312 Vintage Guitars

The Hardscrabbler: Bob Dain Brings Vintage Guitars and Local Equipment Back to Bridgeport

Dain also repairs instruments and gives lessons. Dain’s infatuation with vintage gear began during his college years while gigging with different bands and experimenting with different equipment to hone his tone. Now, he obsesses over classified ads and travels to estate sales in search of that perfect piece of gear for his store, which is a brick-and-mortar extension of his eBay marketplace. Bob Dain, 26, opened Vintage Guitars, W. Already, he’s bought sticks and accessories and recommended the place to other local musicians.
312 vintage guitars

312 Vintage Guitars

312 Vintage Guitars

Owner Bob Dain, age 26, says he watched one customer drive by, back up, park and walk in off the street. He paid over a thousand for each instrument, then went back on his way. The year he was born, Gibson Guitar was a tired brand struggling under foreign ownership and a diminished reputation, production was down to 1 model of electric guitar, and the company was bleeding money.

That was , the year Gibson was purchased by a couple young guys with business degrees. By , the heritage plan was working. The Chicago makers lost their lead in the s and 70s, when the center of guitar manufacture moved to Asia. But in the s, Asian buyers holding strong currency also had an appreciation for old American made instruments, and prices were on the rise. In Eric Clapton auctioned of his instruments to raise money for a drug and alcohol recovery center, and set record prices.

Reissues of classic designs, peppered with fabulous prices for celebrity instruments, stoked a market for originals through the s, or at least through that part that was exuberant. He plays vintage instruments, but he is less likely to buy a rarefied specimen in perfect condition than to buy something that is interesting for other reasons, and modify it for his own use.

Dain bought his first vintage guitar at a church estate sale when he was 15, a couple years after Guitar Center bought its Clapton Stratocaster. Dain bought an Airline brand electric guitar, made by Chicago based Valco Manufacturing Company in the s and s. But back then, he says, they were still undervalued. The crash in prices in the late s made a lot more bargains available.

And the market has widened, buyers have come to appreciate more instruments, for more various reasons. Dain recently sold a Grestch Fury amplifier built by Valco in Valco was known for its mid-market brands. In it was going out of business, it assembled the Gretsch Fury from parts it had lying around the warehouse. From the 19th Century, Chicago was a dominant force in the mass production of musical instruments of all kinds, and for some of the same reasons it came to dominate other industries: The catalogs all offered large selections of instruments.

Amplified guitars were developed on parallel tracks in Chicago and Los Angeles in the s, partly to make them audible through the din of dance orchestras. In Los Angeles, the National String Instrument and Dobro Manufacturing companies both developed self-ampliphonics, but the Chicago firm Stromberg-Voisinet, which started out in the s, making mandolins, is credited with making the first electric guitar for commercial production in By the mids, National and Dobro merged and migrated to Chicago to be near the center of things.

They all prospered on the post war triumph of the guitar. They built acoustics for the folk movement, electric guitars and amps for blues and rock and roll. In the mid s, the Harmony Company, which first set up shop on the present site of the Civic Opera building in , moved its production to S. Under the British guitar band invasion, demand would not stop growing. But the fade-out of American made guitars was a staggered effect that started while sales were still peaking.

One commentator observes that the Harmony Company found itself confronted with a choice between building its production capacity to meet the clamor for instruments, and making the market wait.

He says it took the second option, effectively stepping aside to let cheap foreign imports fill the gap. It was another Chicago businessman who saw the opportunity to fill that gap with inexpensive Asian made guitars. In the early he created a Korean based manufacturer, originally called Yoo-Ah, then Cor-Tek, it is still one of the largest guitar makers in the world.

Then by the early s, Harmony was struggling. Gibson was seeing record sales in the early 70s, but by , Harmony stopped production, auctioned the contents of its warehouse, and licensed its name to Asian imports. A decade after Harmony wound down, Bridgeport helped launch a new era of instrument manufacture. In , after years of fielding resumes from aspiring guitar builders, he launched the Chicago School of Guitar Making, which has trained over 1, students so far.

In fact, Bob Dain was one of them. When he was ready to open his own retail store, Bridgeport was a natural location. There is a density of musicians in the Pilsen- Bridgeport area, he observes, including music studios at all points of the compass from Hinge Studios in Pilsen and 35th Street Studios to the west, to Alien Audio in Canaryville but no place to buy guitar strings.

Until now. Dain says that today, about half his sales are still made to Asian buyers over the internet. Pete Galanis, a Bridgeport based studio musician has arranged to teach guitar lessons at the shop; Ken Bonner, who also lives in the neighborhood, provides expert services in amplifier repair. Now Bonner is starting up his own business, Bridgeport Amplifier Co, to make boutique, hand wired equipment. Dylan Patterson, who founded Emperor Cabinets once told GearWire that Chicago is a great market for custom equipment, because nearly everyone in Chicago seems to be in some kind of band.

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The latest Tweets from Vintage Guitars (@VintGuitars). Rare and Vintage Guitar Shop located in the Bridgeport area of Chicago. ( W 35th St). Small Guitar Shop located in the heart of the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. Offering unique vintage and modern gear, affordable lessons, and repairs. 10 reviews of Vintage Guitars – CLOSED “TOTAL GEM. Had no idea this shop was around until now — I’m super impressed! Wide selection of quite tasty.

312 Vintage Guitars Rocks Onto 35th Street

Owner Bob Dain, age 26, says he watched one customer drive by, back up, park and walk in off the street. He paid over a thousand for each instrument, then went back on his way. The year he was born, Gibson Guitar was a tired brand struggling under foreign ownership and a diminished reputation, production was down to 1 model of electric guitar, and the company was bleeding money.

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Get reviews, hours, directions, coupons and more for Vintage Guitars at W 35th St, Chicago, IL. Search for other Guitars & Amplifiers in Chicago on. Guild F | Main Drag Music Guild Acoustic Guitars, Guitar, Music # guitar Vintage Guild D4 – USA Made Westerly, RI Archback Acoustic Guitar. Guitar Shop located in the heart of the Bridgeport neighborhood dedicated to bringing quality vintage instruments, repair services, and lessons to the south- side.

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312 Vintage Guitars

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