910 E. Pike St., 535-8526, highvoltagemusicstore.com
It’s bewildering that it took as long as it did to put a music store in the Pike/Pine corridor. In a neighborhood where you can’t throw a happy-hour hamburger without hitting a musician, Capitol Hill is full of scuzzy long-haired shredders who probably break more than their fair share of strings. Enter High Voltage, swooping in to save the day with its cozy little storefront right on the corner of Pike and Broadway, an incredible musical Valhalla of strange guitars and keyboards, weird one-off sound-making doo-dads, and boutique local music pedals and tech. Local amp maker Ben Verellen is rumored to be working on a custom amp model just for the store. Every time I go in, there seems to be some new artifact available to tinker with. Recently the store got one of the largest toms I’ve ever seen; the employees sat patiently as I banged on it with a mallet for way longer than anyone should normally be able to bear. The place feels like a little musical community center—the kind of place where people remember your name and don’t care if you try out every single instrument for an hour. The best part is its ridiculously efficient repair shop. A friend whose amp was on the fritz recently took it to High Voltage and was out the door with everything good as new in 10 minutes—and with a measly $15 charge. Customer. Service.