Since 1972, the Southern California beach population has been lucky to have a true guitar haven right in its backyard. The rare distinction of a guitar–only store is apropos of The Guitar Shoppe in Laguna Beach. With an address on Highway 1, just yards away from some of the finest coastlines, you won’t find keyboards, PA’s or drums. What you will find is some of the finest collections of great brands and one of the most extensive collections of Guild Guitars. “People love seeing how many Guild’s we have. From the big jumbo 12’s to the full line of dread’s, orchestra’s and more, there’s nothing quite like a Guild. The unique personality of Guild guitars have maintained their popularity for decades. This personality is very special to Guild owners which is why you will rarely find someone parting ways with their Guild,” says Ben Wagner, manager of The Guitar Shoppe.

There are a few other important reasons why so many people visit The Guitar Shoppe. “If you work at The Guitar Shoppe, there are some requirements. You either have to be a player, a builder or a teacher” Ben adds. When you walk into this rustic, living room–type setting, someone who is all three will likely greet you. There´s no big sales hype, no pressure and no attitude. “We´re here to help if you need it. The rest of the time, we hope you just enjoy playing the guitars,” he adds.

Owned and operated by long time partners Kirk Sand and Jim Matthews, The Guitar Shoppe is recognized as the home of some of the finest custom designed guitars and instruments on the planet. Their skill as guitar builders and restoration experts set this group of people apart from most guitar stores. Top pros continue to rely on Sand and Matthews, along with their fine crew of craftsmen, players and teachers to provide them the highest quality workmanship and service ever assembled.

Because The Guitar Shoppe has an active teaching staff (many of them local college teachers and top pros), they’re likely to have a 12–year old and a 72–year old beginner walking through their door. But at the core of the customer base are serious hobbyists or touring professionals who often travel from quite a distance just for the chance to be a part of The Guitar Shoppe experience. “That´s where our experience as builders and players really shine. We understand the nuances of what our customers are looking for because we know what we want in our own instruments,” adds Ben.

Guild guitars are amply and proudly displayed at The Guitar Shoppe. “We only carry instruments we know our customers want and need. Guild´s are perfect for that player looking for that ‘one’ guitar that will deliver night after night, gig after gig,” says Ben. “People love seeing all the Guild´s on the wall and it´s clearly one of the guitars that people pick up and play.”

So if you´re lucky enough to visit Southern California, and should you want to be a part of the Disneyland of all things guitar, don´t miss a trip to The Guitar Shoppe.

The Guitar Shoppe 1027B North Coast Highway Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Why Players Know Guild: Dan Moore

If the house was on fire and my family was safely outside, the first thing I would grab would be my 1980 F–30 Guild acoustic guitar. Safe to say, out of all the instruments I own, this old beauty is far and away my favorite. It´s a smaller guitar with a bigger bottom. All of the varnish is worn off on the back of neck; it´s got spider web cracking on the front from the time I left it in my VW Bus on a freezing night in Bend, Oregon; it´s got a hole down by the bridge where my pick repeatedly attacked; and with new strings, it rings like an antique music box, each note an inspiration. My Grandma gave it to me when I was 11 years old. My first guitar. I have written so many songs on that guitar; I played a lot of shows with it. And on the coolest trip I ever took in my life, I brought this guitar along.

In 1995, my friends and I bought a newly retired Crown school bus. It kind of looked like a larger version of a VW bus. We remodeled it and drove from Southern California to Costa Rica, traveling through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador on roads that inspired frequent songs and prayers at about the same rate. The first part of the journey we were well off the beaten path, camping on secluded beaches, surfing, writing, learning songs, working out harmonies, woodshedding, and playing music every day and every night. As we drove further down we would stop in towns that attracted surfers and people from all over the world. These little towns, and some not so little, are part of the gringo trail, a trail of towns stretching down through Mexico and Central America. Towns with cafes and bars and everyone is on vacation. It´s a great place for a musician with a good guitar. We didn´t have a PA so we had to find places that had natural amplification. Good thing I had my F–30 Guild. It had no problem projecting it´s sweet sound. Every place we played, we would attract a crowd. The owners of these places would pay us with food, beer, and cash. Man we had it made, and this little guitar accompanied me every step of the way. – Dan Moore San Clemente, CA