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Favorite Guitar Shops

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Smoky Booroo, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Smoky Booroo

    Smoky Booroo Tele-Meister

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    I went in to my favorite guitar shop yesterday, Tall Toad in Petaluma. It is true that it is my local shop and the are all buddies of mine, but I had to throw a shout out because it is just so much better than a lot of the shops I've been to. It is like a kid going to a candy store. Yesterday, I got to play a OO koa and a O-28 specially made for the store. Chris the manager is awesome! Just guys who do it right and love guitars. Nice mix a electrics, but 2/3 of inventory is acoustic instruments. Wall to wall Martins, Gibsons and more. Anyway, that's my plug.

    What are your favorite local shops and why?
     
  2. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    My favorite stores are the ones where you have to be there to buy in order to play anything.

    Much more fun.
     
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  3. Smoky Booroo

    Smoky Booroo Tele-Meister

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    True. I have bought a couple nice guitars from them. It does "up the game" a bit.

     
  4. papa32203

    papa32203 Tele-Holic

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    How do you prove you are "there to buy"? Is there some kind of test out on the sidewalk?
     
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  5. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    Usually it's a written test. At any rate, nothing worse than being in a store full of people performing while the person who is looking to buy can't hear themselves think.

    Why anyone over 17 would want to go play a bunch of guitars they're not buying is beyond me. I don't go test drive Ferarris on the weekend.
     
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  6. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Gelb Music in Redwood City, CA was an icon. One of the first Fender dealers in the state. After Mr. Gelb retired, a great guy named Kevin Jarvis bought the store, and turned it into the go-to place for many Northern Californians. He was one of the first dealers of PRS, Tom Anderson, MB, Tobias, VHT, and other high quality brands, and was the first guy I ever saw sell at a discount, when other stores were all still selling everything at list. Kevin retired a few years ago, and sold the store to Haight Ashbury Music.
    And Gryphon in Palo Alto is an American icon. Co-owner Richard Johnston literally wrote the book on Martin history, while his partner Frank Ford is one of the most respected repair experts in the world, teaching others how to do it right.
     
  7. ArchiMark

    ArchiMark TDPRI Member

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    Hey Doug,

    +1 ....

    I work in Redwood City. So, can be at Gelb in about 10 minutes....

    As for Gryphon, I had ol' Frank do some restoration on the '51 Epiphone archtop I had a few months ago. Frank does great work and a very nice, humble guy.

    :)

    Mark
     
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  8. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Aloha Mark. I've not been to Gelb in may years, as I moved to Honolulu in '95. But, I can't imagine it's the same without Kevin. One of his long time trusted employees was David Vogel, who was the Keyboard expert, and played keys in Kevin's band. Another was a sweet guy named Keith who tragically died in a roller coaster accident while on vacation on the east coast.
    Frank fixed my Martin D12-35 years ago when I dropped it and the top and side separated. He did a flawless job, and only charged me $50.
     
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  9. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    Competition Music in Fort Worth.
    Funky. Cool owner. Always-changing inventory. Reasonable prices. I bought both my Telecasters there.

    Opposite end of the spectrum:
    Guitar Sanctuary in McKinney, Texas.
    Amazing high-end pieces you usually can't find in stock--and they'll let you play them!

    Coyotee Jewelry and Pawn, Chickasha, Oklahoma.
    A lot of weird/unique pieces tucked into the back half of a Pawn Shop. Near Nowhere, Oklahoma.

    Tarpley Music, Waco, Texas.
    Cool selection. Offbeat stuff you don't see everywhere (Nash guitars, lotsa Gretsch and Guild pieces, etc.). Cool folks (considering they're in Waco).

    Musician's Madness, Burleson, Texas.
    Cool owner. Always-changing inventory. Reasonable prices. No-pressure sales staff.
     
  10. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    Jim’s Music in sunny Tustin. Walking distance from my place, good peeps. Two of my Teles came from there.
     
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  11. Smoky Booroo

    Smoky Booroo Tele-Meister

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    Had to google Tustin! Cool.

     
  12. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    One store you guys would love is Intercontinental Music. Every time I'm north of the border I go there. TONS of NOS Fender parts if you can get the owner to invite you up to the invitation area.
     
  13. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Old Town Music in Portland, Oregon. Primarily used stuff, but has everything I'm usually interested in. The high end Ma&Pop places are fun to visit, but out of my league. I'm more interested in the workhorses be it amps, guitars, recording or pedals.
     
  14. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    I always say that I love guitars, but hate guitar stores. Despite that, when I travel, I usually make a point of hitting some of the local shops, even though so many of them are just awful places to go (where DOES that guitar store attitude come from?). But there are exceptions....

    Rufus Guitar in Vancouver, Canada - Always good, but with a new owner came an outstanding approach to customers. Good stock, great attention, good advice served along with no pressure sales. Probably my favorite in the Pacific Northwest, and my favorite of the ones I have been to in Canada.

    Dusty Strings in Seattle - an absolute candy shop for acoustic players. Some good electrics as well. Great service, great attitude

    Tommy's Guitar in Everitt, Washington - A smallish place with an oversized selection of great gear. Walked in for the first time a half hour before closing and got treated like an old friend. Really great folks and a very well though out selection of guitars.

    Wolfe Guitars in Florida - mind-blowing selection of G&L guitars and Heritage guitars. I am trying to engineer another work trip to the area so that I can take something home next time.

    To the OP - GREAT thread idea! So cool to hear about the good stores.
     
  15. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    The "be there to buy" standard is confusing. I know you don't want people who aren't serious playing your high end instruments--but how am I supposed to know what I want unless I play a bunch of guitars?

    A few years ago, at my wife's urging, I set out to buy a high quality acoustic. At the beginning of the search, I didn't know if I wanted a Gibson, Martin, Taylor, or Breedlove. Or maybe something else I wasn't even familiar with yet.

    After hitting 4 stores, I was sure I wanted a Martin dreadnaught, because a Martin D something was my favorite in every store that had one. But which model?

    Then some personal stuff happened and I put the search on hold for a few months.

    When I picked it up again and hit a couple more stores I quickly became sure I wanted a Martin HD 28 or HD 35 or a variation on the same.

    Then the search started in earnest for the right one.

    I might have bought a guitar at a particular chain store that will remain nameless, except that the store manager was a jerk because he remembered I'd been there before--pretty impressive given that it was 6 months later. But he was a jerk because I had looked at the high end guitars once before and hadn't bought anything.

    I did finally find the right instrument. I bought it used from a friend of mine who wanted to sell it to make room for a new HD35.

    But I remember fondly the stores that treated me with respect when I was on the search. And I go back there to buy things still today.
     
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  16. Ex-riverman

    Ex-riverman Tele-Holic

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    Guitar House Tulsa. It’s had a few owners over the years but the new guy is a worldwide guitar trader and has an incredible collection of guitars. He just opened a spot dedicated to vintage and rare equipment. Most for sale, some not. Amazing vintage stuff of all kinds.
     
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  17. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    Styles Music in Pomona, CA.

    The Fret House in Covina, CA. Great selection of acoustic guitars and great people too. Oddly enough, I've never bought an acoustic there. But I did buy a Mesa TA-15 and a Mesa speaker cab.

    Music Mike's in Riverside had recently started carrying a better selection of equipment--and had really good repair guys. The store was recently sold. Haven't been there since the change of ownership. I think the guitar repair guy left after the sale.
     
  18. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sometimes, just a little communication works wonders. I sure agree that the cacophony that exists in big box stores is hard to take. But there are still great stores around, and I've found if you just take a moment to talk to the first salesperson that's available and explain that either you're on mission to find something specific or that you had just heard a lot of good things about this store, so wanted to drop by just to see what it was like. There are a plenty of guitars that are just interesting enough that your curiosity should kick in. Asking first is always a good idea, though.

    Transpecos Guitars, in Alpine Texas is a nice store.
    Fuller's here in Houston is good place. Have a good friend who works there.
    I've been to Wildwood in Louisville, CO, and the folks there were really nice.
     
  19. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    I guess. I can honestly tell you I buy tons of guitars and don't think I've plugged a guitar in at a store in over 15 years aside to make sure it works.

    What I hate about guitar stores:

    1- The noise of the penniless petes wasting everyone's time
    2- The douchebag customer who tries to "talk shop" with you when you're browsing. If these blooze daddies go to Sears to buy a pair of tan pants do they chat up the guy in the fitting room next to them?
    3- On the off chance I bring my guitar if I'm buying a map. Having to explain to the clerk that I don't want to trade it in and having to deal with the customer who wants to "check out my axe".

    I'm one of those people who tend to mind my own business and don't go around striking up conversations with strangers. For me, it makes the shopping experience very uncomfortable.

    * I also worked in a guitar store when I was in college so I'm sure this jaded my opinion. I would usually rather go to the dentist than a guitar store.
     
  20. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    "Penniless Petes", you say? Why, if I can't scatter them with a wave of my top hat or a stern eye through my monocle, I just put the gold tip of my cane to their backsides!
     
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