July 21, 2016
“Charlotte has an extremely talented and creative music community, but lacks an authentic hub to meet other like-minded folks.” – Douglas Armstrong, owner of Midwood Guitar Studio.
If you’re a musician, you need great quality gear, there’s no getting around it. If you’re a musician in Charlotte, you probably had to travel a fair bit to get the high quality, handmade gear and equipment that you wanted. Sometimes as far as Raleigh or even Atlanta. There simply wasn’t a store that would meet those needs in Charlotte.
Douglas Armstrong saw that as an opportunity to fill a void in the Queen City’s music scene and decided to open up his own boutique-style shop for guitars and accessories in the heart of Plaza Midwood with the mission of becoming that authentic musical hub for Charlotte.
The shop consists of a showroom anchored with original 1940’s masonry walls and will feature some of the best guitars and basses in the industry, it also has a studio/demo room and a luthier space that will be shop’s guitar repair center. Armstrong believes that the success of the store depends partly on having a knowledgeable person as manager and, as a result, joined forces with Dan Hood, a talented Charlotte native deeply embedded in the local music scene.
We had the chance to ask Armstrong a couple of questions about the boutique and, if you’re a musician looking for that unique seller and customer relationship between you and your shop, I think you’ll like what he has to say.
CLTure: What made you want to open Midwood Guitar Studio?
Armstrong: We [Armstrong and Hood] both have grown frustrated with big box music stores and felt that Charlotte needed a boutique guitar shop to fill the void.
CLTure: I’ve heard of boutiques in terms of clothes, but never music. What does a guitar boutique mean?
Armstrong: “Boutique” in the land of music gear means hand-built guitars and amplifiers. Most of [our] builders build less than 150 guitars a year. This makes the product very unique and the quality and craftsmanship is unmatched.
CLTure: What makes this shop different from the other musical supply stores already available?
Armstrong: Midwood Guitar Studio will differ from other music stores by the gear we carry, and the service we can provide. We will feature high-end, boutique equipment handmade by some of the best in the business. The vibe of the store will also be different, like you’re playing in your living room.
CLTure: What effect do you want to have on the music scene in charlotte?
Armstrong: We hope to provide a hub for musicians to network, and bring the hobbyist and professional musicians together to share ideas and make music.
CLTure: Is the relationship between a musician’s equipment supplier and the musician as important as I assume it is? Do you guys end up becoming friends with your clientele? Sort of a bartender/patron relationship?
Armstrong: Yes. Our focus is to get our customers what they want, and also what they need as quickly as possible. Over time, our customers will trust us to have the gear they need and want in stock and ready to go! We also plan to introduce folks to the world of (mostly) handmade gear. We will maintain relationships with our builders as well, and pass that knowledge on to our customers.
Midwood Guitar Studios is currently representing nine guitar and bass builders but Armstrong is confident that they can meet the quality and uniqueness their customers will expect of them. If you’re a local guitarist/musician, I highly encourage you to pay Midwood Guitar Studios a visit once their storefront opens sometime in late September or early October. They want to introduce a new culture to the Charlotte market that seems to have been missing. If you can’t wait till August, you can still place an order. Check out their online store here.
Midwood Guitar Studio
1517 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
We asked several leaders in the community, what can make Charlotte better?