Matt Umanov Guitars

Matt Umanov Guitars The best in new and vintage guitars in the heart of Greenwich Village NYC
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Repairing and restoring top-grade fretted instruments is where I started out in the early 1960s in Greenwich Village, several years before opening my store here. It began with fixing everything I could find as a little kid, gaining tool skills and woodworking and machine skills along the way, and knowledge of processing all kinds of natural materials (wood, metal, plastics, glass and more) for manufacturing processes. Having also grown up in the music world since infancy, building and rebuilding musical instruments came naturally in my teenage years and by the time I was fourteen or so I had started working on fretted instruments, my first love. Restoring Martins and making electric guitars were natural ways to go and I was off on a tear, doing it professionally by the time I was seventeen. Opening my store came about five years later, doing all the repairs myself, and on to running the business for the next forty-eight years, finally deciding to close the retail end and keeping our long-since internationally-acclaimed repair department open. While we have closed the retail side of the store, our guitar restoration and repair department remains open, by appointment, serving New Yorkers and musicians from all over the world in the same location that the store had been in for the last thirty-five years. You're welcome to email [email protected] to arrange for a day and time (Mon-Fri 10am-5pm) to bring your treasured instrument in for anything from bringing the Martin that's been in your family for over a hundred years back to life, to straight-ahead Strat or Les Paul setups, and everything in between. We'll take care of you in the same that way we always have, with uncompromising professional attention, since the 1960s.

It’s now been two years since I closed the walk-in retail aspect of my business. We had that clubhouse open for forty-ei...
01/10/2020
- Umanov News - Vintage Guitars Since 1965 - Matt Umanov Guitars

It’s now been two years since I closed the walk-in retail aspect of my business. We had that clubhouse open for forty-eight years, and it was one heck of a lot of fun, every single day of it. We never knew who was going to walk in next...

(click to read more!)

Since 1965, Matt Umanov Guitars has been buying, selling, and repairing vintage guitars. Hundreds of new and old guitars, basses, mandolins, lap steels, ukuleles, and more, in stock.

Here I am, fifty years later, still at it, still repairing and restoring quality fretted instruments. One of the hugely ...
01/06/2020
Reflections on Danny Armstrong - Umanov News - Vintage Guitars Since 1965 - Matt Umanov Guitars

Here I am, fifty years later, still at it, still repairing and restoring quality fretted instruments. One of the hugely influential persons I’ve been thinking about is Danny Armstrong, he of the Plexiglas electric guitar fame.

(click to read more)

Since 1965, Matt Umanov Guitars has been buying, selling, and repairing vintage guitars. Hundreds of new and old guitars, basses, mandolins, lap steels, ukuleles, and more, in stock.

Everything on my website is 10% off, now through January 19! This includes parts, instruments, T-shirts, the works. Just...
01/04/2020

Everything on my website is 10% off, now through January 19! This includes parts, instruments, T-shirts, the works. Just enter the special code MUSICLOVER at checkout.

https://umanovguitars.com/

Here's a real nice piece about Dan Armstrong's lucite guitars  by Tony Bacon with a shout-out to our own Matt Umanov!
10/21/2019
A Clear, Concise History of Dan Armstrong's See-Through Guitars

Here's a real nice piece about Dan Armstrong's lucite guitars by Tony Bacon with a shout-out to our own Matt Umanov!

Armstrong's short tenure with Ampeg resulted in a timeless design—a line of Lucite guitars and basses with iconic looks, custom pickups, and killer tone.

These photos were taken when Izzy Young, who died just a month or two ago at the age of 90, visited NYC from his home of...
05/01/2019
Izzy's Visit To Greenwich Village - Umanov News - Vintage Guitars Since 1965 - Matt Umanov Guitars

These photos were taken when Izzy Young, who died just a month or two ago at the age of 90, visited NYC from his home of the last forty years in Stockholm, Sweden. Izzy was the founder and owner of the original Folklore Center here in New York’s Greenwich Village, which ran from about 1957-75. The store had books, records, a few instruments, but mostly it had Izzy. The store was folk central, pretty much for the entire world, where people who performed, played, or just loved folk music of all kinds would gather, meet, exchange ideas and songs and just plain congregate. Izzy was the one who knew everyone and everything about what was going on in the folk world, both musically and politically, and was never shy about sharing his opinions, We all loved him dearly. The first pic is of Izzy and me in my store around 2016 on his last visit here; the second is of Izzy pointing to the second location of the Folklore Center, at 321 6th Ave, second floor, immediately south of what is now the IFC movie theater.

On Saturday, April 6, I was honored to be on the panel of a discussion on Izzy Young, of New York’s Folklore Center from...
04/09/2019

On Saturday, April 6, I was honored to be on the panel of a discussion on Izzy Young, of New York’s Folklore Center from 1957 to 1973, held at the fabulous Brooklyn Folk Fest, an annual event put together by Eli Smith, musician and Keeper Of The Flame for old-timey music in New York. The Fest features terrific live performances held over three days, along with workshops and other events related to the world of folk music.

Izzy Young, as many of you remember, was a true character, opening his first location on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, eventually moving it to 6th Ave at W. 3rd Street. The Folklore Center was exactly that, a true center for people to find books, records, instruments, and all kinds of information about folk music past and present, American and international. It was also, very importantly, a meeting place, a nexus, a clubhouse where you could run into almost anyone in the folk world, hang out, exchange information, get the latest news.

Something else that Izzy did there was to put on concerts of both known and unknown musicians, all for unbelievably low admission prices; I attended many of those shows myself back in those years. In point of fact, Izzy was the very first person ever to put on Bob Dylan in a performance, at Carnegie Chapter Hall, in 1961 (admission $2; he sold about forty tickets). Izzy's goal was never to make money from these shows, or in actuality to make much money from anything; he did all this for the love of it. He was a real character known to all for his generosity, his knowledge, his irascibility, and more.

It is also true that at a point in 1967, before I ever had a store, I ran my repair business from the folklore Center location on 6th Ave. The aim of this panel discussion was to laud Izzy, who died only a few weeks ago in Stockholm, Sweden where he had moved in the mid-1970s. On the panel, showing from left to right in the picture are: me; Peter K. Siegel, a record producer of “our” music since forever and member of the famed Even Dozen Jug Band in the 1960s; the moderator, Scott Baretta, who edited the volume of Izzy's writings that came out a few years ago, Conscience of the Folk Revival; John Cohen, founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers, musicologist and filmmaker; Mitch Blank, collector of materials from the folk music scene in Greenwich Village and curator of the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All of us knew Izzy well, spent countless hours with him and at his place back in those years. The person on the far right was an innocent bystander.

The photo was taken by Kate Clements, a musician, staff member of my store in the 1990s, currently with a staff photographer of the New York Fire Department. The Brooklyn Folk Fest is an important event and most of all a LOT of fun, and all of you should plan to attend it next year.

Not having the overhead of the physical store anymore, when I get really nice instruments in for sale I can keep prices ...
10/05/2018
1912 Epiphone Mandolin, 19th Century Therese and more

Not having the overhead of the physical store anymore, when I get really nice instruments in for sale I can keep prices quite attractive, and I’m just as particular as ever that every instrument I offer is a prime example and has my personal stamp of approval, in every way. You’ll see the occasional one listed here or on my website, and I’ll also encourage all of you to get in touch with me regarding fine pieces you'd like to sell at... [email protected]. Have a look at some recent items to come in, along with some rare and unusual parts mined from the depths, at the below link.

Not having the overhead of the physical store anymore, when I get really nice instruments in for sale I can keep prices quite attractive, and I’m just as particular as ever that every instrument I offer is a prime example and has my personal stamp of approval, in every way. You’ll see the oc...

Some heavy metal royalty stopped by my repair shop yesterday for a press video shoot! David Ellefson of Megadeth, Trevor...
09/08/2018

Some heavy metal royalty stopped by my repair shop yesterday for a press video shoot! David Ellefson of Megadeth, Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder, Mark Menghi of Metal Allegiance and Alex Skolnick of Testament (L to R), all of Metal Allegiance.

Matt and Tim Penn, Fender rep extraordinaire, reminiscing over what’s left of a couple of pies at John's of Bleecker Str...
05/04/2018

Matt and Tim Penn, Fender rep extraordinaire, reminiscing over what’s left of a couple of pies at John's of Bleecker Street Pizzeria. Yum!

Vernon Reid (of Living Colour and many other musical endeavors) stopped by the repair shop recently to say hello!
04/12/2018

Vernon Reid (of Living Colour and many other musical endeavors) stopped by the repair shop recently to say hello!

We’ve seen these being offered around, but haven’t come across one in a while, and certainly not at this price. For thos...
04/03/2018
1950s Maccaferri Plastic

We’ve seen these being offered around, but haven’t come across one in a while, and certainly not at this price. For those of you who don’t know who Mario Maccaferri was, he was huge in our industry.

These things are a tinkerer’s dream.

04/02/2018

Found this obit from 1996 while cleaning out the store:

"With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote 'The Hokey Pokey' died peacefully at the age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in; and then the trouble started..."

Take a look at these gorgeous 19th century tuners I've unearthed from the depths!
04/02/2018
19th Cent Tuners

Take a look at these gorgeous 19th century tuners I've unearthed from the depths!

One of the very nicest, and very rarest sets of 19th-century Martin tuning machines.

This is the first and only Epiphone bowl-back mandolin I’ve ever seen, and is in fact by far the earliest fretted instru...
03/31/2018
1912 Epiphone Bowl-Back Mandolin

This is the first and only Epiphone bowl-back mandolin I’ve ever seen, and is in fact by far the earliest fretted instrument of any kind I’ve ever come across from Epiphone

This is the first and only Epiphone bowl-back mandolin I’ve ever seen.

This is a most unusual item, and as rare a Martin guitar accessory as one can imagine. It is the original, end-loading l...
03/27/2018
1911 Martin 000-45 Case

This is a most unusual item, and as rare a Martin guitar accessory as one can imagine. It is the original, end-loading leather case from the Martin 000-45 that was made, in 1911, for CF Martin III while he was in college at Princeton University, Class of 1916.

A most unusual item.

Over the course of the 50+ years that I’ve been in this business of dealing in, repairing, and restoring fretted instrum...
03/26/2018

Over the course of the 50+ years that I’ve been in this business of dealing in, repairing, and restoring fretted instruments, I’ve come across an awful lot of fascinating items, some of them written, some of them unusual objects, some of them musical and some of them not, and plenty of them from so far out of left field that I just had to save them. Since coming to the decision to close down my store (though keeping the repair department quite open), it became practical to move a lot of stuff around here, making room for the new chapter, and in doing so, I’ve come across stuff that’s been packed away for twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty years, tossed in a carton and forgotten, and of course I couldn’t resist the urge to look at every piece. This is a rabbit hole that has been a huge amount of fun to go down; a lot of history there, a lot of forgotten mementos; memories of dear friends, some of them long gone, and also a lot of great laughs, reminders of some of the wild stuff that’s come along. I present to you the piece below, a newspaper clipping that I just knew at the time needed to be saved……….

Guy brought these into the store in 1976; he had made them. left me with the pics. Got his gf to sit in a vat of plaster...
02/27/2018

Guy brought these into the store in 1976; he had made them. left me with the pics. Got his gf to sit in a vat of plaster; you can figure out the rest. First pic, beta version in Fiberglas or somesuch, a la Ovation; second pic, his masterpiece, in wood: Mona Lisa’s Other End.

Address

273 Bleecker St
New York, NY
10014

In the city, you can access us easily by subway. We are located around the corner from the West 4th Street Station on the A/C/E/B/D/F/M lines... exit at the south side of the station, walk down a block to Bleecker, and turn right - we're between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. You can also take the 1 train to the Christopher Street Station on Seventh Avenue, walk down a block to Bleecker, and turn left. You'll find us right down the street at number 273.

General information

Store Hours are Monday through Friday from 12-5 by appointment only. Appointments scheduled by email: [email protected]

Opening Hours

Monday 11:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 00:30 - 19:00
Wednesday 00:00 - 19:00
Thursday 00:00 - 19:00
Friday 11:00 - 19:00

Telephone

(212) 675-2157

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Comments

just got back from NYC ... picking up the finest guitar I have ever owned ... the Stahl (1930) ... I bought it a year ago ... and about a month ago, the bridge began to lift ... so I took it to Matt Umanov on Bleeker St. ... he and his luthier, Yuri, went over it, and it needed more than just a bridge re-glue ... 3 back braces (reglued) frets dressed, top cracks sealed (it IS 90 years old), and the piece of maple below the bridge where the pins go through the top replaced ... Matt and Yuri are the ONLY folks I trust with this guitar ... we should be good for another 90 years now
I met you through a mutual friend (no idea; maybe van ronk or barry cornfield or steve katz). It was 1964 and I had just purchased a 1951 or 1952 Martin D-28 that had water damage and was warped around the bout and had a couple of small pieces missing out of the bout. You repaired it plus changed the bracing to resemble that of a pre-war D-28. You were just starting out and did an excellent job! I still have that guitar today and it sounds better than ever. Saw the post about your shop closing and just wanted to touch base. Steve Newhouse
Happy Birthday, Mattie! Will be up there Sept 14-16 with Dick Boak & Susan Ellis. Let's get into some trouble.
From David Chevan on passing of Stacy Phillips on 6/5/18 I have sad news. My friend Stacy Phillips, a man who was many, many things, including a Grammy award winner, a Bluegrass legend and a founding member of the Afro-Semitic Experience, died yesterday evening, Tuesday, June 5 around 9:30. He was 74 years old. He experienced a massive heart attack on Sunday and from then on it was just a matter of time. He was surrounded by his family, his sister and his niece and nephew. Stacy was his own person and that was reflected in the life he led as a musician. If this news seems like a surprise or a blow, I agree. I have spent the past two days in a state of disbelief as the life of someone who was a colleague, a mentor, a friend, and a genuine world class grump slipped away. I would say more about Stacy, but others have already said it better. There is a great obituary about Stacy in today’s New Haven Independent. This Sunday, June 10, beginning at 1:00 p.m. three different parts of Stacy Phillips’ complex musical life will come together as we give the first of several memorials. This one will be at Café 9 in New Haven. There was never anything typical about Stacy Phillips and it turns out that is going to be true about him even after life. You see, Stacy isn’t having a funeral. Why? Because he donated his body to Yale Medical School. So, no funeral, we will do some of what Stacy would have wanted and probably not wanted to memorialize him. Stacy had scheduled a performance of his ever-changing cast of players known as Stacy Phillips and his Bluegrass Characters for this Sunday at Café 9. The Bluegrass Characters and Café 9 have graciously offered their performance time and space to all as a place where we can honor Stacy’s memory and remember him as musicians so often do: through words and music. Doors will open at 12:00, noon. Café 9 is located at 250 State Street in New Haven, Connecticut. Since Stacy won’t be having a funeral, we are planning to begin the day at 1:00 p.m. with a short memorial service to comfort his family and other mourners. And then, from 1:30 we are celebrating his life and music If you are interested in sharing a personal story or a song at this memorial, please see the information near the end of this email. 1:00-1:30 memorial service and family reminisces about Stacy led by Cantor Malachi Kanfer 1:30 Nu Haven Kapelye 2:30 Afro-Semitic Experience 3:30 (Stacy Phillips and) his Bluegrass Characters 4:30-6:00 Open mic: people or groups who wish to share a musical piece in Stacy’s memory are invited to participate. If you wish to be guaranteed a slot please sign up in advance by getting in touch with David Chevan at [email protected]. Zikhrono l’vrakha May his memory be a blessing Best, David
Enjoy your retirement Matt Umanov.
I'm am so sad that Matt Umanov's is closing. I bought my Fender Music Master bass there. Here is a love letter to Matt Umanov's I made with my brother a couple of years ago. https://youtu.be/FiynsznNESY
Say it isn't so!
Say it isn't so!
Matty, I treasured our friendship and business dealings for so many years. I hope you'll find time to have a java with me at some point in time...I took that little sign with me and I hope that is ok with you....Thank you for everything Matty for so many years--it did not go un-noticed....Jack p.s. I will dearly miss all the gang and the store, especially Zeke...
Sad.
Matt, I sincerely enjoyed working with you as a rep and also sharing a great meal with you when you introduced me to John’s Pizzeria. One day I hope that I have the pleasure of seeing you again and share some NYC pizza. 🍕 All the very best to you!
Best of luck to Matt and the warmest wishes for the next chapter in his life. His shop has been a beacon and a musical oasis for guitarists from all over, with the most knowledgeable staff, the best instruments both vintage and new, and the discerning taste of Matt everywhere to be seen. He, his staff and shop will be greatly missed.