The London Guitar Studio
When I was studying at the Royal Academy of Music I supported myself by page turning and ushering at the Wigmore Hall. The favourite part of every shift, however, was walking down after the concert to the London Guitar Studio on Duke street. Juan Teijeiro was always a friendly face that let me try out all of his guitars and spend hours pouring over the sheet music in the store. Yesterday when I was in London, I caught up with Juan and asked him a few questions.
How did this store get started?
I started out in “The Spanish Shop” on Fulham Road. It was a little bit out of the way but we did well there. I started to import guitars to sell them to other shops and that’s how it all started. First in Fulham Road and then here, where the store currently is and also just around the corner in James Street, we had a store for ten years. Eric Clapton used to come in all the time, he said he loved the store and he would sit there playing for ages. Once we moved here, that was it, and we didn’t see him anymore. We also started a store over in Warren Street but it didn’t work, there were a lot of people but it just didn’t make money. I couldn’t be at both stores so that meant people just did what they liked. Now we put all of the energy into this store and its doing very well.
What have you seen change in players over the years?
In the 50s I used to go down to a place in Madrid called the “Society for Guitars” and everyone used to go there. Segovia’s wife used to come down and all the famous makers used to come down. You saw the people playing there, and there were a lot of players, and everyone played differently some people even used the little finger. Everything was very, very personal, it was lovely to see. It was lovely to see everyone with different ideas and techniques and now, we have the factory, where everyone plays more or less the same.
What kind of concert guitars are people interested in these days?
Well there is a lot of interest in these new lattice braced guitars. They used to be very, very heavy, extremely heavy, but now they are getting lighter and lighter. There are some people that just don’t want to know because they sound different and they want the traditional sound. But that’s the way it is. Now the guitar, which we sell quite a lot of, is the Dieter Hopf. He worked out a system that he gave to Adalid in Spain so these guitars have a double label Hopf-Adalid One designed the guitar and the other made it. We sell them like hot cakes. They sell for around 3000 pounds and with some of the others being six or seven thousand, they are very good value.
Why do you think some of these guitars have sky rocketing prices? For instance there are some Smallmans selling in the US for close to 40,000 dollars
Well let me tell you something about that, there are people who collect them. People who have to have a Smallman because they have a Fleta and this and that, they just want to collect them. He doesn’t like that, Smallman, he wants the guitar to go to the guitarist. When one of his customers buys a guitar just to deal with it, he’s not happy. Fleta, was the same way. When I went to put in an order and he knew I had a shop, he wasn’t happy about that. He has so many players waiting so why should he give it to a shop?
What plans do you have for the store?
Well we are going to do the whole place up, new paint new floors, and we have already started. But the one thing about it is we are not going to change the store, many people had something to say about that. Everybody told me “don’t change, leave it as it is” Its like a club here, people can come here, the way it used to be in Spain. You would go into the shop and people were talking, it was normal and that’s what we like here. Anyone can join as long as its about the guitar. We used to have someone working here that was just interested in football, that wasn’t for us it has to be about the music, the guitar. How do you play this, what do you think about that… that’s good for the shop.
The London Guitar Studio is located at
62 Duke Street, London W1K 6JT
Tel: 020 7493 0033
info @ londonguitarstudio.com
Nice review, Simon. I’m sure we will reflect on his commentary; “…everyone played differently, some people even used the little finger. Everything was very, very personal, it was lovely to see. It was lovely to see everyone with different ideas and techniques and now, we have the factory, where everyone plays more or less the same.” Thanks for sharing!!!
Fantastic Shop Wonderful Staff.
Fantastic Shop Wonderful Staff.
HI never looked back after bying my Dieter Hopf.. Kind regards John.
My son is 12, and at Grade 5 needed a new instrument. Juan treated him with the time, patience and respect most places would reserve for a professional adult. Thank you.