Strings for sale at 3-Wire Acoustic

Hayden store buys, rehabs used instruments


— Dave Hanley wants anyone who has an interest in music to visit his instrument shop in Hayden, look at what he has, and sit down and play a tune with him.

Sitting in his store, 3-Wire Acoustic Music, last week with a banjo on his knee, Hanley looked perfectly at home surrounded by walls where acoustic guitars, violins, mandolins, banjos and even a bass or two are hanging. He just needed someone to play music with.

"We didn't buy them to look at. We bought them to play," he said of his collection of about 30 instruments.

That's his business philosophy.

"It's worth the 20-minute drive to come out and play a tune with me," he said.

Of course, he's also hoping that a few of his visitors will walk out of the shop with a new instrument -- new to them, that is.

Hanley deals primarily in used instruments. He resurrects old axes that people pull out of closets and sell to him. Some he resells for $50, some have price tags of more than $1,000, and everything in between.

"I've found stuff that people don't want anymore. Then I string them up and find them a home," he said.

Of course, before he can sell used instruments, he needs someone to buy them from.

"The one thing that is really important is that I need people to sell me some of their old stuff," Hanley said. He is hoping to mine Northwest Colorado for instruments that people don't want anymore. He'll buy them, fix them up if needed and find them a good home.

Hanley also has a few connections on Front Range who help him find good used instruments to put in the store, including some nearly new, higher-quality Martin products. If a customer comes in with a special request, those same connections help him search for the particular instrument.

3-Wire Acoustic Music opened in June at 148 Walnut St. in Hayden. The store is a classic old building, built in 1911, that was originally used for the telephone switchboard operator.

Though his business is less than a year old, Hanley, who lives in Steamboat, has been buying and selling instruments most of his life. His love of them was something that he seemed to be born with.

Before owning a guitar as an 8-year-old, he would string rubber bands across a box.

He eventually bought his first guitar for $50, using Christmas tips he earned delivering newspapers. The man Hanley bought the instrument from told him during the purchase that when he was ready for a new one, Hanley would get a $50 credit on trade-in to put toward another instrument.

Six months later, he did just that and got new guitar.

That was the beginning.

Since then, Hanley has had hundreds of instruments come and go from his possession.

"I just love this stuff, and I always have," he said.

Hanley went to college in Boulder, received a music degree and eventually made his way to Steamboat Springs.

Today he plays in a band, named 3-Wire, and is getting his new business going.

He admitted his biggest challenge is getting people to come to Hayden to see what he has. But with a friendly attitude and a focus on the "the music," Hanley said he thinks he'll make it.

For now, 3-Wire Acoustic Music is open from 10 a.m. to

5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. However, Hanley takes phone and e-mail inquiries all week at

734-8658, 276-1137 and at


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