Haight Ashbury Music Center - Closing doors after almost 40 years!
Updated: Mar 9
The Haight District in SF has an incredibly rich bohemian history. If you've never been, I highly recommend checking out this quick read & adding the Haight to your itinerary of neighborhoods to visit while in San Francisco.
Years ago while on my exploration to find left-handed guitars (yes, I'm one of those people), only a handful of shops actually carried a decent stock of acoustic & electric options. One store on my list became the Haight Ashbury Music Center, so when I received the email announcing they were closing, I had to make a pilgrimage up there to pay my respects one last time & of course, see what kind of treasures I could find.
I was primarily looking for a tambourine & thankfully, they had 2 left, score! I couldn't help but ask about left-handed guitars they might have in stock. As he checked the computer inventory, I thought I might be too late as the store was looking pretty bare. Luckily, they had 4 in house total; 1 electric, 3 acoustic/electric.
Over my 10+ years playing the guitar, I've only ever purchased 2 brand new. Their are a couple reasons for this: 1) I'm not willing to purchase a guitar I can't play/hear first and 2) Stock on left-handed guitars is generally always low, with most stores getting them in as consignment/trade-ins.
With that said, being able to choose from 3 brand-spanking new acoustic/electric guitars, was not at all what I expected considering the liquidation sale. Did I mention they were Taylor guitars? Yep. Taylor. I've had the chance to play both Martin & Taylor guitars & while I personally don't have a preference, I know a lot of guitarists side one way or the other.
I sat and played each option for a little while & finally landed on the Taylor GS Mini-e in Walnut, which came w/a lightweight hard bag (including neck support) & an onboard pickup/preamp w/built-in tuner. It's what some might call a tenor or folk size guitar...super comfortable to play & the sound....I mean c'mon. Exactly what I needed and wanted from a one-of-a-kind shop that has a stood the test of time.
On my way to checkout, I grabbed a guitar strap & a couple t-shirts & said so long to a historical store that over the years, brought so many so much joy & added to the heart of what the Haight is about: creation & freedom of expression. I was glad to have been there one last time & to have found a new addition to my humble guitar family, to which I named appropriately: Ashbury Taylor.
Before you start getting all weepy on me, Haight Ashbury Music will still run their online store: haightashburymusic.com & for those who like the traditional brick & mortar locations, check out:
Gelb Music: 722 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA 94063 (650.365.8878)
Guitar Showcase: 3090 S. Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95124 (408.377.5864)
Until next time, play the heck outta whatever you play, sing your heart out & tell your stories!