted that decision.

 The store was Mom's Music here in Louisville. Great people.

 

Here's a picture of the kit that I downloaded from Mom's website. When I first saw them, They were stacked up on a shelf several feet off the ground. Ryan pulled them down from the shelf and set them up (including cymbals).

 

 

I'd have to give equal props to Greg, Jeremy and Brad at the Drummer Super Store. They're located here, too, and would extend the same flexibility to make a potential customer happy.

Edited by Boomer
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You have some better shops there, Boomer!   That's really a great color, looks different in all different kinds of lighting.  I gave consideration to one just like it, but wasn't ready to drop that much cash and bought my Mbirch instead.

 

Now I have to ask, what did your wife do all this time?  That must have been a couple hours at least!

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i've never had any issues with any shop i've gone to letting me set up and try any kit that wasn't already set up.

particularly the lidc.  they have a test drive room isolated from the rest of the shop.

if you need anything set up they will make it happen for you free of charge even if you don't make the purchase.

so for me the answer would be, no i would not pay for something like this.

 

i'm thinking if your going to be a dealer and your prices are going to be competitive, chargeing for a test drive is a bit of a stretch.

 

but if you can pull it off, more power to ya'.

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i've never had any issues with any shop i've gone to letting me set up and try any kit that wasn't already set up.

particularly the lidc.  they have a test drive room isolated from the rest of the shop.

if you need anything set up they will make it happen for you free of charge even if you don't make the purchase.

so for me the answer would be, no i would not pay for something like this.

 

i'm thinking if your going to be a dealer and your prices are going to be competitive, chargeing for a test drive is a bit of a stretch.

 

but if you can pull it off, more power to ya'.

I think you are missing some of the experience that I am offering that you will never find at a downtown store.  They also have a huge overhead that I won't have, that they will have to encorporate in their price.  I own the building, and I think my prices will reflect that.  I think the people I will be aiming at, will enjoy not going to some crowded downtown store.  The deposit they put down for this service is thrown against the price of whatever they buy.

 

 I will also have 6 different high end kits sitting beside one another in a much better room acoustically, all ready to go, for the person to compare what he thought he wanted, against the other top kits out there.  Not to many stores in the world, if any can offer something like that.  

Edited by Jag
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I see a bit of a contradiction in your approach.  The idea of offering a personal test drive in a great room, with other high end kits around, etc: that to me sounds targeted to a high end market.  Your customer should be someone with lots of money, who likes to have some exclusive service, and won,t mind paying to try a kit in this kind of surrounding.  In a big city, there might be a market for that.

 

At the same time you try to push the fact that you would have have cheaper price then music stores.  Everybody is for cheaper prices!  But if I was on a budget, i would go and try the kit I want for free at a music store, and then call you and ask how much you can sell it to me for, without bothering to pay to try it.  That is what most people do and is killing the drum shops: try in the shop, then order online for a cheaper price. 

 

My feeling is that the your niche should be more aimed at the high end customer, who won,t mind pay for the experience, and will not go see you firstly for your prices.    But that might mean selling just a few kits per year.

 

Like Hitman, I am happy with the service I get at my drum shop and would not personally be interested in paying to test drive a kit, but that is just me.  

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