Connoisseur of coils
Waukesha man opens new guitar shop

By Brandon Anderegg

Aug. 21, 2019

 Chondro guitar shop owner Randall Pearson tests out a Knaggs guitar.
Brandon Anderegg/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA — A Waukesha man and Texas native who was once known for selling snakes now sells an entirely different type of “coil” after he opened Chondro guitar shop in Waukesha.

While in guitar terms a coil refers to a component found in electric guitars, business owner Randall Pearson says he named the shop Chondro because it’s a nickname for his favorite type of snake, the green tree python.

Chondro’s brick and mortar location opened in August, but the business began in 2017 as a basement operation, Pearson said.

“It started off as a hobby and turned into me buying stuff off Craigslist and selling it on Reverb,” Pearson said. “And then it just kind of exploded.”

Chondro now offers a variety of guitar brands including Jackson, ESP and Charvel. The guitar shop also carries guitar amp brands such as Mezzabarba, ENGL, EVH and KSR.

Pearson purposefully chose not to carry the most common guitar brands such as Gibson and Fender, he said. Instead, Chondro carries a lot of brands representative of the 1970s and 80s.

“I think a lot of the hard rock heavy metal guys get overlooked and they get looked down upon,” Pearson said. “They think we’re just broke kids who’ve got no money, no musical talent and not one to spend money on guitars.”

But what most guitar sellers don’t realize today is that those who grew up in the 70s and 80s are in the “generation of nostalgia,” Pearson added.

“We’re not punks, which is what people perceived us to be in the 80s,” Pearson said. “We’re doctors, lawyers and business owners and we want the guitars we saw our heroes play back in the 80s and the 90s.”

Most of the equipment in Chondro is high-end, with guitars ranging in price from $2,000 to more than $7,000, Pearson said. But despite the price tag, Pearson said he wants any musician to feel comfortable with walking in and trying out an instrument.

“I pretty much built my shop as a comfortable place for musicians to come in, have a look around and just a hangout place even if you’re not a buyer,” Pearson said.

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