Tucked away at the top of the New King’s Road opposite Eel Brook Common, Rick Zsigmond’s Vintage Guitar Emporium is a window into rock’s soul. One of south-west London’s secret gardens, the Vintage Guitar Emporium is host to a selection of Rory Gallagher guitars and tour equipment that provides a privileged insight into the craft of the guitar hero.
Worth a visit just to use the loo and admire the who’s who on the wall, Rick’s quick to point out that he deals with guitars to be played and wouldn’t want to be seen as a dealer in memorabilia. Twenty-six years in the business, Rick says “what I really want to do is sell you your first guitar for £100 and then help you choose your vintage Les Paul as you develop”.
Naturally enough Rick ends up working with a variety of the world’s leading rock guitarists looking for a particular instrument for a given sound. While I was with Rick one of his colleagues was drilling through pages of photographs researching a specific model for Richie Sambora. Noel Gallagher recently gave Rick a back-handed compliment accusing Rick of lending him guitars Rick knows he can’t resist. While it’s tempting to focus on the stars, Rick is still excited by the future, and wants the Vintage Guitar Emporium to be seen as a local resource for next year’s legends.
“There’s a good crop of bands around. I’ve been working with local bands like The Vaccines, The Maccabees and Mumford & Sons”.
The sight of so many Stratocasters Rickenbachers and of course Gibson Les Pauls is a middle-aged adolescent’s dream. You can’t even do what Noel Gallagher did and leave your credit card behind. Rick will just seduce you with a loan guitar you’ll never take back.
© James Douglas