Established in 1983, Hargiss Stringed Instruments has been a mainstay of the instrument repair business in the Omaha metro area. Luthier John Hargiss began playing guitar as a child with his father, they could be seen playing small town bars and venues around southern Missouri. At the age of 18, John built his first guitar with his father helping him. He found he really enjoyed building and repairing stringed instruments and no matter where he was in his life there was always a guitar being built or repaired on the side. Prior to opening his stringed instrument business, he had a pretty extensive shop in his garage and the demand for his services became so great that it only made sense to open up a business. Soon after opening his doors, John Hargiss created “The Minstrel” guitar, a smaller travel size guitar with the sound of a full bodied acoustic guitar. The little guitar became very popular and were purchased by some well known musicians such as Dan Fogelberg, Carly Simon and Conor Oberst to name a few.
In 2012, Hargiss Stringed Instruments relocated to a larger set of buildings located at 4002 Hamilton Street. The business was relocated with the intentions of expanding and building a luthier school. While renovating the buildings, we discovered one of the buildings was originally an old Vaudeville theatre built in the late 1890’s. It opened under the name “The Hamilton” until 1930 when the name was changed to “The Winn.” In 1942 the theatre closed for renovations and later was open from 1947 to 1951 as “The Fortieth Street Theatre.” Using all repurposed materials we have brought 40th Street Theatre back to life!
It is our goal to create a place not only for instrument repair and building, but we also hope to provide a space for lessons, live performances, private events and so much more. We would like to see our place become a hub of the community and a gathering place for local artisans.