SoCal World Guitar Show Tours Costa Mesa

By Johnathan Widran

The Event: The bi-annual SoCal World Guitar Show takes place the weekend of Jan. 25-26 in a 23,000 square foot space at the Orange County Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, CA. The event, which attracts upwards of 2,000 guitarists, vendors and buyers from across the U.S. and around the world, is presented by 4 Amigos and runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $20; children 11 and under are free if accompanied by an adult.

The Key Details: Co-sponsored by Vintage Guitar magazine, the show will include exhibits by numerous top name guitar manufacturers, as well as boutique amp builders, solid body builders, acoustic builders and pedal effects for guitar. Attendees are encouraged to bring their guitars to sell or trade. One may see everything from guitars, amps, banjos, mandolins, effects, memorabilia, sound gear, parts, records, drums, violins, books, accessories, online companies, manufacturers, retail stores, builders, and repairmen, to celebrities who attend the event.

Like other events organized by the 4 Amigos, all California World Guitar Shows are buy-sell-trade shows, where attendees may bring all the musical instruments or related items to sell, trade or have appraised. By getting bids from several exhibitors, attendees can quickly establish the market value of an item and proceed to sell or trade with confidence.

The History: For more than 40 years, veteran Tulsa, OK-based vintage guitar dealer Larry Briggs has sold guitars to dozens of superstars, including members of REO Speedwagon, Heart, ZZ Top and most recently, Kevin Bacon. Briggs and his partners launched their first guitar show in 1984 and held their first California event in Pomona in 1993.

One hundred eighty shows later, they still hold January and August shows in both Orange County and the Marin Civic Exhibit Hall in San Rafael. Guitarlington, held at the Arlington Convention Center in Texas every October, is the flagship show. The 4 Amigos also do annual shows outside Nashville (Franklin, TN) and in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles.