Santa Barbara Guitar Bar Brings Guitar Enthusiast’s Paradise to the Funk Zone
I recently met up with Jamie Faletti, a long-time friend and guitar expert, to discuss his new project, the Santa Barbara Guitar Bar. As a passionate (read obsessed) guitar aficionado, I was understandably curious and thrilled when Jamie informed me of his plans to bring a truly unique guitar player experience to Santa Barbara.
With more than 25 years of direct industry experience, Jamie has amassed not only an expert knowledge of instruments, amplifiers, accessories and of what true players really want, but has also become a fixture in the Santa Barbara musicians community. He spent the last 15 years at Instrumental Music on Upper State Street before leaving to design and develop the Santa Barbara Guitar Bar.
Jamie’s concept for the Santa Barbara Guitar Bar brings together a high-touch, high-end, luxury guitar-buying experience with a performance space perfect for workshops, clinics and the occasional jam session, all with a cool vibe that is a perfect addition to the Funk Zone. Although it will be called The Santa Barbara Guitar Bar, Jamie will not serve any alcohol. The name is intended to convey a sense of the patron experience — the feel of the space will be like no other guitar store in the market.
The Santa Barbara Guitar Bar will be located on the corner of Anacapa and Yanonali streets, in the new development that includes Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., The Lark restaurant and several other wine-tasting spaces. With approximately 1,600 square feet of space, Jamie will have plenty of room for displaying the absolute best guitars, along with two lesson rooms; two private rooms for test-driving equipment; a comfortable seating area where patrons can hang out and play guitars; a cool, casual, comfortable checkout area that resembles a bar, making the buying experience a true experience; and the performance space where any customer can jump up on stage and get a sense of what it’s like to play live.
Jamie will offer both acoustic and electric guitars from some of the most renowned makers, along with boutique amplifiers and accessories. Some of the brands he has already partnered with include Dr. Z, Cole Clark Guitars (maker of Jack Johnson’sguitars), Matchless, 65amps, 3 Monkeys Amps and Echopark Guitars. He’s working on agreements with many other manufacturers, and plans to add more top brands.
When speaking with Jamie about the feel of the Santa Barbara Guitar Bar — the patron experience that he wants to create — he says his plan is to provide a true musician’s experience with a comfortable, casual lounge feel. Customers will be encouraged to relax, take their time, play the gear and enjoy. Most important, Jamie wants to instill a level of comfort for his customers with the equipment. As Jamie explains, many of his customers have been highly successful in their careers and can afford the very best, but some feel their playing is not worthy of a high-end guitar. Jamie wants to create an environment in which these customers feel comfortable playing the instruments, regardless of their abilities. This is also the reason he will provide the two private “demo” rooms — so patrons can retreat to a private space to play a guitar without feeling self-conscious about their chops.
One of the challenges at Instrumental Music has always been holding clinics and workshops. I’ve attended several over the years, with top industry experts and great musicians. The problem was always that there was no elevated stage for the presenters or performers to use so they could be easily seen by the attendees. This made it difficult for those of us in the audience who wanted to see the hands of those conducting the event. For guitar players, being able to see what the player is doing is vital to any workshop or clinic experience. With Jamie’s performance space — a large stage in the front corner of the space — attendees will be able to see the performers and presenters clearly, even if seated several rows back. This will greatly enhance the workshop/clinic experience.
Jamie explains that one of the most important aspects of his vision for the Santa Barbara Guitar Bar was having a platform through which he could give back to the community he has called home throughout his life. Both Jamie and his partner, Mike Kelly, have a strong commitment to social consciousness and social activism. They plan to provide a beginner guitar to an underprivileged child in Santa Barbara each time they sell a high-end guitar. Clients will know that when they purchase a guitar, a child in Santa Barbara will be receiving his or her first guitar.
The Santa Barbara Guitar Bar will also work with the nonprofit Notes for Notes, theSanta Barbara Bowl Foundation (working with music in schools programs), Autism Speaks, AHA! (Academy of Healing Arts) and other organizations focusing on music education. They will also donate lessons and host fundraisers and benefits to promote music education with local children.
After a year-and-a-half of planning, Jamie Faletti is bringing his vision for the ultimate guitar enthusiast experience to reality with the Santa Barbara Guitar Bar. Those of us who have known Jamie for years, and who have benefited from his extensive knowledge and obvious passion for guitars and providing a truly enjoyable guitar-buying experience, will be regular visitors to this new business. The Santa Barbara Guitar Bar is set to open in July.