Through the Looking Glass and Beyond. A Magical Journey through the World of Alpha Music (Part 1)
What can I say about Alpha Music in Lewisburg, WV? Like a child’s ‘Toys ‘R’ Us’, Alpha Music is the musician’s toy store equivalent. A rush of musical toys falls over you as you enter the door. Alpha Music is the hub of the local music scene. If you are a musician, or just simply love music, you must stop in and check out Alpha Music. It is definitely not a place to miss.
Before I take you through the looking glass, I’d like to make mention of the modest, unassuming building that is Alpha Music. No ominous, almost monstrous mega-structure chain store looming overhead where no one knows you by name.
As we approach the front porch and before we step inside, let’s stop to peer through the windows. With foreheads pressed to windows, hands cupped around our eyes, we are mesmerized at what we see through the looking glass on the inside; ‘’A virtual smorgasbord of musical mayhem.’’ That’s what I call it, anyway. Let’s go inside. As we walk in the door, what do we see? Oh, it’s only Dan. Dan Freeman. Only Dan? Ha ha. I told him I might embarrass him. Actually, Dan is kinda like the manager. I don’t really know for sure. I never asked him. All I know is this; he does what a manager does, but much more. Dan is an awesome guitarist and singer and he performs around town and all about the region. When it comes to product knowledge or various music-related questions that you might have, he knows his stuff. Questions he cannot answer, Dan will research a catalog or internet source and find it for you. In addition, Dan not only fixed and updated my vintage 1967 Framus Texan acoustic guitar, (German made / John Lennon played one similar), he gives guitar lessons and I believe he is a bit of a vocal coach, as well.
Oh? The big guy with the red hair? That’s Charlie. Charlie Hatcher. He kinda ‘’is’’ the big guy. He’s the 3rd generation owner. Charlie’s grandpa created Alpha Music in 1986 and it’s still running strong to this day. So, you can say the place is well established and has a stellar reputation with musicians and customers in the area. Even though Alpha Music is a small town local store, they can sometimes match or beat prices on the internet. Even if they can’t beat a price, the internet can’t even come close to the hometown personal service that you get at Alpha Music. …and more about Charlie later on in our journey.
Now, with all of that said, let’s turn to the ‘Great Wall of Guitars’. Not only do we see new and used late model guitars, there is a wall of vintage guitars on consignment from local musicians, (mostly retired) and estate finds. The best thing about this? You can take a guitar down from the rack, (with utmost care, I might add), cradle it in your arms and play it. Who does this? Alpha Music does. I can’t even begin to list all of the vintage guitars that I have been able to play when I visit and sit a spell on my many many journeys behind or beyond the looking glass that is Alpha. Everything from a 1938 Martin R-18 archtop, ( which I call in “vintage pristine” condition), a 1965 Gibson with a worn finish to a 1942 Martin Flat top in vintage worn condition. Many more guitars I have played and all have different voices, but sound excellent in their own right. Over the years, I have bought 4 guitars from Alpha . . . or is it 5? Ahhh, who’s counting, right? I sold a few through consignment there too. The first guitar that I bought? The 1938 Martin that I mentioned before. I love that guitar and I knew I had to have it from the first time that I played it.
As we look around the room, amongst the beautiful acoustic guitars is a smaller wall of mandolins, banjos, ukeleles, violins, (fiddles to some of you), and an occasional dulcimer or two. Lots of accessories on this same wall too. More accessories are found in the glass showcases at the counter. Most strings are found on the wall behind Dan. Good deal too. Better than internet prices. Buy one set, get 2nd set 1/2 price. . . . plus you get a good, solid recommendation of what strings might be right for your instrument, free of charge.
Let’s head into what I like to call, ‘The Room Electric’. Before we go in, glance to your right. You see a bulletin board of ‘magical musical connections’. Way cool. Looking for a drummer? It’s probably up there. Upcoming music festival? Yep. The magic bulletin board strikes again. Anyway, you can post stuff or make your local music connections via the old-fashioned community bulletin board. . . or grab a copy of #Hashtag Lewisburg in the rack next to it. If it’s not on the board, you’ll probably find it in there. Okay, on to the ‘Room Electric’. … Uh-oh, I see that I have run out of space for this issue. Please stay tuned and pick up next month’s issue to continue our journey. We will pick up right where we left off. Next month, we enter the ‘Room Electric’. See you next month. Until then; keep rockin’. Peace.
– the Random Prophet. Hashtag 101. May 2018.