Carrying on a Legacy: Black Mountain Guitar strikes a chord
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Music has embraced Ed Heisler’s life.
A Marine City, Michigan, native, Heisler traveled south to the Detroit area to perform in clubs throughout his teens and early 20s.
He stepped away from music to start a family and, after six years with Chrysler, packed up and moved his family to the Valley.
“I started playing seriously when I moved out here,” Heisler says about the relocation in 2000.
He joined the Scottsdale Bible Church worship team and spent every Sunday morning there for 15 years.
Now Heisler has found his calling as the owner of Black Mountain Guitar Co. in Cave Creek. The shop continues the legacy of Paul Turchetta Jr., who owned the spot, then known as Cave Creek Guitar Co., until he died April 15, 2021.
“I was a longtime customer of his,” says Heisler of Turchetta, another Michigan native. “I have another company, Mad Hatter Guitar Products, that makes guitar electronics. That company was growing, so I was looking for space for it.
“He and I had conversations. He knew I was looking for space. When he became ill, he said, ‘Why don’t you buy me out?’ Unfortunately, he passed away before we could carry that through.”
Heisler took over the spot in May 2021, remodeled it and rebranded it Black Mountain Guitar Co. In the shop, which opened the following month, he’s joined by his son, Kyle, who is the in-house guitar tech and a graduate of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix.
“When this opportunity came up, I immediately called him,” Heisler says of Kyle.
Black Mountain Guitar Co. specializes in guitars of all price points and offers accessories like pedals. Guitar, ukulele, piano and voice lessons are offered, too. Chuck Hall of the legendary Arizona blues act Chuck Hall and the Brick Wall is the premier guitar instructor.
Black Mountain Guitar Co. also hosts a ukulele jam night, the next of which is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 15. The first Tuesday of every month is Tuesday Night Music Club for singer-songwriters who wish to network, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“They can just come on in, share their music with other people, and help you grow in your songwriting and music writing,” Heisler says. “It’s an open forum to network with other players.”
As much as Heisler enjoys music, there’s a practical reason for these events.
“As a business owner, I want people in and out of my store,” he says. “They’re going to see something, and they want to buy it. I want to be part of the community.
“Last night, I was at Local Jonny’s open mic night. My customers are there, and I want to support them. I don’t want to just sell guitars. I want them to enjoy what they’re doing and encourage them to get out. I don’t want them to just buy a guitar and put it in the corner. This is such a vibrant community for music.”
Heisler supports that by listing Local Jonny’s Tavern & Café, Grotto Café, Harold’s Cave Creek Corral, The Buffalo Chip Saloon, The Hideaway Grill and The Roadhouse.
“A lot of my customers play those places,” he says. “I want to be their store for everything they need to go out and entertain the community.”
Recently, Jesse Valenzuela from the Gin Blossoms stopped by his shop. The two are longtime friends, as Heisler served as a guitar tech for the Tempe act. He’s also worked with Jen Majura of Evanescence, and Nils Lofgren.
Ideally, Heisler wants to expand Black Mountain Guitar Co. and turn it into a destination.
“The ultimate goal is to have a Sweetwater Sound,” he says about the Fort Wayne, Indiana, retailer. “It’s not just a big store in the community, but it sells and ships things internationally via online.
“I want people to know when they buy from me is that I have good-quality instruments, unlike some of the other online stores. They tend to be more discount (options). We stand by everything. If somebody buys something from us, we take care of them. Kyle will do a setup, and they can bring it back up to two weeks later.”
Black Mountain Guitar Co. was an unexpected pivot in Heisler’s life, but he’s pleased with the way it’s turned out.
“I thought it would be cool to have a guitar store,” he says. “We wanted to carry on the legacy that Paul created with the community here. We try to keep the same vibe that he created and build on that and grow on that. We have a wall at our store dedicated to him. He’ll always be a part of the store for sure.”
Black Mountain Guitar Co.
6220 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
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