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The Fretted Buffalo bets on Black Rock

“This is the best guitar shop you’ll find in town,” Jim said, as Bill and I made our way to the back of the store. He reminded me for a second time before I walked out. “Make sure you quote me,” he added.

Jim sat on a chair playing one of the several guitars at the store while owner Bill Covington and I sat in the back on a cozy sofa, chatting about his business. Bill is the owner of The Fretted Buffalo, a unique acoustic guitar shop on Amherst Street in Black Rock.

“It was a hobby that grew into a business. I started out in my house little by little. Eventually I began to develop relationships with guitar builders who didn’t mind that I didn’t have a brick and mortar shop.”

Bill stumbled upon the opportunity to establish a brick and mortar last fall. After making a commitment to the space, he developed a relationship with builders that required brick and mortars. Now, he sells different world-class builders known to acoustic players. You cannot find these high-end acoustic guitars within 300 miles of the 716; Avalon, Huss & Dalton, and Dana Bourgeois. Bill also sells guitars from the Furch/Stonebridge line, and Martin, to name a few more. Bill stated that Avalon guitars are difficult to come across. They are known for only building roughly 200 guitars a year.

Bill started to play guitar when he was 10 years old. “I was brought up on country music and blue grass. Once The Beatles hit, I was interested in them and took some guitar lessons, acoustic guitar music in particular.” Eventually, Bill began buying and selling used instruments, which eventually led to his current business.

I asked him about the difference between the guitars he sells versus guitars you can find elsewhere. He mentioned “attention to detail” and the “high quality of the wood” as a few aspects. “There is a huge difference between laminated wood and solid wood. Lower cost guitars tend to be laminated or layered wood. It’s also the difference between a factory build and a craftsperson build.”

He told me about using a saw and hand-cutting according to a pattern versus using a numerical machine that does the work for the builder. From what he told me, the craft is all in the sound of the wood.

“They tap the top to hear what that particular piece of wood will sound like when it is built into the guitar. Then they shave layers off of that or put bracing in to hold the top together and shave that bracing in just the right way to get the maximum tone of the guitar. Those are the guitars we got in the shop.”

Bill is thinking of bringing in new builders to slowly expand his selection. Check out his hours below and stop by the shop to satisfy your musical needs!

Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 12pm-7pm, Saturday 12pm6-pm.  

The Fretted Buffalo, 466 Amherst Street, Buffalo NY 14207

Facebook | Website(716) 913-6487

Guitar photos courtesy The Fretted Buffalo

Written by Sara Ali

Sara Ali

Sara is a freelance writer living on Buffalo's West Side. She works full time in human services, part time in freelance, and is currently working towards her endeavor to create a nonprofit focused on telling the stories of the refugee and immigrant communities.

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