Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dwk302, Apr 22, 2015.
Heading to San Francisco for a couple days. Are there any good guitar shops worth visiting?
Gary Brawer, has a Plek machine in his shop, or is there a guitar store there as well?
I heard that Haight-Ashbury Music was bought-up by Gelb Music in Redwood City. I've been going to Gelb for decades...
If you're into Acoustics, Schoenberg's in Tiburon is great spot...
It was actually the opposite. Haight bought Gelb.
Gelb is a cool shop. It is worth a venture out of the city. Lot's of nice Suhrs and Andersons. Cool amp selection too.
+1 on Haight-Ashbury and Gelb. The shop that Gary Brawer operates in (owns?) is Real Guitars, which is a bit of a dungeon with some more obscure vintage gear.
There's also Bananas Music up in San Rafael which is worth a visit.
And for completeness' sake, yes, there is a Guitar Center on Van Ness. Not a huge selection but a relatively nice GC, for what that's worth.
A couple of makers are there too (that I know of): Milkman Sound amps, and Rock N Roll Relics guitars. Might be too small to really "tour" though, but I've been meaning to look into it. Also Two Rock and Mesa up in Rohnert Park and Petaluma, but a little far afield.
A certain Ben-Wah relabeler is across the bay as well.
If you can venture out to Santa Clara/San Jose or Berkeley, there is The Starving Musician. They carry mostly used instruments but selections are by far the best I've seen than GC or mom & pop shops. A lot of stuff I've seen are "priced to move".
The Magic Flute in San Rafael.
I was in SF in december/january and I opened a similar thread at the time, I should even update that thread with my impressions after that trip.
Strictly inside San Francisco I was very disappointed on the available guitar stores, couldn't find anything nice, one of the recommended stores (Rocker guitars) was never opened, guitar center as usual cool place but the guitars get a bad setup, I was interested in a music man JP and tested one for 30 minutes in the guitar center and was not impressed at all. Then I decided to pull the trigger on that guitar but I bought from a guy from Ebay, man the guitar is just absolutely amazing with a decent setup, that guitar center crappy setup almost made me get a bad impression about the gear.
I didn't like the attitude I got in Haight-Ashbury Music having to give my backpack to one of the employees but ok, it's their rules, no big deal but again not a lot of good options, the store is very narrow so if you're a big guy you have to take care when turning around to not hit and drop something.
Did rocker close?
Real Guitars, San Francisco.
Real guitars if you are interested in old banged up gear, aka vintage.
As said above, Gelb in Redwood City has a lot of nice stuff, but the couple of times I've been in, a snooty attitude
Real guitars is the oldest vintage store in SF. But the selection is real bad.. Plus the store is kinda dark and musty smiling.. Not my kinda store… Gelb is a modern store but NO MOJO!! Stuck up sales guys and not a good vibe.. Haight-Ashbury Music is ok but small and not cheap.. So to round up your search "Not much" It's all kinda ****** in the city.. Lol!!
Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto for (mostly) acoustic instruments. Awesome shop and staff.
I called their number. Outgoing message says they're open from 12-2pm on Sat ONLY. Also says they still have a lot of guitars, just show up between 12-2pm Sat or leave a message.
I don't know how old the outgoing message is.
In conclusion, I have no idea whether they're still open (GRIN) I love(d) that store - used to stop there on my way home from work when I lived up there. Great store, and a fine place to get a parking ticket - it's where I learned to keep $10 worth of quarters in my car at all times ...
Hope this helps, though I know it really doesn't ...
Thanks, Dana O.
rocker transitioned into carrying no brand name stuff a while ago - dont know if they are still operating or not.
to be honest, the bay area guitar stores/selection absolutely suck.
to call real guitars a 'vintage' guitar store is a joke - they've got old crap, yes.
As mentioned, if you want to venture a bit out of the city, Banana's At Large in San Rafael is a great shop, and the main one I go to. They have a wide range of new guitars and sometimes have a selection of used gear previously owned by Neil Schon and Joe Satriani. Its about 10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. There's also a store there called The Magic Flute but its not as much of a "pro" shop as Banana's - more of a family music store.
Another one that I don't think has been mentioned is Subway Guitars in Berkeley. Its a funky little shop that is packed to the gills with all kinds of used guitars, especially lots of oddball stuff. Its almost like a museum. I haven't been there in a couple years, but could be fun and worth your time to check out.
X2 - Gryphon is an awesome shop with a great staff and large selection of quality acoustic instruments. Very talented repair shop, too. They carry some electrics and boutique amps, but their main thing are acoustics. And boy, do they have some gorgeous instruments!
I live about 10-15 minutes from Gelb and have been in and out of their store since the late '70's. I've never found them to be snooty, but I suppose it's possible. They have a solid selection of small builder amps and guitars, and a VERY solid selection of boutique pedals. You might not find what you want there, but you'll definitely find something. They have a consignment shop around the corner, too, but I've found it to be more hit-or-miss.
Billie Joe Armstrong is opening a guitar shop in Oakland relatively soon -- I think between Broadway and Telegraph on 40th.
But yeah, this area ain't great for guitar shops (aside from GC).