12 QUESTIONS WITH STEVE MESPLE – WILDWOOD GUITARS

Can you give a brief history of your store?
My wife, Marilynn, and I opened Wildwood Guitars in October of 1984. I taught guitar at the store and had a few used guitars I hung on the wall. We sold accessories and gradually started purchasing and selling new guitars to our students. We grew very slowly and carefully – every penny was critical to our survival at this time. But the local musical community and our students very kindly supported us and allowed us to expand our store and sales each and every year. After a few years we realized that guitar players everywhere were wanting exceptional guitars with exceptional voices, not just the cheaper and mass produced instruments. We started carrying high end boutique guitars as well as partnering with the historically relevant US brands of acoustic and electric guitars. 

In the early 90s a passing fad called the Internet came along. We decided to embrace this new technology and were one of the first guitar stores that photographed, in great detail, each and every guitar we had in stock. From this point forward Wildwood Guitars expanded tremendously selling amazing guitars all over the world and meeting great customers and dear friends. We continue to move forward and pride ourselves on exceptional inventory and customer service. We do not just sell guitars at Wildwood, we sell and embrace the joy and inspiration of music.

Was there a particular person — a teacher, another store owner, a family member or friend, etc. — who inspired you to go into this business?
In my years of teaching and purchasing guitars I worked at and visitedmany guitar stores. What I experienced shaped my vision as to how I wanted to run my own guitar store, to treat every customer with honor and integrity and always strive to help each customer find an inspired instrument that fit their needs. Our goal is to encourage everyone we meet to give some part or a greater part of their lives to music.

What instrument(s) do you play personally? Do you have a band?
I play acoustic and electric guitar, lap steel and slide guitar, 5 string banjo, mandolin (poorly, I must confess) and blues harp. I have played in many bands since I was a teenager (a very long time ago) and led a Colorado band, Wind Machine, that recorded 13 CDs and traveled the US for 15 years. 

What makes your store different from the average “Big Box” music store?
We are certainly not a “Big Box” store – we have a very small display area with 2 warehouses that are used to store our 3,000 incredible guitars. Our walls are not filled with $99 guitars clerked by 16 years olds. Our guitars are lovingly protected to insure that every guitar leaves Wildwood in perfect condition. We like to think a visit to Wildwood is a great experience and journey with inspired staff and killer guitars. 

What has been your proudest moment as a musical instrument dealer so far?
My proudest moment is one that is happening right now. We have put together a video facility and video team and are in the process of filming every guitar in the store being played by incredible guitarists. Our goal is to allow our friends worldwide to see and HEAR the instruments we are selling, the videos are entertaining and filled with awesome guitar moments. Our manufactures have contributed greatly to this endeavor, and Reverend Guitars is one of greatest partners in this project. We have had visits from some of my all-time favorite guitar players recently and to work with them on this project has been an honor and joy. Thus far we have had Reeves Gabrels, Pete Anderson, Rick Vito, Ken Haas and Joe Naylor from Reverend, Adrian Belew, Paul Reed Smith, David Grissom, Davy Knowles, Bob Taylor from Taylor Guitars, Wayne Johnson, Ren Ferguson, Greg Koch, Jeff Kolman, and many others share their time and music with us. We hope to go live with this project in early September, we are deeply honored to have the opportunity to work with such devoted musicians. 

How did you hear about Reverend?
I first became aware of Reverend Guitars when a used one visited our store many years ago. I kept the guitar and reached out to Reverend immediately and have been a huge fan ever since.

What Reverend models do you stock regularly?
We stock every Reverend model, we think they are a wonderful hybrid of retro vibe and feel with great detail and vision. 

What do you like about working with Reverend Guitars?
The guitars have soul and so does everyone at Reverend.

What amp brands do you sell? What pedal brands?
We sell Fender amps, DrZ, Bogner, Victoria, Mesa Boogie and PRS. Pedal lines include Fulltone, Barber, Xotic, Keeley, Maxon, TC, Jetter Gear, Real McCoy, TC Electronics, Voodoo Labs.

Do you have any unusual hobbies, skills, or pastimes you’d like to share with us?
Love time with family and music.

Do you have any advice for up and coming players?
Practice and LISTEN!

Please tell us about any events you have coming up?
A visit from Unknown Hinson in September and lots of video shoots!

Steve Mesple
Wildwood Guitars