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Searching for the perfect 6-string guitar is serious business. And a prodigious adventure. There are big box guitar stores and there are little mom and pop guitar stores, but Guitar Tree is unto itself. They are friendly and approachable. But what really made an impression is their gutsy business model and a little story about a trip to the Dallas Guitar Show. Enter Jason Badeau …

Guitar Tree play

Brave, eh?

Jason’s passion was sparked when an uncle found an old Stratocaster in the trash and rescued it. That piece of American music history from 1957 found its way into his heart (and yes, his permanent personal collection), and he was hooked for life.

To satisfy his collector’s habit, he started to sell and trade guitars. Fast forward to his adulthood and the buy/sell/trade mentality turned into Guitar Tree, home to an ever-changing instrument inventory for players, collectors or the just plain curious.

These guys are fanatics. Their business plan is to scour the landscape — the dark corners of antique stores, garage sales, Craig’s list, pawn shops, Aunt Myrtle’s attic — then rescue, refurbished as necessary, and resell.

The stories behind the ‘find’ are colorful and incredible: Jason told us about a recent find from a pawn shop “in a town with no one in it” … A lady had bought a Fender Strat and amp for her husband in 1963. Sadly, he died in 1964 and that shiny new guitar and amp went into a closet. For nearly 50 years. Untouched. Imagine! Sometimes when he strikes a deal on an instrument, the seller will throw in a box of ‘junk’ that’s been collecting dust in a dark corner. Guitar Tree loves these cast-off parts, accessories, nick knacks and ephemera (this material sells best online to grateful customers seeking that impossible to find item).

I first ran into the Guitar Tree gang at the 2013 Tempe Guitar Show. They had a Ditson that caught my eye …

Guitar Tree vintage 2

The Guitar Tree at the Tempe Guitar Show, 2013

The Empire 100 yr old Brazilian Rosewood

The Empire by Ditson 100 year old Brazilian rosewood

(Ditson was a music publisher and  guitar reseller back in the early 1900s. They commissioned the first dreadnought guitars from Martin. In the depression years Martin began selling dreads under the Martin label after the Ditson Company dissolved. Of course now, Martin dreadnought guitars are iconic and almost every makers copies that design … but I digress.)

Not everyone has the good fortune to turn their pastime into a career. Kudos to Guitar Tree for successfully and diligently cracking the nut. Speaking of diligence, it’s time to put a 6-string beaut on my knee and practice.