Serious guitar collectors are a breed all their own. Often afflicted by a serious case of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), many enthusiasts have gathered collections that could easily be featured on an episode of “Hoarders.” Constantly buying and selling, always looking for the next piece of equipment, begging you, “no matter what, do not let me buy another guitar,” every guitarist, and their significant other, can relate to the never-ending cycle of guitar collecting. At The Guitar Connection in Venice, CA, one of the most bizarre and interesting guitar stores in the world, owner Mike Van Voorhees has made his own personal collection the inventory of his small business.
The Guitar Connection is a unique surprise on the up and coming Venice street of Rose Avenue. Outside, you are instantly drawn to the pleasing vintage aesthetic, which summons you to peek inside and see what gems are hidden within its walls. After you’ve been buzzed in by Mike, you enter – well, his living room – which has been transformed into the guitar showroom of the Guitar Connection. See, what makes this shop truly original is that it is half-house-half-store, and everything for sale is part of Mike’s personal collection.
Once you’ve been let in, Mike watches you browse from his kitchen doorway, asking questions and adding personally commentary about certain items. Although, and I’m sure he would agree, he is not the greatest salesmen (and his odd antics may scare off many customers), it is evident that this store and its collection are his life, and things he values very dearly. Every instrument and amp has its own history, which Mike will gladly share with you. A mixture of high quality and lesser instruments, The Guitar Connection inventory has all the peaks and troughs of any life long player’s collection.
Exclusively used and vintage instruments, some highlights include two Gibson “Black Beauty “Les Pauls, some rare Gibson Hollow Bodies, an original 1966 Fender Bassman amp, and some nice vintage Stratocasters – all set up and maintained by Mike. There also some vintage 80s shredders, like Hamer and Ibanez, and a bunch of novelty curve balls that you are unlikely to see elsewhere. Mike also buys used instruments, rents, and does repairs and set ups. And although I can’t speak to his repair quality or expertise, I am sure he is more than capable of fixing up any axe, and has all of the knowledge and passion acquired by a life long enthusiast.
So for a unique, one of a kind guitar shop, be sure to check out The Guitar Connection @ 633 Rose Ave. Venice, CA 90291.