Groovy guitar gamble: Alumni runs thriving guitar shop in downtown

February 8, 2024 — by Amy Luo and Kathy Wang
Courtesy of Tyler Diamond
Rows of guitars displayed on the wall at the guitar store, Diamond Music.
Fueled by his passion for guitars, Class of `14 alumnus Tyler Diamond decided to take a huge risk by starting a guitar business downtown.

As visitors stroll downtown, it’s common to see an array of shops light up the dim sidewalks, ranging from cozy cafes to miniature clothing stores to high-end restaurants. But one of the most eye-catching stores — located on Big Basin Way — is a small shop lit up by a neon-colored sign reading “guitars.” Inside, rows of multicolored guitars with a variety of designs and textures line the wall, drawing the attention of any nearby pedestrians. 

Diamond Music opened in March 2022 and is owned and run by Class of 2014 alumnus Tyler Diamond. He said it is the first guitar shop located downtown since the late ‘80s, and it specializes in selling a variety of collected guitars as well as offering guitar lessons to students of any age.

“The guitar shop is something that I didn’t think would be my life,” Diamond said. “It kind of went from ‘no idea of actually doing it’ [running a guitar shop] and a month later actually running a business.”

Diamond largely attributes his passion for guitars to the video game “Guitar Hero,” which he received as a Christmas present at age 11. He recalls thinking it was the “coolest thing ever.” By then, he had already been learning how to play the guitar for a year. Later, during his high school years, he joined a couple of local rock and punk bands including “Ten Yards Away” and “Fingers Crossed.”

His love for the guitar eventually inspired him to start buying, selling and steadily collecting guitars.

“If you play guitar, you’ve got to have guitars, so I ended up buying them used,” Diamond said. “I’ve never bought a new guitar because the value of a guitar halves as soon as it’s first purchased. I learned you can get great deals online, so I was buying guitars for good value while simultaneously selling others for profit.”

In the following decade, Diamond was able to collect a total of 125 guitars through buying and reselling them on Craigslist and Facebook. Eventually, in 2022, Diamond — with the encouragement of his mother — opened his guitar shop. 

“I’d always had that thought in the back of my mind like ‘hey, I have a really long life and when I’m older, like 60 or 70, I want to open up a guitar shop,’” Diamond said.

Diamond, who runs the shop on his own, admitted starting the business was a “huge gamble” as he didn’t have anyone to guide him, despite graduating from business school at Menlo College. During the beginning of his business, Diamond worried about paying taxes, doing inventory and managing day to day tasks, which he believes is a great deal of work for one person to do. 

“I learned a lot in college, like accounting, but it’s one thing to go to class and it’s another thing to run a business,” Diamond said. “It ended up paying off. I have been very successful and hope to be here for many years.”

Currently, Diamond Music has 150 guitars in stock ranging from $100 kids’ guitars to $5,000-$7,000 high-end guitars. He mentioned that 90-95% of his clientele are in their 40-70s since the majority of his guitars are expensive ones. 

Additionally, Diamond expressed his love for working in Saratoga as it is his hometown and he receives a good amount of business from residents and local performers.

“I love the work that I do because it brings happiness to people. Everyone’s happy coming into the shop. When someone buys a guitar, it’s typically a great day for them,” Diamond said. “So I feel like I’m doing a good thing for the community — it’s a positive experience all around.”

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