18 March 2007

谷口楽器 is Japanese for "Nirvana for Left-handed Guitar Players"


I brought my guitar with me to Tokyo and especially since moving into the new apartment I've been practicing pretty regularly. I've been thinking of getting a cheap electric as well to practice with, but I had resigned myself to the idea that it would have to wait until I went back to the states -- Japan isn't very open to the whole left-handed thing, and I doubted stores here would even have lefty guitars.

So, for the last few weeks I've been going to the jam session at a small (very small) local jazz bar. I was talking to one of the guys I met there (Caucasian, but was born & raised here in Tokyo) about being left-handed and the limited selection of guitars that ensues. He said I should definitely to go a store that I heard as "Tiny Guchi Gachi" in the Ochanomizu neighborhood, which actually had the most left-handed guitars he had ever seen in Tokyo (he's left-handed, but like Jimi Hendrix he plays right-handed instruments upside down).

Today I biked up to Ochanomizu. I couldn't find the store on the first try so I went into the local Internet cafe and did some web searching -- it turns out I heard the name wrong, it's actually "taniguchi gakki" (谷口, taniguchi, means valley-entrance, and 楽器, gakki, means musical instrument; gakki is also the generic suffix for a store that sells musical instruments).

Armed with the information, I found the store on Meidai Doori in Ochanomizu no problem. The red-on-white text is the sign for taniguchi gakki.

Oh. My. God. It's not just that Taniguchi Gakki has a selection of left-handed guitars... Taniguchi Gakki is a Left-Handed Guitar Store! That's all they sell.

Yes, every one of those guitars is a left-handed model. And they're not done; there are three aisles of guitars in the store:

The fellow customer in blue, like me, was agape at the number of left-handed guitars, and was playing his way through a selection of electric guitars and wishing he had brought more money. It's not just that Taniguchi Gakki is a good selection of left-handed guitars for Tokyo; it's possibly the most left-handed guitars in one place anywhere in the world. The next time you lefty axemen are looking for a new option... come to the one store where you can play all the guitars and righties can't!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Love this.
I am going to be in Tokyo in September so definitely will look out for this store.
I too am a lefty musician and I have had a HORRENDOUS time trying to find a store that sells left handed guitars. New York, Philly, San Francisco... tried them all. The local music stores there are great.... if youre right handed. They all have, like 500 right handed guitars and two (if you're lucky) lefty models.
Thanks for the tip.