Guitar Center is… fine, at best. The only good thing about it is the water fountain. If you’re in a band, enjoy making music or need some gear fixed, there are plenty of local options in Denver besides the standard, errand-like trip to Guitar Center. Here are the best music stores Denver has to offer.
Drum City Guitarland
Where: 9225 W 44th Ave, Wheat Ridge.
When: Tuesday–Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Details: Drum City Guitarland is a great drum and guitar shop (who would’ve guessed!) that offers musicians a wide variety of rare and beautiful equipment. It was founded in 1965 by the late Ronny Kae and is now owned by his two sons. The selection for both drums and guitars is outstanding but the guitars they have are truly one of a kind — a lot of Schecter and ESP. The basses they have are top-notch and have many versatile options. The customer service and repairs they offer are miles beyond what you could expect from a national chain. Check it out, especially if you want to geek out on gear.
Where: 1673 S Acoma St.
When: Monday–Friday: 12 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: Flipside Music has one of the nicest environments of any music store I’ve experienced. The staff is wonderfully kind, the store is clean and easy to navigate and they have possibly the best selection of guitar pedals in Denver. Flipside has a great selection of stringed instruments — specifically, their cool and affordable collection of Squier guitars. The space is really lovely and includes practice rooms with good acoustics (quality you would not find in a Guitar Center). This is where you should go to find your next guitar, bass or effects pedal.
Where: 2045 S Holly St.
When: Monday–Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: If you’ve ever considered going to Guitar Center to buy drum gear, my friend, I have some questions. For instance, here is the collection of Ludwig drum sets on Rupp’s website, versus the collection on the website of Guitar Center’s Denver Store. Rupp’s is a go-to for professional drummers, intermediates or anyone looking to start drumming. The shop offers quality lessons, as well. This is a Denver staple when it comes to music stores.
Colfax Guitar Shop
Where: 3220 E. Colfax Ave.
When: Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Details: Speaking of Denver staples… Colfax Guitar Shop is celebrating 25 years of fixing and making Denver’s guitars. Though this is probably not the place where you would buy your first guitar, you can get handcrafted, custom-made guitars from the in-house luthiers, get your second-hand guitar fixed up and of course, get all the accessories you need. The shop’s wonderful history makes them a trustworthy place for your guitar, bass or ukulele. Next time you need to get your pickups fixed, head to Colfax Guitar Shop for better prices, friendlier service and potentially the source of the handcrafted guitar or bass of your dreams.
And if none of these fine options suit you, place an order from Sweetwater (home of the nicest customer service you will ever receive) and ditch the Guitar Center habit.
Photos courtesy of Will Roberts unless stated otherwise.