Mon-Fri, 10am-9pm; Sat, 10am-8pm; Sun, 11am-7pm
4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Restless high-school kids across America know the multifarious recreational potential of musician superstore chain Guitar Center. And the Manhattan branch—the largest on the East Coast and the second-largest in the whole chain—is an exceptional specimen. The diverse guitar options include the standard starter-tool Fender Stratocaster, Ibanez Flying V’s, a sedate roomful of delicate acoustic numbers, and an $85,000 1957 Goldtop Les Paul Gibson. But guitars just barely scratch the surface here. Along with the proper kitsch and accoutrements (fuzzy lightning-bolt straps, Metallica songbooks, picks, strings, effects pedals, stands, and cases), the store boasts everything a sprightly rocker would ever need to make some ungodly noise—from a wide assortment of drum machines, speakers, and recording equipment to unusual unplugged accompaniments like cowbells, African hand drums, and maracas. Browsing shoppers wander Guitar Center’s main level, basement, and various sub-rooms, where slightly intimidating guitar-geek clerks don’t give a second thought to ambitious lingerers.