Guitar Center is… fine, at best. The only good thing about it is the water fountain. If you’re in a band, love making music, or need gear, there are plenty of local options in Denver besides the standard trip to the Guitar Center. Here are the best music stores Denver has to offer.
Drum City Guitarland
Where: 9225 W 44th Ave, Wheat Ridge.
When: Tuesday to 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 store (who would have guessed it!) that offers musicians a wide variety of rare and beautiful gear. It was founded in 1965 by the late Ronny Kae and is now owned by his two sons. The selection of drums and guitars is exceptional, but the guitars they have are truly one of a kind – lots of Schecter and ESP. The basses they have are top notch and have many versatile options. The customer service and repairs they offer go far beyond what you might expect from a national chain. Check it out, especially if you want to get into gear.
Where: 1673 S Acoma St.
When: Monday to Friday: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: Flipside Music has one of the nicest environments of any music store I’ve been to. The staff is wonderfully friendly, the store is clean and easy to navigate, and they have probably the best selection of guitar pedals in Denver. Flipside has a great selection of string instruments, especially their cool and affordable collection of Squier guitars. The space is really lovely and includes practice rooms with good acoustics (quality you won’t find in a Guitar Center). This is where you need to go to find your next guitar, bass or effects pedal.
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Where: 2045 S Holly St.
When: Monday to 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 some drum gear, my friend, I have a few questions. For example, here’s the collection of Ludwig drums on Rupp’s website, compared to the collection on Guitar Center’s Denver store website. Rupp’s is a must-have for professional drummers, intermediates, or anyone looking to start playing drums. The shop also offers quality courses. It’s a Denver staple when it comes to music stores.
Colfax Guitar Store
Where: 3220 E. Colfax Ave.
When: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Details: Speaking of Denver staples… Colfax Guitar Shop is celebrating 25 years of repairing and building Denver guitars. Although this is probably not where you would buy your first guitar, you can get hand-built and custom-built guitars from the in-house luthiers, get your used guitar repaired and of course, get all the accessories. which you need. The shop’s wonderful history makes it a trustworthy place for your guitar, bass or ukulele. The next time you need your pickups repaired, 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 lovely options work for you, place an order with Sweetwater (home of the friendliest customer service you’ll ever receive) and kick the Guitar Center habit.
Photos courtesy of Will Roberts, except where noted.