The latest Guitar Jar Mystery Shopper takes us to Wunjo Guitars in London. On another work assignment this week to the capital, I did my usual London routine of frequenting Denmark Street and it just so happens that Wunjo Guitars was at the top of my list.
I’m currently writing this review in a hotel room in the centre of town and I’ve just spent the last couple of hours checking out a few music shops along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. For you comic book fans out there I discovered an awesome comic shop on Shaftesbury Avenue called Mighty World of Comicana and although it’s tiny compared to the nearby Forbidden Planet, it’s loaded with some old-school classics and I was pleased to get my hands on some early Punisher comics I’ve been after for a while.
Anyway, I digress. Just to set the scene – it was a very hot day in London and the shops in Denmark Street were no exception. Walking into Wunjo Guitars I was greeted by the heat wave of the shop, the sound of a young guy strumming a particularly nice Rickenbacker and a very chilled out shop assistant.
Walking through the shop I had a quick glance at the range of amps and effects on display. Wunjo have an interesting selection of pedals and an equally quirky mix of old and new amplifiers including some old Marshall heads. At the back of the shop, a couple of steps take you down into a room loaded with an impressive range of acoustics. The vibe of the acoustic room was very relaxed, with some guys gently playing some summer-esque tunes with what looked like their mates chatting away on the sofa. Upstairs is a drum room but to be honest, I’m leaving that well alone!
The main point of interest for me was the selection of electric guitars that are displayed nicely in the middle of the shop. To the left, a really good selection of Fenders, to the right, some lovely Gibson’s and thrown into mix were a few other other makes, but it was the Tokai Les Pauls and the BJ Byrne electrics, (one of which was loaded with Bare Knuckle Pickups) that really caught my eye.
My attention kept wandering back to a black Tokai Les Paul Custom copy. This is one of the cheaper models, priced at a very reasonable £330 or so. I was soon greeted by a friendly Scottish shop assistant who gave me the low down on the Tokai law suit and proceeded to tune and plug the guitar into a Fender combo. Thrusting the guitar into my hands he left me to my own devices to play away at my heart’s content. By this time I was sweating buckets – probably due to a mix of the heat and the worry of playing in front of many browsers and passersby – but who cares – by this point I was loving how this guitar played and I lost myself for a good 10-15 minutes, even though the guitar was slipping out of tune, which could be due to the heat or the cheaper machine heads… I’ve yet to decide.
After a while, another shop assistant approached me and offered me a deal on the guitar for £300 which included a gigbag, strap, lead and 2 years warranty which I actually thought was a bargain. I was seriously tempted by this offer and it turns out it was the best deal throughout Denmark Street for this model of guitar. I can’t justify purchasing a new guitar at the moment, my Mrs would probably divorce me outright. Apparently I have school uniforms to pay for before I even begin to think about a Les Paul shaped guitar. Bah! As I left the shop, the friendly Scotsman said farewell and shakes me firmly by the hand.
These guys had no idea I was doing a Mystery Shop on them and although it was rush hour with the (very hot) shop full of a mix of tourists and musicians, the Wunjo staff were always upbeat, friendly and very accommodating. From the moment I walked in and saw a guy playing a very nice Rickenbacker, to being greeted soon after arriving and having the opportunity to play a really nice Tokai Les Paul, my whole experience was extremely satisfying.
The Wunjo staff are knowledgeable, friendly and it seemed nothing was too much trouble for them. Along with a really interesting selection of electrics, acoustics and amps (not forgetting drums!) all at very good prices (even for London), I can’t praise this shop enough. Sat here writing this, sipping a cold beer, my trip to Wunjo helped to polish off a really enjoyable day.
Have you visited Wunjo Guitars in London? If so, please give your Mystery Shopper comments below.