Six-string fever is heading to the South Shore as the seventh annual New York Guitar Expo comes to Freeport on April 21 and 22. The North Shore will also get in on the axe action with the 26th annual Long Island Guitar Festival at LIU Post in Brookville April 10-15.
“Everyone can participate at different levels. Guitars are sold for $300 to $100,000,” says expo founder and organizer Richard Johnson. “We even encourage people to bring guitars to sell to each other one-on-one or to the dealers. Plus, anybody who brings a guitar into the show gets a free set of strings put on for them by Guitar Center.”
Here are some highlights of what will be on the floor this year:
MEET ARLEN ROTH
The “Master of the Telecaster” has worked with everyone from Paul Simon to Bob Dylan to James Taylor. He was the first player to develop instructional guitar videos and even coached Long Island’s own Ralph Macchio for the 1986 guitar drama, “Crossroads.”
On April 21 from noon to 4 p.m., Roth will be on hand, playing, autographing, selling merchandise and telling stories.
“Meeting fans face-to-face is my favorite thing,” says Roth, 65. “You get to really know the effect you have on people.”
ENTER THE AMP ROOM
Homestead Amps, made by hand in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and used by Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, will have a dedicated room for players who like it loud.
“Nothing takes the wind out of your sails than going to play a nice amp and being told to ‘turn it down,’ ” says president Peter McMahon. “We won’t have that problem.”
The amps, which run $2,000-$3,500, will be available both for sale and special order.
The expo is known for offering choice cuts of vintage guitars from various vendors. Mike Rudes, owner of Vintage Guitar Gallery of Long Island, based in Huntington, will showcase a 1929 Gibson Mando bass for $15,000.
“It’s the first upright fretted bass instrument ever made,” Rudes says. “There’s very few left in existence. It’s in the shape of a regular mandolin and stands almost 6 feet high.”
Meanwhile, John DeSilva of My Generation Guitars in Syosset will be selling his orange 1961 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins model for $8,000.
“It’s all original parts and in great condition with a wonderful old-school sound,” DeSilva says.
ART GUITARS FOR SALE
Up in Burnham, Maine, James Macdonald makes curve top double cutaway guitars with images in wood veneers of album art such as The Allman Brothers Band’s “Eat a Peach” and Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.”
“Once people see them, they will not forget them,” says Macdonald, who will be selling his handmade guitars for $14,000 apiece and taking special orders.
Bob Holzer of Islip was a teenager when he came up with the concept of the “S” guitar, then held onto it for decades.
“Over the last 40 years, I kept looking to see if anybody had done it, but nobody did, so I patented it,” Holzer says.
The “S” guitars, which are used by hard-rock band Wicked, will be sold for $399 to $699 and come in a variety of colors.
GUITAR FEST AT LIU POST
Classical acoustic guitar is the main focus of LIU Post’s Guitar Festival.
“This is not just another concert series,” says Harris Becker, LIU Post’s director of guitar studies, who will kick off the festival as part of a guitar quartet performance Tuesday, April 10. “We want to bring an understanding about the process of music-making through workshops, master classes and a high school guitar competition.”
This year will feature a guitar duo performance from Michael Newman and Laura Oltman at 8 p.m. April 14, followed by their master class at 9 a.m. April 15. Australian guitar virtuoso Simon Powis is hosting a guitar workshop at 9:30 a.m. on April 14, followed by an afternoon concert at 3 p.m. Plus, the Long Island Guitar Festival High School Classical Guitar Competition finals go on April 14 at 1:30 p.m.