GERMFASK, Mich. (WZMQ) – There are hidden gems, all over the UP, and one of them, Guitarman’s Ruffcut Music can be found, tucked away in Germfask. With over 52 years of experience, owner Chip Brauer has much more to offer than just a storefront. While preserving vintage pieces, he also passes on his knowledge teaching beginners.
Scholared with a degree in amps, Brauer began his career working the stages of popular rock bands. His real-time, hands-on work, gave him experience, taking him to a level never imagined, when he first felt the music bug back to 1963. Brauer said “My class drew the Gibson plant for a tour, and that’s, when the bug hit me. Just the whole thing it just fascinated me.” He went on to tell us how his teacher kept asking where he was and how she kept telling him to stay with the group, but Brauer laughed at his response he had for her, “No, no, I’ve got to watch these guys doing this.”
He gained experience working for and playing in bands himself, giving him quite a resume of knowledge to pass on to eager students. And with his teaching style, mimicking the self-taught way Brauer learned, doesn’t require extensive weekly sessions. His approach has proven to be quite successful.
Brauer, “I’m not like most teachers. I like to teach you how to teach yourself and once you do that you don’t need lessons anymore. So, it tends to work out better that way, I don’t have a lot of students, but the ones I do teach tend to stick with it.”
With a storefront right off the highway, stopping in is quick and easy. Quick, may be kind of a stretch for a music lover, when you can get lost in the beauty of these restored and well-maintained time sakes.
Asking Brauer what inspired him to work with vintage guitars, he said, “Well a lot of them were new when I started.”
With over 25 years taking the kinks out of well weathered pieces, Brauer’s work keeps many musicians returning for repairs or tuned ups.
Trey Huddle, a regular customer of the shop said, “While there are plenty of guitar techs and luthiers out there, I like to go to Chip because he’s got the experience, and I know when I take the guitar to him, he’s going to do it right, he’s going to set the guitar up right for me. So, it’s worth the drive from Marquette.”
Whether a beginner or advanced musician, the guitar doesn’t discriminate and the only mistake anyone could make is just not picking it up Brauer told us and he said, “When you show an interest in guitar almost all guitarist will encourage you, here take this play it, have fun, and that’s what it is all about, having fun.”
Guitarman’s slogan is, “Where the middle of nowhere is the middle of everywhere.” And sometimes, that’s, where the greatest Yooper gems are hidden.