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We’ve all heard the big vs. small argument before. Of course I’m on the side of small is better. You’ve probably all seen that TV commercial where the interviewer asks these little kids “what’s better, more or less?” or “what’s better, fast or slow?” or “what’s better, big or small?” and all the kids answer “BIG!”. While those may kids give cute answers, they don’t know a damn thing about big vs. small! Especially in Guitarville. In Guitarville you can always go to the Ashy Boys or the Center for Guitars out on the highway and have some kid tell you “oh dude, they don’t even make .013’s. That will explode your guitar man”. Believe it or not, I’ve had one of their counter persons tell me that. Or you can get the 100% commission salesman try to shove anything down your throat regardless of your needs. The reality is that these big companies have a mandate; corporate profits over everything else. Us small guys usually started the companies ourselves and have an emotional attachment to them. The company represents us, it’s part of us, it’s in our DNA. We have a personal relationship with our customers and do our best to make sure they leave the store happy. We try to sell products we believe in. I try never to have a guitar in stock that I wouldn’t be proud to own, not because it’s the most expensive or fanciest, but because it’s a good guitar and can get the job done.
This was true of the great guitar makers of the 20th century as well. Gibson made some of the best guitars on the planet until they were sold to Norlin in 1970. To Norlin, Gibson was just another acquisition and its object became “make more money”. Once the bean counters take over a company the quality tends to start to slide. Hmmmm, how can we maximize profits? I know we’ll pay our workers less, find cheaper sources for parts, scrap the nickel plating for chrome and the Nitro for Poly. It happened at Gibson just as it happened at Fender in 1965. CBS had to make that $13 million investment pay off. The bottom line here is that the guitars become nothing more than a commodity. The new guy buying magnet wire for Fender never played a guitar in his life. To him all magnet wire was the same. So of course, he bought the cheapest. Can you imagine John Suhr or James Tyler cheaping out on wire? I don’t think so. The guitars that bear their name are part of their persona and because of that, they strive to be the best. Lance Berman at LsL could use cheaper parts on his guitars but he makes most of his own. Why does he go through the trouble you ask? Because he cares!
Well, Golden Age is one of the small guys and we care too. Why else would we strive to offer the best customer service on the planet and why else would we bring you some of the finest guitars imagineable? It’s not very catchy, but our motto should be “We Care”. And we do.