Shop Visit: Independent Guitar Stores | The Acoustic Guitar Podcast

Take a virtual road trip across the US to visit four independent guitar stores. Each of these shops is more than just a retail outlet – and each of these shopkeepers has a unique perspective on why that is and what to look forward to in the future.

Take a virtual road trip across the United States to visit four independent guitar stores and learn what makes them vital to the communities they serve. As you’ll hear, each of these shops is more than just a retail outlet – and each of these shopkeepers has a unique perspective on why that is and what to look forward to in the future.

Catch up with Richard Johnston of Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, California; Stan and Lillian Werbin of Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan; Raymond Morin of Acoustic Music Works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and George Gruhn of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, Tennessee.

We’re releasing this episode during peak holiday shopping season for a reason. Please visit your local music store for all your gifting needs (or to treat yourself!) When you buy from local, independently owned businesses, 29.3% of the revenue is recirculated into the local economy (as opposed to 5.8% from Amazon.) And, please leave a comment below to give a shout out to your favorite store, wherever you live!

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The Acoustic Guitar Podcast theme music is composed by Adam Perlmutter and performed for this episode by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers.

This episode is hosted by Nick Grizzle and Elton Bradman, produced by Tanya Gonzalez, and directed and edited by Joey Lusterman. Executive producers are Lyzy Lusterman and Stephanie Campos Dal Broi.

The Acoustic Guitar Podcast is produced by the team at Acoustic Guitar magazine, including:

  • Publisher: Lyzy Lusterman
  • Editor: Adam Perlmutter
  • Managing Editor: Kevin Owens
  • Senior Editor: Blair Jackson
  • Creative Director: Joey Lusterman
  • Digital Content Director: Stephanie Campos Dal Broi
  • Digital Content Manager: Nick Grizzle
  • Marketing Services Manager: Tanya Gonzalez

Special thanks to our listeners who support the show on Patreon.

Nick Grizzle
Nick Grizzle

Nick Grizzle is a music journalist and editor, sound engineer, drummer, and music lover whose vinyl collection continuously overflows its confines. He holds the position of Digital Content Manager for Acoustic Guitar.


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  1. Great episode.

    For all of my guitar needs and questions, I often head to The Open Chord Music Shop (Knoxville, Tennessee). The folks at the shop are knowledgeable, candid, and kind. When I began playing the guitar again, after years of not playing, they treated me like I was a pro (even when I could not form a proper F chord). I never feel pressured to make a purchase and I never feel rushed to leave the store when I do make a purchase.
    If you are ever in the Knoxville Tennessee area, please visit The Open Chord Music Shop.

    Support your local independent guitar store!

  2. My favorite music shop is Manchester Music Mill in Manchester, NH. Great customer service and knowledgeable staff. Whenever I’ve needed something they always have it in stock with plenty of used gear to purchase. Music Mill also has a great no questions asked 45 day return policy.

  3. Great episode – we all need to support our local shops. Unfortunately my closest real acoustic guitar store is 3 hours away which is not far in Montana. Music Villa in Bozeman, Montana is a real acoustic guitar store with hundreds of instruments including custom shop Martins, Gibson’s and much more. And a tour of the Gibson Acoustic guitar factory is a local bonus. Thanks to all those shops hanging on with Reverb stores and their own websites. I have traveled the country visiting guitar shops and Elderly Instruments is a favorite (bought a great Martin custom shop 0-16 from them). And they are still in business as opposed to Mandolin Brothers and so many others. But rejoice! We are in the golden age of guitars!

  4. Loved this article! It’s so important to support small businesses.

    In the north country, we’re super lucky to have Northern Lights Music. They’re a family-owned shop with 45 years behind them. They’re super knowledgeable (musicians themselves) and repair and maintain stringed instruments in-house. They have an amazing selection of guitars ranging from rare vintage instruments to new guitars handmade in the US. (They also ship worldwide.)

    They can be found at:

  5. The Fretted Buffalo – World Class Acoustic Guitars – Buffalo, NY.

    If I die broke, there’s a good chance Bill Covington at The Fretted Buffalo will have had something to do with it. Since discovering Bill’s shop and getting to know him I can’t visit the area without a trip to his now newly renovated guitar parlor to explore & play whatever fine selection he has in stock. It takes me forever to decide, but I walk out with at least one on every trip and can’t wait to go back. Go visit or check him out on reverb or youtube. Prices are more than fair & selection is always unusually interesting.