FRANKLIN, Ind. – Frank Dean’s love for music began when his aunt played his first rock and roll album to him as a child and continued throughout his life. Over the course of his long career, he has opened for some of the music industry’s most iconic acts and has traveled all over the place.
âI played and opened because I think the last count was 67 majors and luckily I knew them all the years ago before they were big stars,â he said. .
But it was a gig at the Willard that made him fall in love with the town of Franklin and eventually opened his own guitar store there, right on Jefferson Street near the courthouse.
In October, Frank’s Guitars will celebrate its 20th anniversary. And over the years, people from all over the world have come to see the treasures and hear the stories that only he can share.
We jam in Franklin on this trip In your neighborhood.
âI guess I figured out that the only way to have hundreds of guitars around me was to own a store,â said owner Frank Dean. “So I did that.”
Now, guitars line the walls of Dean’s store: electric, acoustic, kids’ and beginner’s, vintage, new and used guitars and even specialty guitars.
âThen we have guitars that aren’t even for sale because I just can’t bear to let them go,â he said. âI sold a Gibson for $ 5,000 to a friend of mine last week and almost cried when I left because I didn’t want to see it go. And it happens all the time. “
It also has special instruments that are not on display, including one particular favorite.
âThis one was from the 50th anniversary of The Byrds ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ tour, and all of the Byrds signed it for me.â
But as often as people come to buy an instrument, just as often come for the endless storytelling and jam sessions.
âMainly, I think now I’ve just become a place for old musicians to come together. I’m like the old general store. Except it’s for old hippies, âhe said with a smile.
It’s both a music store and a history museum, where you’ll see photos of Frank Dean and all the famous artists he’s performed with or opened for during his career.
Some even stopped by the store, including Kenny Vaughan, Tanya Tucker, Johnny Cash and Marty Stewart.
“I generally try to organize [their visits] for late at night, âDean explained. “People see a half a million dollar tour bus pull up and all of a sudden it’s got a lot of people here.”
You’ll see all manner of artifacts like signed scores by Johnny Cash and cases featuring famous wardrobe items like a jacket once worn by Hank Williams Sr.
And he has a story for everyone.
âIt was a gift from Marty Stewart. The Hank jacket. It’s spectacular. And if you turn around there, there’s another special from Miss Emmy,â he noted. âI have to. tell you that if there’s a sweeter person in the world than Emmy Lou Harris, then I’ve never met her. “
âWe were playing one night, and we were doing the opening for her, and I think she spent about three minutes on our scale and she waited for each of us to be on stage so that she could go up and down. ‘apologize,’ Dean remembers. “And two nights later we opened for Todd Rundgren and he got mad because we wanted a sound test.”
It’s no surprise that even a quick trip to Frank’s Guitars can often turn into hours of storytelling and camaraderie.
âIt’s a place to share music. We go home, we exchange licks. I take out one of my 5,000 CDs and we listen to it or exchange songs, âhe said. “As a songwriter, a lot of other songwriters hang out here.”
And Frank Dean couldn’t imagine it any other way.
âIt’s all I wanted it to be. And everyone wants to buy it. I have people who come every week because it’s two doors down from the courthouse. And it’s like, what am I going to do? Playing golf with doctors? Do I feel like it’s going to happen? Dean laughs.
Four things you should know about Frank’s guitars:
- After a long and successful career as an opening musician for some of the biggest bands in the industry, Frank Dean opened his own guitar store at 55 E. Jefferson Street in Franklin.
- Almost two decades later, the store has become much more than a guitar shop selling not only instruments but also showcasing some of Dean’s amazing musical artifacts, famous clothes and instruments, walls full of photos and autographs. âIt really is like a museum. This is my museum, âhe said.
- Of all the amazing stories Frank Dean has to share and the famous friends that stop by, he says his favorite thing about owning his guitar shop is always people and sharing music with others. . âWe have had people staying here for hours,â he said. âI had people from New Zealand and Australia. And they’ll take taxis here.
- In addition to selling guitars and textbooks, he offers repair services and lessons that will resume in the fall. So if you or someone you know is interested in becoming a student, he says to call them in late August to make sure you can get a niche.
For more information on Frank’s Guitars, visit the store website by clicking here. You can also connect to social networks through Facebook.
While in Franklin, check out these other popular local businesses: