Westchester Guitar Shop Sells Vintage Guitars to the Stars

At the heart of every music town is a guitar shop; Division Street Guitars in Peekskill is no exception. Located right on – you guessed it – North Division Street, the guitar store is a prime attraction in a city bustling with music-goers and artists.

Just a block away from the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, the small shop, nestled in between a row of restaurants, is a much needed pit stop for traveling musicians looking to add some vintage flair to their collection.

Joe Bonamassa shows off his newly bought '57 Strat alongside Division Street Guitar employees. From left to right, Paulie Beladino, Joe Bonamasssa, owner Paul DeCourcey and Matt Labozza
Joe Bonamassa shows off his newly bought ’57 Strat alongside Division Street Guitar employees. From left to right, Paulie Beladino, Joe Bonamassa, owner Paul DeCourcey and Matt Labozza

Over the years, owner Paul DeCourcey has sold his high-end wares to the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Boz Scaggs, Melissa Etheridge, and “that guy who made the coexist bumper sticker,” the shop employees chime in with a humble brag.

An average day is a little less star-studded, but the shop maintains a steady stream of customers from the casual browser to inquisitive sellers and local musicians just stopping by for a chat. No matter the customer, Paul said he brings the same dedication to his craft. 

“You’ve got to have a certain knack for it and I’ve had that,” DeCourcey said plain and simple.

DeCourcey’s journey to becoming a luthier (a maker of stringed instruments) started when he was 19 and living in the nearby town of Ossining. There he worked at a local music shop and was mentored by the owner before moving on to become head luthier at Southside Guitars in Brooklyn.

After a few years commuting to the city, DeCourcey decided to settle down a bit closer to home, opening Division Street Guitars in 2014. Initially, he operated the place mainly as a repair shop but gradually transformed the space into a full-fledged guitar store.

Unlike chain guitar stores like Sam Ash or Guitar Center, DeCourcey specializes in buying, refurbishing, and selling vintage guitars. And after 20+ years in the biz, he has a pretty good eye for them

“I just like the older stuff… It’s what I know better,” DeCourcey said. “I think it’s more when you pick it up, you feel right away how it’s made and it kind of speaks to you.”

At any given time the shop is home to 75-100 guitars as well as a colorful array of used pedals, amps and assorted gear. DeCourcey also sells guitars at trade shows as well as online at reverb.com, an online marketplace for musicians.

Currently in stock is a 1979 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, a 1963 Fender Duo Sonic and a 1947 Martin 00-21, as well as plenty of other models from a range of brands.

Owner Paul DeCourcey keeps Division Street Guitars stocked with anywhere from 75-100 used guitars at any given time
Owner Paul DeCourcey keeps Division Street Guitars stocked with anywhere from 75-100 used guitars at any given time

Interestingly enough, DeCourcey said he isn’t a big musician himself, or maybe he’s just being humble. DeCourcey co-wrote Grouplove’s hit song “Colours” when he toured with the band’s frontman Christian Zucconi who also fronted for DeCourcey’s own band Aloke.

Despite the large quantity of guitars in shop, DeCourcey currently only has two bass guitars (his instrument of choice) at home, a shockingly low-number for a musician of any caliber. Still, the modest guitar store owner said he gets more joy working on guitars than from playing them. Indeed, it’s clear by the way his face lights up when he talks about guitar repairs, that being a luthier is where DeCourcey is most at home. 

“It’s nice to just get in the zone and work on guitars,” he said.

DeCourcey has also served as an unofficial mentor to aspiring musicians in the community. His shop is currently staffed by two Peekskill locals, who he trained himself. Paulie Beladino, a local musician has worked the front of house at the shop since he was 19, when he asked Paul to take him under his wing. The gig allows Beladino to rehearse and travel with his band while also maintaining a more steady source of income.

“Every part of my day is music related and everything I do to make money has to do with music and that sounds like success to me,” he said. “Just rocking and rolling over here.”

Division Street Guitar's own Paulie Beladino poses for the shop's instagram page
Division Street Guitar’s own Paulie Beladino poses for the shop’s instagram page

While Beladino admits to being more of musician than a repairman, he said he still gets the child-like excitement when a new vintage guitar finds its way to the shop.

“There’s nothing more exciting when you see the case and you know what it could be but you don’t know what it actually is and you open it and it’s like ‘oh my god,’” he said. “Every single one of these guitars has years and years of stories and experiences.”

Another shop employee, Matt Labozza has a similar story to Beladino. He too has been at Division Street since the beginning and learned under the guiding hand of DeCourcey. While audio engineering is his main passion after hours, Division Street Guitars provides a similar safe haven for learning and enjoying music.

“Before I worked here, I brought all of my shit to Paul, even basic restrings,” Labozza says, as he now casually restrings a guitar during the interview. “Pretty much everything you see me doing here is thanks to that man.”

In the eight years the shop has been open, DeCourcey said he hasn’t changed much about the store. From the beginning to now it’s still familiar faces, beautiful guitars and good vibes all around. 

Division Street Guitars is located at 36 North Division St, Peekskill, NY 10566 and is open Tuesday-Saturday from 12-6pm and Sundays from 12-4 for the holiday season.

Call them at 914-737-2630 or check out their inventory on Reverb.com

Comments are closed.