Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Buffalo Brothers and James Hood Guitar Repair

If you've read a lot of the stories on this blog, you may have heard me mention Buffalo Brothers Guitars in Carlsbad, California. Conveniently for me, it was located just down the road from my house. But it was an internationally known and respected guitar store. That's right..."was." Unfortunately, Buffalo Brothers just didn't survive through the economic downturn, though a valiant effort was made to keep the store alive by James Hood, who had been running the repair shop at Buffalo Brothers for many years.

James is not only a top notch repair guy, but an awesome person on top of that. Like many of the loyal customers over the years, James loved Buffalo Brothers and the world class level of instruments they stocked and sold over a few decades. I bought my first high-end guitar there, talked into a gorgeous handmade Ehlers guitar by their fine instruments salesperson Kevin Kinnear. Not long after, Kevin introduced me to Mike Franks, who was new to the world of high end guitars at the time, but is now an established and respected luthier, selling amazing guitars all over the world. I've now owned a few M.J. Franks guitars and couldn't possibly speak more highly of them.

James took over Buffalo Brothers for the last year of so and continued developing the loyal clientele that the shop was known for, all the while continuing his repair business in the back. When Buffalo Brothers finally took its last breath, James regrouped to the back once more and continued doing what he does best...repairing and revitalizing electric and acoustic instruments for the region's discriminating guitar owners. I've been to see James many times over the years and, if you are in the Southern California area, I can't recommend him highly enough. Although James still owns the Buffalo Brothers name, he's not quite sure what to do with it at the moment. It's a name that reaches far and wide into the guitar community. I wouldn't think it will go away forever. And as they say, nothing dies completely until the last person who knows about it is gone.

You can talk to James about your guitar via his website, jameshoodguitar.com and be sure to sign up for his newsletter while you are there.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Buffalo Bros. was a thriving business. The economic downturn was in 2008, not 2015. Buffalo Bros. had already weathered the change - adjusting inventory levels, and footprint size of their store. Both an international following and strong local support kept them doing well. So what went wrong? The real answer is James Hood. From not paying customers for their consigned instruments, not paying vendors, taking goods from Reps and not paying them, which was all outlined in the Bankruptcy paperwork. He got one of the premier stores in the USA with merchandise and only had a small monthly payment to the retiring Founder. The second store had 13 working teachers who offset the store rent by paying for their studio's and had a strong student clientel and local musicians supporting it. All did great until James Hood came along putting people out of work, screwing customers, screwing employees and shutting down both stores in less than 13 months. I wouldn't touch anything from him with a 10 foot pole. Too many friends I know were totally screwed by the guy.