I have been to GAK, who celebrated their 25th year in business back in July many times over the past years but never really spent much time there.
I did purchase a Roland FA06 from them about two years ago and posted my thoughts about that experience then…not as good as it could have been unfortunately. Anyway moving on. Given we now live just 12 miles from Brighton I suppose you could say GAK is my local music store. We do have a small music store in Haywards Heath but it seems to focus mostly on Tanglewood acoustic guitars..not that there is anything wrong with those of course, I have two of their Winterleaf Series here at the moment but a bit of variety is always welcome. Will be reviewing those two guitars soon by the way so look out for that.
Getting back to GAK. As many of you will know I have been looking for more acoustic guitars recently. I bought a Taylor 114e ES2 from GuitarGuitar in Epsom a while back but I am always on the look out for something new.
GAK is not a store you could miss in a hurry. It’s bright yellow facade has become a bit of a landmark in Brighton. If you have never been to this particular store It’s quite an odd sort of place. I’m no
t sure what the buildings were originally but the store is made up of a number of them joined together which gives it something of a rabbit warren feel, with twisty narrow stairs and odd little rooms tucked away here and there. It does cover a lot of ground though and I’m pretty much sure you could find anything you needed with which to make music here.
On entering the store I had to find someone to tell me where the acoustic guitars were as it was not immediately obvious, or not to me anyway. The acoustics are upstairs and seem to take up all of the top floor of one of the buildings. I think in all there are four..perhaps five rooms full of acoustic guitars. Plenty of Yamaha’s, Gibsons, Faith, Martin, Guild, Seagull, Luna etc plus they have a selection of quality used guitars for sale.
The staff were great, quite “hands-off” in that they let you try guitars but didn’t keep badgering you for feedback which suits me fine. I tried a selection of guitars from ‘Faith’, Seagull and Sigma plus a used Breedlove Passport Plus C200/CR which was particularly nice and I almost bought;)
After browsing the acoustics and resisting the temptation to buy that Breedlove I headed back downstairs to check out the rest of the store.
Next up I took a look at the electric guitars. Apparently GAK stock over 1000 of them and I can well believe it. I also understand that they have the largest display of Fender and Gibson guitars anywhere in the country and I am pretty sure from what I saw that if you were in the market for a Fender or Gibson you would probably be able to find the one you wanted here. There is also a dedicated bass guitar and amp section with more than enough gear on display to keep any bass player very happy
Moving on from the electric guitars and basses I headed for the keyboards. There are actually two rooms with keyboards. One has the more traditional stages pianos and arrangers and the other has the midi controllers and synths and other pro audio gear. I was particularly interested in the Native Instruments Kontrol S61. Again good service here and the sales assistant I dealt with gave me all the information I asked for without any sales pitch or pressure to purchase so top marks for that.
By the way, the keybed on the S61 is so much better than any other controller I have tried. It really does feel like a quality set of keys and given that it comes with KOMPLETE 11 SELECT although expensive for a “controller” is actually quite a bargain. I have already reviewed the S61 but will be doing a video review of the latest version of that keyboard soon.
GAK stock an incredible range of instruments, far more than I can cover here but if your looking for Drums, Guitars, Pro Audio, DJ Equipment, PA, Monitors and traditional instruments such as ukuleles, banjos, mandolins and other folk instruments this should definitely be your first stop if your in Brighton. There are of course other great music stores in town but none with the range that GAK stocks and has on display.
One word of caution. If there is a particular instrument you want to “demo” I would advise you call the store first. Even though it may show in stock on their website that doesn’t mean it is in the store. Their warehouse is across town and I know from experience (The Roland FA-06 I mentioned earlier) they won’t be sending anyone out to get the instrument for you.
I will certainly be back to GAK and even though that Breedlove C200/CR never made it’s way back to my living room there is always another bargain just waiting to be snapped up. Oh and they have an Ebay store too so that is always worth checking for bargains. You CAN haggle by the way..within reason of course 😉
London Victoria to Brighton Station in under an hour. Only 5 minutes from Brighton Station
If travelling by car there is no parking outside the store but there is a multi-storey car park just up the road..a bit pricey though. There are cheaper alternatives just 10 minutes further away and it’s worth the walk and there are some great shops, cafes and restaurants around the area.
Guitar Amp And Keyboard Centre
76-82 North Road
01273 665 400
Lines open Mon-Fri 9am-10pm