Guitar Aficionado

Shop Talk: DiPinto Guitars, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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For our first installment of "Shop Talk," Guitar Aficionado's new feature spotlighting high-end guitar retailers, we spoke with Chris DiPinto, owner of DiPinto Guitars at 407-409 E. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

GUITAR AFICIONADO: When did you open?

1995

Coolest guitar you have in your shop right now?

A 1969 Rosewood Telecaster in amazing condition. We keep it locked in a gun case with an alarm! [Click here to check it out.]

Rarest guitar you’ve sold?

I'd have to say the Sekova Grecion. It is a six-pickup guitar made in the '60s. Believe it or not, we've actually had two since we've opened. Lighting does strike twice!

Most expensive guitar you’ve sold?

The Rosewood Tele is at $25,000. We also sold a 1958 Gibson ES 335 for $13,000.

Any celebrity encounters at your shop?

We get tons of artists here checking out and playing our DiPinto Guitars: J Mascis, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson, Earl Slick, Dick Dale, Zakk Wylde, Morrisey, Peter Buck, Derek Trucks, Oasis, Thurston Moore, The Noisettes, The Hellacopters, Sonic Boom and Jamaaladeen Tacuma, to name a few. Look out for these rising stars, though: Kurt Vile, The Biters and The Neo Tundra Cowboys!

What guitar have you been looking for and haven’t been able to find?

Any left-handed Danelectro. Not a re-issue, mind you, but an original. To my knowledge there was only one made; a Coral Sitar made for Jimi Hendrix. But someday I'll find that amp-in-case that some factory worker made for his kid on his lunch break back in 1961!

What makes your shop unique?

When we first opened, we only carried old, odd-brand guitars, no Strats or Les Pauls. The store was filled with Gemellis, Galantis, Sekovas, Avalons, Kays, Harmonys, Rodeos, Danos, weird stuff only. People started to complain, so we started to get old Strats and LPs but we always keep a good collection of wild old guitars in stock.

Anything else you want to tell us about the shop?

Guitars are like people. Each one is totally different. You need to be introduced to it, spend some time with it and get to know it before you know anything about it. The brand, model and date actually tell you very little, yet this is what dictates the worth of a guitar these days. I am always amazed to see that the big stars have very little interest in the vintage or price of a guitar. If it speaks to them, they make it their own. Brick-and-mortar stores are really the only place to buy a guitar. Somewhere you can sit down, plug in and see if you want to start a relationship with a new found friend. Support your local music store!

For more information about DiPinto Guitars, visit www.dipintoguitars.com or call 215-427-7805. To be featured in "Shop Talk," email Anna Blumenthal in the Guitar Aficionado advertising department at anna@guitaraficionado.com or call 646-723-5404.

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