The first Guitar Jar Mystery Shopper feature takes place at the world famous Vintage & Rare Guitars store in London. Whenever I travel to the Capital for work, I always try to make time to stroll along Denmark Street to view the impressive range of instruments.
Earlier this year I was on the hunt for a good quality overdrive pedal as I fancied something a little different in flavour to my Keeley modified BD-2. Knowing that Vintage & Rare stock a good range of “boutique” effects pedals, I made sure the first stop of the afternoon (after checking into my hotel) would be to try out a couple of the mysterious pedals they had for sale.
Walking into Vintage & Rare I was greeted almost instantly by the friendly and laid-back staff. After browsing around and lusting after a couple of old SG’s I headed over to a glass cabinet to view an impressive selection of boutique pedals, most of which were covered with hand-painted attire to the extent that I had no idea what type of effect they actually were. I was soon approached with a friendly “Can I help you?” and after responding with an embarrassing but much needed “er… yes please” I proceeded to inform the staff that I was after a good overdrive pedal that didn’t colour my natural tone too much.
The first reply from the staff member was “What’s your budget?” and knowing full well the price of these boutique units I responded with a ball-park amount of around £150 or so. In an instant, three pedals were thrust into my hands, along with a Custom Shop Stratocaster plugged into a nice looking tweed covered amplifier (can’t remember the model). The assistant gave me a brief background and introduction to each pedal, but highlighted one pedal in particular – a Lovepedal Kanji Overdrive.
The staff left me to try all three pedals out at my convenience, which was great but a bit daunting as I was quite literally playing and experimenting with settings in front of all the visitors walking in and out of the shop. It was soon clear why the Lovepedal Kanji is becoming increasingly popular – it has a great tone and the overdrive is simply fantastic. Soon I found myself walking down Denmark Street grinning like a Cheshire cat with my Lovepedal Kanji inside a Vintage and Rare branded carrier bag.
The story doesn’t end there though. Unfortunately, after a couple of days the switch in the pedal completely died (which is apparently unusual for this pedal) and the Vintage & Rare team did a really good job of ensuring I was a satisfied customer.
A good shop that always stocks an impressive range of vintage, boutique and high end equipment that’s usually way out of my price range – but in the rare occasion of actually having the cash to purchase an item, they were more than helpful despite the fact they had no idea I would actually purchase the item there and then.
Have you visited Vintage & Rare Guitars in London? If so, please share your Mystery Shopper comments below.