Whether you’re getting into music for the first time or simply looking to replace an old gitbox, it’s important to take time when you search for the right model. Guitars transcend financial investment, as they are always an aesthetic and personal choice. While we know quality and craftsmanship are the ultimate deciding factors here, there’re more things to consider when you’re paving the way to stardom (looking like a total badass, for one). Here are four stops that should be on your schedule.
Steve’s Music Store
Over the years, this place has built up a rep for having a “difficult” staff — but true audiophiles can be snobs about everything, can’t they? If you weigh selection and value more than friendliness, paying Steve’s a visit is in your best interests. Their collection is unmatched by any in the city, going beyond guitars by offering musicians the works: violins, banjos, ukuleles, and mandolins. With locations in Toronto and Ottawa as well, you can bet this ever-expanding music emporium will expand your musical horizons. 51 St-Antoine St. West, 514-878-2216
Outside the downtown core, you can find a humble guitar shop that’s been around for close to thirty years. If you’re the thrifty type — that is, a regular at antiquaries, not a penny pincher — Kitt’s is a strong contender for being your new home away from home. Boasting a handpicked stock of used six-strings, Kitt’s saves you the frustration of leaving empty handed; their treasury will impress even the axe savvy. They restock every month, so be sure to check in from time to time. 5350 Jean-Talon St. East, 514-725-7473
The word ‘boutique’ brings to mind overindulging, being pampered, and receiving the highest quality goods — lucky for you, Boutique Tone rings true to its name. With rare signature models, inexpensive beginner instruments, and vintage prizes, it’s hard to dispute that they’re one of the best-curated guitar retailers in Canada. If you’re feeling indecisive about making a purchase, Boutique Tone offers a 48-hour return policy on all goods — so go ahead and splurge on that new Asher, if only for the weekend. 4292 St-Laurent St., 514-287-9009
Buy, rent, or trade an instrument of your choice at Italmelodie, a massive warehouse where you’re not only offered premium wares, but also lessons on how to play them. As with any shopping experience, you want your guitar gift-buying (even if it’s for yourself) to be as soundproof as possible. The friendly and insightful staff at Italmelodie go out of their way to embrace newcomers and veterans alike, ensuring you’ll not only walk away with the axe you deserve, but the confidence to rock the house. 274 Jean-Talon St. East, 514-273-3224
Image courtesy of Number Six.