History

Way back in 1969 The Guitar Workshop, as it was called then, was opened by the late John Ellis. It was in the basement of a building on Eddy Street in the College Town neighborhood of East Hill near Cornell University here in Ithaca, New York. Many of our customers still remember that shop fondly and the incomparable Mr. Ellis. Meanwhile in 1971 architect William Downing bought and converted the old Ithaca High School into shops, restaurants, small businesses, offices and apartments. This four story brick castle like structure, was originally designed by famed Architect William Henry Miller and built in 1915. It is located at the corner of Seneca and Cayuga Streets in downtown Ithaca. In 1973 Mr. Ellis moved his store to the old school which is now known as The Historic DeWitt Mall. In May of 1978 John sold the business to Paul and Annie Meisensahl and Mark and Sandy Zwerger and it's name changed from The Guitar Workshop to The Ithaca Guitar Works. Maintaining the tradition of excellence established by Mr. Ellis in the late '60s the Meisensahls and Zwergers continued to represent such prestigious lines of instruments as Martin and Fender and build the occasional instrument.  Shortly after, Eric Aceto came to work for the new owners where he honed his already impressive skills as a luthier. In 1981 The Ithaca Guitar Works was sold to Eric Aceto and Chris Broadwell. With great help from Harry Aceto, Heather MacLeod, Kate Rehner, many friends and family members as well as the former owners, The Ithaca Guitar Works continued its steady growth toward the multi-faceted, friendly, widely visited, down home, family music store it is today. In 1989 instrument builder Dan Hoffman joined the team at the "Guitar Works" and in a short time a separate instrument building and repair facility was established in Trumansburg, NY.  This is where collaboration began on the Oneida guitar and Mandolect as well as many unique custom instruments. The popular Aceto Violect violin and other acoustic and acoustic/electric instruments of Aceto/Hoffman design are crafted there today. In 1995 The Ithaca Guitar Works expanded to double their space in the Dewitt Building by including the rooms on the first floor directly above the store which is located on the ground floor.  The on site repair shop, office and storage area were moved upstairs and lesson rooms were added.  In 1996 wishing to spend more time performing and building instruments, Eric Aceto and Dan Hoffman left to dedicate their attention to what is now Ithaca Stringed Instruments at the Trumansburg location. Chris Broadwell  took over the reins as sole proprietor in July of '96 and is now in his 39th year at The Ithaca Guitar Works. With continued help from Harry Aceto  restoring, repairing and adjusting stringed instruments, Heather MacLeod in the office and Chris' sons Ash Broadwell , and Ry Broadwell  working in sales, repairs and everything in between the Ithaca Guitar Works continues in the tradition that now spans six decades. In 2019 Paul Vidovich took over the reins in our upstairs workshop. Factory authorized repair, adjustments, custom modifications and restoration of stringed instruments continue to be legendary.  Instrument lines have expanded to include not just Fender and Martin but also Taylor, Guild, Deering, Gretsch, National, Gold Tone, Vega, Kala, RainSong and many many others with close to 1000 new, used and vintage instruments and amps from which to choose. The website, www.guitarworks.com, was created in 1996. Watch this site, the local papers and listen to WVBR-93.5 FM and WICB-91.7 FM for events, daily updates or call us toll free 607-272-2602 anytime during operating hours for availability, price quotes or just to yack about guitars.  After all It is our middle name!