Requiem for a Guitar Shop

Atomic Guitars is closing its doors. For those who don’t know, Atomic is the place at the end of my street where I can walk to get my strings and play the vintage amps and weird guitars. Johnny Adams is the proprietor, and this ends his 6-year run of selling the funkiest stuff in town. He cites a faltering guitar market in general and the recent takeover of all things instrumental in town by Banjo Center and Sigler Music (which appears to no longer have an actual website) as the culprits. Incidentally, Guitar Center is now number 1 in Google for the term “banjo center” thanks to clever Google Bombers like me. Perhaps you’ve seen the handiwork of Google Bombers on terms like "failure."

Within the last year, we’ve now had four local music stores go under: Stonehenge (Geyer Springs), Music Makers, Maumelle Music and More (where I taught), and now Atomic Guitars. Clearly it’s a crappy time for guitars and for anyone who’s not a chain.

So, to help Johnny out, I bought a 7-string pickup, several packs of strings, and another guitar. In my defense, it was $50 and red. It’s a Kay, but it plays and sounds really great for an old cheapie. It’s crusty and rusty and needs a good cleaning. It’s going to be my project guitar. I’m going to cover it in Japanese advertisements from 1958. I bought a Japanese Advertisting Yearbook at a book sale at the Arkansas Arts Center a few weeks ago and the artwork tripped me out. It’s an amazing blend of East and West. More art than commerce to me. It reminds of the sort of thing Douglas Coupland covered in God Hates Japan, only 40-odd years removed and thus far less frenetic and much more balanced. Pictures coming eventually.

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