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    A Brief Tour of Rue de Guitare (Guitar Street) - Paris, France

    Where the French take their guitars very seriously!

    By Russ Loeffler |

     

    During a recent vacation in Paris, I decided to see if there were any guitar stores to visit.  A person needs a break from the great food, museums, and architectural wonders.  After a few minutes of on-line searching, I noticed that several guitar shops had similar addresses.  In fact, they were on the same street.  Rue de Douai is narrow street located in the 9th district, north of the city center.  There is a short section of Rue de Doaui between Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle and Rue Fromentin where there are a dozen shops with guitars, basses, and guitar related products.

     

    The idea of placing several guitar shops in one location may seem strange, if not redundant.  However, each shop has its own niche and vibe.  The shop owners and managers have an obvious pride in their inventory and the layout of the shops.  Some of the shops had the feel of upscale galleries.  The staff at these shops tended to provide service only if asked, but they were friendly and knowledgeable.  One thing to note - it is not OK to grab a guitar off the wall without asking.  This was a typical sign:

     

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    Following is a brief run-down from my stroll down Rue de Douai:

     

    Guitar Legend (technically it has a Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle address) – They have a great Gibson and Fender selection including custom shop Fenders.  They also have a good assortment of Fender and Marshall amps.

     

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    Woodstore – This is not an acoustic guitar shop as the name might suggest.  They have a nice selection of Fender’s and Gibson’s beyond the requisite Les Paul and Strat models.

     

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    Centrale Guitars– This store includes three store fronts.  One for electric guitars, one for acoustic guitars, and one for basses.   They have a nice collection of mid-level guitars focusing on Epiphone electrics and acoustics as well as Takamine acoustics

     

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    Centrale Gallery – This shop has a similar name and it is a few doors down from Centrale Guitars, but it has a focus on high end guitars including Gibson, Fender, Martin, and Taylor.  The upstairs room is very cool.

     

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    Acoustic & Jazz – They have large selection of acoustic and acoustic/electric guitars including Gibson, Taylor, Martin, Guild, Cort, Tanglewood and Takamine.   

     

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    Le Gaucher (The Southpaw) – This shop has only left-handed models of guitars and basses.  There’s no better place to be a lefty.

     

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    Guitar Collection – This shop features some one-of-a-kind custom guitars.  They have some funky vintage gear as well.

     

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    Metal Guitar – The name speaks for itself.

     

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    Custom Shop - They have some guitars on display, but the focus is on strings and guitar parts for maintaining or customizing your guitars.

     

    L’ampli a Lampes (loosely translates to: "the amp has lamps” - or "the tube amp") – This guitar amp store is a great complement to the surrounding guitar shops.  They have a fantastic selection of tube amps.

     

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    Russ Loeffler is a contributing editor to Harmony Central who covers trade shows and live events when he is not fine-tuning his guitar chops. He is also a  gear head with a passion for good music, great tones, and music that is much easier to listen to than it is to play.

     

    Sub Title: Where the French take their guitars very seriously!
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    Great idea to have a bunch of shops together that specialize. Nice gear too.

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    Wish I had known about the area when I lived there in the summer of '69.  I remember someone telling me that there was an area in the city where there were many music stores, but I never made it to the spot.  I do think it was close to Pigalle, one of the streets named in the article.  As it was, I was offered to play some buskers' guitars on the quais by the river.  Salad days, good times.

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    I live in Camarès,France. No music shops around here! A rock and roll dead zone! No wonder French prices are VERY high!

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