California

Ken Donnell is often regarded as the foremost authority on close-mic applications for stringed instruments. While he has an extensive background across the music products industry, first watching his father work in a music store, Ken eventually honed his skills as a luthier, alongside his good...
Ron Whittaker was just eleven years old when his father started a music retail store in Long Beach, California. Whittaker Music opened in 1946, just after World War II and Ron still remembers the struggles his father had in gaining instruments as manufacturers were still short on raw materials that...
Dusty Wheeler served as a medic in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War. After the war he attended college all the while playing guitar and giving lessons. In 1979 he opened Dusty’s Guitars in Leucadia, California with just four instruments on the wall and an amp (with two of the guitars and the...
Art Olson brought his love for playing music together with his experience as an instrument salesman to form his own store, Artistic Pianos. The store opened in 1999 in Encinitas, California and has since moved to San Marcos where Art continues to offer a wide range of piano brands. He attributes ...
Rob Eastman and his wife DeAnna established Musician's Friend in 1983, which became the leading mail order musical instrument business in the country. Rob's father, Bud, opened a music store in San Jose, California in the mid 1960s and began writing a small newsletter for his customers. By 1967...
Jim Palenscar opened up his small shop, Steel Guitars of North County, in Oceanside, California back in 2000. While in college, Jim heard the steel guitar on Jackson Browne’s recording of “Redneck Friend” which soon led to a lifelong interest as a player and repairman of the instrument. When asthma...
Henry Barnes is a wonderful example of the type of luthier and repair technician you want working on your musical instruments. With a background in building guitars for Charvel, Grover Jackson and working on the team that built the first 10 Randy Rhoads signature model guitars, Henry has a deep...
David Millard was a teenager when he first walked into Folk Music Center, his local musical instrument store in Claremont, California. The now iconic retailer was a true mom-and-pop operation established by Charles and Dorothy Chase. David got to know the couple when he was hired in 1966, and he...
Ellen Harper Verdries grew up in a music store! Her parents, Dorothy and Charles Chase, formed their first store in Massachusetts before moving to Southern California in 1958. The Folk Music Center of Claremont has served the community for over 50 years providing an amazing variety of unique and...
David Brock is a gifted violin and banjo teacher who provides private lessons at the Folk Music Center in Claremont, California. His long association with the musical instrument store goes back to the days when its co-founder, Dorothy Chase, provided instruction to David’s mother. David caught the...

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