GREENVILLE — Sometimes, after a major “weather event” graces our cars, roads, and walkways with several inches of less-than-fluffy snow, we dig ourselves out with shovels, brushes and ice scrapers, and wish for those “good vibrations” of sunny summer to arrive posthaste.
Snow days like these have inspired many to stave off the winter blues by singing songs of vacationing in tropical climes and sipping on coconut cocktails, while strumming their guitars by the bay. During this frigid time of the year (and especially due to COVID-19) aspiring musicians seek to rediscover their hidden talents while spending more time indoors. No matter what age and skill level, guitarists everywhere experience the joy of six (or twelve) strings on “Get Out Your Guitar Day,” celebrated each second week of February.
Evolving from the ancient Greek kithera and the medieval lute, guitars did not appear until 1600, when baroque instruments emerged with fewer gut strings and movable frets. During this time, the guitar’s hourglass shape, the vihuela, made popular in Portugal, Italy and Spain, became a favorite instrument of court musicians, because it was both practical and portable. While most guitars favored the classical six strings, one Spanish musician and guitar maker, Antonio de Torres Jurado , revolutionized the instrument by re-imagining both a broader shape and mechanized tuning pegs, making each string easier to tune and play. Europeans also rediscovered the guitar by replacing gut strings with steel ones. Christian Frederick Martin, who came to America from Germany, created a new guitar, known as the “flat top” which could withstand the stress of modern steel strings. Other modern guitar-inventing pioneers included Orville Gibson, Leo Fender, and Les Paul.
Greenville’s Bach to Rock Music, located downtown at 334 S. Broadway, offers aspiring musicians the opportunity to choose from a full line of instruments and accessories, with lessons conveniently offered at the store. Guitars have been a particular favorite over the years, with the shop selling various brands and models, including Alvarez, Ibanez, and Austin instruments.
Bruce Kaiser, owner of Bach to Rock since 1986, who plays both guitar and piano, invites the community to come in and explore the many different kinds of guitars available, from acoustic and classical, to electric and bass.
“A good starter guitar pack runs around $179. A professional guitar can go as high as $1,000,” explained Kaiser. “A quality electric or bass guitar is made from select tone woods and is set-up for ease of playing. An average guitar is made from less expensive woods and may not play as easy as an expensive one.”
Although instruments are available, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some of the distributors, creating a high demand on the industry, and impacting supply chains and inventory.
“We had a great Christmas season. There was a record sales year in 2020 nationally,” said Kaiser. “Some instruments are difficult to get now, because of the lack of the distributors and stock. We normally will stock about 100 guitars in the store.”
In addition to instrument sales, Bach to Rock offers music lessons at the store in both piano and guitar. “We work with our teachers in the area that offer brass and string instrument lessons also,” said Kaiser.
Bach to Rock recently added a new beginning guitar instructor, Alex Weiss. Weiss, a 2018 Arcanum High School grad who is studying Business and Agriculture at the Ohio State University, has been playing guitar for several years, and performs with the worship team at Castine Church in Arcanum. He is accepting students of all ages (children and adults) for private lessons in beginning acoustic or bass guitar, and will teach chords, fingerstyle, rhythm and strumming techniques. For more information, just call or text Weiss at 937-564-9169.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, Bach to Rock has become the “go to” store for all things music-related in Darke County. Another great service offered at Bach to Rock is instrument repair. Kaiser’s brother, Todd Kaiser, is the shop’s music repair specialist, diagnosing and fixing instrument problems, and offering helpful advice on proper instrument maintenance and tuning checks.
In addition to the great selection of guitars, Bach to Rock offers an extensive music library of method books and solo instrument books in many band and orchestra instruments, including piano, brass instruments, woodwinds, strings, and percussion, available for purchase at the store. Suzuki, Wohlfahrt, All for Strings, Standard of Excellence, Accent on Achievement, and Sound Innovations are among the many titles available downstairs. Bach to Rock offers layaway, and 90 days same as cash for instrument purchases, and has established an instrument rental program which allows students to put money toward the purchase of a new instrument while learning to play. To find out more, just call 937-547-1970, check out its Facebook page, or visit the store, which is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) Thursday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
So, as we continue to watch the snowflakes fall for the next month or two, pick up a guitar, learn a few chords, and strum away those winter blues.
Carol Marsh covers community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-569-4314.