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The Best Local Guitar Shops in San Diego

6 spots across the county where you can shop for your new favorite axe and all the accessories to keep shredding
Music Mart, San Diego
Courtesy of Music Mart

A plethora of bands call San Diego home, plucking out the diverse soundtrack to our laidback lifestyle. But where do all of our super sick guitarists go to obtain their axes—and to fix them up after those especially rowdy gigs? Across the county, San Diego guitar shops serve seasoned shredders and newbie musicians alike with instruments and accessories that help drive the city’s joyful noise. Here are six of the best.

Music Mart

Long gone are the days of trying out an instrument that caught your eye… only to be met with a scoff of disdain from a 20-year-old Guitar Center employee. North County’s Music Mart understands that a test drive is critical to finding your six-stringed soulmate and encourages shoppers to jam accordingly.

122 South Solana Hills Drive, Solana Beach

Courtesy of Imperial Vintage Guitars

Imperial Vintage Guitars

If your dad’s midlife crisis involved the purchase of some old guitar with a cracked neck that he insists he’ll learn to play, take him to this spot to finally get it repaired. Kearny Mesa’s Imperial Vintage Guitars specializes in second hand axes, so the store maintains its carefully curated instruments with a little more TLC than your average curio shop would.

7878 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 5, Kearny Mesa

Courtesy of Moze Guitars

Moze Guitars

Have you ever considered starting a Hank Williams cover band but then didn’t take the plunge because you had no idea where to buy a steel guitar or banjo? Just me? Either way, Moze Guitars in La Mesa offers a niche selection of lap steel, mandolins, banjos, and of course, gorgeous guitars. Throw in a harmonica and your extra starched blue jeans, and you’re set.

8415 La Mesa Boulevard, Suite 1, La Mesa

Courtesy of Mark’s Guitar Exchange

Mark’s Guitar Exchange

Mark’s Guitar Exchange offers perhaps the most expansive selection in the city. Conveniently, the superstore-sized selection on Midway Drive is a 10-minute walk away from teen rock haven SOMA. Go straight from the pit to the store to blow your paycheck on your new favorite guitar.

3233 Midway Drive, Midway

Courtesy of Pitbull Audio

Pitbull Audio

Guitars are cool and all, but have you ever wanted to add an obscene number of pedals to your stage just to give yourself a reason to explain where shoegaze got its name from? Pitbull Audio in National City carries not only a multitude of guitars, but also specific audio accessories to give your music the extra oomph you need to craft your totally-not-Slowdive-inspired sound. 

300 West 28th Street, Suite 101, National City

Courtesy of Harper’s Music Store

Harper’s Music Store

Recommended by San Diego’s new generation grindcore and metalcore scene, Harper’s Music Store has remained a South Bay institution since 1962. A rent-to-own system starting at $19 makes all the offered instruments that much more accessible to your average high school garage band scraping together their allowance to pay for equipment.

627 H St. #B, Chula Vista

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