George Gruhn testing guitar, Gruhn Guitars

By Sheri Oneal

I recently had an opportunity to shoot a few images at Gruhn Guitars, a downtown Nashville staple that was established in 1970. Owner, George Gruhn allowed me to look through the store and shoot whatever I wanted. It was overwhelming how many instruments he had in his inventory so I avoided the temptation of staying all day and focused on the private areas of the building in the different rooms above the showroom.

George has 25 employees, these include sales, staff and repair positions. As George walked me through a tour of the upstairs he shared with me that music was always a love but he went to college to be a Zoologist. His undergraduate studies were in animal behavior at the University of Chicago. He graduated from Duke with a degree in Zoology and did further studies in animal behavior at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  His love of animals is evident with the fifteen snakes and the African grey parrot named Boid that reside in his office. At home he has two African serval cats, three Felis chaus cats and one plain ole cat I am sure feels a bit normal! When I asked him how he ended up in the guitar industry he said it was a hobby that turned into a lucrative business.

I started my morning wanting to shoot from a journalistic perspective offering the viewer a vision of George, what goes on behind the scenes and showcasing some of my favorite instruments. Here are a few images from my brief visit…

Gruhn 1

(above) Fiddle peghead….

Gruhn 12

(above) Scott Kinsey repairing a 1930’s Martin acoustic.

Gruhn 10

Gruhn 11

(above) George Gruhn playing a 1970’s Martin OM-45 guitar.

Gruhn 13

Gruhn 7

(above) Greg Voros repairing a L-5 CES Gibson

Gruhn 6

Gruhn 5

Gruhn 4

(above) George with his parrot “Boid” who he has had since 1993 when she was 12 weeks old.

Gruhn 3

(above) Epiphone 1930 banjo…a very rare item.

Gruhn 91

(above) George with his bull snake, one of fifteen snakes that are kept safely  in aquariums in his office.

Gruhn 2

Although I am not much of a musician, I love music and I have a great appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into the creation and repair of vintage and high end instruments. I enjoyed my visit with George and his staff. In the end I can see the relationship of Zoology to the tracking, history and specific details of each item in George’s store! If you would like to stop in and visit George at Gruhn Guitars give them a call at 615-256-2033.

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