Guitar Player - Rochdale

The shop was owned by the Bird Brothers - Peter and his brother (I forget his name).Their real interest was in Bird Bros branded PAs and amps which they either made or had made for them. I seem to remember Peter telling me that they were trying to get into the cruise ship business for some reason.

I first met them when they owned a guitar shop in Oldham and bought my first "real" guitar from them, a 1969 Fender Telecaster Custom in black.I hated that guitar with a passion because it never sounded "right" somehow (Keith Richards would subsequently disagree with this view and cause the value of just such a guitar to rocket...).

When they opened "Guitar Player" in Rochdale in the 70s, it rapidly became a Mecca for all aspiring guitarists due to their policy of only stocking high end new and used American guitars - principally Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker. Their shop window was a never ending education in both new and more importantly old and obscure models.

Since I knew them and had bought the Fender from them, I did a deal with Peter whereby in exchange for the Fender and £100, I could have the pick of any Gibson SG that arrived instore over the next few weeks.After 3 attempts I finally plumped for a 1971 SG Deluxe in Cherry Sunburst. I now shudder to think of the guitars that I turned down (1961 SG Junior for £150...)but I still have that guitar and, to those that know me, it's my signature instrument.

Thank you Bird Brothers, wherever you are!

Chris Farmer Lead Guitarist of The Electric Blues Band 1982-1984 - 2/7/11

I just a bought 1978 Musicman Stingray 1 guitar which has a sticker on the back of the head saying it was sold by the "The Guitar Player in Rochdale".

I was going to take the sticker off as I had never heard of it but then came across your web site. I have a feeling the shop would have meant a lot to some people so the sticker stays on.

Graeme Mitchell - 26/1/12

The other Bird Brother was called Arthur ... a drummer and thoroughly nice chap. He was the owner of the Rickenbacker bass that I played that started my career long affair with the mighty Rick although my 1978 (now faded) white 4001 did not come from the Brothers. Mind you, the 1975 Fender I swapped for it did.

Their first shop was Rock Island on Waterloo Street in Oldham.

Shameless ad......two collegues and I have recently opened Muso's on Yorkshire Street in Oldham to carry on the proud tradition of musician owned shops! If you are in town, call in for a brew and a chat.

Pete Clarke  - ex-Wall Street, Smug Fairies, Bite The Dust and others. - 21/2/12

The name of the missing Bird Brother is Arthur, he ran the store in Rochdale unril it closed (I knew Arthur well for a number of years personally - not seen him for years now, hows it going Arthur?). 

Strangely enough Arthur was a drummer, and a good one at that!
They also manufactured excellent flight cases. They were (and probably still are) great people to know.

Ian Tattersall - 22/3/12

A fantastic shop displaying only quality gear. I understood that they had regular trips out to U.S.A. to precure stocks of vintage gibos, fender, s/gretches, etc. On one trip I came across a new ROLAND GR800 with the blue GR808 box Guitar synth.

I snapped it up & after a few weeks of getting to grips with it (no midi technology then) I took it out on the road with my band CAPRICORN. It was & still is a fabulous piece of kit enabling a 3 piece outfit to have a big sound. I was once nearly sent packing from one venue for using a tape recorder until I demonstrated to the concert sec. what I was using.

Ken Porter - 26/4/13

Guitar Player in Rochdale was where I spent my afternoons when I should have been in lectures at the Tech college down the road.

Dave and Arthur were the two assistants and I poured many thousands of pounds into that little shop over the years. Best buy from them was a beautiful 1988 Japanese Fender Telecaster which I still have.

John Francis - 28/11/13