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Thread: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

  1. #1

    Default Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    I've googled already. But if anybody can recommend one or more acoustic music shops in the Oakland/Alameda/Berkeley area, where I'll be in a few days, thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Check out Mighty Fine Guitars in Lafayette:

    http://mightyfineguitars.com/
    Dense and slow, but stubborn.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Not sure about area size but there is https://www.gryphonstrings.com/ probably a 30-40 minute drive from Oakland

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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Given traffic in the Bay Area it would be a bit out of your way but Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto is probably the nicest shop in the SF area. AThere's an amazing guitar collection and lots of mandolins and other things.

    https://www.gryphonstrings.com

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    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    My favorite guitar/mandolin store in the bay area is Schoenberg in Tiberon.
    It is a beautiful store, in a beautiful town, with a lovely owner, and an insanely beautiful inventory of great instruments.
    They have a great selection of old Gibson mandolins, F and A, and always have really cool examples from other makers.
    Definitely worth the drive over the Richmond bridge.
    It is stunning area for a day trip for lunch and Schoenberg.
    You wont be disappointed.
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  8. #6

    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Mighty Fine is the bomb for luthier built acoustics. The Bay Area mando hot spots are Schoenberg and Gryphon, both a bit out of your way.
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  9. #7
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    5th string by the Ashby BART station gone?, I expect the Geary St one in SF is probably long closed
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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    5th String is long gone unfortunately - as for San Francisco, hardly any music shops there now and certainly none that are of interest from a mandolin perspective.
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  11. #9
    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    As noted above, the 5th String in Berkeley is long gone as is the Thin Man Music in Alameda, but there are a couple of stores that might have something of interest in the budget range.

    Acme House of Music is small shop in Oakland on the northeast end of Piedmont Ave.--near the cemetery--that has a few mandolins (mostly Pac Rim stuff, but not bad), ukes, and acoustic guitars. Pleasant, funky shop, and the instruments they had when I was in there would be perfectly serviceable for a beginning/intermediate player. http://acmehouseofmusic.com/

    Fatdog's Subway Guitars on Cedar is always interesting, particularly for fans of weird and oddball instruments and Frankenmandos. They made (maybe still make) a really fun line of Danelectro-style electric mandocellos, for example. Lots of fun electric guitars, too, and every once in a while a real gem is nestled in the nest of oddities. David Lindley shops there, if that gives you a hint of what might be in store.
    http://www.fatdawg.com/

    For quality instruments, the three shops mentioned above--Might Fine, Gryphon, and Schoenberg--are world class. All are guitar oriented, but Gryphon and Schoenberg always have some good mandolin-family instruments in stock.
    Just one guy's opinion
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  12. #10

    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Thanks for the replies. I went to Subway Guitars in Berkeley a few days ago - wow. Seemed like 500 guitars in all states of repair, crammed into a dark and cluttered space the size of a small living room. Dusty guitars hanging in bundles from the ceiling like sausages. Maybe 20 mandolins, playable and otherwise, mostly inaccessible in the upper corners of the space. Hard to understand their business model.

  13. #11
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Quote Originally Posted by T-E-F View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I went to Subway Guitars in Berkeley a few days ago - wow. Seemed like 500 guitars in all states of repair, crammed into a dark and cluttered space the size of a small living room. Dusty guitars hanging in bundles from the ceiling like sausages. Maybe 20 mandolins, playable and otherwise, mostly inaccessible in the upper corners of the space. Hard to understand their business model.
    There used to be a place like this around here, but the owner died and the shop closed. I used to love going in there just to see what I would find. Most instruments didn't even have prices on them.
    The good program you practice is better than the perfect program you quit.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Bought a nice Stradolin at Subway Guitars. As far as his business model goes, I once said to Fat Dawg, “you don’t look so fat to me.” He asked, “have you ever seen a fat dog?” I answered, “of course.” He then stated, “well, that’s a happy satisfied animal.”

  15. #13

    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    The staff was friendly and helpful during my visit. I would respectfully suggest, though, that they make a few well-setup mandolins readily accessible.

  16. #14
    Notary Sojac Paul Kotapish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mando/acoustic guitar shops in E Bay area?

    Quote Originally Posted by T-E-F View Post
    Thanks for the replies. I went to Subway Guitars in Berkeley a few days ago - wow. Seemed like 500 guitars in all states of repair, crammed into a dark and cluttered space the size of a small living room. Dusty guitars hanging in bundles from the ceiling like sausages. Maybe 20 mandolins, playable and otherwise, mostly inaccessible in the upper corners of the space. Hard to understand their business model.
    I don't think owner Fatdog has ever considered anything much in the way of a business model, and I'm not at a sure he's even the slightest interested in organizing the place in any customer-friendly way.

    It may or may not be intentional.

    When I was a kid, there were a number of stores in our area that quite intentionally maintained an atmosphere of chaos and built reputations as sure-fire discount venues. Customers figured that they were saving on the fact that the owners weren't paying anything in the way of cleaning or displaying. I have no idea whether people were getting a bargain or not, but the flea-market atmosphere created that impression.

    All that said, I've discovered some really interesting instruments at Subway, and the folks there have always been happy to let me see anything in the shop. If you can handle the visual overload, it's pretty fun.
    Just one guy's opinion
    www.guitarfish.net

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