Manny's Music is No Longer Standing :(

drglenn

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I just saw a post from Joe Bonamassa, with a picture of an empty lot where Manny's Music on 48th Street in NY used to be. It makes me sad, as I never got there when it was open. I do have a Manny's t-shirt I picked up a couple years ago from Sam Ash in Midtown, but never got to see the mecca in person. I'm wondering if anyone has any stories of their experiences at Manny's over the years before it was closed, please share. I did manage to get a pic of the storefront in 2013, tho:

View attachment 420146
I bought my first two guitars at Manny’s. The first was when I was 13 - 1969. It was a Rickenbacker 370, and cost $300. My parents took me up from Richmond,VA to get me this guitar for my birthday. What a GREAT store! Had a phenomenal salesman - a Black dude named Bill, who was an amazing jazz guitarist. He had loads of patience with me. Had to play several of them before I found the one that “called my name.” Bought a Fender Deluxe Reverb then, too. The Ric got stolen in Miami in the late ‘70s. Don’t remember what happened to the Deluxe. Wish I still had both of them. Then, in 1973, my parents took me back for my HS graduation present. We saw Bill again. We bought a Martin D35 - it took nearly 50 of them to find the right one. Manny’s actually had literally a truckload of them to choose from. The Richmond stores had maybe one each, but they didn’t do it for me. The D35 was $450 back in 1973, and it too was stolen from me in Boston back in 1975 while in college. Never was there a better music store, with better prices, a better staff, and a better selection. I was dreadfully sad to see it go…
 

JohnInNJ

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Sam Ash bought them in 99 and kept the family running the place until 2009. My guess it wasn’t making money and the property was worth more.

Plus there was a Sam Ash store first right next door and then directly across the street. They didn't want to compete against themselves. What used to be called "Music Row", West 48th St between Broadway and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, with Silver & Horland, Sam Ash, Manny's, We Buy Guitars, Rudy's, Dan Armstrong's a block away and a few I can't remember, now has NO music stores.
 

Olds442

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yeah i'm bummed i never made it out there in it's hay day. the closest old guitar store memory is GC on Harlem Ave. which really wasn't much to be truthful.
 

CTWoodWkr

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I just saw a post from Joe Bonamassa, with a picture of an empty lot where Manny's Music on 48th Street in NY used to be. It makes me sad, as I never got there when it was open. I do have a Manny's t-shirt I picked up a couple years ago from Sam Ash in Midtown, but never got to see the mecca in person. I'm wondering if anyone has any stories of their experiences at Manny's over the years before it was closed, please share. I did manage to get a pic of the storefront in 2013, tho:

View attachment 420146
I lived in the NYC area in the late 1990's and often worked around Rockerfeller Center so I hung out on 48th Street regularly. Although I visited Manny's often, I was a customer at Rudy's Music Stop across the street. I got to know Rudy and most of the sales guys especially John in the acoustic room on the 2nd floor. The story I heard was Sam Ash bought Manny's to keep Guitar Center out of 48th St. There were no GC's in the NYC area at that time. The most important thing to remember about Manny's is that when all the British rockers (including Jimi Hendrix) came over to tour the USA the first thing they did after landing at JFK was head to Manny's to buy the guitars and gear they couldn't get in the UK. Their photos covered Manny's wall and was a who's who of all the great bands - truly historic. I remember the Martin 000-EC at Manny's that I still wish I had bought. Rudy's moved to SoHo, Sam Ash went to 34th St. and the other smaller stores and services disapeared. There are still great guitar shops in Manhattan but you have travel around the city to find them. The photo, garment and flower districts as well as 48th St. all have moved away or changed and a lot the character of the NYC I knew has gone.
 

info@rossgun.com

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I studied guitar at the New School For Social Research down in the village back in `85. Jorma taught there after I left..it was a very cool place to learn really cool guitar technique. I already formal theory, reading, transposing and jazz chord melody..but IU needed to learn Chuck & Jimi...so I visited 48th street once a week for years. I bought an L series Strat from Rudy back in `85 for $1200, then a few months later I bought a Boogie Mark III before anyone ever heard about them.
What a wonderful time it was being on that street...You had Alex Music he sold guitars to Clapton, We Buy Guitars with vintage guitars directly across the street from Manny';s that was Richie Friedman's store, Sam Ash next door. All great places to get gear, all packed with customers. I remember seeing pictures of every great musical in history in Manny's...The Who, Cream, Jimi, etc...James Taylor was listening the Boogie while I demoed it.

A few years ago I had time to kill before I saw The Book Of Mormon, I was speechless walking up and down 48th street. All those empty building, even 48th Street Guitars was next to Manny's they had all the cool japanese guitars like Tokai, Espies, etc...and Right Track Studios was next to them , the Stones recorded Dirty Work there. All gone, the vendors, the musicians, all reduced to memories...it's very very sad to see, but it only illustrates where we are as a society now, live music, musicianship, ethics, all out the window. My buddy John builds Trainwrecks, he has more orders for 1/2 power amps than full 36 watts..the trend is going in wrong direction. I guess we're relics of an era long gone bye...rock clubs, strip clubs, and cool bars are all closing down. We all have to do our part to keep music an art that needs live interaction.
"Going Going Gone" by Al Kooper comes to mind !
 

Deftone

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It's sad to see places like this go. Time marches on.

We had Draper's Music in Palo Alto on California avenue. It was right down the street from the Keystone. Word is, Carlos Santana and Neal Schon among others bought guitars there. I used to hang out there as a kid and drool all over the guitars.
 

artis_xe

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I used to go into Manny's all the time, when I lived in NYC. There was a whole row of music shops on 48th street.

Real estate in midtown Manhattan is on fire right now. Street level retail is in the dumps. Put up a high rise and cash out.
I lived ( mainly ) in NYC for 20+ years . only the people that lived there , understand how much of it is changing . even if I could afford to move back into one of the now overpriced neighborhoods that I lived in . I wouldn't have any interest in doing so . it's not the same NY in so many ways

retailers and small venues ( like CBGBs ) can't afford to pay what the real estate is worth now . entire neighborhoods are being crushed / rebuilt by foreign investors . and in a city so dense with population , housing is either left vacant . or available only to the rich

the best part ( which I guess was always there in a way ) , is the trust fund kids that try to act like they're poor . dressing in tattered clothing and hanging out on the streets during the day . but every one of them has a Platinum Visa in their DIY duct tape wallets . fvcking posers . . .
 

Tone deaf

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I lived ( mainly ) in NYC for 20+ years . only the people that lived there , understand how much of it is changing . even if I could afford to move back into one of the now overpriced neighborhoods that I lived in . I wouldn't have any interest in doing so . it's not the same NY in so many ways

retailers and small venues ( like CBGBs ) can't afford to pay what the real estate is worth now . entire neighborhoods are being crushed / rebuilt by foreign investors . and in a city so dense with population , housing is either left vacant . or available only to the rich

the best part ( which I guess was always there in a way ) , is the trust fund kids that try to act like they're poor . dressing in tattered clothing and hanging out on the streets during the day . but every one of them has a Platinum Visa in their DIY duct tape wallets . fvcking posers . . .
The retail that has come in it super high-end stuff that most folks can't afford. That used to be Madison and 5th Aves. Now it is everywhere. Even West 42nd now has high end boutiques on it... You have to go off the beaten path to find the hidden gems like Veniero's bakery on 11th St.
 

artis_xe

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The retail that has come in it super high-end stuff that most folks can't afford. That used to be Madison and 5th Aves. Now it is everywhere. Even West 42nd now has high end boutiques on it... You have to go off the beaten path to find the hidden gems like Veniero's bakery on 11th St.
trust me . I could write a book on what gentrification ( and beyond ) has done to the city . the tourists will never know about the bakeries / delis / music stores that made NY . it will never have the same energy that it did 30 or 40 years ago . now it's just a time and place that will only exist in memories . but not live on
 

intrique45

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How sad. sign of the times. It was 1977 and I was 22 when I purchased a Norlin cherry sunburst Les Paul Custom there. $500 well spent. Salesman bought out a few guitars before I settled on the custom. What great customer service and a grand store. I was in awe of all the pictures hanging everywhere. A lot of history there and on that street. By the way I still have that guitar and receipt
 

KS 5150

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I got kicked out of my favorite rock n roll bar recently for being a dick. While I was waiting for my uber I played 15 barry manilow songs on their jukebox with my AMI app
Haha! Some buddies & I did that back in the day...1st place was "One The Road Again" by Willie Nelson 28 times....then a few nights later, we moved on to "Girl You Know It's True" by Milli Vanilli about 75 times in a row.....good times :)
 

cutaway

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Bought my Gibson L5-C at Manny's in 1975. A great store that had everything. You could gawk for hours just at the personalized autographed pictures from all the famous artists and bands. First thing Sam Ash did was take those pictures down when they bought it.
 

Deftone

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I believe a city loses a lot of it's character when it loses places like Manny's and CBGB's. Both are definitely a tourist draw for many.

Seems like some cities have historical landmark status you can apply for to keep places like this open. But I suppose if the owner wants to sell it's doomed. I would definitely support tax dollars being used to purchase places like this, just to keep them open. Our tax dollars are wasted on frivolous art project grants, why not something of real value?

Glad to see Guitar Showcase in San Jose, CA is still rolling along. Another one of my favorites.

https://www.guitarshowcase.com/pages/the-vault?page=1
 

Bill Hicklin

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I lived in the NYC area in the late 1990's and often worked around Rockerfeller Center so I hung out on 48th Street regularly. Although I visited Manny's often, I was a customer at Rudy's Music Stop across the street. I got to know Rudy and most of the sales guys especially John in the acoustic room on the 2nd floor. The story I heard was Sam Ash bought Manny's to keep Guitar Center out of 48th St. There were no GC's in the NYC area at that time. The most important thing to remember about Manny's is that when all the British rockers (including Jimi Hendrix) came over to tour the USA the first thing they did after landing at JFK was head to Manny's to buy the guitars and gear they couldn't get in the UK. Their photos covered Manny's wall and was a who's who of all the great bands - truly historic. I remember the Martin 000-EC at Manny's that I still wish I had bought. Rudy's moved to SoHo, Sam Ash went to 34th St. and the other smaller stores and services disapeared. There are still great guitar shops in Manhattan but you have travel around the city to find them. The photo, garment and flower districts as well as 48th St. all have moved away or changed and a lot the character of the NYC I knew has gone.

Midtown is one massive construction zone; all the old 4-10 story buildings with storefronts being bulldozed for new skyscrapers.
 

Sharp

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In 1980 my friends and I were getting drunk one night in the summer in Ottawa. We were 18. Back then we could rent a car for $20.00 because my dad worked for the government so we had a trans am in the driveway. Natch. The conversation started with “ let’s go to Hull “, then Montreal, then nyc! 8 hours later, and more beer and jack, we arrived in ny. We went the the world trade centre, the Russian tea room and mannys. I must have seen their adds in guitar player or something. It was magical. The signed photos, the guitars galore. I knew it was special. The place across the street ( we sell guitars?). Glad I got there ( alive). Good times, god memories. On the way we went through a turnpike and only had Canadian cash, so after some haggling we got through and as we drove away we heard the toll woman say “ assholes “. On the way back we hit the toll and it was the same attendant. We were like “ hey, remember us”? She said “ oh ya, assholes”! We laughed all the way back to Canada.
 


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