Guitar sales on the rise for American guitar makers and local guitar shops

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Guitar sales are on the rise, at least according to Guitar Magazine.

So we decided to swing by two local guitar shops — House of Guitars and Bernunzio Uptown Music — to see how they’re keeping their six strings stocked.

Bruce Schaubroeck, one of the owners at the HoG — the musical mainstay on Titus Avenue in Irondequoit — says that people needed a lockdown hobby and playing guitar can strike a special chord.

It’s not just those cheap beginner guitars, or just those classic American guitars (of which HoG is a top dealer), like Fender, Gibson, Les Paul, or Taylor — it’s six strings of all persuasions.

“All of them, everything, all across the board,” Schaubroeck said. “Beginners are starting off with acoustics or electrics. Pros are coming back and are stepping up and getting better quality of instruments, to improve and sit and write songs. Because every guitar inspires somebody to write something different, or to play something different, that’s the beauty of guitars.”

That same “everyone needs to play” mentality stretches to Bernunzio Uptown Music on East Avenue in Rochester — even though most of their guitars aren’t new. Instead, they specialize in used and vintage guitars.

“The kinds of things you can’t find at other shops,” said John Bernunzio, owner of the store, as he cradled a Kay Venitian-style bodied guitar.

Bernunzio says that guitars might even be harder to come by because manufacturers are making less because of the pandemic restrictions. Couple that with increased demand, it can be tought o keep things on the shelves.

“People want to make music during this time,” Berunzio said. “And I think that’s a very logical and worthy thing to accomplish.”

But for those whom the creative fires burn strong, a little supply and demand doesn’t scare them away. Both Bernunzio and Schaubroeck say their online business has increased, even with competition from the “big websites,” because they have better customer service.

“We might have ten of the same guitar, so people who are serious about a nicer guitar, would like to check out different products in the same price range, and then try a bunch of the same guitar,” Schaubroeck said. “And then we have luthiers right in the store who will fine tune and tighten everything before you take it home.”

Bernunzio Uptown Music even offers a 48 hour trial. You have two days to try out your new “ax” in all kinds of settings to make sure its the right one for you.

That kind of customer service creates loyal customers.

“We have a lot of loyal people, because we’ve been in business for many, many years,” Bernunzio said. “We have local people who buy strings online from us just because they want to help out.”

So whether you want an acoustic, electric, or in my case, a four string, now might be the perfect time to get started.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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