The latest Guitar Jar Mystery Shopper feature finds us at The Music Factory in Bournemouth. The Music Factory is a shop that caters for a wide range of musical instrument sales including brass, woodwind, keyboards and guitars.
The Music Factory is situated in a Bournemouth district called Kinson. For the history loving guitarists among us, Kinson is known for being home to the infamous Dorset smuggler, Sir Isaac Gulliver, who resided in the heart of the district. Rumour has it, a complex run of smuggling tunnels can be found underground throughout Kinson, largely stemming from the nearby St. Andrews Church.
Car parking can be a bit tricky with the shop itself being situated on the main Wimborne Road, which is particularly busy. If you’re very fortunate, you may be able to claim one of the few parking places situated directly at the front of the store. I ended up parking at the nearby library, which just so happens to be situated very close to Sir Isaac Gulliver’s old residence, Pelhams House.
The Music Factory is a good sized shop and on entering the store, the guitar department can be found to the left. Directly down the centre of the shop is a very impressive selection of printed sheet music and tuition books – some of the books looked very interesting and they seem to cater for a wide range of instruments, genres and abilities.
The guitar selection is OK. I’d be honest in saying that the range does seem to cater for the beginner or intermediate guitarist, featuring a nice selection of electric guitars retailing in the £150-£450 price range from manufacturers including Fernandes, Squier, Indie, Chord, Ibanez and Tanglewood. Up close, some of the Indie & Ibanez guitars looked very impressive and I’m sure many people could happily gig with one of those strapped over their shoulder.
The shop does stock a limited selection of higher priced guitars; a John Petrucci Music Man caught my eye, as did a ’57 Reissue Fender Stratocaster. On the acoustic guitar front, the stock is very limited and I could probably count on one hand the amount of acoustics for sale in the store. Again, they were priced fairly low (especially for acoustics) which leads me to think that the selection is aimed at beginner to immediate players.
The electric guitar amplifier range was again, fairly standard. A used Fender Super-Sonic was the star of the show and a Blackstar HT-5 Stack looked really fun to play through.
Towards the back of the shop is a raised section that displays a nice range of guitar accessories, including gig bags, straps, leads, capos etc. I managed to purchase a 3.5mm stereo headphones adaptor which will come in handy with my Digitech RP55.
The Music Factory has a range or guitars that would suit a lot of guitarists, especially for beginner and intermediate players. For more specialised guitars, or a greater selection, you may want to look elsewhere.
The range of sheet music, tuition books and DVD’s for sale is impressive and they seem to be very similar in price to items I’ve recently viewed whilst browsing Amazon.co.uk.
The Music Factory’s strength lies in the fact it’s an instrument shop, catering for a wide range of instruments, especially brass. I’ve been told by numerous people, the lessons available through the shop (for the different range of instruments) are fantastic and it’s no surprise that as a store, if they’re heavily focussed on providing learning and development on various instruments, the range of guitars they sell fits that target niche perfectly.
With regards to customer service, the young guy behind the counter was fairly quiet and didn’t approach me to see if I needed any help as he looked pre-occupied with sorting something out behind the counter, but when I came to pay for my headphones adaptor and a pack of strings, he was very talkative and approachable. On the subject of strings, I try to purchase a pack during each Mystery Shopper visit, and my closing comment to The Music Factory is £7.50 for a pack of D’Addario 11-49 is a bit pricey in my opinion.
The Music Factory is a good instrument shop, with a guitar selection perfect for beginner and intermediate guitarists with the odd higher priced guitar thrown in to make it that bit more interesting. The shop also seems to provide excellent instrument lessons for children to adults. The highlight for me was discovering they stock such a good range of guitar tuition aids at prices very similar to what I’ve seen online.
Have you visited The Music Factory in Bournemouth? If so, please give your Mystery Shopper comments below.