Back in 1964, when the Beatles were making their mark on American audiences, two brothers, Armand and Bruce Schaubroeck, were founding a guitar icon in their mother’s basement. Released from their subterranean lair, the brothers founded Rochester’s House of Guitars, which continues to be a truly must-see guitar shop. Within its labyrinth of shelves, you will find guitars literally stacked to the ceiling.
NUMBER OF INSTRUMENTS CURRENTLY IN STOCK
Armand Schaubroeck (Owner): We’re a full-service store with guitars, drums, amps, keyboards, recording and pro sound gear—anything music related. Right now we have about 20,000 guitars.
COOLEST INSTRUMENT CURRENTLY IN THE SHOP
We have a D’Angelico New Yorker, hand-made in 1947 by D’Angelico himself. Most people only see this guitar on the cover of Mel Bay instructional books. Jazz enthusiasts get a real charge out of holding and playing it. Other guitars getting a lot of attention are Gibsons with beautiful Brazilian wood.
MOST EXPENSIVE INSTRUMENT YOU’VE EVER SOLD
Metallica visited us when they recorded their first record in Rochester. They did their laundry down the street from House of Guitars, and while their clothes were washing, they’d hang out at our store. We treated them very nicely even though they said they didn’t have any money, and we let them try out anything. Later they came back at a time when they were filling large venues and spent $70,000 on vintage guitars, including a vintage Gibson solid-body violin bass with original reverse banjo-style pegs.
BIGGEST PET PEEVE AS A SHOP OWNER
House of Guitars is also a CD/record store, and every April (Record Store Day) and Black Friday, the record manufacturers release very limited vinyl releases, and it causes lines at the doors at opening, creating a second Christmas for us. I wish the guitar industry would do the same thing on a certain day where they release very limited guitar models, colors and accessories to cause the same reaction from our guitar customers.
FAVORITE CELEBRITY ENCOUNTER
Son House, the old Delta blues guitarist from the late Twenties and Thirties, popped out of a taxi wearing a sharp suit with his black string tie, looking quite dapper. In his day, probably everyone dressed up to go to a music store. We showed him all the Nationals and Dobros we had, but he bought a Japanese red sunburst solidbody electric guitar with three pickups and a vibrato bar and a little amp. He had the guitar and amp sounding really great with his slide style.
ONE THING EVERYONE SHOUD KNOW ABOUT YOUR SHOP
We carry all the brands and models of new and used instruments and we discount the prices and take trade-ins. Our staff is not on commission; they are people who are trying to make it in the music industry, either by being a musician or recording engineer, and they will sincerely try to help you.
ADVICE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO BUY A GUITAR
Check the neck and the body feel and try different guitars of the same model because no two guitars have the exact same feel or sound. Also, ask for a free adjustment or setup to make your guitar even better and easier to play.