Friday, August 23, 2013

Central Coast Music of Morro Bay, California


I miss having small, independent music stores to shop in. In my area of Southern California, they have mostly disappeared as big retailers moved in and the internet slashed profit margins too thin for many of these brick and mortar stores to survive.

Well, there are still independent shops that I run to in my travels, and every time I head up to San Luis Obispo I make it a point to stop in at Central Coast Music in Morro Bay, California. I have bought plenty of stuff there over the years, from strings to guitars, and have always come away happy. There is always something cool to discover there, and it is a great place to do business.

Ed Frawley is the man behind the counter at Central Coast Music, and he has been preparing for this role since he was a kid. His old man ran a pawn shop in Southern California, and Ed learned how to be a salesman and run a business from him. After a stint in the service, Ed moved up to SLO County and went into a sales career. He ended up starting his own guitar shop as a side business in the early 1990s, too. It started small, in a store front attached to his house, but he moved to different locations in Morro bay, before he ended up in his current location, across from the Bay Theatre. Along the way he gave up his day job, and Central Coast Music became his main focus.

Central Coat Music is bigger than most mom and pop stores, and they carry a little bit of everything: guitars and basses, amps, strings, pedals, books, live sound, keyboards and drums. This is not Guitar Center, so there will not be more guitars than you can shake a stick at, but they have plenty of inventory.

They sell new instruments, and are happy to order most anything that you are looking for complete with competitive pricing. But what overjoys me when I go there is their collection of used equipment. They always have plenty of used amplifiers and guitars, and Ed will patiently let you try out the equipment without hovering and hassling you.

The last time I was in the store they had a few custom-made cigar box guitars that were built by a local guy using donor necks and components, and they are really neat instruments, both from a playability and an aesthetic viewpoint. I ended up falling in love with an old Takamine acoustic that just had to go home with me. It is a nice instrument, and Ed had it priced fairly, so it was a no brainer.

If you are in San Luis Obispo or Morro Bay (or if you are visiting Hearst Castle), you have to stop in and check out Central Coast Music. Buy some strings, rap with Ed and play a few guitars. The shop is located at 365 Morro Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay, California. They are open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 to 6, and on Saturday from 10 to 5. Tell him Rex says “hi!”