Updated 09 DEC 06
The Great Retail Stores
The stores I have listed are what I feel are a cut above most in terms of service and knowledge.  

For more information on the vendors below, click on the company name, or the picture or logo, and you will be transported in many cases to
additional informatiion or directly to their website.
Some of my favorite stores for the purchase of amps, guitars, and effects
TrueTone Music is one of those stores that carries on the tradition of the smaller stores that have great inventory and a very high level of expertise.

They don't stock keyboards, rack gear, and that sort of stuff .... think of TrueTone as more of a place that caters to guitar players ... their needs
and wants.

These guys are special.  Click on the logo above, or the name above, and read a bit more on this website before moving on to their website via a
link.  They have a LOT to offer, the an extensive line of the world's finest amps, greatest guitars, and the most extensive pedal inventory in the
universe.  They have new and vintage (and the vintage stuff is PRISTENE).  Don't worry if you are not close to them - they ship!  Many of my
personal clients have True Tone ship to them often.
Norm's ... if you cannot find your dream vintage guitar here, I'd be surprised.  Norm's is one of the top vintage guitar
shops in the world.  He has personally sold me a number of instruments over the last decades.  They are also an
authorized dealer for many new lines.  While Norm does not focus on amps, it seems that each time I visit his store,
there are always dozens of surprises waiting.  They do sell new Fender amplifiers also.  Their prices are excellent, but
their expertise, selection, and interaction with folks is what sets them apart from many other stores.  I personally
recommend them very highly.

There are THREE great names from the last four decades that define "Vintage Guitar" .... One of them is in New York ...
One of them is in Nashville, and One is here in California ... Norm's ...

"The Amazing Nick"
(at Norm's) does all sort of guitar repairs and mods, right up to complete restoration.  He is the
guy that works on Norm's six figure instruments, so I guess that says more than I can in fewer words.  Like I said ... Nick
is "Norm's" guitar guy, so that says 10,000 words alone.

Norm's, who is known mostly for GUITARS, is not a name that comes to mind for amplifiers.  This is sort of in
, but Norm's has a pretty extensive collection of vintage amps for sale at times, that are generally some of the
prime examples of these amps, in amazing condition.  Just like his guitars, he is just as picky about his amps.  Norm's is
also an authorized Fender amp dealer with most of the latest amps on the floor.

This firm is an authorized refferal agent for Blueprinting.

18969 Ventura Bl.  Tarzana CA. 91356   818-344-8300
For some store
pictures during the
April 03 clinic, just

This is a link directly to their Hollywood store site.  John and Jimbo are two of the greatest guys in the business. John's latest designs in front end
effects have to be seen and heard!  These folks also carry Zvex.

John is a super Mesa Amp Tech, but also works on just about anything else.  I would trust him with my own amps, and send a lot of folks his way.

Frankly, if you are going to buy a Mesa amp, I'd buy it here.  It is worth the drive, or a phone call ... they will ship anything.

This store also carries a very extensive array of effects, pedals, and guitars (very high end and very rationally priced ones too).
An always changing  line of vintage guitars AND amplifiers!

Tthe place .... very comfortable and relaxed. Their vintage amp stock is very impressive and all are in great condition.   This is one of the few place
you can see a Dumble amp if interested.

They can be called at 818-789-8884 and their location is at 5244 Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. (They are just north of Magnolia, bear to the
right when the street curves)
What sort of store is only open by appointment during the week?  A store that is more like being in your own private museum, rather than in a
retail music venue?

One that caters to a very special client base.  During the week, the store is open by appointment only.  This allows players to try things in a quiet
environment, for hours, trying, listentening, comparing.

The owner, Ed Yoon, spent a good chunk of his life in an upper level position at Fender.  This guy knows his stuff.  His product line has just about
every great amp that can be imagined.  This is a huge store, but decorated and set up like an art gallery rather than a retail establishment.   This
place is a treat for the ears and the eyes.

Tone Merchants is a perfect name for this icon of amps, guitars, effects and more.  They are in Orange County, and are worth a drive no matter
what your location.  If you are from back east or the midwest, pack up the kids, send them off to Disneyland, and you can spend the day here in
your own wonderland.

I think this store is going to end up as one of the great icons of music such as Manny's on 48th street in New York, Gruhn in Nashville, and Norm's
Rare Guitars in Los Angeles.

Thanks to Alex Kahn ( I hope I got that right ), there is a link to some of his fantastic pictures (which show the staggering amp lines they carry) on
an unofficial website (click on Tone Merchants above to go to the official website)
Click HERE to return to main page
Below are a few guitars from what may be the coolest guitar place on the planet.  I am sure you folks have your favorite places
but this place is really a cut above anybodies expectations.

First off, it is not open to the public.  It is by appointment only.  Not that unusual?  The owner, David Brass, is also a seller of rare
books. Perhaps that is the foundation behind the detailed writeups on each guitar or amplifier and his detailed expertise on the

His establishment, Fretted Americana, is unlike the typical music store or high end vintage shop.  There are a number of different
offices or rooms filled with guitars and the PROPER amps use to audition the guitars, basses, and other fretted instruments.  The
entire inventory is the pick of the pick of the pick to put it in simple improper English. I am sure David could have written this in a
more articulate way but I think my point is understood.  There are vintage amps in each room to play the guitars through, each in
pristine shape.  Each instrument has an extensive description sheet that goes into each instrument's specific details such as
pickup output, weight, history etc.  Carl Verheyen was recently in the shop for a visit and told me that two of the guitars he
played were the two finest examples of the instruments of the type that he had ever played or seen.  One was a 58 Les Paul.   
You can see a few of their current guitars below in the thumbnails off their website.  Click on any of them for a bigger image.  On
their website you will find these photos but also photos showing other views of the given instrument. There are also written
details on the instrument.  
www.frettedamericana.com is the website for Fretted Americana and David Brass. Yes, the guitars are
as amazing as they look in the photos. Many are so clean you'd think they just were unpacked from the factory.