My visit to Caveman Vintage Music, Los Angeles

If you read the post about the vibrato unit (Good Vibrations) you’ll know that I elected not to buy the one off the original #MarrJag. That meant I was going to have to get one separately, obviously.

Vibrato & trem: not won

The unwanted vibrato unit

I looked online. They’re easy to come by, but not cheap. Over £100 for an original Fender part, or I could buy one in the US and have it shipped over. To be honest, I wasn’t in any hurry to do that again.

And then, because you never know what life has in store for you, I decided to go and visit my brother, who lives in Southern California about an hour’s drive from downtown LA.

It was all very last minute, unscheduled, and unplanned. But I decided one of the things I would do would be find a guitar shop (before I set off from the UK) that looked like an interesting place to visit and hope I’d find what I was after there.

Like any big city, there are a lot of guitar stores in LA and a quick search on Google found loads of them. I immediately discounted any big chain type establishments, you know the kind … all the obvious big name franchises in place, lots of stock but despite that not a lot of choice.

In the course of my online research, I found this place – Caveman Vintage Music, in Chinatown, LA. The 1974 movie Chinatown (set in Los Angeles in the early part of the 20th Century) has been one of my favourite movies for decades, so I took the store’s location in that part of town to be a good omen.

On Sunday 3 April, I visited Caveman Vintage Music and instantly fell in love with the place. The word vintage is all too often used far too liberally. But here at 650 North Spring Street, Los Angeles it really means something. This shop is full of the most amazing, genuinely vintage, not to mention rare and obscure, guitars… and basses… and amps… and pedals… and percussion… and vinyl… and more besides.

2016-04-03 14.44.57Sitting behind the counter was Eric. I explained I was looking for a Jaguar vibrato unit and he had one … well, a non-brand reissue (but as soon as I saw it I realised it would allow me to do something a Fender original part wouldn’t – that’s a story for another time). At just $40 is was a bargain. I bought it and a Caveman Vintage Music T-shirt.

Like everyone else I met during my time in Southern California, Eric was great; helpful, friendly, interested, and interesting. We had a chat, I told him about the #MarrJag project, we agreed we thought it was odd that someone had dismantled one in the first place, he let me poke about the store looking at stuff, taking pictures, etc. If I lived in LA I’d be begging Eric for a job. No, I’d work there free. Failing that I’d end up in there buying interesting guitar after interesting guitar.

I hope he reads this. Caveman Vintage Music is one of the coolest – possibly the coolest – guitar store I’ve ever set foot in. If you ever get the chance, pay it a visit. Failing that, you’ll find Caveman Vintage on Facebook too.

 

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