TME Feature


Eliot Hunt & Ian Goldstein | December 30, 2023

First-time visitors to our shop are often quick to declare, "You guys have the best job ever!!" As life-long musicians and gear-heads, we feel incredibly fortunate to have cultivated wonderful relationships with customers, with working musicians, and with builders we love and admire. With the year rapidly drawing to a close, this time of year naturally has us reflecting on just how lucky we are.

As we think back on the last twelve months, a theme for 2023 emerges, one that really sums up what The Music Emporium is all about. It is in the playful tension between traditionality and modernity, between historical reverence vs. excitement for the latest innovation— if you will, preservation vs progress.

We see it in the showroom renovation we undertook last spring after operating in this space for the last 29 years; in our vintage inventory growing steadily alongside the prized boutique builders we represent; in our expanding staff, by now a wonderful mix of experienced veterans with decades of service and new, fresh faces with new ideas and indefatigable devotion to all things musical; in customers who are just starting their music making journey alongside those who've been playing lifelong. And the list goes on...

It's a beautiful thing to be a part of and a process we're committed to - preservation and progress. Often in the same instrument. Or the same room.

This, this is why we do truly have the best job in the world - and boy do we know it.



Founded in 1995, Atkin Guitars have grown into one of the UK's premier brands by creating beautifully made, vintage-inspired instruments that possess feel, personality, and spark. Their focus is less on making "exhibition pieces" and more about inspiring the musicians who pick them up - an idea we wholeheartedly embrace at our shop.


J. Rockett Audio Designs was formed by Chris Van Tassel and Jay Rockett in 2006 with the dream of creating the best guitar effects for players around the world. Both Jay and Chris had been long time session musicians with many years of experience in the recording industry.


One of the coolest things about the electric guitar is just how malleable they are with regard to design. A quick look through any “history of the electric guitar” book at your local book store will reveal this truism. Enter master builer, Joe Parker. Joe has created instruments that look at once modern, yet like one that could have come from a long-lost 60s maker. 


We first encountered Ben Liggett's work the way we encounter most independent builders these days - via social media. 5 minutes of browsing his IG page turned into an hour, after which we knew he was someone we wanted to represent. Ben is a builder to keep an eye on - his talent is immense.


The Pickup LesLee is one of the coolest pieces of analog technology we've encountered in some time. The LesLee utilizes your bridge and neck pickups to generate a distinct percussive tremo-vibe sound simply by auto-alternating the pickup signals.


Released in June of this year, the Powers Electric A-Type quickly took the electric guitar community by storm. Offering a fresh take on electric guitar design, Andy Powers (of Taylor Guitars) started from the ground up, using his Southern California upbringing as a source of inspiration.


Founded in 2012, Origin Effects are known for their industry-leading compressors and ground breaking amp-inspired overdrive pedals. Their desire to make the best possible products has informed the complete Origin lineup.


Zachary Vex is legendary for his unique, handcrafted stompboxes that cater to musicians seeking creative and experimental sound manipulation. Over the last few decades, Zvex have gained a strong following among guitarists, bassists, and other instrumentalists and have been used on countless iconic recordings. We've had them on our personal boards for about as long as well!


Purpose built to handle the uncertainties of performing on stage, we are proud to present Vemuram Pedals. With their elegant bronze enclosures boasting simple yet musical controls, they have made their way into the arsenals of countless masterful players.


Showroom Renovation

"It was the spring of 1994, almost 30 years ago, when we moved from Cambridge. MA to our current Lexington, MA location and turned what used to be a local pharmacy into one of the premier guitar shops in the country. After nearly three decades in this space, along with a growing staff, the decision was made to renovate our beloved shop.

In that spirit, we decided to pursue a little freshening up last Spring. With all the staff pitching in - who knew your fave staff members also doubled as contractors? - we underwent some major renovations, all in an effort to bring you, our customers, a more inviting in-store experience while accommodating our growing staff of guitar junkies."

~ Joe Caruso | Proprietor

Here's a look at the new space along with a quick look back at the shop over the years.

Telecaster Mural

As part of our shop renovation project last spring, the wonderful Jill Marie Strait helped spruce up the outside of our space by painting a gorgeous Telecaster mural on an exterior wall. The heavily travelled Minuteman Bike Path runs right behind our shop with Jill's mural providing a colorful pop to passersby.


Our showroom has always played host to live music, be it via scheduled intimate concerts (we can typically host about 50 people per show give or take) or a spontaneous jam that breaks out amongst customers. Like other music-centric spaces, the pandemic put an end to our concerts for the last few years - but - we excitedly welcomed live music back this year via our Grand Reopening / post-renovation event on October 14th.

To help kick off the return of our showroom concerts, we welcomed Rich Hinman vs Adam Levy, featuring the brilliant Chris Morrissey on bass and Dan Rieser on drums. It was an incredible evening of music and community that felt restorative, positive, and affirming. Be sure to check out the video below - we'll be releasing more clips from of the show on our YouTube page in 2024.

We're already planning more performances for 2024 so be sure to sign up on our mailing list for the latest.


Andrew Stern

Andrew is a Boston-based guitarist, performer and composer who moved to Boston in 1998 to attend the New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department. He has played with Brian Carpenter’s Beat Circus/The Confessions, avant-Jewish pioneer’s Naftule’s Dream, roots-rock stalwart Dennis Brennan, contemporary pianist Gill Aharon, punk legend Lenny Lashley, singer-songwriter Bob Bradshaw and Americana hero Mark Erelli. He's also studied with jazz fingerstylist Howard Morgan, the New School’s Glenn Alexander and slide wizard, David Tronzo.

Powers Electric A-Type

Released in June, the Powers Electric A-Type quickly took the electric guitar community by storm. Offering a fresh take on electric guitar design, Andy Powers (of Taylor Guitars) started from the ground up, using his Southern California upbringing as a source of inspiration.

Andy's love of cars - Porsche to be exact - surfing, and skating culture factor heavily into the A-Type's design - each one's color is based on a Porsche color; the tremolo is called a Camtail and resembles something you'd find on a hotrod; the custom knobs, switch tip, and tremolo bar tip reference surf culture; the fingerboard's unusual compound radius took its inspiration from surfboard design...if you know where to look or have spent any time in Southern California, you'll see the references.

We're excited to continue working with the Powers crew in 2024 and understand they're working on some cool new things right now...


"2023 was the year of the one-owner guitar in our vintage department -- I can't recall another year where so many beautiful instruments seemed to present themselves to us (and all of them previously unseen by anyone except their original owners).

The 1938 000-28 we acquired from a gentleman who told us Muddy Waters gave it to his grandfather as repayment for a loan will certainly live in our collective memories forever (whether or not the story is true). The 1959 Strat and 1964 Firebird we acquired from the original owner's son were honestly difficult to list, after the energy expended to acquire them (and the Strat's plain rarity and cool factor). And I'm not sure we'll ever get a call from someone with their father's original 1930's Brazilian Rosewood Nick Lucas again -- ever! (This guitar ranks as the staff favorite, as far as sound in our recorded demos goes.)

We were also lucky enough to broker the sale of a Virzi-equipped 1924 Lloyd Loar F5 that set the benchmark mandolin tone of the decade; and we also took in the cleanest herringbone D-28 we've ever had in the shop.

We've already got some amazing releases planned for early 2024; and we can't thank the loyal group of fans who respond to our content enough for inspiring us to make TME the premiere destination for highly curated collections of vintage guitars."

~Andy Cambria

Effect Pedals


Our man Diego quietly but steadily grew our line of pedals and all things pedal related over the course of 2023. We welcomed Vemuram, Origin Effects, J. Rockett, and the iconic Zvex Effects to our lineup this year and will no doubt be continuing to build this side of the shop out in 2024. In addition to adding new lines, Diego has been busy building custom pedalboards for our customers. He's doing amazing work, so if you're considering putting a board together or don't have a clue where to even begin, give Diego a shout.

Boutique Electrics

2023 was an incredible year for boutique electrics here at the shop. We proudly welcomed the brilliant Joe Parker and Ben Liggett to the shop, each delivering a batch of remarkably cool, forward-thinking electrics. Not to be outdone, our established roster of builders also sent some gorgeous, unique instruments over the course of the year as well.

We've got some exciting things planned for 2024 so be sure to keep an eye on the site.



We were excited to welcome Atkin Guitars to the shop this year. After a family vacation to the UK this summer, Joe (TME owner) stopped by the Atkin shop, met with Alister Atkin, and the rest is history. Founded in 1995, Atkin Guitars have grown into one of the UK's premier brands by creating beautifully made, vintage-inspired instruments that possess feel, personality, and spark. Their focus is less on making "exhibition pieces" and more about inspiring the musicians who pick them up - an idea we wholeheartedly embrace at our shop.

2023 Collings Fretboard Summit Pair

As in 2022, Austin, TX-based Collings Guitars constructed three pairs of guitars that mark both a commitment to excellence in lutherie and a new chapter in the company's story.

The master builders and designers at Collings conceived these hand-built sets of instruments -- they'd be made from matching sets of materials, individually voiced and selected to represent the finest characteristics of the guitars that have come to signify the Collings name. 

While Collings has long been considered the world's bar-setter for quality amongst small-shop acoustic guitars, their dedication to craftsmanship in the electric guitar realm is similarly unsurpassed. And these commemorative pairs of instruments bring that idea to the forefront of their design practices.