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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm traveling from Australia to the US at the start of 2017 and I was wondering if any of you guys that live around these areas know of any good stores to check out while I'm over there. Luckily I have an awesome wife who is totally understanding that I will be feeding my GAS and getting a sweet guitar while on holiday. :lol:


I've heard the Guitar Center around Times Square in New York is actually okay but if there are better "Mom & Pop" stores around that would be cool. If there's a place which has good 2nd hand gear that would be cool as I could get better bang for the buck and hopefully find some cool stuff like Parkers or Jackson USA etc.

Would really love to know if there are any good places around Seattle and Washington DC as well as I haven't really heard about any good places out there.


... And yes, anything that I get will have the obligatory NGD post with pics and sound clips! :yesway:
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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Not sure what's there these days, but back in the heyday, Chuck Levins and Venemans were the best DC area stores. Couldn't find a site for Venemans, but here's the Chuck Levins site: http://www.chucklevins.com

I bought my old Peavey Butcher head, JCM900 head, Shure SM58, Anvil brief case and a lot more at Chucks, they always had something I wanted every time I went in. Used to dream of winning the lottery and plundering the place. My RG470 came from Venemans the day they put it out for sale.
 

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For DC...

Veneman's has been closed for 15 years. Chucks is open.

If you want used gear, check out Atomic music. Atomic Music Official Site

Action guitar has a lot of vintage stuff, as well as new stuff from Mesa, Jackson, etc. Action Music
Yeah, those are the only three worth visiting, really. There's Classic Axe in Gainesville, but it's very cork sniffer and kinda crappy at the same time.
 

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OldSchool Blacksmith
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You had one, too? I really wish mine hadn't been stolen...
Yeah, mine had something wrong with it, so I ditched it for the JCM. One day it would put off the greatest roar imaginable, the next day it sounded like a Sears special playing out of a toilet bowl. Didn't know enough back then to get the idea that it probably had a bad tube in it, so I traded it in for the JCM, which was always on point. Miss that set up more than anything I've ever given up. JCM900 sitting on two Carvin B cabs, one loaded with Celestions, the other with JBLs. Bought the Carvins off Pat Bohan, if you remember him. He played in Apocalypse, Iron Christ (breifly) and a few other DC bands. I think he's in a jazz/blues band now out in Portland...
 

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Dream Crusher
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In NYC there's Rudy's, the Sam Ash on 34th, Ludlow Guitars, and 30th Street Guitars. The Music Zoo is out on Long Island too and there's small shops like Rivington Guitars around too.
 

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Bah. I still suck.
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While I'm up in the greater Seattle area, I hope some of the other locals can chime in about which stores are worth it. I'm about a half hour north of Seattle so I've never visited any of these stores except for the downtown Seattle Guitar Center. Anyways, most of the local stores seem to have their inventory online so you can check things out for yourself:

Emerald City Guitars/ (they currently do have a Parker)
Thunder Road Guitars (might be too "boutique-y")
The Guitar Store
American Music
Northwest Guitars

And, north of Seattle, is Tommy's Guitar Shop. Guys in the shop are cool but pricing may just be average. They have a vintage 1982 George Benson hollow body I've been eyeing but seems a tad high at $2300.

Anyways, better deals might be had through pawn shops. About 45 minutes south of Seattle (just south of Tacoma) is a large military base and there are a ton of pawn shops down there. Many run ads for guitars on Craigslist.

Good luck!
 

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In NYC there's Rudy's, the Sam Ash on 34th, Ludlow Guitars, and 30th Street Guitars. The Music Zoo is out on Long Island too and there's small shops like Rivington Guitars around too.
+1 on all of these, Sam Ash on 34th even has Suhrs and Andersons in stock! Retrofret in Brooklyn looks cool but I haven't been there yet personally.
 

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I don't like it.
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While I'm up in the greater Seattle area, I hope some of the other locals can chime in about which stores are worth it. I'm about a half hour north of Seattle so I've never visited any of these stores except for the downtown Seattle Guitar Center. Anyways, most of the local stores seem to have their inventory online so you can check things out for yourself:

Emerald City Guitars/ (they currently do have a Parker)
Thunder Road Guitars (might be too "boutique-y")
The Guitar Store
American Music
Northwest Guitars

And, north of Seattle, is Tommy's Guitar Shop. Guys in the shop are cool but pricing may just be average. They have a vintage 1982 George Benson hollow body I've been eyeing but seems a tad high at $2300.

Anyways, better deals might be had through pawn shops. About 45 minutes south of Seattle (just south of Tacoma) is a large military base and there are a ton of pawn shops down there. Many run ads for guitars on Craigslist.

Good luck!
I loved Emerald City when I lived there. Got an amazing deal on a Peavey 412MS back in the day from them. Really cool shop.
 

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In the DC area, I would add Foxes Music in Falls Church, VA. It's not the greatest store, but they stock a much wider variety of new Jacksons and Fenders than Guitar Center does, so you might get a chance to try out a model you wouldn't easily find elsewhere.

Atomic Music is probably the most fun shopping experience, though. They have used guitars in a huge price range, and they really encourage you to plug in anything you want and play as long as you want. The difficult part is usually finding a guitar cable...
 

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While I'm up in the greater Seattle area, I hope some of the other locals can chime in about which stores are worth it. I'm about a half hour north of Seattle so I've never visited any of these stores except for the downtown Seattle Guitar Center. Anyways, most of the local stores seem to have their inventory online so you can check things out for yourself:

Emerald City Guitars/ (they currently do have a Parker)
Thunder Road Guitars (might be too "boutique-y")
The Guitar Store
American Music
Northwest Guitars

And, north of Seattle, is Tommy's Guitar Shop. Guys in the shop are cool but pricing may just be average. They have a vintage 1982 George Benson hollow body I've been eyeing but seems a tad high at $2300.

Anyways, better deals might be had through pawn shops. About 45 minutes south of Seattle (just south of Tacoma) is a large military base and there are a ton of pawn shops down there. Many run ads for guitars on Craigslist.

Good luck!
I can vouch for The Guitar Store and Thunder Road Guitars. Neither shop is very metal but you can score some great finds. The Guitar Store has mostly high-end modern equipment, Suhr, PRS, Reverend, Orange Amps, etc. Thunder Road is all classic vintage, mostly Fenders, Gibsons, and Marshalls from the 70's-90's. You might find the occasional oddball collector's item in there.

The Guitar Store is located on the north end of Aurora Avenue, which has a reputation for being kinda shady late at night. Lots of drug deals, panhandlers, hookers, etc. in some spots. The part where you're most likely to get stabbed is several blocks north of The Guitar Store, so if you're coming from downtown during the daytime you'll be just fine. Thunder Road is on California Avenue in West Seattle. It's a long strip that has a lot of foot-traffic. Lots of restaurants, bars, and shops in that area. It would be great to set aside an afternoon and walk along that area and see what you can find.

I popped into American Music once. It was mostly current year Fenders and Gibsons, not really my thing. Haven't been to the others.
 

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I popped into American Music once. It was mostly current year Fenders and Gibsons, not really my thing. Haven't been to the others.
I go in there a fair bit, one of the guitaists in my band works there. They've also got LTD/ESP stuff, some cool Ibanez stuff, and some weird brands like Zemaitis. Decent used gear from time to time. Amp selection is pretty decent. They have branded energy drinks too LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thread Bump!

W00t! I'm here in Canada and driving down to Seattle tomorrow. Thanks for all of the suggestions of what to check out.
I'll check out American Music, Emerald City, and Action Music. I noticed that there's a few Guitar Centres holding a JP7 BFR and a Jackson Soloist SL2H which look pretty cool too :fever:
 

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Boogadee Oogadee
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In DC, my favs were Chuck's (Washington Music Center) and Atomic Music. Chucks has some cool guitars that was a nice departure from the normal Guitar Center inventory - but honestly, I went there for drum and cymbal needs.

If you must visit a Guitar Center, the good thing about Chuck's (in Wheaton Maryland) is that the Rockville Maryland GC is fairly close by - and that is the one area GC worth visiting if you had to. Maybe a 15-20 minute drive. What set the Rockville GC apart from the other local GCs was they seemed to stock more cool high-end guitars, namely by Gibson and PRS. At least that was the case a few years ago. Of course, most were behind some glass showcase....
 

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Yeah Rockville is one of the bigger and better stocked Guitar Centers. Their customer service has been declining though. Atomic Music is amazing and they'll always give you a good deal; it's all used gear. They have an Ebay page but it's only a portion of their inventory. Another local shop is Victor Litz, about 15 minutes from the Rockville GC, but I honestly can't stand that shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So visited Emerald City Guitars today (totally by chance after doing the Seattle Underground Tour... which is awesome btw!) and had an awesome time!
The polar opposite of a guitar store experience that you find in Australia in that the people there were actually friendly without attitudes and knew their shit! :lol:

I walked into one of the guitar rooms and saw two older gents chatting to each other and then leaving after about two minutes. I continued having a look around with my wife and this older chap called Jay started talking to us who turned out to be the owner. Really nice dude who showed us around and then said "hey do you know Bill Freisel?" to which I replied "yeah vaguely", and he replies with "Well, you know that was him in that room before". Turns out I didn't know of him that well :rofl:

Anyway... A really cool vintage store with heaps of used stuff. There was a Keeley modded Boss HM-2 pedal which I'm thinking about but I thought I'd get the opinion of people who know about it. Any thoughts on that one?

Tldr; Was really cool to visit a "Mom & Pop" guitar store as they practically don't exist where I'm from in Australia, Walked past Jazz great Bill Freisel without knowing and am thinking about a Keeley modded Boss HM-2. Awesome time :yesway:

P.S. I only bought a T-shirt from the store but I didn't think that was pic worthy yet but yell out if you want pics.
 
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