Vintage Guitar Boutique
The best gadgets aren’t always the latest – this is certainly true when it comes to guitar shopping. The wood of a solid-body guitar ages to augment its quality; it might even get a few minor scuffs over the years that add to its nostalgia: a bit like a leather jacket or a pair of Converse.
With this in mind, our favourite place to find special guitars, amps and effects pedals (cool gift alert!) is Vintage Guitar Boutique. Its minimalist storefront, on the corner between Redchurch Street and Brick Lane, belies the stunning emporium hidden below ground level: a high-ceilinged space adorned with Persian rugs, big creased leather armchairs, chintz lampshades and a sweet little dog called Gilbert to greet you on the stairwell. The best part (apologies, Gilbert) is the floor-to-ceiling mounted displays of guitars stretching in rows across each wall.
On our trip, Carolina got “Ziggy” with it, glam-rocking a holographic dress and vibrant cobalt top from Mary Katrantzou. Her designs are all about a collision of patterns, textures and colours – we don’t mind a bit of The Clash. And because a girl can never have enough glitz and glam, she stomps her effects pedals wearing a fabulously glittery pair of platforms by Marni.
For the founder of VGB, Steve Hove, it’s all about finding unique, one-off gems; for example, his prized classic Fender Stratocaster from 1954 – the first year Fender started making this iconic shape. It’s pretty much the holy grail of rare instruments.
Among the spectrum of this vast independent store’s options, there are also bright, candy-apple red guitars bursting with pop-Americana spirit and a few worn-looking, exposed-wood guitars for more “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. There are even a few ultra-rare and surreally shaped Rickenbackers, a favourite of The Beatles. We loved one special corner of the showroom hoarding Fender Mustangs – found in an elegant beige called Desert Sand, a few sportscar reds, and a muted turquoise with a metallic glimmer. Past players of this bright little guitar include PJ Harvey, Thurston Moore and Kurt Cobain.
It's a space to get lost in on a rainy afternoon – wear your sparkliest outfit and shake it all off.
For more information and the online store, go to Vintage Guitar Boutique's website.