Every Friday, Raw Talent Guitar will profile a music store and/or feature a music company we enjoy. This week, we bring you Custom, Metal and Classic Guitars in Vineland, NJ. We first learned about CMC Guitars in the NAMM eNewsletter, and found the related article in the Daily Journal. Stephen McQuaid opened Custom, Metal and Classic Guitars on 1181 E. Landis Avenue Suite 3 in Vineland this year.
VINELAND — Two rows of unique electric guitars hang on the wall of a small shop just off the city’s main drag.
The entrance to Custom, Metal and Classic Guitars is slightly obscured at the side of a little strip mall near where Landis Avenue and Main Road intersect.
There, owner Stephen McQuaid, 39, enthusiastically showcases a variety of one-of-a-kind, handmade guitars ranging from replica pieces to axes once owned by real musicians.
“The stuff I have here you won’t find anywhere within 200 miles,” McQuaid said. “It’s a lot of one of a kind, customized and USA made.”
The store may have up to 20 different models at any given time with about 100 guitars in stock, McQuaid said. His guitars come in a wide assortment of colors, designs, shapes and makers.
There’s a black and yellow tiger stripe guitar, a yellow one with the “Don’t Tread on Me” icon, and guitars once owned by famous musicians, such as one from Scott Ian of Anthrax. He also has guitars handmade by Masterbuilders, who make guitars for famous musicians such as Eric Clapton and David Gilmour.
Some guitars are considered relics, which are new guitars aged to replicate classic pieces. For example, McQuaid has an authentic 1956 Fender Stratocaster and a relic of a 1960 Fender Stratocaster.
He recently expanded his line to include some lower-end, but still high-quality guitars that are affordable to a broader audience.
The less than 1,000-square-foot space includes room for mostly electric and some acoustic guitars for all playing levels, McQuaid said. Some range from $200 to $1,000 and others cost more than $2,000, he said.
He also sells amps, stools, picks and strings, and will do repair and set up, he said.
McQuaid considers his store an addition to the music business community rather than competition.
John Workman, a guitar instructor for M&M Music, agreed, considering the newer shop more as friendly than competition.
“We’re two stores in the same business, but we’re going after two different clientele,” he said.
M&M Music, which dates to 1960, is a student-based shop that does repairs and sells items for bands, such as brass and woodwind instruments, as well as guitars, drums and sound equipment, Workman said.
John Epifanio, owner of Music Central, said his store also has a lesson program, does repairs and also offers cash for used instruments. While he sells guitars, his store sells a wide array of new and used musical instruments, related accessories and lessons, so he rarely crosses paths with McQuaid, Epifanio said.
McQuaid makes many of his sales online and is thankful for the opportunity to sell guitars across the country from a store in his hometown.
He opened his store in April after 10 years in the technology industry as a way to rekindle his longtime love of guitars. He’s played most of his life, including with the local band Eleven Eleven.
“I’ve always loved high-end custom instruments,” McQuaid said.
Custom, Metal and Classic Guitars will be the country’s first dealer to sell Dave Ellefson’s Jackson Custom Shop 4 and 5 string basses and Chris Broderick’s 6 and 7 string guitars, he said.
He is hosting a free kickoff event Oct. 19 featuring Ellefson and Broderick, two members of metal band Megadeth, where people can see, play and buy the new pieces.
Ellefson and Broderick will be signing guitars and autographs, taking pictures, playing and talking about the state of metal music at the event, which McQuaid is hosting at Hangar 84, the city’s Sixth Street concert venue.