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The Beginning

Plexiglass Guitar

Plexiglass Guitar

Charles LoBue showed an interest in the guitar in his teens and formed a band called Crystals with friends Frankie and Richie. After a short stint in Korea with the US Military, LoBue came back to the Village. LoBue’s interest in the guitar and guitar building led him to a class being taught at the YMCA by Michael Gurian. Gurian, a self taught luthier was building primarily acoustic and a few amplified acoustics at the time said LoBue was a good and very likable student and that he studied with him for about 1 year. He indicated that it was a 6 month class but that he recalled LoBue taking the class twice. Gurian indicated that if you wanted to learn how to build guitars at the time your only real option was Aaron Shearers book on lutherie. From about 1965 through 1969 LoBue would often come by Dan Armstrong’s shop at 7th Ave and W 49th Street (above Eddie Bell’s Music) to pick up parts and just to talk with Armstrong, his two sons, Ed Diehl,  Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Rick Turner and Carl Thompson who were employed there at the time.Thompson ran Armstrong’s shop. Diehl told me a story of how his friends Armstrong and LoBue came to record his performance at the Wells Supper Club (Wells: Home of Chicken and Waffles”) in Harlem . The tape is since lost.


Regular clients included Janis Ian, David Bromberg, Frank Zappa and Tony Matolla. At the time it was thought that LoBue was teaching English and messing with guitars on the side.  In 1969 LoBue and Thompson decided to open their own shop in another suite in the same building doing repairs and setups with one of their primary customers being Eddie Bells Music owned by Mark Biddleman.  Bill Lawrence indicated that he had heard of all the great guitar work going on in the Village and dropped by LoBue’s shop. A long term friendship was established between Lawrence and the guys on 49th Street. In 1970 LoBue and Thompson moved to 701 7th Avenue. Thompson and LoBue maintained this shop until 1971 when Thompson went off on his own. According to Thompson, LoBue had wanted to build guitars and Thompson wanted to stick with repairs so they parted. LoBue shortly thereafter moved to 206 Thompson. About that same time Lawrence teamed up with Armstrong and shortly thereafter Armstrong moved to England and Lawrence moved Armstrongs old shop to the old “Monkeys” store.

In Video

The Beginning (West 48th Street)
LoBue -Thompson (701 7th Avenue
LoBue Guitars/Guitar Lab (206 Thompson)
Alex Musical/Guitar Lab (165 W 48th Street)
LoBue Guitars (394 Hayes)