Westwood Music is known throughout the country as the leader in understanding and anticipating a musician’s needs and for developing the technology to meet those needs. We create solutions to problems that even musicians at times are unable to articulate.
Since our beginning 50 years ago, we have always been known for treating each customer, from beginner to pro, with legendary warmth and service. Since the ‘60’s, Westwood Music and its owner, Fred Walecki, have been at the center of rock and roll legend-making. The stories abound--like the time the Stones went to see Sonny and Brownie at the Ash Grove, driven by Fred in his mom’s station wagon. Or when Bernie Leadon promised to stand good for a Westwood Music charge account for his new band, which had come up with the questionable name of "The Eagles." Those were wild and heady days.
Founded first as a rare violin, harp, and orchestral instrument store by Hermann Walecki in 1947, Westwood Music gained international stature as Hermann sold some of the most important rare instruments of this century: the " Lord Nelson Stradivarius," the "Markivich Stradivarius," and the "Mendolson Stradivarius," to mention only a few. When Hermann fell ill in 1966, his son Fred, at the age of nineteen, took over the business.
Realizing his sensibilities lay more with guitars and other modern instruments, Fred gradually phased out the rare instrument side of the business and began to cater to clients involved in the new sounds of the ‘60’s. Within a few short years Fred had been befriended by such music legends as Buffalo Springfield Band, Bernie Leadon, Ned Doheny, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Poco, Linda Rondstadt, The Byrds, Hearts and Flowers. And the rest, as they say, is Rock and Roll history, as evidenced by the abundance of Gold Records lining the walls of the store from groups both past and present.
Through the ‘70’s, 80’s, and 90’s the client list has grown and grown for one simple reason—no other music store in southern California is really involved with what large stage groups need, i.e., custom length, high quality cords, lights, batteries, gaffers tape, custom anvil cases measured for the clients at their rehearsal halls, and personal, 24 hour commitment to service. Late night phone calls at home to Fred from a group in a bind are common. Twelve hours to a guy on the road who is unable to get a three-dollar item that will make or break the pedal steel player seems like an eternity. With Westwood Music behind them, that item is there next day by FedEx, delivered to the guy’s room by the bell hop with the morning coffee.
These days, it’s hard to imagine what our store is like if you haven’t been in, but it’s a relief from the supermarket-type stores. The small profit margins of the chain stores seem to dictate impersonal treatment, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We meet their prices but not their lack of service. Buying a guitar used to be a great time and it still can be—picking up and playing twenty or so Martins before choosing the perfect one, or having the same people who set up Bruce Cockburn’s guitar set up yours. That’s very cool.
It helps that we have such a long and rich history with the old companies like Martin and Gibson. Things are a bunch easier when you actually know the humans you are speaking to at these big companies. How do we know them? First, we like the people at the big companies, and they like us. Heck, some of the high lamas at the big companies worked with us in our store years ago, like Ren Fergison back in the 60’s, or Chris Martin in the 70’s. Ren is one of the high guys at Gibson acoustic in Bozeman, and Chris is the main person at Martin now.
Beginning students, talented songwriter/bar players and the fortunate few who have became musical legends—Westwood Music has been loyal to them all. We aren’t big but we are powerful when you need real help from real people who sell the good goods. It is not unusual on any given day to find Joni Mitchell or Lyle Lovett, Gram Nash or David Crosby, Kevin ("Kebmo") or Chris Hillman visiting Westwood Music, talking with the other regular customers.
It would be nice to hear from you and feel free to call. Or, better yet, come in some day soon, hang out and have the "Westwood Music experience".