February 2022
Gray Dog Guitars Is Moving Up

Music evokes a medley of emotion and movement. Its value is endless, from motivation to clean a bedroom or get some much-needed exercise to changing the world. Rehearsal to build craft leads to performance expressing passion and joy, and frequently complements the other lively arts.

The current shop is homey, but limited

While music is part of daily life and widely admired, the prospect of delving into the practice and mastery of an instrument may come with apprehension for many. Gray Dog Guitars, now expanding into a full-service shop after eight years in business downtown, is here to help.

The current store offers new and used guitars, basses, ukuleles, amplifiers and related accessories with a curatorial approach, and expert advice to guests in search of the right instrument for a desired sound. As Addison says, “We would sooner not sell a guitar than sell the wrong guitar to the wrong person at the wrong time.” Addison says they stay “mindful” about the instruments they handle, looking for high value for the customer, but it’s not about price. He seeks the vintage and unique, whether in a $5,000 or $50 guitar.

It also hosts Gray Dog Sessions, where musicians can take the floor and perform for small audiences and live recordings. Artists including Jesse Daniel Edwards and Billy Sedlmayr and The Mother Higgins Children Band have rocked the store’s 600 square feet.

Six new teaching rooms are nearly ready to go in the new space.

By doing as much as a third of its business online to a national clientele, Gray Dog has thrived even as the music-store business has generally shrunk, supporting Addison’s commitment to the community music-store idea. The success of the business has led to a move up the street, from 141 to 231 North Cortez, and expansion to 4,500 square feet in the new location, allowing for a much greater range of possibilities.

The new shop will devote 2,000 square feet to retailing, maintaining and expanding existing new and used retail lines, including its Fender dealership, while offering a broader array of opportunities. Gray Dog will now feature drums, keyboards, pro audio equipment such as mixers and speakers, and other sections as well.

Chris Fleming in his new repair shop

“If you want to start a band, you can come to Gray Dog and start that band,” says Nick Canuel, who works the shop floor and manages non-guitar business with owner and guitarist Addison Matthew. They bring to bear extensive knowledge of drums, keys, audio, and guitar, both having performed with local and regional bands. Nick explains the new additions to the Gray Dog repertoire, which will include more services. “Addison and I are both guitar players, and I’m a drummer as a very close second, so our big focus to start is to get drum and guitar lessons going.”

Addison Matthew relaxes with a guitar

The remaining 2,500 square feet will be used for teaching rooms and a repair shop, mainly for guitars. Leading that part of the operation will be Chris Fleming, formerly the Senior Master Builder for Fender Musical Instruments Corp. and manager of the Fender Custom Shop.

Addison and Nick have been recruiting hand-selected instructors, and have so far signed up nine, including three for drum students, and they will expand to more instruments.

“Many of our teachers play ukulele too, and other instruments. It will really be up to the teachers, but we have the space to teach keys and help others learn piano, so I imagine we’ll teach more than what we’re starting with,” says Nick.

Nick Canuel at the counter

The specifics of the new space are still in the works, but its size and shape will support most any kind of necessary renovation, and as the expansion progresses it’s evolving with fresh ideas.

For updates you can follow Gray Dog Guitars on Facebook, and for store contact information visit GrayDogGuitars.com.

Laura Cummings is a Prescott native covering the local arts and business scene. Photos by staff.

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