How We Started an Online Guitar Parts Business

I used to flip guitars. I'd buy something that was heavily used or had some kind of wiring issue/thing to get fixed, fix it up and then sell it. I'm sure many of you have done the same thing. I spent lots of years doing that in my spare time.  In high school, my dad and I would scour pawn shops and as Craigslist and eBay came on the scene, those became new places to search. 

Compilation image of guitars JT flipped

Before becoming a small business owner, I worked for State Farm, and in 2013 they relocated my wife and I from St. Louis Missouri to Phoenix Arizona. I could still find guitars to flip in AZ, but let me tell you, not near as many as the Midwest.

I used to strike amazing deals in the Midwest, like a 71 Les Paul Deluxe sunburst for $1000, a 50's Fender Champ Lap Steel for $100...just crazy deals. We'd get in the car and drive out to some far-flung small town in Missouri or Illinois pretty regularly to take a look at deals. More than once I would offer more than the asking price if it was clear they didn't know what they had.

Fast forward back to Phoenix. I was looking one Saturday morning at Craigslist to see what I could find when I came across a listing for a gentleman who was getting out of the online guitar parts business. "The more you buy, the cheaper it gets" kind of thing. My wife and I went and found that he had a ton of on-hand inventory that he was looking to unload in order to retire. We asked how much for everything, he gave us a number, and we made the deal that day.

Included in the deal were his contacts all over the music business, as well as suppliers. This was just about two years ago, at the time of writing this. We have since turned this business into a full-time job for two people and operate across multiple platforms including our own website.

Transporting inventory in our truck

While I consider us very lucky, we have worked very hard to get where we are, with still plenty of potential room to grow. We made a commitment, early on, to keep our markups low, provide the best possible quality products, and provide the best service. This was important to me because for years I would search for quality parts that I could afford, and virtually never really had a trusted source. 


This means that we tend to have the most affordable prices on many items. We hear that a lot. Folks love the quality of our parts, our quick response and shipping time, and of course the price. That's what we're after, and exactly the way we want to do business.

This isn't always easy, and we don't make as much money as we could be, but that's the commitment we make every day. I think the big reason is I know what it's like. No one should have to sacrifice quality and service. We're here to help you make your guitar sound and play as great as possible, no matter what your budget!

TG&T footer

(Courtney's post-script: in digging around for photos for this blog, I came across an old blog post of mine from 2015 where I wrote a little about our dreams for this business ... we even had the name!  Read it here.  We've been dreaming about this for over 5 years.  As we head into whatever rough economic waters lie ahead, we are both committed to fighting for this business and our dream so we won't be going anywhere.)


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