McCabe’s Guitar Shop is more than just another guitar shop – it’s a Los Angeles icon. Opening in 1958, McCabe’s has been a staple of Pico Blvd for over half a century, defending its self-declared claim to fame of having “the largest selection of stringed things to make music with in California.” An extensively stocked shop by day, by night McCabe’s transforms into one of the most intimate live music venues in Los Angeles. An unassuming stage in the main guitar showroom becomes a world-class pedestal that has hosted the likes of Joni Mitchell, Mike Bloomfield, Doc Watson, Jackson Browne, Chet Atkins, and many other legendary musicians.
Aside from being a guitar shop, McCabe’s specializes in acoustic and folk instruments like banjo, mandolin, ukulele, fiddle, dulcimer, oud, and just about any other ethnic instrument you are likely to want. As for guitar, they supply an extensive list of boutique and specialty makers. In acoustics, you’ll find amazing axes made by Martin, Taylor, Collings, the Loar, Santa Cruz, Godin, and many other high quality manufacturers. They’re inventory ranges from entry-level to highly boutique, but you are always bound to find reasonably priced, top notch guitars.
As you can see, McCabe’s also has an extensive supply of nylon string (both classical and gypsy styled), resonator, and arch top acoustic guitars, amongst many other novelty items. And for a shop specializing in acoustic instruments, McCabe’s has a killer selection of electric guitars and amps. From Fender Stratocasters to Eastman Hollow-body Jazz Boxes to Gretsch twangers, McCabe’s has plenty to offer the electric aficionado. And feel free to plug into the array of new and vintage amps from Fender, Pignose, and some other brands you’ve probably never heard of!
McCabe’s is also a great place of learning. They have a diverse teaching staff that covers every niche guitar style, as well as auto-harp, harmonica, and other novelty instruments. Personally, I’ve been coming to McCabe’s for years to buy books. They have the largest selection of music books in Los Angeles. Real Books, instructional books, scores, song books – if they don’t have it, nobody will. And you are bound to learn something by just hanging around McCabe’s, as they are always players stopping by, exchanging ideas, and casually running down tunes.
Last but not least, McCabe’s also has a fantastic repair shop. I’ve had them do everything from setting up acoustics to changing the PUs in my Ibanez, all of which they’ve done well and in a timely fashion. Also, don’t forget the endless supply of guitar accessories. Any pick you could possibly imagine – finger picks, felt picks, thumb picks, copper picks, etc – and a wide selection of straps, capos, slides, and every other accessory surround the register. It’s almost impossible to leave without buying something!
So for a little slice of historic Los Angeles, an intimate evening concert, or a trip to one of the most unique guitar shops in the world, get down to McCabe’s Guitar Shop @ 3101 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90405. For more information, check out the McCabe’s website.