Meeting an Icon of the Vintage Guitar World

Meeting an Icon of the Vintage Guitar World

Debbie and I spent a few days in Nashville with good friends of ours, and I, along with my good friend Trevor, had the opportunity to stop by a couple of this great music city’s iconic guitar shops:  Carter Vintage Guitars and Gruhn Guitars.  Both shops had welcoming and friendly staff in addition to huge selections of new and vintage instruments.  For fellow guitar aficionados out there, I highly recommend visiting these shops if you find yourself in Nashville.  While at Gruhn’s, I had an opportunity to meet George Gruhn, owner and founder of the shop.  Mr. Gruhn might know more about guitars than anyone else anywhere.  He opened his shop in 1970, and is the co-author (along with Walter Carter) of “Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars” along with other highly regarded references.  According to the store's website, he has sold instruments to Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney, among many, many others.  The following quote encapsulates very well how many of us feel about these wonderful instruments:


"Guitars, which I feel are the ultimate collectible, can be looked at, touched, listened to, and played. At the same time they are beautiful pieces of art that can be appreciated on so many levels. A guitar responds to the individual player and sounds completely different when you play it than when you listen to someone else play it . . . There is, therefore, greater depth of appreciation with musical instruments than with almost any other collectible, perhaps even more than with painting and sculpture."  - George Gruhn


He was gracious to spend some time with me, handing me guitars to play and sharing his preferences and knowledge.  I don’t consider myself a young guy (owning a guitar business is my second career after spending 30 years as a physical therapist).  But age certainly is relative, and speaking to a fellow who has been in business for 51 years now, with his vast experience and accrued knowledge, made me feel like the neophyte that I am in this retail guitar biz.  I absorbed as much wisdom as possible, thanked him profusely for his time and for his contributions to our guitar world, and floated on out of his store.  This visit was very memorable for me!


Our trip also included stops in Memphis (please visit the National Civil Rights Museum there - a wonderfully presented and powerfully moving and educational experience), Birmingham and Atlanta.  Great music, great food, not too bad weather and warm hospitality greeted us everywhere we went. 


On another note:  I hope to very soon have big news about the brick and mortar Organic Sounds Select Guitars location and opening date.  Stay tuned!

- Larry