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11:16 AM Thu, Sept. 20th

Gray Dog Guitars looks to strike a new chord

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Managers Dylan Ludwig and Addison Matthew at the Gray Dog Guitar in Prescott Wednesday morning.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Managers Dylan Ludwig and Addison Matthew at the Gray Dog Guitar in Prescott Wednesday morning.

The man who seems to be on a mission to make Prescott an artier place, Ty Fitzmorris, is at it again.

After bringing the bookworm-infested Peregrine Books and the oft crowed about Raven Cafe to Cortez Street, Fitzmorris has launched Gray Dog Guitars. The space at 141 N. Cortez St. (across the street from the Raven Cafe) formerly was an antique store, and Big Easy Cigar Shop before that.

Music lovers likely will say the renovation is smokin', as the 600-square-foot place has new floors and walls - adorned with more than 50 attractive guitars, looking like they are part of an art exhibit.

Speaking of the arts, around the corner on Marina Street the former Assembly of God Church is being transformed into a community arts space and recording studio.

While there is still much work to be done on the artsy spot on Marina Street, Gray Dog Guitars is up and riffing.

The "shredders" of Prescott likely will gravitate to this well-stocked store. The selection is far from the offerings of various second-hand stores, where beat-up guitars that have seen one too many campfires go to rest. Though there are some well-preserved "vintage" guitars, most of the pieces at Gray Dog are shining new and top-shelf, ranging in price from $200 to $9,000.

The A-list axes, like the custom-made Taylors made of flamed koa (a Hawaiian wood known for its acoustic qualities), are treated like royalty, preciously stored in a humidity-control room.

More new and vintage guitars are on the way. And, for those of us who are more comfortable playing a record than a guitar, Gray Dog Guitars is also selling vinyl recordings.

When the busy Fitzmorris isn't around, he leaves the place in care of Dylan Ludwig and Addison Matthew, a couple of Prescott High grads and local musicians. Ludwig is in Fallen Arrows while Matthew is a member of popular hardcore band Hour of the Wolf.

There seem to be plenty of musicians around town, but not many music shops. "We wanted to offer something in town nobody was doing," said Ludwig.

"We encourage young people to come in," said Ludwig "When we were young, people in a music shop wouldn't give us the time of day. But we're not like that."

In other words, if you come into GDG not knowing much about guitars, they won't do like the Hour of the Wolf song and "Eat You Alive" (massive guitar solo, appropriately enough).

"We're hoping this will get more young people into music," Ludwig said. "There's not many bands in town anymore."

Guitar lessons will eventually be offered in the back end of the shop.

The name of the place? It comes from the owner's dog Badger. "He was an old gray dog," said Matthew.

Badger has gone on to that great dog park in the sky, but his name and fun-loving spirit will live on here, like an endless Hendrix solo ....

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Gray Dog Guitar: 141 N. Cortez St., Prescott; 928-778-2598; graydogguitars.com. Hours: 10:30 to 6, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 to 7, Friday and Saturday, 10:30 to 5, Sundays, closed Mondays.

Follow Tom Scanlon on Twitter@tomscanlonpress