I’m not gonna lie to you guys; I don’t know a damn thing about guitars. But that’s okay because Roland does. Roland is the owner of The Fretted Frog, Echo Park’s newest “alternative acoustic guitar store.”
Roland is a musician/former corporate accountant from Toulouse (southern France), but his story is similar to many Americans’. When the recession hit, he was forced to re-evaluate what he was doing with his life. When his job as a corporate accountant ended, he decided to pursue his other passion: music. He had spent some time in southern California and chose Echo Park as the location for his store because, according to Roland, it has a much more down-to-earth vibe than many other southern California neighborhoods.
Roland runs the store with two other guys, Colin and Aaron. When I stopped by to visit the store the other day, Colin and Roland were seated opposite each other in one of the stores open spaces, jamming. Guitars, banjos, mandolins and ukuleles cover each wall, but every instrument is given a certain amount of space creating the impression that each one is a work of art. Roland has done on this purpose in order to distinguish himself from warehouse-like stores such as Guitar Center. He wants every customer to wander the space, pick up whatever catches their eye, play around with it and, in the end, make their own decision. He’s not a fan of guitar store employees telling customers what to buy.
Again, I don’t know a damn thing about guitars, so if this piques your interest, I suggest stopping in and meeting the guys. Their hours are slightly abbreviated for the next couple of weeks until their grand opening (we’ll let you guys know when). They’re open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. They are located at 1200 N. Alvarado St. (right next to where Sunset meets Alvarado.