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 with you. We know guitars!
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
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
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: Brass Chariot, plus a number of rotating projects. (“I’m a musical polygamist.”)
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
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 hold a 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 LA. In the fun and sun, 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, she hung around Pittsburgh Guitars--by then on the South Side--so often that Carl finally hired her. It was a good fit!
Current Musical Projects: Rising Moon, Front Street, Richie & 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, and a Shure SM-58
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. . . did I mention The Beatles?
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: I've been lucky enough to meet several of my musical heroes . . . does Sidney Crosby play guitar?
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
John was bitten by the guitar bug at age 12, and after 34 years, still hasn't recovered. He's always playing music in various bands and situations, and has been giving lessons at Pittsburgh Guitars since 1992!
Current Amp: Vox AC15C2 (loud enough)
Current Guitars: All of the food groups, excluding a hollowbody (wish I had one!)
Favorite Guitar: Hard to say, but probably the Telecaster
Living Musicians I Would Like to Meet: Willie Nelson, John Paul Jones, Steve Cropper, McCoy Tyner
Musicians I Would Want to Meet in the Next World: Jimi Hendrix, Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, Janis Joplin, Rick Danko, Otis Redding
Humor Influences: Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce
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: Betsy and the Beatnicks, 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
After years of listening to her father play the guitar, Arianna soon developed the itch to learn. He lent her his old acoustic guitar and she began shredding away. Realizing that music was not just a hobby, Arianna decided to study music at the collegiate level. She recently received her Bachelors of Science degree in Music Education from Duquesne University with a concentration in jazz guitar. Arianna now performs frequently in the Pittsburgh area. Though her true passion is jazz, she has a love and appreciation for all genres of music. As a teacher, she particularly enjoys opening students’ minds to improvisation.
Current Band: Steel Town Soul and Velvet Heat Jazz Trio
Name of First Band: The Figs
First Live Gig: Mara's Coffee Shop
First Guitar: The very first guitar I actually played was my Dad's thirty-something year old Yamaha that he had learned to play on. It had the highest action in the world and killed my fingers. Once I proved I was serious, he bought me my own first guitar - an Epiphone Les Paul.
Main Live Rig: I am in the middle of purchasing new gear now! Hopefully in the next couple weeks I will be able to say an Eastman 805ce archtop with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III. Right now I'm working with a Cort Yorktown/Epiphone Sheraton and a Roland.
Weirdest Gig: They all end up being weird in their own way, haha.
Favorite Bands: Aside from my many, many favorite jazz artists, I like G Love & the Special Sauce, Sublime, Alison Krauss & Union Station, The New Mastersounds, Dispatch
Musician I Would Most Like to Meet: Esperanza Spalding - such an incredible musician!
First Concert: My older brother and I used to go to heavy metal shows back in high school.. I hardly remember the names of the bands, but I'm pretty sure the first was As I Lay Dying
Humor Influences: My three brothers and our crazy lives growing up.
Favorite Beer: I'm a wine girl! I love Cabernet.
Favorite Food: Mac n' Cheese. Hands down.
Who Would Play Me in a Movie: Keira Knightly... but she'd have to go blonde!