Tucson is a major city in Arizona that is popular for many reasons. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona, the Miraval Spa (popularized by Oprah), and is also a great place for hiking, biking and golfing. But outsiders may not be aware of the large number of musicians who live in Tucson, some who are in local bands and some who just play for fun. With the large number of acclaimed local musicians based in Tucson, this city is also home to a number of unique, privately owned guitar and musical instrument stores. Here are some of the most popular stores where you can buy your guitar supplies.
Chicago Music Store
In the Tucson Weekly’s annual Best of Tucson poll, the winner for best musical instrument store has consistently been the Chicago Music Store. It has held the honor since 2005. This store has been in operation since 1919, and is prominently located in downtown Tucson. The Chicago Music Store is known to have a very large amount of merchandise, from guitar picks to expensive sound equipment. Some local guitarists have noted that this store has a good repair shop, and a reasonably priced instrument rental department.
This well-known, national chain, was the clear favorite among the musicians that were contacted for this article. One reason for the popularity of Guitar Center is that the prices on items are clearly marked, which is not the case with some lesser known stores. Local musician Adrian Wilson commented that Guitar Center is the store his band members frequent. He stated, “It is convenient. Some employees know me and some don’t. But it is organized in a way that I can easily find what I need.” One local guitarist remarked that most of the staff is quite knowledgeable about guitars.
Rainbow Guitars has consistently come in second in Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson poll. This store is known for having excellent vintage gear, and a courteous and knowlegeable staff. They also have a great repair department, and are located near the University of Arizona.
Sticks n’ Strings
Local bass player Travis Maxwell likes that they have an instrument broker that can find special instruments for customers. “I bought one of my favorite basses here,” he added. This store is also known for its friendly and helpful staff. Like Guitar Center, Sticks n’ Strings is conveniently located on Broadway, a major thoroughfare in Tucson.