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The House of Guitars - Rochester, NY

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bullitt5135, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    Why does this place look like it could be on the next episode of A&E's Hoarders?
  2. 48thStreetCustom


    Nov 30, 2005
    I once bought an Ampeg B2 head from HOG. I drove 2 1/2 hours home and realized they didn't give me the warranty card. I was 20 years old and spent my entire savings buying that thing so I wanted to make sure it was covered. I spent 2 months on the phone with them getting the run around before I finally gave up. The absolute worst customer service I've ever received. I've heard many horror stories about them. I'll never give them a red cent of my money ever again.
  3. I was there a while back when I was in Rochester visiting my aunt. The place smelled and made me sneeze about 928374593824752 times from all the dust, but I was in heaven. I like the part of that store that's behind all the guitar/bass cases that raised up and has all the vintage equipment. Sweet. It is a weird place though, what with all the back hallways leading to different rooms full of gear.

    I'm kind of surprised that the Fire Warden hasn't shut that place down...
  4. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    LOL. The fire chief use to own an appliance store next door that looked just as bad. Maybe that's where Geddy got his Maytags?
  5. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    I live literally about a minute and a half from the HOG. They have been around since the 60's. In fact, they used to be located in a strip plaza right next door. The store was about 12ft wide and had the same arrangement of gear.:D No need to worry about passing rent on to the customers, they've owned the property for decades. While there are boutique pieces there from time to time, that is not where they live. Nor would it be the place to go to trade in such a piece and expect top dollar. Vintage instruments are another story, while they are not Gruhns, they do have vintage pieces there. As mentioned before, they have been in business for a LONG time, and you will not get a vintage instrument for a steal. If you're looking for bling, keep driving, vibe, you're here!
    You never know who you'll run into. Back in the late 90's I ran in to grab some drum sticks for my bud on the way to a gig. I walked in and heard Jennifer Batten just killing it on guitar. There have been countless clinics throughout the years as well. (everyone form Brian May to Victor Wooten)
    Although not nearly as anticipated as back in the day, they still go old school and open the store at midnight to promote a long awaited album release.
    Their late night TV commercial's from the 70's were legendary. Total cheeze and chaos, and meant to be that way. Do a search over on YouTube. There are some real gems there.
    Come to think of it, I have a appointment with the eye doctor today about 200 yds. from there. It's been a while, so time for a visit.
  6. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Awsome! I love places like that. I could spend a day in there fo' sure. Maybe someday I can get there.
  7. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    I had the chance to visit once, it was extremely frustrating. Sure lots of stuff to see, but most of it was inaccessible. If you have to move 6 instruments to get to the one you're looking at, and there is NO place to stack them, you just give up. I had a salesman try and fail to get into two different cabinets, the one's with the plexiglass doors you see in the photos, because the sliding plexiglass had come off the grooves and become hopelessly jammed. He just walked away muttering both times.

    I'm sure if you could visit regularly, you are bound to make some sweet finds.
  8. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
  9. +1. HUGE insurance liability!
  10. bgartist

    bgartist Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Reminds me of Snukst Music in Chicago. You could barely walk down the isles without knocking a guitar over.
  11. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Possibly the worst place to shop or buy instruments. Unhelpful, unfriendly sales people, all the instruments are trashed from being packed into those cases and then they want nearly full retail on them. Most of the instruments on top of the cases or on the walls are just museum pieces and not for sale.

    I've been in there off and on since the late 80's and it gets worse and worse every time. Last time I was there, there was trash mixed into the cases with instruments.

    One time someone asked me for full retail on a Tele that had been sitting in the case for over 10 years and had been a mis-spray with half of the front paint having peeled off.

    The gear is in worse shape than anything you'll find at GC, but you'll have to climb over piles of crap to even get to it.
  12. teddyrick9

    teddyrick9 Banned

    Dec 1, 2010
    I've shopped there. It's a mess. A real pigsty to put it bluntly. It's the most disorganized shop I've ever been in.

    Guitars (new and old) are crammed into the display cases and it's a shame because brand new instruments get scratched up in no time. I guess the owners like to do this so new equipment becomes instantly road worn. It's a shame.

    No matter how careful the people are that work there, instruments become instant relics.

    A word of caution. Be sure to thoroughly check out the case and any case candy (warranty card) and covers that are supposed to come with the instrument, because once you pay for it, that's all you get. If they give you the wrong case - too bad, it's yours now. If the covers are missing - too bad, you should have said something before leaving the store.

    On a positive note, the guitar tech upstairs is one of the best. He does excellent work.

    oh, one more thing. Not everything is priced. As a matter of fact, very few things are. If you don't know the value or current price for something, you will be in a bad situation.
  13. Fresh Eddie

    Fresh Eddie

    Nov 13, 2008
    I bought my first bass amp there in the late '80s (a Peavy Minx 110.) I was handed a Hofner copy with two strings on it to try it out. :)

    It is a great place to go and look around, it is pretty hectic at times, and even back then, there were guitars and basses literally piled in the display cases. I remember the record store was even worse, piles of records (some out of the sleeves) everywhere. The saleperson gave my friend and I each a free HOG t-shirt, but we had to dig through a huge pile of shirts to find our sizes.

    I was just there again last year, and it was much more organized, but still a mess. :)
  14. MiJaKo


    Oct 27, 2010
    Rochester, NY
    Good place to try. Not good to buy. (Trust me)
  15. EXB445


    Jan 4, 2008
    I've made all my bass buys there.....they will haggle, thats the best part. It is a mess but I like it, never came away with a bad deal.
    Some peolple love the place, and others hate it....to each his own.
  16. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    A buddy of mine used to work there - said it was a great place that, to this day, has strange old gear for sale that has been gathering dust since HE worked there in the early '80s. He had some great stories about their strange TV commercials...
  17. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
  18. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    I grew up about 5 hours from Rochester. I remember several fun day trips to the Hog with my dad (who plays / collects guitars). Good times.
  19. Cycho


    Nov 30, 2010
    I'm a local bass player with fond memories of the HOG. I bought my first bass combo amp there and they were very helpful. They lent me a very nice J bass and lugged out half a dozen amps until I decided.

    Rochester is a conservative town and HOG has a carefully managed reputation for being subversive. The TV commercials are indictative of this.

    If you like GC (clean, modern, professional, lots of new products) you will hate HOG (dirty, dark, informal, tons of old stuff). I like both.
  20. chrisp2u


    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Yeah, that's pretty much my experience over the years. i used to go there once or twice a year throughout the '80s into the early '90s for the sport of it. Interesting place to visit, but yeah... never ever bought anything there despite *really* trying to on a few occasions. It's not even like I was trying to score any big deals... just trying to get stuff below MSRP seemed to be a challenge (for stuff that was far from "new" shape, and in no means vintage or collectible at the time). They certainly lost out on many hundreds of dollars from me.

    I have no idea how they've managed to stay in business all this time, beyond the spectacle of it. It's been a long time since I've been in there, but if I had to guess, about 90% of the inventory is probably still the same since the last time I was in 17 years ago. I swear it had *barely* changed over the decade I had visited. They should just charge $3 at the door and make it a museum.

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