While the exterior of the shop may not be all that impressive and the adjacent Williamsburg Bridge leading to Brooklyn may make some locals cringe, the only guitar retailer on the Lower East Side of Manhattan I’ve ever dealt with is Ludlow Guitars. Ludlow Guitars has been around since 1999 and offers a mixture of all the wonderful, worldly things available to residents of New York City with all the good time, down home feel of a local, family owned and operated business.
Who Are the Staff of Ludlow Guitars: Musicians know the importance of having a retailer who cares about what they care about; knows their instrument and are able to diagnose even the most arcane problem; so it goes for the staff at Ludlow Guitars. Each of the profiled staff members on the Ludlow Guitars website brings their unique skill set to the table; one being the store’s resident bass guitar player, another the expert on Les Paul guitars, one a guitar tech, still another focusing in on pedals and effects. Moreover the thing about all these guys is that they all practice what they pedal; they are all members of local performing and recording music outfits. So not only are the guys at Ludlow Guitars schooled on the tools that they’re selling, they also use the equipment, know potential pitfalls, and are free in offering their opinion. Ludlow Guitars general manager, Jim, even says on the employee portion of the Ludlow Guitars page that he will freely give out his own personal cell phone number to customers in the event he’s needed urgently.
What Does Ludlow Guitars Carry: Of course there are guitar stores which carry all manner of unrelated garbage; at Ludlow Guitars though they pretty well keep to the business of guitars and related paraphaneilia. By their own admission, Ludlow Guitars offers “…a unique range of new and hard-to-find guitars and basses; (they) have the best selection of effects and boutique amplifiers on the island and…want to help you get the right gear.” The best thing about the staff at Ludlow Guitars is that they love what they do; they are interested in pairing you with “…the guitar you have been looking for or just the right fuzz box… or whatever it is you need. And we are happy for you to try anything we have.” The staff at Ludlow Guitars are real guitar players who love playing, love learning about playing, and are happy to come to work every day.
Ludlow Guitars Service, Lessons, and More: Ludlow Guitars are all about guitars. They have a setup service for new 6 string and 12 string guitars as well as restringing for your current guitar. Ludlow Guitars also offers service on pickups, pot replacement, jack re-wiring, and fret work for the board of your guitar. If your guitar’s got structural problems, cracks, or needs saddle work or refinishing; you can have all that done at Ludlow Guitars. There is also rehearsal space with limited equipment and like any good guitar shop you can trade in or sell your stuff to Ludlow Guitars if you have some unused equipment you’d like to share; just bring it in!
Ludlow Guitars is located at 164 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002. 212-353-1775. However when I recently spoke with owner Jan Howell for this article, I was informed that Ludlow Guitars will be moving up the street a ways in the coming months. Look for a follow up piece with a profile on all the new things that the new space has to offer soon!