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“We asked PG readers what’s the coolest guitar shop they’ve been to in the US more recent shops at the top of readers’ favorites list. We compiled the top 20 shops and quickly realized that we would have to cut out too many great photos to fit them all in one gallery. So here is the first episode in no particular order. If you’re wondering where your favorite is, it might come next time, or we might not be aware of it, so don’t hesitate to leave your favorites in the comments section.

Willie's American Guitars - Minneapolis, MN“Willie’s American Guitars says in their own words: “Cool used guitars are almost everything we do.” However, in addition to vintage and high-end used instruments, Willie’s also stocks new gear from Fender, Gibson, Martin, PRS, Rickenbackers and loads of boutique amps and effects.”
TrueTone Music - Santa Monica, CA“Like many of the stores in our list, TrueTone can not only stock a variety of guitars, amps and effects, they can service them.”
Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center - Wheaton, MD“Shown is the store’s assortment of amp heads (top left), combos (top right), Fender and Gretsch Custom Shop instruments (bottom left), and the high-gain fare (bottom right).”
Real Guitars - San Francisco, CA“San Francisco’s oldest vintage guitar shop, Real Guitars has a reputation for being hard to find, but just give them a call and they’ll take you there!” Pictured is Real Guitars owner Chris Cobb with a Peavey Razer. In addition to a great vintage selection, Real Guitars is home to renowned mechanic Gary Brawer.
Willie's American Guitars - Minneapolis, MN“Like the rest of the store, the Willie’s American Guitars acoustic selection features vintage beauties and newer high-end instruments. Interspersed are some of the treasures found at Willie’s, including a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (Refin).”
Make'n Music - Chicago, IL“Make’n Music has been a boutique dealer since 1973. Their open plan showroom houses many high-end and boutique brands of guitars, amps and pedals, while soundproof demo rooms are available for testing equipment.”
Willie's American Guitars - Minneapolis, MN“Vintage and boutique coexist in Willie’s amp choices, along with a variety of vintage and new basses.”
Norman's Rare Guitars - Los Angeles, CA“Norman’s Rare Guitars opened in 1975 and has since become famous through a laundry list of famous clients and t-shirt appearances in movies like Spinal Tap. True to its name, Norman’s also stock rare vintage instruments new and pre-owned.”
Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center - Wheaton, MDThe store also stocks an impressive selection of bass gear (above) and Taylor (below left) and Martin (below right) acoustics.
TrueTone Music - Santa Monica, CAA popular choice among celebrities, TrueTone Music opened in 1996. The store stocks a wide range of guitars, amps and effects from big names and boutiques. Guitar brands range from Airline to Daisy Rock and Italia to Music Man, Rickenbacker and James Trussart, and of course Fender and Gibson Their effects menu offers all the boutique goodness a player can handle, from Analog Man to Empress, Keeley, Red Witch, HomeBrew and many more, with bigger names like MXR, Dunlop, Boss, and Electro-Harmonix are also represented.”
Make'n Music - Chicago, IL“The Make’n Music boutique amp selection includes a who’s who of boutique manufacturers: 65Amps, 3 Monkeys, Carol-Ann, Bogner, Diezel, Friedman, Dr. Z, Mad Professor, Louis Electric, Suhr , Victoria and more. Their effects selection (encased in the glass counter) is of the same quality.”
Lark Street Music - Teaneck, NJ“In addition to these rarities, Lark Street specializes in acoustic instruments and says they are about a 50/50 split between electric and acoustic instruments. They stock classic and new luthiers ranging from Martin and Collings to Mark Campellone and Brad Nickerson.”
Make'n Music - Chicago, ILMake’n Music’s acoustic rooms are also stocked with boutique offerings.
Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center - Wheaton, MD“Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center is one of the places on our list that’s also doing big business online. Established in 1960, it has grown to three buildings and four warehouses. In addition to guitar and bass gear, Chuck Levin’s stocks drums, keyboards, pro audio, DJ, band and orchestral instruments and gear.”
Guitar Showcase - San Jose, CA“Guitar Showcase offers everything from a wide range of ukuleles (top left) to high-end acoustics (top right) to a range of left hand guitars (bottom left) and Gibsons (bottom right).”
Fuller's Vintage Guitar - Houston, TX“Fuller’s Vintage Guitar in Houston is known as the largest guitar retailer in Texas. As you can see, Fuller’s stocks a large selection of Gibson, Gibson Custom Shop and Epiphone instruments. They specialize in hard-to-find and limited-edition Gisbon guitars Custom Shop and operate Gibson Acoustic instruments.”
TrueTone Music - Santa Monica, CA“TrueTone’s amp choices include Bad Cat, Divided by 13, Dr. Z, Hiwatt, Kustom, Orange, Rivera, 65 Amps and more.”
Rumble Seat Music - Ithaca, NY“Rumble Seat Music is unique in that it stocks both high-end and vintage guitars and premium Native American art and products, as well as vintage western clothing. The shop specializes in vintage guitars from the Holy Grail era and currently carries two ’59 Bursts. “
Rumble Seat Music - Ithaca, NY“Rumble Seat also has vintage rarities on the Fender side, including a 1951 ‘Blackguard’ Tele and a matching pair of 1968 Fender Paisley Telecaster and Telecaster bass guitars (shown in case).”
Lark Street Music - Teaneck, NJ“Lark Street successfully combines vintage, new and boutique stock. In addition to their vintage amps, Lark Street stocks newer boutique companies like Tone King and 3 Monkeys, as well as boutique pedal lines from Fulltone and Z.Vex.”
Lark Street Music - Teaneck, NJ“Lark Street Music opened in Albany, New York in 1981 and moved to New Jersey in 1999 (5 minutes drive from the George Washington Bridge). The store stocks a wide range of rare, vintage and new guitars and mandolins. Pictured are the main areas of the store you would see upon entering, with some super rarities. Can you spot the old Italian Wadre guitar and the trainwreck?”
Rumble Seat Music - Ithaca, NY“Rumble Seat also has newer instruments from PRS, Gibson and Fender, as well as other modern brands like Nash Guitars.”
Fuller's Vintage Guitar - Houston, TX“Of course, Gibson isn’t all they stock. Fuller’s also stock a full line of Fender instruments, including Custom Shop, and many other brands.”
Real Guitars - San Francisco, CA“Real guitars pride themselves on their laid-back vibe, but their selection is what might be called ‘serious’.” Shown are a 1962 Fender Telecaster, a 1968 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, a 1956 Les Paul Special, a newer Turner guitar and a 1955 Fender Tweed Champ amp.”
Norman's Rare Guitars - Los Angeles, CA“Norman’s inventory of instruments is vast and features new instruments from Fender, Gibson, Martin, Rickenbacker, PRS, Danelectro, Guild, Gretsch, D’Angelico, Nash, Don Musser, Ernie Ball Music Man, Yamaha and more.”
Fuller's Vintage Guitar - Houston, TX“Additionally, Fuller’s acoustic lineup is diverse, ranging from big names like Gibson and Guild to more boutique offerings like Gallagher and Santa Cruz stock Fender Stratocaster.”
Guitar Showcase - San Jose, CA“Guitar Showcase was founded in 1965, making it one of the oldest guitar shops on our list. They stock both new guitars (below left) and vintage instruments (right), as well as drums and keyboard gear.”
Norman's Rare Guitars - Los Angeles, CA“Norman’s Rickenback stock includes both new and vintage beauties. The store’s Rare Guitars moniker is perhaps best embodied by this 1960 Gibson Les Paul Sunburst.”
Guitar Showcase - San Jose, CA“With an instrument selection and rental facility called the Showcase Swap Shop and the store’s vintage collection called the Vintage Vault, Guitar Showcase has grown to become the largest independent music complex in Northern California. In addition to their Gibson Custom Shop (top left) and acoustic (bottom) offerings, Guitar Showcase has a range of Steve Miller-owned instruments for sale (top right).

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