It was not the kind of fireworks that Greg Ginter might have wanted when his famed Guitar Shop at 2215 Atwood Avenue caught fire in early July. The fire was restricted to the rear of the building, a kitchen area where a pizza stove ignited a cardboard container. It’s a good thing it happened during business hours as the whole building may likely have gone up in flames. As it was, one guitar was destroyed and the place was made a mess by the fire and rescue squad.
If you’ve never been to Greg Ginter’s Guitar Shop, you don’t know what you’re missing and unless you’re a guitar and amplifier aficionado, you don’t know what you’re missing. Nearly every piece in the shop is a relic, a unique item that has likely been repaired, restored or refurbished by Ginter and his staff. You’ll never find these types of items at the bigger retailers like the Guitar Center and business is brisk for vintage stuff.
Ginter spent a lot of time as a roadie before opening his shop in 1994. “I was never a guitar tech,” he says. “The bands always seemed to have those. I was always asked to take care of the amplifiers, mostly.” He’s become an expert in amplification and if you have one that needs fixing, he’s the man to take it to. The shop is stacked full of amplifiers of all sorts but also nearly 500 guitars.
Word on the street was that the fire was not so bad. Smoke damage was the main issue and it also affected the upper level of the building where Ginter lives. But it was soon apparent that the shop would have to be relocated, the assumption being that it would be a temporary move. Ginter rented space at 1804 Wright St, just past the sprawling Madison College campus near the airport. Located midway from the road in long strip mall of businesses, Ginter’s new location is a little tricky to find. Though it may look smallish from the outside, inside there is ample space that is the polar opposite from the Atwood shop. The array is impressive and there is a separate area for repairs and even a room for office space. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” Ginter says as he explains that this location will be permanent. He’s already bought a new home in Monona and is doing some upgrading to that. It’s likely that the Atwood shop will be on the market in the next six months.
Though it’s a loss for the Atwood neighborhood, the Guitar Shop lives on. Every musician that has never visited should do so. Not only to support Ginter, who has been very generous in volunteering his services, expertise and even some repair work but to wonder at the precious inventory that was nearly lost in what would have been a catastrophic event.
Used, New, & Vintage Guitars, Amps Buy, Sell Trade-Amp & Guitar Repair
1804 Wright St., Madison, WI 53704-5601 – (608) 241-8448 – Directions