Thinking about where to go with our first blog, I reflected back to my first exposure to music. My grandfather was a self-taught musician and played piano at local pubs. His piano with the spin around stool was in their living room. I would ask him to play the “Fire engine song” (there was a fire engine on the cover of the sheet music). Check it out:
He would smile, take a cautious look to make sure Nana was in the kitchen, and “fire up” the piano. He’d get into a few bars before Nana would come flying out of the kitchen and rip his ass off the piano stool, screaming “Stop playing the whores’ music!” At five, I was hooked on the ragtime, honky-tonk groove along with his rebel outlook on life that guided him along his journey.
My next influence was Aunt Antonia Rose. She taught chorus for 40 years at the local public school and gave me piano lessons. A piano was out of reach for my family, so I ended up with a guitar that my uncle John literally picked up while working his sanitation route. I still have it!
My guitars then came from Mandolin Brothers on Staten Island. The mecca of music stores. Owner Stan Jay knew everything, had everything, and always wore the wildest shirts. Stan recently passed on and the music world lost the creator of a what I believe a music store should be. He never pushed for a sale. In his shop, musicians found their musical soulmate. I play into that hand.
Antonia Rose Fretted Instruments came out of this passion. I was in search of the best guitars at not insulting prices. I wasn’t interested in guitars that looked pretty, sounded awful, and were fabricated by using more glue and lacquer than wood. I contacted respected Spanish builders and Almansa agreed to let me import their guitars and become a dealer. Rodriguez soon followed. Antonia Rose Fretted Instruments was born! We now offer fretted instruments from several Spanish and US builders.
In our current inventory, we also have used and vintage solid body Gibsons, Ramirez classical guitars, and a few very nice Martin guitars. We will be adding D’Addario strings, L.R. Baggs preamps, as well as other merchandise as soon as our new orders arrive.
In the last paragraphs the “I” changed to “we.” Antonia Rose’s new website was created by an amazingly multi-talented friend. She is a gifted problem solver and understands the pulse of the social media world. Above all, she shares my “Customer 1st ” philosophy. To better understand the musical side of the business, she is taking and helping me finalize our fast track guitar lessons. Three weeks into the course she has 8 chords locked-in and is rocking to House of the Rising Sun (finger picking and strumming), a blues progression, and a few more songs. She will be introduced in a future blog.
Soon, beginner fast-track guitar lessons will be posted. You will learn to play 15 chords. Learn how to painlessly tune your guitar. Then go to a local Meetup and play with other musicians. I promise you can do this. We have local instructors and musicians in on this project.
I hope you will become an active participant. We will post your performances, music, and poems.
Recently I’ve become hooked on DADGAD tuning. I will post some music & ideas that I’m putting together, hopefully we can finish it up together through contributors’ ideas.
So that’s it for now. Have patience. It’s amazing how much time this has taken. Be assured you will always receive the best service and best prices on the planet. I thank Stan and my new partner for supporting my vision, and the opportunity to fulfill my musical dream!