This week I’m on holiday with the family and we’re house-sitting for friends in Earlsfield – a suburb just a couple of miles outside of the centre of London, near Wandsworth & Battersea. Within minutes of arriving at the “holiday home” I queried Google for any guitar shops that may be situated in the local area – fortunately, Guitar Classics came up near the top of the search results and is an approximate 1.8 mile stones throw from where we’re staying.
Reading through the Guitar Classics website was interesting as it seems the kind of guitar shop I like – full of older guitars, with nice examples of guitars and amps that span the last 40 years. The website promised a variety of old Les Pauls, Strats, Telecasters, SG’s – but often with guitar stores, I’m frequently let down by the actual store itself compared to what is seen online – and would this shop be any different?
Driving to the store was very easy – it’ about half a mile away from Wandsworth Common, but be warned, car parking is a bit of a nightmare, so bring some change for the nearby parking meters. It’s nice the website had a photo of the shop front, as it made it even easier to find.
The shop is very small, but rammed with a really good selection of guitars. I would say this shop excels in its electric guitar choice but the few acoustics on display look really nice – there were a few Taylors and Martins on show but it was a Gibson acoustic really caught my eye. Amplifier wise, I noted a couple of old Marshall combos & Fender Silverface models but nothing more than that really. It’s the selection of electric guitars that stands out in this shop – there’s an interesting selection of Les Pauls in store, one of which was a beautiful cherry burst Les Paul Custom. No joke – it looked stunning. After enquiring about this model, the shop keeper told myself (and another customer in store) a wonderful story about that actual guitar: He’s selling it on commission for a local resident, who after recently moved into the area, found the guitar in the loft of his new house, covered completely in mould. After a good clean and setup from a local guitar repairer, you’d be hard pressed to find a specimen as stunning as this – it looked incredible. It turned out the guitar was sold this morning and to top it off, half way through the story the phone rang with another customer enquiring about that actual guitar! It really did look stunning in the flesh and whoever purchased it has just landed themselves a beautiful item – let alone the guy who found it – he’s now £2700 better off!
There were some nice examples of Telecasters and Stratocasters on show. The other customer in the shop plugged in a lovely 70’s Tele and it sounded gorgeous – but it was the Bill Nash Stratocaster that caught my eye. This is a custom made Strat copy that just looked like it would sound great and oozed mojo! It was also nice to see a few SG’s on show too, most noticeably a 1964 SG Jr.
Guitar Classics is a great guitar shop if you love playing electric guitars. That doesn’t mean you should ignore this shop if you’re an acoustic player though, as the acoustic models on display were really nice, it’s just the choice of electrics was far greater.
I’m really pleased I found this shop for two reasons: firstly, the brilliant selection of older, quality guitars for sale and secondly, how nice it was to see that the majority of the guitars advertised on their website are the actual guitars on display in store. The owner of the shop is really chatty, friendly & knowledgeable – it was the kind of guitar shop where I could happily spend a good couple of hours, chatting and playing before parting with some hard-earned cash.
In the future, if I’m ever on the lookout for a new electric guitar, this would be one of the first places I’d look. It’s such a good feeling when you accidentally discover shops as good as this. Even though the shop is small, the choice is good and this shop really does live up to it’s name: it’s full of Guitar Classics.