PALMER — Todd Farnsworth celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of Wood and Wires Guitars and Music in Palmer in late September with dozens of his friends and customers at Wood and Wires in the D&A building in Palmer.
Over the last year, Farnsworth has honed his string instrument repair skills, which keep him busy day in and day out. Farnsworth has expanded the capabilities at Wood and Wires over the last year, coordinating with local pottery makers, builders, and musicians to create a hub for stringed instrument players in Palmer.
“There’s a lot of bluegrass around and there’s a lot of musicians just scattered around that, word gets around there’s a guitar shop here in Palmer now and they kind of come out of the woodwork,” said Farnsworth.
Farnsworth started Wood and Wires as the only shop on that side of the D&A building which also holds Pizzeria Delphi around the corner. With a handful of old guitars and expertise from repairing string instruments during the weekends, Farnsworth set out to become a resource for the community of musicians in and around Palmer. The community responded during the anniversary celebration, flooding the doors of Wood and Wires for discounts and giveaways. Though Farnsworth admitted that the summer construction had been rough on the young guitar shop, but some of the new neighbors have been more of a help than a hindrance. Black Flag Tattoos moved in next door, and Farnsworth said that he connected with one of the tattoo artists whose wife makes pottery. Farnsworth has promoted Aurora’s Pottery’s custom guitar slides, as well as other vendors that have found an audience at Wood and Wires.
“One thing I’ve really enjoyed showcasing locally made stuff and I want to expand that more too,” said Farnsworth. “I want to get more into violins and cellos more traditional string instruments. I want to be a more complete string shop.”
With the growth of Wood and Wires, not only has Farnsworth opened up the shop to new instructors, and live events, but diversified the inventory of stringed instruments. When Farnsworth started a year ago, he had a handful of old, rugged guitars lining the walls. Now, Wood and Wires displays a shiny array of multicolored electric guitars, banjos, ukuleles and accessories. Farnsworth has worked with local guitar builders and accessory builders such as Mat-Su Custom FX to provide musicians with everything they need in one location.
“Thank you for all the support we’ve got. The word of mouth has been great and obviously without that we wouldn’t be where we’re at now a year later,” said Farnsworth.
Wood and Wires hosted Philadelphia artist Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise in August, who played with local artist John Budnik. The pair were in Alaska for Salmonfest and played with Budnik at Wood and Wires. Farnsworth also hosted a party for departed instructor Dylan Jenkins who played with Derek Youmans and Roland Olyvar earlier this month. Farnsworth hopes that Wood and Wires can continue to host lessons and workshops for musicians of all abilities. As the shop becomes a hub for local stringed instruments, Farnsworth continues to improve his repairs, even including a wooden Irish flute.
“I think it’s absolutely sharpened skills. I’m getting much more efficient,” said Farnsworth.