Guitar Center is Against Everything Captain Eo Stands For

A long time ago (the ’80’s), in a galaxy far, far away (again, the ’80’s), there was a ride. A ride that stood for everything that was good and pure in that world. Some would say it was Star Tours, but with flying hamster-moths instead of droids. Others would say it was Labrinth, just with interchangeable pop stars. But it was so much more than that. It was the robot with a mustache’s peg leg becoming a guitar. It was the hi-hat cymbal sound inexplicably linked to Michael Jackson’s pelvic movements. It was the King of Pop’s musical rainbow rays turning scary industrial monsters into happy, slightly gender-indeterminate dancers. It was the unabashed hope that seemed to permeate that decade that perhaps a time was coming when we could live and dance and sing and not worry if it was cool or not. A time when claymation puppets and humans could live hand in hand, and not be oppressed by Angelica Huston swinging from metal ducts over a post-apocalyptic dance floor. It was music…changing the world.

See the wonder. And not only see……but hear!

It’s the ’80’s as they were meant to be.

Contrast that with Guitar Center, that I went into earlier that day, that had one slide. No, not one type of slide. One slide. The one sitting on the counter for demo’s. I’m playing somewhere this weekend where a slide is needed for a certain song, and I didn’t realize it until the day before, so I go to Guitar Center to buy a full-size slide and a ring slide. The salesman tells me they only have full-size slides. I ask which brands. He holds up the used slide on the counter right in front of him. I ask if they have any other sizes. He says they might, if the slide I was holding wasn’t the only one in the store. How am I supposed to change the world with musical rainbow rays if my tone is hindered by Guitar Center not caring, not even a little, about tone, selection, music, or even just staying in business as a company? I mean, if they don’t even have a selection of slides, there goes my hope of finding a sophisticated old robot who can transform into a guitar, microphone, and drumset at the first note from a synthesizer. Guitar Center, you’ve had 25 years to come up with that robot…but I’d settle for just a slide that hasn’t been on someone else’s finger. But I guess the fact that I’m going to try to change the world tonight with my intensely toneful slide solo’s (meaning, Bullet the Blue Sky ripoffs) isn’t very important to you.

Captain Eo would not be pleased.


P.S. The best part is when Michael unlocks the bass player with his musical lasers. You can tell because he jumps out, and immediately slap bass on rubber strings starts grooving like it was 1989. Miss Huston should know better than to hire as her guards monsters that have on their resume’s that they were former bass players. They just can’t handle hearing that groove and not joining in.

33 thoughts on “Guitar Center is Against Everything Captain Eo Stands For

  1. “But I guess the fact that I’m going to try to change the world tonight with my intensely toneful slide solo’s (meaning, Bullet the Blue Sky ripoffs) isn’t very important to you.”

    …and this type of quote is the reason you have become one of my favorite bloggers. No where would this string of words make sense, except here. And I love it! Keep up the good work Karl!

  2. The other think that Guitar Center doesn’t carry is a Kyser Short Cut, it is beyond me how they decide what to stock.

    I just got the CD of new music from the church where I play, and it looks like I may need to invest in/learn how to play slide.

    Of course you could always just hit Home Depot for a piece of copper tube and some emery cloth. It’d probably be cheaper too.

  3. My name is Jeremy Cole and I work for Guitar Center. I’m sorry that we let you down with our (lack of) assortment of slides on your recent visit to one of our stores. I would very much appreciate any more feedback you can offer. I will gladly share them with our allocators and buyers so we can be sure to look into the stocking levels. In which store did this happen? Please email me at at your convenience.

  4. Love the blog! My team and I get a kick out of your U2 references. Classic.

    BTW, every time I leave a Guitar Center, I feel like I’ve lost a part of my dignity. I try to stay away.

  5. I use this:

    works really well if you play slide like I do, where often a ring slide is not enough, but you still need to be able to play with all four fingers during other parts of the same song.

    you won’t find it at guitar center, but my local shop ordered me one and I had it the next week. most likely not soon enough for you but just thought I’d share.

  6. They actually have the Captain Eo show up at disneyland again. I watched it myself a month or two ago. This post made me laugh when I saw the video.

  7. Karl, can always rely on you for bringing back obscure clips from weird movies I only ever saw once about 20+ years ago. Classic!

    Funnily enough I played slide in church for the first time 2 weeks ago (real simple one string line – Hillsong’s new song “Like Incense”) and was wanting to try a glass slide to see if it sounded better than my old steel one. I went to this tiny little music shop in a crumbling old house not far from where I live, and they had one. I’m flabbergasted that the almighty Guitar Center didn’t!

    … and seriously this place is crumbling – check out the picture on Google if you want to see how awful this shop looks… … usually the only good thing about that shop is that it’s right next store to a decent pub!

    Thanks for the Axys and Jet-slide tips guys – definitely going to check them out.

  8. Karl:
    It was the hi-hat cymbal sound inexplicably linked to Michael Jackson’s pelvic movements.

    hahaha … i can’t go on reading after this line … classic!! hahaha

  9. Nick–lol Thanks, bro!! I’m stoked you relate to those references! haha

    Craig–ya, I’ve always wanted to learn, but it took a song that really relies on slide for me to actually buckle down and do it. And I like that copper idea…hmm…


    Jeremy–no worries. And I’ve had some good experiences at Guitar Center’s too…some of them are written about on this blog. This was just not the greatest, but I kind of brought it on myself by waiting until the last minute to buy. You guys have a great selection on your website! Cheers, my friend. :) Thanks for the comment!

    Jdub–thanks, bro! And ya, I think if Guitar Center could just train their younger employees to not treat each customer as if that customer is lucky to be imparted a piece of their expertise, it would be a lot better. But…I was the same way at that age. hehe And sometimes now. 😉

    Keith–ooh nice! I’m gonna check that out. Thanks, bro!

    Ben G–for sure!

    KennyG–that Jet looks nice, too!

    Ben–hehe I need to start being careful what I write. But I’m hoping the Captain Eo reference will get the whole tongue-in-cheek thing across a bit. hehe 😉

    Recneps–ya!! That’s where this post came from. We got to watch that gloriousness in 3d Thursday night! haha

    Baggas–I love those little back-alley guitar shops! That’s so cool! So want to visit it now.

    Guy–haha Some great slap right there!

    Jon–it was a live version of John Mark McMillan playing ‘How He Loves Us.’ I don’t know if it’s a slide in the recorded version too.

    Rhoy–haha My wife and I were literally cracking up on the ride when we saw that!!

    Guy–it was a live version of ‘How He Loves Us.’ But since Edge started using a slide again back in ’04, all the worship guys are following suit. Like usual. Just kidding……kind of. hehe

    • I can’t remember who, but I read an interview with someone who got their slides at HD. Make sure you file the cut edge so you don’t have and amputation situation. Also don’t go to HD (unless you have no choice), they are the building materials version of GC.

  10. Best GC quote ever:

    “How am I supposed to change the world with musical rainbow rays if my tone is hindered by Guitar Center not caring, not even a little, about tone, selection, music, or even just staying in business as a company?”

    So true. I was told that their price match guarantee of beating the competition’s price by an additional 10% doesn’t include tax. So, I live in a CA town where the sales tax is 9.5%. I could buy something from Sweetwater or other online, out of state retailer with free shipping for an amp that they have priced 100 less than GC. Say the amp costs 1000, but its 900 online. I go into guitar center and they tell me that they will price match it, but I have to pay the $95 dollars in tax on their $1000 price, but I get an additional 10% of the difference ($100 x 10% = $10 off). SO…I get the amp for $985 because I price matched it! Sweet…900 online…or 985 at GC…wait a minute…how is that price matching again?

  11. Craig–oh, cool. And ya…those places can be pretty bad, too. Out here, the Lowe’s are really bad. I feel bad for the guys just doing their jobs, and not hounding me for their commissions. haha

    Forgivenick–lol Yep!! You’re so right! When they changed their price-haggling model, they hyped up this price-matching thing so much. I don’t shop there that often, so it wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized they advertise real loudly that they ‘will beat any advertised price by 10%’ and then in tiny letters ‘of the difference.’ That’s like, nothing. Even if you wanted a $2,000 guitar and saw it somewhere for $1,800. Ten percent of the difference is $20. I guess at least it’s something, but at the very least it’s misleading. And the tax thing…ya…I understand they have to pay taxes like everyone else, but it’s not getting them much business to not include it in the price, like in your situation. lol

    Sam–really?! Oh man, I wish it was like that here. That would be so much cleaner and easier!

  12. Whoa Forgivenick you’re here too? Haha can’t escape you. TGP, Facebook, that…other…forum….

    And Karl, you’re certainly right about that Slide thing. Lordy. I bought a glass one a couple months ago but… I still haven’t really figured it out… :(

  13. Karl, you should try rocky mountain slides. You can order them online.
    I, too, hate guitar center. They are the musical equivalent of Home Depot, where no one is an expert on anything in particular, and when you need it the most, “Hey bro, I can order it for you!” yeah, that’s what the interweb is for–cut out the middle man. But, still gotta love ’em in Jesus name…it’s just so hard.

  14. Andrew–ya, it’s a different feel, but it’s really fun. It’s a challenge to get the pressure just right, and to play fretless almost. :)

    Anonymous–totally. Ya, I don’t think they’ve really figured the internet thing out yet. Because that used to be stores’ big sales push 10 years ago; that they could get anything for you. But now with the internet, the only reason most folks go to stores is to get stuff right away or to be able to try out stuff. And I don’t think Guitar Center has adapted to that yet. Either that, or they’re still making a killing selling things to folks who don’t know any better about prices and such, and so they just don’t care. hehe Ya, still gotta love ’em, you’re right. Bummer. 😉

    Chris–I’ve just used a pen or something up until now. I always meant to get around to getting one, but just kept forgetting. I’m a spazz. haha

  15. Have you ever tried to trade in a guitar at the Guitar Center? Geez, can get more if you take your axe to a pawn shop. The’re not too bad overall though. But if I’m ordering online, I’d rather use musicians friend.

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