Andertons - Guildford UK

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Andertons - Guildford UK

Unread post by Saul » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:17 am

Andertons is a large family run store based in Guildford, Surrey and is one of those stores that seems to have been around forever. I think they have been in business for over 50 years. However unlike a lot of family run stores that have been going this long, Andertons is very firmly planted in the 21st century. The store, which is located on Woodbridge Road and and just a short walk from the bustling town centre is large, light and modern.

I was there primarily to check out some electric guitars but I spent a while browsing the acoustics first. There is a whole wall full of them as you enter the store plus another room to the right which is full of the higher end/higher price guitars. As I was browsing a young sales assistant approached and asked if I needed any help. He was polite and friendly but not pushy at all and was happy to leave me to browse when I said that is what I wanted to do.

Having finished checking out the acoustics I headed further into the store to take a look at the electric guitars. There appears to be an endless range of electrics and you could definitely lose an hour or so just looking never mind auditioning. They have some great guitars here from most brands including of course Chapman guitars, which if you have never tried one I suggest you do at the earliest opportunity. They are so well made and play extremely well, plus they are not expensive at all with most models in the £450-£500 price range. I tried a few and could definitely have come away with at least two had the bank balance allowed :) Of course there is a full range of Fender, Gibson, Yamaha as well as guitars from the likes of Schecter, PRS, Line 6, Music Man and so on, it's a long list! Suffice to say I am pretty sure if you come to Andertons looking to buy a guitar you definitely will not be disappointed.

From the electric guitars I moved onto the keyboards. Andertons stock a LOT of keyboards! There is a large room dedicated to them where you can find all the big names such as Roland, Yamaha, Nord and Korg as well as a selection of others such as Dave Smith Instruments, Elektron, Moog, Studio Electronics and Waldorf.

Next up I went into the Pro Audio area. This is where you will find all the controller keyboards and computer recording gear. Again there is a good selection from Native Instruments, Akai, IK Mulimedia, Nektar, Novation and many others. They also stock the Roli Seaboard range which I spent some time testing. The Roli has a silicone keybed, not traditional keys. This responds to touch in a way no other keyboard I have ever played can. It's a lot of fun but you do need to modify your normal playing style quite markedly or you end up hitting a lot of duff notes and triggering sounds where you didn't want them. Roli keyboards are also on the expensive side with the 49 note version I tried coming in at a few pence under £950! It's certainly an interesting controller but not sure I would get on with it.

Part of the Pro Audio section is a room dedicated to studio monitors. I didn't try any as I am very happy with my KRK Rokit RP5 G3's but were I in the market for new monitors there was definitely no shortage of them here to choose from.

Next to the Pro Audio section is a Drums room. I'm not a drummer and the idea of being one has never appealed to me but I could see there is a large selection of everything a drummer would need in this room. There is also a soundproof drum booth so you can bash away as much as you want without disturbing other customers.

I should mention there are soundproof booths around the store so no problems testing any instrument here. Also, thankfully there is none of that constant background music playing which is one of my pet hates in music stores so Andertons get top marks for that.

All in all I would have no hesitation in recommending Andertons. It's a fantastic store with friendly staff and a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. If you are in the area do drop in but be prepared to spend a few hours there! By the way there is parking nearby. Andertons itself has very limited parking at the front of the store for maybe three or four cars. There are bays nearby but it's my experience that they are usually full. Far better to use the multi storey at Leapale Lane which is just a short walk to the store.

Andertons Music Company, St Vincent House,
58-59 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4RF
Tel: +44 1483 456777 Fax: +44 1483 456722
www.andertons.co.uk
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Re: Andertons - Guildford UK

Unread post by Saul » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:01 pm

Just a quick update on this review as I was in Andertons again yesterday looking for a new acoustic guitar.

Again it was all very relaxed and friendly and I was able to audition a couple of guitars in the quiet of the Gibson/Taylor room which is to the right as you enter the store. I have owned a Taylor myself and a friend has a Gibson AJ-45 so I wasn't really that tempted to pick up any of these two grand plus guitars nice as they undboutedly are.

The two guitars I was testing were the Dowina Puella DCE and the Seagull S6 Original. Dowina have been around for many years but are probably not that well known in the UK. I "think" Andertons are the only stockists at the moment. Dowina are a company based in Bratislava, Slovakia where they build all of their acoustic guitars by hand. The finish on all of them is superb and would definitely put many of the big names to shame.

The model I tested...the Puella, which I think means "young girl" in Slovak? is the entry to the range and is a dreadnought with Cutaway. It has a Solid Sitka Spruce top, Sapelly back and sides (laminate), Nato neck and ebony fingerboard and bridge. It is also fitted with the Fishman Presys+ pickup system and for just £399 is a bit of a bargain. It also comes with a gig bag.

Soundwise the Dowina Puella is quite warm, very much like a mahogany guitar...thanks to the Sapelly back and sides. Sapelly shares a lot of the same characteristics of mahogany but there is also has a brightness that cuts through from the solid sitka spruce top. It reminded me a lot of some Breedlove acoustics such as the Passport series. It was also very easy to play. It has a very comfortable neck profile and I think this is going to become a very popular guitar, especially at this price.

Moving on to the Seagull S6 Original, which I think most guitarists will already be familiar with even if they have never owned one. Hand built in Canada, Seagull is a member of the Godin family and the S6 in particular is probably their most famous guitar. Personally I have never owned one but I had always wanted one since I first met Robert Godin at a guitar show in London back in 93..which if memory serves was the year the S6 was introduced.

I remember talking at length to Robert about how the guitar was built and in particular that..some would say "odd looking" headstock ;) It is that shape for a reason. It allows the strings to run at an almost straight angle to the nut and so improves tuning stability.

Anyway, everything I had originally thought about the S6 proved to be correct. It sounded wonderful with it's solid cedar top and cherry wood back and sides (laminate) and it played beautifully. My fingers positively danced across the rosewood fretboard. It was an absolute delight :)

Here's the thing. The Seagull S6 was actually a used guitar but there wasn't a mark on it AND it was only £179.99! with gig bag!! So no brainer there then. I had looked at the same guitar a few months earlier in guitarguitar in Epsom and it was £399 there. In fact it's £399 everywhere so an S6 in mint condition for a smidgen under 180 notes was never going to pass me by!

I had gone out with the intention of buying a Downina or possibly something else in that price range and came home with a guitar I have wanted for the last 24 years and now I have it and I didn't even need to pay full price for it. Happy days :)

All of which brings me back to Andertons itself.

Whilst everything I said previously is true. I realised something about customer service these days and I think it's a generational thing because I have noticed the same approach almost everywhere that the staff are this young.

When I went into the store no one approached to ask if they could help, even when I took the Seagull down from the wall rack and stood there with it for five minutes, I got nothing. The guys at the counter..which was right next to me didn't offer any assistance and I had to grab a passing salesman so that I could find somewhere quiet to audition the guitar. He was very pleasant and showed me where I could go and left me to it.

At no point did anyone think to ask what sort of guitar I was looking for or suggest anything I might want to try out. Perhaps I just give off this air of someone who knows what he wants..which I did but you get my point?

When I did decide I was going to have the S6 I handed it to the guy behind the counter and told him I was going to buy it but I wanted to just check out a couple of other guitars first. I looked along the racks but didn't see anything I was interested in so came back to the counter only to find that the salesman had put the S6 back on display! Suppose I had come back and found someone else had purchased it?

It was a similar experience when I was looking at the keyboards. No one approached me. Same in amp section, nothing! There were plenty of sales people around but they always seem to be pre-occupied with something. I wonder how many customers come into the store and the leave without buying anything purely because they felt like no one was interested?

This is though why I say it is generational. Younger people seem to have an attitude that if you want help ask for it. Which, fair enough they give it when asked but I think they have missed what customer service is all about. The "job" is not to turn up from 9 to 5 and collect a pay cheque. The "job" is to look after the customer but this does not seem to have dawned on them.

This is not only a problem at Andertons though. Most music stores I have visited that have been staffed by what are usually referred to as "millennials" are the same. It's just a different world I guess...or I'm just a grumpy old git which is quite possibly true ;)

Anyway, that would never put me off visiting Andertons and I have been back twice since this visit, both times coming away with something and happy with the service.

Oh and that stable tuning on the S6 is true. Fitted new strings when I got home and have only needed to adjust the tuning once since then. I should add that if the S6 were not there and at the bargain price that it was I definitely would have purchased the Dowena. That's a LOT of guitar for the money and I would say if your in the market for a mid priced Taylor check out Dowena at the same time, you may be very pleasantly surprised!
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Re: Andertons - Guildford UK

Unread post by Jupiter4 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:05 pm

Agree in general with this review. They are still the same in 2018. Helpful if you need help but the level of service, knowledge and helpfulness is no where near that of Wunjo Keys in London. The team at Wunjo are also young so not sure it’s generational. The team at Yamaha Wardour Street London are older but also don’t look after you.
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Re: Andertons - Guildford UK

Unread post by Mimasu » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:43 pm

Sounds like a great store :D .

I only know Andertons from youtube with some great tests by Chappers & The Captain. I love these vids. A lot of info and alway a good laugh.

I dont know much guitar stores in the UK. Been to London a few times and always visited the shops at Denmark Street.

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Re: Andertons - Guildford UK

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:11 pm

Jupiter4 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:05 pm
Agree in general with this review. They are still the same in 2018. Helpful if you need help but the level of service, knowledge and helpfulness is no where near that of Wunjo Keys in London. The team at Wunjo are also young so not sure it’s generational. The team at Yamaha Wardour Street London are older but also don’t look after you.
I was actually going to give a shout out to Wunjo as I am doing a video review for a Simon & Patrick Songsmith CH. Wunjo are a main Simon & Patrick dealer so will be linking to them :)
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Re: Andertons - Guildford UK

Unread post by Saul » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:58 pm

Mimasu wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:43 pm
Sounds like a great store :D .

I only know Andertons from youtube with some great tests by Chappers & The Captain. I love these vids. A lot of info and alway a good laugh.

I dont know much guitar stores in the UK. Been to London a few times and always visited the shops at Denmark Street.

Leon
I think Denmark Street is still THE place to go for guitars, especially vintage stuff, certainly in London anyway. Outside London and talking specifically about guitars I would highly rate https://rguitars.co.uk/ in Stratford Upon Avon. Customer services is second to none and all guitars are set up before they leave the store.
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Re: Andertons - Guildford UK

Unread post by Saul » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:03 pm

By the way, talking of Denmark Street, check out this video by our friend, singer songwriter, Mary Spender.

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