Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Moving Locations (not website address)

The General Guitar Gadgets family will be moving during the week of September 12th. During the move, our shipping department will be closed. The store will be open and orders will be taken, but we don't expect to be shipping orders again until September 24th. We may begin shipping sooner than the 24th, for updates check the GGG homepage “News Flashes”

As a recompense for our shipping delays during our move, we have a special deal for newsletter subscribers. So, be on the lookout for a email newsletter, all you subscribers!


JD Sleep

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Site Down Time

We've had a few software problems over the past month. That has caused the site to be down for a few hours here and there. On March 15th, the server "farm" where our server resides, experienced a major power outage and technical problems that caused the site to be down for most of the day. I apologize for the inaccessibility of the site. We have had a very good record of "up time" but that has been slipping fast lately.

We will be doing some software and hardware upgrades over the next few weeks. We expect the down time to be minimal and mostly on weekends. If you think you will need documents for building your stuff, get what you need downloaded so you don't get stuck with no access when your time comes to do some building. Plan ahead if possible.

Also, our shipping department will be closed for over a week, from March 24 through April 9th. The store will be open and the site will be up, but if you need something shipped before mid April, plan ahead for that as well.

JD

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Phones and Customer Service

Let me share a little known fact about myself. I hate talking on telephones. I don't like talking on the phone, I never have liked talking on the phone, and I probably never will like talking on the phone. I don't even own a cell phone.

I heard a story of an amp tech who would spend hours on the phone everyday, answering tech questions, talkin' shop and building a reputation of great customer support. I'd love to have a reputation of great customer support, but it's not going to happen over the phone. It's not that I want to be this way. I'm what they call “a man of few words”. That is my overall nature.

People ask me (via email) why we don't have a phone number listed on the contacts page. Some people think it's scary to do business with an Internet company that doesn't have a phone number contact listed on the site. Those people should “get over it.” The Internet outfits that are out to scam us, DO have phone numbers listed on their sites. Phones are great tools for crooks. They can put you at ease about your money that they have. They can instantly make all kinds of great excuses and use stall tactics to wear you down. Either that, or it's disconnected when you really need it. I've been there.

I have a life. My family and I enjoy our privacy. General Guitar Gadgets is great and I absolutely love my work, but it's not my whole life. I say that because I get the distinct impression that there are some people who believe I'm sitting here at GGG headquarters with a 5 gallon pot of coffee, just waiting around for something to do. That's not the case. I already have more to do than I could possibly get done in the rest of my lifetime. I love to help people out. I will help everyone out as much as I can, but I have limits to what I can do.

Please don't look me up and call me at home. We don't have a business phone and we don't take business calls on our home phone. We do answer email every day that we are working (usually six days a week). If you don't get a reply on a customer service issue, resend and resend until you do (use the “Contact Us” link on the site). We get tons of email and it's possible that occasionally some get lost in the storm of spam and other emails. We want to solve all customer service issues quickly and to your satisfaction. For “general” stompbox technical questions, you may or may not get the answer you wanted in an email, but you won't get it over the phone. Feel free to email us about anything relating to the site or to guitar effects or just about anything on your mind.


Here's some tips on sending email to us:

  • Please email if you find any mistakes on the site. We will fix them!

  • Feel free to send email with any request you have for new projects or improvements to whats on the site already.

  • Feel free to send any email with questions about projects or guitar effects in general. But don't forget, there are lots of forums out there that can answer your questions usually a lot better than I can.

  • Make sure you have a “Subject”. Any email with no subject line or subject of “RE: ” or “FWD: ” are deleted without opening since they are always spam.

  • Don't try to be too clever with your “Subject line”, it might get mistaken for spam and deleted without opening.

  • Make sure YOUR spam filters will allow a reply from us. This seems goofy, but it happens more often than I'd like to say. We've had several instances when someone “turned” irate for not receiving a reply, when, in fact they did get the replies, or their email system refused to accept our reply.

  • If you have a problem with a kit or project, stick to the discussion of the problem.

  • We rarely answer email that is not sent in the English language. Of course, if you can read this post, you're probably going to be sending emails in English, so this is a really dumb “tip” :-)

  • If English is your first language (or only language) try to make that apparent in your email. Complete sentences, punctuation and minimal use of slang can be helpful in getting your message across. If English is a secondary language for you, we understand and respect that. We'll do the best we can to comprehend and respond to your email.

JD


Friday, February 12, 2010

Closing the Store on Saturday

WARNING: The following information contains what most would consider "religious" content. There are many people who can't stand discussion about any religion but their own. If you think you might be such a person, play it safe and please refrain from reading this post!

This is an interview style post. Since the word out is that any non-atheist is schizophrenic, I thought it would be appropriate to interview myself. HA!

Mr. Sleep: Why is the General Guitar Gadgets online store closed from Friday night through Saturday Night?

JD: According to Torah, this is a day of rest, an appointed time set by God. We are instructed not to buy or sell on this day of rest.

Mr. Sleep: I thought you were a Christian! Shouldn't you be resting on Sunday?

JD: Scripture is very clear as to the set time of the Sabbath. Contrary to what some Christian theologians would have you believe, God's appointed time is Friday sunset through Saturday sunset. It's never been changed and never will be changed. (Exodus 31:13) We do what we do because we love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds.

Mr. Sleep: By closing the store, aren't you imposing your religion on all the customers who visit your site?

JD: No. We are simply doing what we believe is right.

Mr. Sleep: Aren't you afraid of losing customers and your business?

JD: I hope our customers understand that they are far more likely to be treated well by a company that has a moral standard of right and wrong and upholds that standard throughout the business.

Mr. Sleep: Are you some kind of legalist?

JD: No.

Mr. Sleep: Are you Jewish?

JD: No, but grafted to the same "stick"/olive tree (Ezekiel 37:17, Romans 11)

Mr. Sleep: Are you narrow-minded?

JD: Wouldn't it be narrow-minded to ask if I'm narrow-minded based on this limited topic of discussion?

Mr. Sleep: Thanks for talking.

JD: Hey, it's been great. Thank you!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New things at GGG

We have just released a new Digital Reverb Kit. The kit was brought about by the work of my friend Alfonso Hermida. This is an absolutely fabulous sounding reverb and we will have some demo samples soon. The release of the kit marks the beginning of a some new things happening at General Guitar Gadgets. I'm somewhat overdue letting you know about what's up for the future at GGG. This post has some updates and thoughts about our future projects and offerings.

Our policy since the site's inception, over 10 years ago, was to offer free stuff to DIY stompbox builders. Since we began selling PCBs and kits a few years ago, we have kept the free information for builders to be able to do any project that we offer for sale. This policy is one of several distiguishing features that takes GGG a cut above our competitors. We will continue this policy and always supply lots and lots of free information. There may be a few minor exceptions to the PCB masks in the future, not to increase our sales, but only to offer better products.

How many of you have realized that the professionally made PCBs we offer are designed so that they can be etched at home by DIYers? We have kept that in mind as a design factor on all of our PCB layouts. There may be PCBs coming in the future with new projects that are not etchable at home, not because of copyright issues or as a ploy to increase PCB sales, but due to the fact that we can offer PCBs in a smaller or better format if we can disregard issues related to etching your own. I've struggled with this several times already while designing some of the PCBs. Should I continue to keep it in an etchable format, or if I could just add some traces to the top layer or reduced the width of the traces I could get the PCB down to a smaller size and make it more versitile to use in smaller enclosures, etc.

Some of you may have noticed that many of the PCB that are etched in-house here at GGG are running out of stock. I'm announcing to the public at this time we will no longer be doing any in-house etching. We still have some of the etched PCBs in stock. We will be converting most of these PCBs to the better quality ones with solder mask, thru-hole plating and screen printed tops. As mentioned above, as much as possible we will keep these in an at-home-etchable format on the projects pages as they are converted. We are running behind on converting the PCBs, but everything that is "out of stock" will be restocked with the higher quality PCBs.

So, back to the new Digital Reverb Kit relating to some of the above discussions:
1 - This Digital Reverb kit will be the first kit we will offer that we do not have a PCB mask for builders to use to etch their own PCB. The PCB belongs to Hermida Engineering and we have access to it only as part of the reverb kits at this time.

2 - The Reverb kit will be the first time that we will not be selling the stand-alone PCB for it. It is only available as a kit at this time. Again, the PCB belongs to Hermida Engineering and it is for the kit builders at this time.

I hope none of you think these changes are bad. We will continue to be the best source on the internet for building stompboxes and hopfully be able to offer more really cool stuff. Please reply with comments if you feel the urge!

Happy stombox building!
JD Sleep

Friday, August 29, 2008

Newsletter Phobia

The purpose of nearly all private enterprise email newsletters is to increase sales for the organization. That is indeed the purpose of the General Guitar Gadgets Newsletter. To date, we have not had any valuable technical information in the newsletters. We prefer that all the technical information we can generate be posted freely on the site. This blog serves the purpose of providing details on updates or inside information about GGG. If you are not on the list to receive GGG newsletters, you are probably wondering why would you ever be on the emailing list at this point! Most people feel that they get way too much email and don't have any desire to sign up for more.

Every newsletter we've sent has provided a coupon code for a special sale that is available only to newsletter subscribers over a limited period of time, usually a few days. It saddens and bewilders me to be in the midst of a "Newsletter Sale" and see orders come in that haven't taken advantage of the sale (especially from regular customers!). I want to make it clear to everybody, if you think there is even a remote possibility that you might ever buy something from GGG, you need to be on the newsletter mailing list!

I want to also reiterate our iron-clad policies about the mailing list:


1) It is secure. You email address will not likely be hacked.
2) Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. It is for the purpose of sending you a newsletter every once in a while and that's it.
3) The newsletter content is not a "snow job" or any kind of annoying deceitful information to try to make you buy something you don't want. We are not in the business of "closing a sale", we are in the business of making great guitar effects available to you at an affordable price.

To subscribe to the GGG Newsletter, just logon at the site and then go to the bottom right side of any page and check the e-Newsletter box and press the Subscribe button. It's easy to do!


JD Sleep
General Guitar Gadgets

Monday, December 17, 2007

Analog vs Digital

The title of this post is so "ho-hum", it's pathetic. This is a subject of so much "blathering" on the net, I hate to even bring it up. I got an email question about this a few days ago and I thought I'd share my thoughts about it. My thoughts on this subject sort of "jelled" as I responded to the email.

The eMailer's question was, why would I spend $300 (or whatever) on some kits, when I can buy a $400.00 amp that has tons of effects and even lots of different amp models.

First of all, let me say that I'm not an "Analog Snob" and I don't think I have a unbalanced bias against digital effects, as many might be thinking that I would have. I have lots of good digital gear and I even use some of it from time to time ;-) Anyway here was my answer to the question (slightly edited):

It depends on who you are and what you like - in sound and in touch and feel. The amp modeling and digital multi-effects units are great, but some players feel like there is something missing when they play them. I don't know how to explain this in words, but I do think that there are times when there is something missing in some of the digital sounds. A good player can actually "play" an analog effect, there's a certain knack for getting a great sound out of it. But a digital effect usually plays itself.

It hit me as I wrote that last line..."That's it!" There really is a way to "play" an analog effect, but a lot of digital effects don't have that playability. I'd love to hear your comments. Maybe I'm missing some of the finer points of the digital effects.

I want to close by saying that I didn't post this blog to try to sell kits. Analog, digital, who really cares, it's 99.9% player and 0.1% gear isn't it? In the long run it's the music that counts. I just want to put it out there and see what you think about analog. Bob Moog had some interesting things to say about analog sound in the DVD movie "Moog"

http://www.moogmusic.com/detail.php?main_product_id=205

Check it out if you haven't seen it. It got a lot of bad reviews, but I liked it, it was all live footage(not a narrator overdubbing the course of events showing photos) so a lot of Bob telling and sharing stories. The short segments with Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman (two of my musical favorites when I wa s a teen) were icing on the cake for me!