About Our Relationship With Guitar Sellers

One Man’s Guitar’s relationship with guitar sellers varies based on personal history and proximity

Please see our list of recommend dealers, below

I cannot begin to estimate the number of guitar purchases that were influenced in some way by my writing. My reviews have appeared on guitar forums and websites like this one for the nearly 20 years, as well as respected journals like the ToneQuest Report. My opinion on many more guitars has appeared in general guitar forum posts and discussions.

I receive mail from every continent except Antarctica, seeking my opinion and advice, or to request that I visit a local shop to play a particular instrument someone was thinking of buying. Aside from Americans, recent inquiries include people from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel, and the United Kingdom. But even in such cases, I do not always hear if the person actually bought a guitar based on my opinions.

Still, there is no doubt my writing has directly influenced specific guitar sales, both those purchased from private individuals and professional guitar dealers.

For example, I have knowledge of two guitars purchased by separate individuals from My Favorite Guitars, in Oxford, Florida. The shop is owned by Jon Garon, who I know personally through our mutual involvement with the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, and their annual gathering in Nazareth, PA.

One customer made their decision based partly on a review I did of a Martin model, and was kind enough to send me word that they had done so. I had a greater direct involvement in the other sale.

The customer was referred to me by a mutual friend from the UMGF. I exchanged considerable correspondence with the customer, offering details about various guitars from various makers. I helped convince them to buy a Martin. I further convinced them to go even more outside of their intended budget to upgrade from Martin’s PA4 Series, to the Martin PA3 series, to get the superior on-board electronics, as the customer expected to use the guitar for frequent church-service performances.

My entire commission from the guitar dealer and any other party, for shepherding the customer through the guitar-buying process, for getting them to upgrade their choice, for my taking delivery of the guitar from Florida and inspecting it, and keeping it at my home until I could hand-deliver the guitar to the customer when they arrived in New York City on business, was exactly $0.00.

That is the same amount I have received from every guitar maker or guitar seller in the entire world, in money, merchandise or discounts, for any guitar purchase that was influenced by me or my writing on One Man’s Guitar, in any way, shape, or form. Any information to the contrary, regardless of the source, is false.

This does not include monies I received from the re-sale of my own personal guitars though Matt Umanov, and Mandolin Brothers, of New York City (both now retired from the business,) and Guitar Junction of Worthing, England, likewise now out of business.

When it came to the particular OMCPA3 purchase, the customer took to heart my jest about buying me a beer sometime, and sent me a case of beer as a token of his gratitude. To date, this remains my sole form of profit from such a guitar sale.

Otherwise, the relationship between various dealers, me and anyone else associated with One Man’s Guitar varies, depending upon personal history.

The dealer who has made the most sales based on my writing has to be Mandolin Brothers. I spent many years visiting that excellent shop and posting my opinions about the guitars I saw there. These were not in any way posted with the specific goal of selling guitars for the late Stan Jay, the owner of Mandolin Brothers, and a dearly missed friend. Rather, they were simply posted through my desire to let people know about the guitars who might be interested in owning them.

I considered Mandolin Brothers to be “my local Martin dealer” and I was happy to support them when I could, just as I have always recommended that people support their own local dealer when they can.  But I have had no formal relationship with Mandolin Brothers, other than as a customer who has purchased multiple guitars there, and countless packs of strings, etc.

In March of 2015 I shot some guitar videos at Mandolin Brothers to increase my growing library of examples that readers may use to compare various brands and models. They were identical to the videos I shoot in private homes, with the same mics, etc. In exchange for this opportunity they  used these same videos on their website as they see fit.

I also have knowledge that my writing, in public or private, has led to sales of guitars at various other NYC-area dealers such as Matt Umanov, Rudy Pensa, Sam Ash, and Guitar Center. Such sales also occurred through (now defunct) Buffalo Brothers of San Diego, CA; Elderly Instrument, of Lansing, MI; Vintage Instruments of Philadelphia, PA; and Make’n Music, of Chicago, IL.

I have no specific knowledge of my writing leading to a sale for Maury’s Music, of Coaldale, PA, but it is possible, as a series of reviews written by me appeared on their website.

Maury and I met in 2002, at the first official gathering of the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, in Nazareth, PA, now called Martinfest. We became fast friends and have remained friends ever since.

At the time, Maury’s profession was that of a gigging musician. Only after he became a central participant among the earliest members of the UMGF did Maury open a shop and became a Martin dealer.

The guitar reviews which appeared on Maury’s website were of various models of Martin guitars. They were based upon guitars I played in New York City shops, or at the Martin guitar factory, typically when they would display examples of their new models the week they debuted in the catalog. They were not reviews of specific guitars for sale at Maury’s Music.

The one exception was the very first review that appeared on Maury’s website. It was a Martin D-18 Golden Era that had been given to a NYC guitarist to check out and compare to the D-18 Gordon Lightfoot model they already owned. After running the D-18GE through its paces, the musician brought it to my home so I could do the same. Maury asked each of us to send him email with our assessment of the model. He then asked us to type up our assessment as a more formal review, which was posted on Maury’s website. This led to the invitation for me to do more reviews, based upon what items I liked or wanted to write about. In addition to guitars, I wrote reviews on strings, capos, and other guitar accessories.

The One Man’s Guitar review of the OM-18 Authentic 1933 was based on the prototype I played at the Martin factory. But it was altered after I played an example from the production run of that model on my first visit to Maury’s Music in over four years. That is the first time a formal review included an instrument I actually played at Maury’s shop.

Others may follow, as I have been engaged by Maury’s Music since 2013 to appear in demonstration videos for their own website. Since most of the guitars will be part of the basic catalog models from makers like Martin and Blueridge, it is unlikely many or any written reviews will result from these videos. As with Mandolin Brothers, in the event that I write a review of a guitar available through Maury’s Music, or any other guitar selling, it will be no more enthusiastic and no less critical than each and every review that appears on One Man’s Guitar.

Maury and Lori Rutch support my stance that there is enough business for all guitar dealers of any brand. I am happy to recommend and support them and my other local dealers, and shall remain no less pleased if my reviews, opinions, or advice help someone purchase a guitar of any brand that makes them happy, from any dealer, anywhere in the world.

And that is one man’s word on…

One Man’s Guitar’s relationship with guitar sellers

July 7, 2013 (revised February 7, 2018)


Although I have done business with only a few of the shops listed below, they all have extensive experience and a good reputation for customer service, and are recommended by friends and associates, including many professional musicians.


Acoustic Music, Guilford, CT  ~  Brothers Music Shop, Wind Gap, PA  ~  Buffalo Brothers, San Diego, CA

Cotton Music Center, Nashville, TN  ~  Elderly Instruments, Lansing, MI  ~  Gruhn Guitars, Nashville, TN

Gryphon Stringed Instruments, Palo Alto, CS  ~ L. A. Guitar Sales, Los Angeles, CA ~ Make’n Music, Chicago, IL ~ Matt Umanov Guitars, NYC

Maury’s Music, Coaldale, PA ~ Moore Music, Evansville, IN ~ Music Emporium, Lexington, MA

Music Outlet, Sevierville, TN ~ My Favorite Guitars, Naples, FL ~ Retrofret/Musurgia, Brooklyn, NY

Rudy’s Music, NYC ~ Schoenberg Guitars, Tiburon, CA ~ Steve Swan Guitars, Burlingame, CA

The Twelfth Fret, Toronto, Ontario ~ Vintage Instruments, Philadelphia, PA ~ Wildwood Guitars, Louisville, CO ~  Willcutt Guitars, Lexington, KY

2 thoughts on “About Our Relationship With Guitar Sellers

  1. Hi Spoon (if I may call you by your first name?),
    Thanks for spending the wonderful contributions to the acoustic guitar world. Love the writing and choice of word.
    And independancy really counts these days.

  2. Hey Spoon,

    Just letting you know your video of the 00-42 Stage Coach was a key factor in purchasing one.

    Thank you.

    Kindest Regards, Robb Somerville…

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