Store owner aims to be social stop for fellow musicians

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Steve Boynton, front, does an impromptu performance of "Dueling Banjos" with Steamboat musician Jay Roemer.

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Steve Boynton works in his studio where he does recording work.

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Steve Boynton talks with Steamboat musician Jay Roemer in the First String Music showroom.

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First String Music owner Steve Boynton sits in the Martin Room where the higher end Martin guitars are displayed in his store at 1744 Lincoln Ave. Boynton opened the music store two months ago.

Walk into the First String Music store and you might catch owner Steve Boynton playing a rendition of "Dueling Banjos."

That was the case last week when Steamboat musician Jay Roemer dropped by the shop, picked up one of the banjos on display and began playing with Boynton.

"I love the idea of having a community music gathering place," Boynton said.

Roemer, who recently spent his winter savings on a new Martin guitar from Boynton's shop, agreed there was a music niche that needed to be filled in Steamboat.

"It's a real cool shop," Roemer said. "We needed something with good instruments at prices they should be at."

When Boynton is not jamming with customers, he is working to build his busi-

ness, which he opened at 1744 Lincoln Ave. two months ago.

"Daily, I see new people," Boynton said. "I can't tell you how many times I've heard, 'I'm so glad there is a music store in Steamboat.' Besides the verbal feedback, people are actually buying stuff."

Boynton started playing the guitar when he was 7 years old. He took lessons and went to school for music at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan and also studied at the Musician Institute in Hollywood, Calif.

Boynton moved to Steamboat from the Front Range five years ago. During the winter, he performs six or seven nights a week.

Until recently, his recording equipment was set up in his garage. He also taught lessons at his home.

"My goal for the store was to not have as much retail space," Boynton said. "My goal was to have a place where all these things could exist in a more professional environment."

He said he has been eye-ing space for a store, and the space on the west side of the city became available.

Boynton specializes in fretted string instruments, which he also repairs. The wall in his main showroom is covered with guitars and banjos. There are no wind or brass instruments on display, but he can get them and plans to have some in inventory. There are a variety of other instruments in the store including drums.

By next fall, he plans to launch a rental service aimed at local schools.

Music teachers utilize three rooms in the back of the store for lessons. Boynton also offers his teaching services.

In one of the rooms, the higher end guitars are displayed. Boynton calls the room the Martin Room. The Martin guitars on display range in price from $500 to $4,000.

The rooms also double as recording studios.

Boynton moved his recording equipment into one of the rooms, which are all soundproofed.

Paul Geppert and other members of the 3 Wire band were in the night before recording "The Hairless Fox."

"We were really pleased with how it turned out," Geppert said.

3 Wire is in the process of recording its first studio album in Boynton's studio.

Boynton thinks there are a lot of "closet musicians" in Steamboat who have gotten away from playing music.

He thinks his business could help those people get back into it.

Boynton has plans for jam sessions at the shop.

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