Started by Schaurbroeck and
his brothers out of the basement of their mother’s home, House of Guitars® established it’s
credibility by stocking the exact instruments played by the Beatles before anyone else.
“When the Beatles came to America, we knew what they were playing,” Schaurbroeck said “We knew that
George Harrison play a Gretsch Country Gentleman and Vox Amps that weren’t in the United States
yet. I made an order to Vox in England, and they shipped them to us. So, we had the first Vox amps
that came into the United States.”
To expand their community profile, the Schaurbroecks started running advertising and promotional
campaigns that were received with contempt by parents and endeared House of Guitars® to their
“It started somewhat accidentally,” Schaurbroeck said. “In the early 1960s, we made our own
television commercials before even car dealers were doing their own commercials. It had always been
an announcer that worked for the television station and maybe professional models that would make
them. We just turned on a 16-mm camera and had rock ‘n’ roll music playing in the background.
“The way we presented ourselves on
television was a shock. This was during the 1960s and Vietnam. People viewed us as the underground, trying to
relay messages about secret plots and bombing buildings. Television is a sacred thing, and we
were just coming on and blasting rock ‘n’ roll music, doing whatever we felt like. People were
One infamous campaign was in response to a series of billboards sponsored by conservative groups in
the ‘60s. Those billboards read “Beautify America. Get a haircut,” and they didn’t sit well with
Schaurbroeck. He responded with eight billboards of his own proclaiming “Help Keep America Free.
Let Your Hair Grow.” The billboards featured a picture of Schaurbroeck and the House of Guitars®
logo. The billboards served as another Schaurbroeck shock, garnering mainstream media attention and
further popularity with rock ‘n’ rollers everywhere.
The House of Guitars® not only prospered in the face of controversy, but it also reveled in it,
eventually becoming known as the place for professional musicians and those who want to sound like
the pros. Aerosmith, Ozzie Osborne, Cheap Trick, Metallica and Matthew Sweet are among the major
acts that shop at the House of Guitars®.
“People hear from major bands that we’re the place to go (for vintage and specialty gear),
Schaurbroeck said. “through word of mouth, all the national acts know about us. They trust us
because of our reputation.”