You have to stay alert to catch Bridge St. in Cornish Village as it sneaks behind antique shops, brings you over Ossipee River, and turns into River St. just after the bridge. There you will find a cozy home with an old weeping willow, a barn, and a sign reading “Friendly River Fretted Instruments” that greets travelers from all over.
John opened the store in 1974 and has been in business ever since. The shop doors open when he finishes up his day job, opening Wednesday – Friday 4pm-7pm and Saturday 10am – 5pm.
John does not have an online business, so the Cornish, Maine shop brings visitors from Boston and other parts of the USA, artists like KISS & AC/DC, and recently a customer all the way from Croatia. What makes this store special is that John has made the commitment to provide customer service like nowhere else and is doing it very well. Aside from his inventory of string instruments, amps, and accessories, John prides himself in his repair work. There’s no limit to the kind of work he can do; from replacing guitar heads and tops, to installing complex electronics. “One of our specialties is to take very low quality garage sale guitars of the sixties and make them fit for stadium tours,” John says. The only thing that John won’t do is “charge you for bad news,” so if the instrument from the attic is beyond repair, you will know before spending the money.
As we’re gearing up for the long cold winter, it’s hard not to think of getting cozy by the fire with an instrument that warms the heart with a little home-made sound. If that’s you, please think of Friendly River Music for your string instrument needs from entry level guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, banjos, to electric guitars and base guitars and some vintage instruments that tell stories in more ways than one.
By Dasha Smirnova