I’m over this side of the country for work this week, so took the opportunity to pop into Peach Guitars in Colchester for the first time. tl;dr: great selection of guitars, great staff, and well worth a visit.
I first heard of Peach Guitars last year, when I was shopping for a PRS McCarty 594. A batch of Private Stock 594s with Brazilian Rosewood necks had come into the country. I got to try one out at Wildwire Guitars up in Selby, and doing my research, I discovered that Peach Guitars had one of its siblings. No two ways about it, that got me curious. They must be doing something right to be stocking such exceptional instruments.
Then, at Christmas, when the Synergy amps system finally came out, it turned out that Peach Guitars were the only UK stockist. I’d recently purchased a 2nd hand Kemper instead of a Fender Deluxe Reverb Re-issue (DRRI for short), and was definitely having buyer’s remorse. But, I was also pretty unwell with the winter flu that went around this season.
Today – finally – I was able to get over there (about a 4.5 hour drive from South Wales if you do it in one go) to try out the Synergy amps (spoiler alert – they’re fantastic) and just visit the shop and see what they do.
Their big unit is out on a business park at the north-east end of Colchester. If you’re not from the area, make sure you’ve got sat-nav with you. You’ll need it to find your way in and back out again. On the plus side, absolutely no problems getting parked right outside the shop.
They’ve got all the usual stuff that you’ll find elsewhere. As is common across the UK, it’s all around the same price. They do have more of it out on display than most places, which is handy if you’re after a particular colour and you want to walk out the store with a guitar you’ve actually tried first.
But what made Peach Guitars special to me was the sheer amount of custom and boutique gear that they also have in the store and available for you to try there and then. Their Gibson Custom Shop selection was stunning. I don’t think I’ve seen that many Custom Shop Les Pauls in one place at one time. I never even made round the corner to look at their PRS selection, or their Patrick James Eggle selection, or … you get the idea. If you’re looking at that end of the market, Peach Guitars is right up there with World Guitars as a place to look.
A huge shout-out to the staff too, who were welcoming and friendly right from the go. That’s important when the front door is kept locked, and you have to buzz to get let in! They didn’t know me at all, had no idea whether or not I was a serious customer, and they still had no reluctance at all in letting me try what I asked for. They had to dig out back and unseal some stock for me to try. Not everywhere will help if you want to try stuff that isn’t already unsealed and out on display.
They don’t know this (and there’s no reason they should ever read this review), but that actually got them an extra sale. I got to try out the full rig that I was interested in, and it worked so well together that I’ve brought the whole thing home. I’ll be writing about it – and doing some demos – later in the year, when I’ve had some time living with the new rig.
And if I have an exceptional year at work, I might just be back there for my birthday to take a closer look at that wall of Custom Shop Les Pauls … 🙂
As a footnote, I think it’s great to see all these guitar stores in the UK being able to bring us custom and boutique instruments. At that end of the market, if you’re buying to play (and not everyone is), it’s important to be able to go and try guitars for yourself. No two look alike, or sound alike, and it’s all about finding what works for you. Impossible to do that if you’re stuck with mail order only.