The electric-guitar riff of the Beatles’ “Day Tripper” emanated from one corner of the room, followed by the recognizable strains of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”
In between were hundreds of people looking, handling and playing an equal number of guitars of all shapes, colors, brands and price tags at the Ohio Guitar Show on Jan. 5 at the Makoy Center in Hilliard.
The show is held at the Makoy Center twice a year; the next show is scheduled June 14.
The first show of 2020 drew about 1,200 people from throughout Ohio and out of state, ranging from people who were inspired by Chuck Berry to plug into an amplifier to those not yet born when Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain helped define alternative rock.
Vendors at the Ohio Guitar Show traveled from near and far, as well.
They included 64-year-old Paul Boscarino of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, just north of Pittsburgh.
For Boscarino – like, oh, about a million people – it was the appearance of the Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Feb. 9, 1964, that introduced him to the world of guitars.
While tuning up a 1974 Fender Stratocaster at the Jan. 5 show, Boscarino recounted as a third-grader going with his family to a relative’s house “because they had a nicer TV” to watch the now-famous broadcast, during which the screams of girls all but drowned out the Beatles’ performances of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and several other numbers.
“I knew that minute that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.
Boscarino first played a used Japanese-made guitar before buying a new guitar in 1970, a Gibson SG Standard that he played in various high school bands.
As the years passed, Boscarino continued to gravitate toward the guitars that became vintage because of their quality manufacturing.
“The way the pickups are wound,” he said, and other things make vintage guitars desirable.
Electromagnetic pickups create a kind of magnetic field and are responsible for the vibrations that give the electric guitar a distinctive sound, Boscarino said.
The search for such a sound led 64-year-old L.B. Fred of Dayton to the Jan. 5 show.
Fred said he traveled to the show “to look for anything interesting.”
He said he played guitar “as a kid” but then “got away from it.”
“When I came back, the guitars I remember playing have become vintage,” said Fred after looking over an Epiphone Casino guitar.
Fred is an expert on Epiphone guitars – even writing a book in 1996, “Epiphone: The House of Stathopoulo.”
Stathopoulo is the Greek family name of the founder whose company manufactured mandolins and other string instruments in the early 20th century and then electric guitars until Gibson bought it in 1957.
Gibson continued to manufacture electric guitars under the name Epiphone, but the differences are discernable to experts, Fred said.
“The Casino (model) is recognizable because John Lennon played it,” Fred said.
A different Epiphone model, a 1967 Texan, drew the interest of Eric Philippsen, 65, who works at 6 Strings Down in Plainfield, Indiana.
After inspecting it, Philippsen said the owner was asking too much – $1,600 – for a guitar that required restoration.
Among the younger customers at the show was 22-year-old Michael Archiable of Chagrin Falls.
A student at Miami University, Archiable plays lead guitar in a band named Grown-Up Kids, playing gigs on campus in Oxford and near Cincinnati.
“My father played Fender guitars, so I’m looking for some Fender gear,” Archiable said.
Archiable learned the guitar from his father, 70-year-old Don Archiable, who was with him at the show.
This is the fifth year the Makoy Center, 5462 Center St., has played host to the Ohio Guitar Show, which was founded by Marc Newman, 66 and Marc Wayner, 70, at a guitar shop in Athens in 1986.
Both men were then professors at Hocking College – Newman in business and Wayner in psychology – before the duo decided to establish their own guitar show rather than travel to a large, well-known show in Texas.
“We had families and couldn’t afford to go, so we decided to start our own show,” Newman said.
The next year, the show was relocated to a Ramada hotel in Columbus until it outgrew the venue.
The show was moved to the former Aladdin Shrine Temple on Stelzer Road in east Columbus until it closed, after which the show found its way to the Makoy Center.
The show has about 100 vendors, Wayner said.