Mon-Fri, by appointment only; Sat-Sun, closed
N, R at 23rd St.; F, M at 23rd St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
When Norio Imai was 16, he wanted to be a rock star. His playing skills proved to be less than stellar, though, so he took apart his guitar and studied guitar building and repair. And today, he is a guitar repairman for rock stars. Imai moved to the U.S. from Japan in 1987 and worked at Sadowsky Guitars repairing guitars and manufacturing guitar basses before opening Imai Guitars in 2003. In the white-walled, concrete-floored workshop, the humble and smiling Imai does repairs on acoustic guitars, arch tops, flattops, mandolins, and other stringed instruments for professionals and amateurs alike. He can perform any kind of work on a guitar, from a basic setup to a fret job, from broken headstock repair to rewinding pickup. Jay Jay French, guitarist for Twisted Sister, has said he’s the best in the world and even better than the computer-controlled fret-job-performing Plek Machine. And Billy Squier’s framed headshot on the wall is dedicated to Imai with the words, “Imai Rocks!”