In the early 1960s, as a music scene in Boston and New England began to develop, there were very few places where a young musician could go to acquire the tools of the trade. One of them was a small instrument store, E.U. Wurlitzer, located on Bedford Street in Boston’s Combat Zone and founded by Ernest Ulrich Wurlitzer in 1890. By then owned by his sons Ernie and Al, and run by visionary manager Tim Jachramo, it was a mecca for area musicians. The gear used by British Invasion bands, and seen by millions on a Sunday night on the Ed Sullivan Show, could be found within weeks in the store. It was the only place get a VOX amplifier like the Beatles used, a teardrop guitar like Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones played. You could go into Wurlitzer’s at any time and find musicians who were little known at the time… like future jazz great George Benson, bluegrass legend-to-be Joe Val, Brad Whitford before Aerosmith, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter pre-Steely Dan…hanging out and trying the latest and greatest Fender, Gibson, Gretsch and Martin guitars. For string and keyboard musicians, it was the place to be seen and the scene to be part of…8 days a week! The store soon relocated to Newbury Street near the Berklee School and opened several branches, but finally closed in 1999.
Published on February 19, 2013