June 18th, 2012

By Tom Beaujour

There are guitar stores, and then there are great guitar stores, and New York City’s 30th Street Guitars is the latter. And so it’s with no little impatience and zeal that we put our loaner Triumph Thruxton — which we’ve been riding around to various Tri-State-area guitar emporiums — through its urban-warrior paces to reach the shop just as it opens on a beautiful Friday morning.

The bike performs like a charm in traffic, and its dropped handlebars, low center of gravity and smooth clutch are perfect for weaving in and out of Manhattan’s ever-gnarled maelstrom of trucks, cars, bicycles and pedestrians.

30th Street Guitars owner Matt Brewster poses with the Triumph Thruxton and one of his Rust guitars

The shop, which opened in its current location in 1998, boasts a huge selection of vintage electric guitars and basses and an almost-overwhelming selection of boutique pedals and amplifiers.

Classic high-ticket vintage pieces rub shoulders with more affordable eighties and nineties pieces and a fair share of curios, but the most important axes to check out when you visit this establishment are the Rust guitars built by 30th Street proprietor Matt Brewster (Full disclosure: I own three of these guitars). These Fender-inspired tone monsters feature necks expertly contoured to taste, spot-on fretwork, thoughtfully sourced electronics, and they sound nothing short of phenomenal. So do yourself a favor and plug one in!