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Antique Guitar Shop with Century-Old Axes Amped to Open in East Village

EAST VILLAGE — An antique guitar shop with instruments that are almost a century old is readying to open in the East Village.

TR Crandall Guitars is set to open on April 8 at 179 E. Third St., between Avenues A and B, focusing on vintage acoustic guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, banjos and some electric guitars. 

The shop’s basement repair center — manned by Tom Crandall, formerly of Matt Umanov Guitars on Bleecker Street — will restore the collectible, working items before reselling them.

“We take the time to make sure it looks and works perfectly,” said Alex Whitman, who co-owns the store along with Crandall. The shop's arrival was first reported by local blog EV Grieve. 

Whitman, a musician who has been working in guitar stores for about 10 years, already has a stockpile of antiques, with each bringing its own unique sound.

"The sound is very subjective," he said. "They [the antique guitars] are very responsive — lightly built so they are very responsive to the player's touch."

In addition to being rewarding to play, the guitars are also intricately crafted, and many are adorned with original art, Whitman said.

One instrument that Whitman described as "beautiful enough that you can put it on a wall" is a $5,000 Washburn guitar made around 1915. 

"It is a very unique guitar," he said. "The way it is built is uncommon for that period and that maker."

The Washburn's material — Brazilian rosewood — is now almost impossible to import, according to Whitman.

"The quality is exceptional," he said. "It looks almost like a new instrument."