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  "Strum Together"


Pittsburgh Guitars is a music store that's staffed by musicians. We understand your love of music, especially guitars, and we're here to help, show, teach, or just talk about guitars and gear with you. We know guitars!

Pittsburgh Guitars Owner, John


John acquired his first REAL guitar at the age of 10. It was a Stella acoustic that his parents bought from a neighbor for $25. With money saved from his first job (working at a clothing store while in high school) he bought a `76 Gibson Les Paul at Pittsburgh Guitars in 1979, one of the first of many guitars to be purchased at the store. After being employed in robotics and industrial sales he decided it was time to work in a field he felt more passionate about, and started working at the store in 2002. When Carl decided to retire at the end of 2011, John became the new proprietor of Pittsburgh Guitars.
Current Band: The Elliotts
Name of First Band: The Metal Rainbow
First Live Gig:  Carrick High Talent Show--I played my `76 Les Paul through an Ampeg V4 full stack. Thought that it would be cool to turn the amp to 10. I was wrong....
Main Live Rig: Epiphone Casino through Vox AC15
Favorite Bands: Beatles, Zeppelin, Badfinger, Tom Petty, XTC, The Jam, Crowded House, The Church, The Kinks, Neil Young, Big Star
Musician would most like to Meet: Jimmy Page
First Concert: Aerosmith with Golden Earing
First Car: 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was $900.
Humor Influences: Monty Python, King Of Queens, The Office, Austin Powers, Peter Sellers
Who Would Play Him in a Movie: John Cusack mainly because of High Fidelity
Play The Kevin Bacon Game: Nick Nolte shopped at Pittsburgh Guitars, Nick Nolte is in Cape Fear with Robert DeNiro, Robert DeNiro is in Sleepers with Kevin Bacon
Visit John on Facebook
Pittsburgh Guitars Staff, Scott

Scott got his first guitar (an Airline archtop) as a junior high school student in Ft. Worth, Texas. Influenced by The Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion as well as the Beach Boys, he sold his comic book collection to buy his first electric guitar. After moving to Pennsylvania, he switched to bass (a Hofner Beatle Bass). Not destined for the corporate world after graduating from college, Scott began repairing guitars to supplement his musician's pay. The rest, as they say, is history.

Name of Current Band: The Elliotts
Name of First Band: Raspberry Jam
Live Rig: GK 800RB & 410 cabinet/ Rickenbacker 4001
Favorite Bands: The Beatles, ZZ Top, the list is long
Or Musical Influences: I like good songs by anyone
Humor Influences: Monty Python
Musician I Would Most Like to Meet: Billy Gibbons- love the attitude
First Concert: Yardbirds w/ Jeff Beck
First Car: 1961 Chevy station wagon
Favorite Beer: There's so many--what day is it?
Favorite Food: Grilled meat

Visit Scott on Facebook

Pittsburgh Guitars Staff, Sam Sam
Although he doesn't remember it, Sam’s parents tell him he saw the Beatles play on the Sullivan Show at age 5. But Sam often refers to the Monkees, with their TV show being his first musical memories, as his “gateway drug to rock and roll.” While in 8th grade, Sam decided to learn guitar and “borrowed” his first instrument, a Harmony Stella acoustic, from his Junior High music department. Fascinated by instruments, Sam plays guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, some drums and keyboards and records music in his spare time. Even though he’s a child of punk rock, Sam has studied guitar with the likes of Ernie Hawkins, John Renbourn, Woody Mann and John Cephus. Favorite quote: “It’s a guitar. There are no rules.”

Name of Current Band: The Sicks
Name of First Band: The Whereabouts
Live Rig: Gibson double cut Les Paul Special with P-90’s, Vox coiled cord, Marshall JCM800 50 watt 1x12
Favorite Bands: Too Many to count. Sonic Youth, Zeppelin, the Stones (Everything up to “Some Girls”), Sabbath (“The first 4 LPs are perfect”), Bowie (“everything up to “Scary Monsters”), Mott the Hoople, the Velvets, John Coltrane Quartet, Neil Young (on electric guitar), Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Clash. Should I keep going?
Musicians I Would Most Like to Meet: Billy Gibbons, Lemmy, Keith Richards, Neil Young
First Concert: Humble Pie/REO Speedwagon, Civic Arena ‘74
First Car: $600 Mazda Hatchback with 160,000 miles on it.
Favorite Beer: East End Big Hop, but generally any beer that’s cold and free.
Favorite Food: Grilled flesh, sushi, but I never met a pizza I didn't like, either.
Humor Influences: Monty Python
Visit Sam on Facebook

Pittsburgh Guitars Staff, betsy

Desperately wanting to be a Beatle, Betsy gave up trombone lessons and got her first guitar when she was 8 years old. It was plastic, and wouldn't stay in tune, so she cried until her mom took it back and brought home the yellow Stella. On the heels of buying her first Martin guitar from Carl at Pittsburgh Guitars in Bloomfield (many years later!), she took off for Los Angeles, where she worked on that Beatle thing while tending bar to support her guitar-buying habit. She was signed to Vanguard Records in 1989 with Andy Robinson and their folk-pop band, Different World. Their self-titled CD (she was sad that they didn't press an actual LP!) met with critical acclaim, but still The Beatles paid no notice. Back in Pittsburgh some years later, Pittsburgh Guitars was the place to be!

Current Musical Projects: Rising Moon, Front Street, The Make-Believers
First Live Performance:  I sang Ragtime Cowboy Joe at a talent show when I was about 8. I didn't win, but I still remember all the words!
Main Live Gear: Martin D-18V, Lowden 0-25, Flatiron mandolin
Some Favorite Bands & Musical Influences: The British Invasion bands and the US bands that answered them, the Southern California singer/songwriters, The Sophisticated Ladies, TJHS choir, and many others
First Car: A Ford Pinto . . . the exploding kind!
Humor Influences: The Smothers Brothers, Christopher Guest, Tina Fey, Robert Mondavi
Musician I Would Most Like to Meet: Lyle Lovett

Pittsburgh Guitars Staff, Bob Bob
Bob's aunt gave him his first guitar as a gift when he was 12. It was a Harmony all-mahogany acoustic, with really, really high action. He got his first electric guitar for his 13th birthday after begging his dad for it; it was a Hondo II Les Paul copy. That started his love of Les Pauls & was the first of many guitars bought at Pittsburgh Guitars. Later on, he owned a BC Rich Warlock - a guitar he say is almost comical now - a Jackson Rhoads, and many other metal guitars. His guitar preferences would evolve to a more conservative taste to include Strats, a double cut Hamer, and of course, a '69 LP Deluxe - his favorite. He nicked named that guitar "The Beautiful Ugly" because it sounds so awesome but looks so beat.

Name of First Band: Metaltech - we never made it out of my folks' basement.
First Gig:
With Savagery at South Vo-Tech in the hallway (no metal in the main auditorium). I played my BC Rich through a Crate amp. Thank God I moved to tube amps, ha, ha.
Live Rig: `69 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and/or the Hamer Eclipse through a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.
First Concert: Motley Crue and Whitesnake
Favorite Bands: Black Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer, Mastodon, Tom Waits, Alice in Chains, Thin Lizzy, Clutch, Storm King
Musician I'd Like to Meet: BLACK SABBATH - especially Tony Iommi!
Humor Influences: the patrons at the Slovak Club and other drunks around Pittsburgh. It's quite entertaining and provides a lot of material.
Favorite Shows: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Walking Dead

Pittsburgh Guitars instructor, Rich Rich
Rich first saw Elvis on TV when he was a wee lad, and knew he had to play guitar right then and there. His first guitar was a Stella acoustic and his dad taught him C, F, and G, and the scales in between. One day Dad said "Next time you go to your F chord, throw an Eb in there...." and suddenly a light bulb went off in his head. "What's that?" asked Rich. "That's the blues," said Dad. Rich replied, "That's what I want to do!"

Name of Current Band: The Make Believers, Traffic Jam, and solo guitar gigs
Early Influences: Duane Eddy, The Ventures
Name of First Band:
Bugsy & The Stencils
First Gig: The Dutch Club in Overbrook
Funny Gig Story: We were too young to drive, so we hired 2 taxis--one for us, and one for the gear!
Live Rig: If it's a blues gig, I must have my Strat. For a "cocktail" gig, I must have my Les Paul Custom w/Bigsby.
Favorite Bands: The Beatles, Tedeschi Trucks Band
Musician I Would Most Like to Meet: Johnny A.
First Concert: The Shower of Stars at the Civic Arena
First Car: `55 VW Bug (black)
Favorite Beer: Cold
Favorite TV Shows: Mad Men, The Good Wife, Dexter, The Sopranos
Humor Influences: Richard Prior, Steve Martin
Visit Rich on Facebook

Pittsburgh Guitars Instructor, Spencer

Spencer's first musical instruments were the viola and clarinet, but as he discovered rock n' roll he began to develop his own musical taste, and started playing guitar around age 12.  His musical pursuits have led him to study Jazz Guitar at Duquesne University, where he received a Bachelor's degree in Jazz Guitar Performance. Spencer plays around town in various groups, playing primarily funk, jazz, and rock music, but enjoys all genres.  

Current Band: Duration Band, and a few different side projects
Name of First Band: Discontinued 
First Live Gig: I played the Hard Rock Cafe through a school of rock-type program.
Main Live Rig: Fender American Standard Stratocaster or an Eastman 810ce through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Favorite bands: Soulive, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Wes Montgomery, I always found it hard to say who my favorites are though...
Musician I Would Most Like to Meet: If I could bring him back to life, that'd be pretty cool to hang with Wes Montgomery
First Concert: Mickey Hart with Zakir Hussain and some other World percussionists 
Favorite Beer: Rogue Juniper Pale Ale
Favorite Food: Indian Ffood
Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad!!!!
Humor Influences: Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, and George Carlin   
Who Would Play Me in a Movie: Bruce Willis with a huge beard

Pittsburgh Guitars Instructor, Anthony

Anthony received his first guitar for Christmas when he was 7 years old.  Since his mother and grandmother were avid fans of classical music, his first guitar lessons were from a classical teacher who taught Suzuki method.  However, he was corrupted in his teenage years by listening to his dad’s record collection, which included B.B. King, The Who, Lucinda Williams, and Chick Corea.  He bought his first electric guitar at age 15, and began to play in his high school jazz band and gig around Pittsburgh.  The joy of collective music making and improvisation is what inspired him to pursue a career in music.  After graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Anthony returned to Pittsburgh, where he currently freelances and teaches.   

Current Band: Yu
Name of First Band: The Juicy Cickens
First Live Gig: My middle school talent show! 
Main Live Rig: Strat or Epi Casino through a Peavey Delta Blues
Favorite bands: Prince, Deerhoof, D'Angelo, The Band, Duke Ellington Orchestra
Musician I Would Most Like to Meet: Keith Richards
First Concert: One of the earliest I can remember is Christopher Parkening with the PSO
Weirdest Gig: I played this outdoor festival where the MCs had to advertise this thing called a Pee-Mate between sets—It was this disposable cone that girls could use to help them pee standing up like guys do.  I think Pee-Mate was one of the festival sponsors. 
Favorite Food: Indian food
Favorite TV Shows: Louis, Twin Peaks
Humor Influences: David Foster Wallace, Louis C.K. 
Who Would Play Me in a Movie: Someone kinda nerdy, like Tobey Maguire

Pittsburgh Guitars Instructor, Ben

Ben grew up in a musical family, and his parents started him on the piano at an early age. At age 10 he switched to the trumpet, but it wasn't until he started playing guitar, at age 16, that he decided to become serious about music. He received a bachelor's degree in Jazz Guitar Performance from Duquesne University, and he currently teaches and gigs around Pittsburgh with groups that play many different styles.

First Live Gig: High School Talent Show
Main Live Rig: Gibson ES345 through a Henriksen Jazz Amp
Favorite Bands: Robert Glasper Experiment, Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, Miles Davis's Second Quintet, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo (except the new album), Soulive, Pat Martino, George Benson, so many more…
Musician I Would Most Like to Meet: Miles Davis
First Concert: I went to one of the youth concerts at the Pittsburgh Symphony when I was about 5
Humor Influences: Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis, Dave Chappelle
First Car: 2005 Jeep Liberty
Favorite Food: Guacamole
Favorite TV Shows: Louie, Mad Men, Breaking Bad

Pittsburgh Guitars Staff, Arianna

Everyone at Pittsburgh Guitars, and all of her students wish Arianna the very best of everything as she moves on to her next adventure!

We will all miss her very much!

Strum Together!

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