I love guitar shops, and over the years I have dropped significant cash in them. Guitar Works in Richmond, VA, Barr’s Fiddle Shop in Galax, VA, McIntyre Guitars in Charlotte, NC (now defunct, I think, as Doug McIntyre it seems is focused purely on selling acoustic instrument pickups these days), The Bluegrass Center (defunct now as well, I think) in Asheville, NC, Pick n’ Grin in Knoxville, TN have each called me to reach deep in the bank account.
Friday I found what is certain to be my guitar shop of choice in Atlanta—Maple Street Guitars. Not only does it have an excellent yet manageable selection of instruments, but it also has an extremely knowledgeable and approachable staff, who were quick to offer me a chance to play a couple of tremendous guitars—a 1964 Epiphone FT79 TEXAN and a 1967 Martin D-35. They also offered to let me play the 1941 Gibson above, but I know when I am out-classed.
The Epiphone was the one worth raving about. The same exact guitar on which Paul McCartney recorded “Blackbird,” it’s sound was a tone junkie’s dream.
A colleague of mine calls it G.A.S.—Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. My G.A.S condition is in remission (likely temporary), and it was a brave step for me to step foot into such a place knowing that I was not in position at this point to walk out with something in a hard shell case.
When moving to a new place, finding a guitar shop (even for a hack like me) is like finding a new grocery store, barbershop, dentist, or doctor—sometimes it takes a little scouting and research to find the right spots. For me, the scouting and research is complete—Maple Street Guitars it is.