Let me tell you as a Guitar Center employee myself. ( working in the guitar Department. ) That the quality of G.C.'s guitars are the same as any other shop. Sans custom shop guitars.
That said, Guitar Center employees get paid sh*t. Minimum wage, plus commission. Now one might think that sounds like allot. But wait.. If your commissions = more than what they pay you in minimum wage, then before you see any money you have to pay back that minimum wage. (It's called working on a fade. ) The minimum wage is there incase you don't sell enough, you will never make less than minimum wage. Now, essentially what that means is by working at guitar center most employees ( unless you are in a major metropolitan city ) cost the company barely nothing. Many employees ( excluding myself ) will sell people only the guitars, amps etc... that make them the most in profit. In our store the guy who is always on top of the "ranker" sells people what he wants and not what they need or ask for. Do yourself a favor, do your own research, ask friends, other guitar players, etc... if you have only been playing a short while bring someone who has been playing guitar longer than you, to help guide you. And the best advise I can give you other than " shop with the local Mom and Pop stores " is don't let the Guitar Center clerk talk you into something else.