|The House of Guitars
|645 Titus Avenue, Rochester NY, 14617
|Hours (as of September 2009)
|Monday-Saturday: 10:00AM to 9:00PM
|Sunday: 1:00PM to 5:00PM
|Monday @ midnight - sell new CD releases
|585 544 3500
|By wheelchair in back, up small step
|House of Guitars
The House of Guitars, located on Titus Avenue, is probably the best known business (musical instruments and CDs & records) in the Town of Irondequoit, made famous by wacky television commercials that were a staple of late-night local television in the 1980s and 1990s. Rather than a big-box retail operation, the H.O.G. consists of several buildings cobbled together in a maze-like fashion that lends a flea-market feel to excursions there. Much of their advertising features the slogan "The store that ate my brain!" and people have been known to use that phrase to refer to the business.
Brothers Armand and Bruce Schaubroeck began their business in 1964 by selling guitars out of the basement of their mother's home.
|Armand & Bruce - Photo by Jeff Gerew - C7Photo.com or facebook.com/c7photo
|The basement of the House of Guitars. Photo by Dan Machold
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2007-11-10 16:02:48 Eh, many of the employees have no clue about the inventory, but if anyone could keep track of what they have I'd be damned. It is possible to find great deals on guitars, you just have to play them first. —LastnameFirstname
2008-01-22 23:56:15 Where's your product inventory???—list of products you sell??—Is this a store—or a site seeing ad?? —CharlesHettrick
2008-02-12 20:23:04 This place is beyond interesting. You could spend a month there and not see everything. It is a little like a massive rummage sale of new and used equipment, guitars, basses, amps, drums, keyboards, CDs, vinyl etc. You have to be willing to navigate the narrow isles and mess which depending on your preference either adds to the “ambiance” or is just a mess. No matter what you say they have a lot of classic gear. I plan to return soon. If you like Internet and Mall shopping, this is not for you. —ScottTheis
2008-03-29 19:47:24 Forget the negative reviews. this place is run for musicians by musicians. It is crowded with equipment and people. They let you plug in and test drive the gits for yourself. This means they leave you alone and expect you to know what you want. If you need help, grab an owner-they are always around. This place is guitar heaven, with Irondequoit Hots right next door (for the restorative garbage plate). We drove 1.5 h to get here and are coming back. Neg users prob had expectations of the mall experience, which this place is not. Just a matter of taste. —GittMonn
2008-06-20 10:03:34 I don't think GittMonn could've stated it any better. Being a former HOG employee (86-91), I can tell you that the place is amazing and totally unique. There are very few people who know more about guitars than Bruce and Armand. Also, Curt Smith is an absolute pleasure to deal with! They will always have my business.
LinusGreen is certainly entitled to his opinion. (Probably someone from Guitar Center using a phony name.) To put it bluntly, no one spends the time to write three different negative reviews on RocWiki.
ps -No I'm not a stoner! Never was! LOL —JeffGerew
2008-07-16 09:07:57 The HOG is absolutely amazing, I agree with Gittmon, the store is not only a place of well ran business but also a museum for music fanatics from all over. They have instruments there from all over the world and crazy old historical antique guitars, which are awesome to look at. And as far as the employees go, when I went in they were all really fun guys and they did know a great deal about their inventory, and I was given great business, they even beat the internet price I brought in on a guitar I wanted
So I would really really give the House of Guitars a great review on a great business and fun atmosphere —BillySmith
2008-07-31 00:05:01 THE HOG IS AMAZING!!!!! Anyone who buys a guitar from any other place isn't doing their research on getting high quality instruments for your money!!! Wouldnt go anywhere else. I love that place, Thanks for bringing such a great business to Rochester!!! —RockStar
2009-02-07 09:42:21 I came down from Boston to check out the Store. I can tell you this, I was in awe. This is the GREATEST music store in the world, yes I said it the WORLD. I came in and was met at the front of the store by a man named Bruce, we talked for 15 minutes or so and he explained a brief history of the store, he basically treated myself and another musician that drove down with me like family. I later found out he is one of the owners. Same thing happened in the back room where they have the vinyl and the CD's, we were looking at the items on the wall, Beatles, Roy Buchanon, Hendrix, and on and on and on. We were given another tour you could say by a man named Armand really took the time and explained alot of the history of the building. Again, later we find out he is the other owner. What I am saying is these people didn't know us from a hole in the wall and took the time to give a great description on a store they most definitely love. I can say this is a piece of Americana, and with all of Corporate America pushing all of the family owned/run business around these days, this was a pleasant surprise.
On another note, don't let the people that spoke before me talking about inventory and thing of the like to cast a shadow over this store. If you are a musician, aspire to be one, or just love music in general you would be doing yourself an injustice if you never visit this store. Long live the Brothers Schaubroeck, go see a piece of music history.
Bradford Simmons —BradSimmons
2009-04-22 13:50:33 The Best Guitar Shop On The Planet. Period.
First and foremost, there are two HOGs: the music instruments shop and the records shop. They share the same address, the same owners, the same management, and the same... sense of organizing displays.
My review will focused on the instruments, even if I bought a few very-rare-to-find CDs there. I make a point to try my local store first rather than going on amazon.com. Cities will be really sad when every shops will have disappeared because online business will have taken it all, huh?
About the guitar shop. It is apparently a mayhem, but it is in fact much more rigourous than big boxes (Guitar Center, Sam Ash, etc). Of course, you can find the same new guitars online (Sweetwater, ...), but wouldn t you play your guitar before buying? I do. HOG selection is great. All the classic brands are there, and not only a few models: Looking for a Strat? all colors, all qualities (and associated price ranges) are there. Same for Gibson and PRS. Check out some cool dean products or Epiphone if you can t afford the big tags yet. They have it all, in amazing displays.
Beside this popular choices, you ll find very rare and high end products. They sell so many good instrument that Gibson, PRS and Fender actually take care of sending nothing but the best to HOG. I know people who bought PRSs, Gibsons and a Strat from them, and all are really happy with HOG products and services
The service guy is outstanding. He has to, since he's tweaking and finetuning guitars from $150 to $10,000! the amazing thing is that he does the same great job in all instances. When it comes to fine tuning action, only experts can do the job he does.
Their collection of vintage instruments is outstanding, and surprisingly, the prices are not above what you can find on ebay or otehr "buy-a-cat-in-a-bag" places!
Their advices are always valuable. They don t try to sell you at all cost, but they really try to fulfill your needs. I recently bought a amp and they direct me toward something I wouldn t have considered at first. It was the right thing to do. Thanks,Bruce and Kurt !
last but not least, you can try whatever guitar you want in a great environment, but when it comes to trying one of theyr expensive one-of-a-kind axes, they ll take care that you don t harm it. Unlike other places in Rochester, they clean necks and strings after trials, and they make sure noone scratch the back of guitars.
As a conclusion, I would say that they manage to match huge inventory, quality products, respect vis-a-vis the customer and care of their rareties.
2009-11-14 18:49:17 Called up today to see about selling an amp. After giving the guy on the other end the specs, I was told to bring it in. When I did, one of the clerks took the amp, and sent one of the owners (which I do not know, as this was my first time in the store) out to see me. Instead of making a base offer for it, he asked what I was looking to get for it, and upon hearing my price (somewhat high, since I assumed as like any time I've traded in gear, he'd go low, and we'd reach a happy medium) he proceeded to laugh and walk away. Even the other clerk seemed surprised by his employer's behavior as he stepped in to handle the deal. It was the kind of display of self-important arrogance that few small business owners can get away with and still be successful. I've bought and sold various pieces of equipment all over the Northeast and have never been so shocked with an owner's inability to deal gracefully with their customers. This store may have a better selection of guitars, but at least places like Guitar Center know how to deal with customers respectfully. In my opinion, if you're looking for a store in Rochester for your high-end guitar needs, start with Bernunzio's. Like many of Rochester's overrated "institutions," this cramped little shop seems to have gotten too full of itself to be worth the hassle. —PhillyMike
2009-12-10 11:35:55 I lived in Rochester for four years and stopped by many times.. I must say that as other people stated here they have cool stuff and its like visiting a museum but dealing with them it's a nightmare. SELFISH, ARROGANT... I'm witting this because I felt insulted in this place... I asked for information about a multi-track and they just brought it to the counter and said 899$ looking some other place... same with a guitar... and that loooook ... They bored and selfish RNR star pose only changes when somebody famous comes in... well let me remind u guys still clerks and I'm somebody quite successful now in the music world.. And i wont come back ever again... —mmcguire
2010-01-31 14:48:28 Believe the negative comments about this place. They don't update their website I traveled out from Henrietta to purchase A DVD and CD the site had in stock only to find out they havent had these items in stock for over a year. They told me I should have called and I replied well maybe you should give people a heads up to call even if the inventory search says they have it in stock. One of the items I went out there for has been out of stock for over six years.
Before one of the obvious employees there or owners tries to call me a disgruntled former or guitar center employee I am a licensed professional in the health care profession as well as a drummer. When I have gone to look at their drums I have been shocked to see sets leaning against steam radiators as well as piled on top of each other not good for drum shells so I knew I would never buy music gear there but figured I would give them a try for media. Same result cluttered and disorganized with employees who don't really seem to care that they mislead people.
I will be doing my best to make sure none of my musician friends ever shop there as well as anyone who is looking for instruments or media that I might talk to in my daytime profession. This is the only course of action I have since the managers don't care. It might not hit them hard as I'm sure the owners are well to do otherwise they would care more about the business, however I will take joy in knowing that I am able to stop anyone from giving these burnt out selfish owners any business.
Caveat emptor. —JDorn
2010-03-30 14:20:38 All of you people who dont like this place are out of your mind. This place is great, if you are looking for music come here if they don't have what your looking for the only place in the world that will is the internet of Virgin records in Florida.
2012-04-27 18:48:44 So I've read through all of the comments... positive and negative. At the end of the day, the store is a little cramped and messy, nobody can take that away from the HOG. That being said, I find the complaints to be unwarranted. The thing with the HOG is that the people there know their gear. If you walk in and need help: ask, and you will get good advice. If you walk in like you own the place and have a high level of gear knowledge yet you do not- you might be laughed at. I have never, in my 15 years shopping music had a more personalized customer service experience. The boys at the HOG always give sound advice, and offer a better price than anybody on anything. Name the brand... I've bought PRS, Marshall, Gibson, Fender, boogie, Taylor, Peavey and many more from this place. Go in and and talk to Curt or Bruce and you will not be disappointed.
2012-08-11 14:19:44 There is no better music store within several hundred miles. Gibson, Fender, Vox, MXR, Orange, Gretsch, acoustic, electric, keyboards, drums, CDs, posters, t shirts....you name it, it's in this building somewhere. I'll say further that it's a store where the staff uses what they sell. I drive past reputable music stores 1/2 mile from me to shop at the HOG, which is about 12 miles from me. I will not buy an instrument or accessories anywhere else. —KeithCSuhr