|A lifetime of devotion
to guitar music behind a new Alpine business
By Dennie Miller
writer for the.Desert
From an article that appeared in the Desert Mountain Times on December
A music critic
once wrote, "Guitarists never worry about how they look in front of a camera.
They know they are cool 'cause they have the guitar. If the guitar looks
cool, well, it is cool."
owner of TransPecos Guitars, is a cool guitarist. In establishing his Alpine-based
business, the 52 year old Pollock brings with him a lifetime of devotion
to stringed instruments and the intricacies of the guitar in particular.
He has found his comfort zone, a place were he can relax while pursuing
interests at his leisure. When contrasted with a fast-paced life on the
road, his guitar shop provides him with an almost addictive calming effect.
is dedicated to guitars and guitar music. Here, the musician or would-be
musician can buy, sell, trade or have repaired a variety of stringed instruments.
A visit to the shop reveals a plethora of guitars of many makes, models
and styles. Guitars run the gamut from folk, steel string, electric and
resonators, some featuring hand-painted finishes or exotic inlay. Pollock
also handles a variety of other stringed instruments including banjos,
mandolins and ukuleles as well as picks, strings, straps, cables, tuners
and other accessories.
facet of the sale of each guitar is Pollock's offer of "full trade value,"
the promise he will provide fair trade value should the customer ever want
to trade up to a better quality instrument. While many guitar shops are
reluctant to make such an offer, Pollock finds the practice important in
cementing lasting relationships with his customers.
Skilled in guitar
repair, Pollock was somewhat surprised at the local demand for his services.
His repair business comes almost entirely from word of mouth and, as it
turns out, there were a lot of broken guitars in the area. He is able to
repair most of the instruments brought to him by obtaining parts from his
former shop in Dallas and from guitar manufacturers.
"It seems like
I fixed every guitar in Brewster County over the last year," Pollock said.
to play the guitar at an early age. His first guitar was what he refers
to as a "border special," purchased in Matamoros, Mexico for about $8.
As a teen, he began honing his skills by playing at local parties and snowcone
stands. After graduating from high school in Dallas, he moved to Austin
performing with a number of local bands including the Nightcrawlers, an
He later decided
to roll the dice by signing on for a two-week gig with Lowell Fulson in
California. He ended up staying for over a year, performing with a number
of blues greats until joining Freddy King's band which was opening for
Eric Clapton on his U.S. "Layla" tour. Following the tour, he returned
to Dallas and formed a new band, Kingsnake, later to be renamed Anson Funderburgh
and the Rockets. His next move was to Chicago for a gig courtesy of James
By 1979, Pollock
was back in Dallas forming a new band, Mark Pollock and the Midnighters.
It was during this time he developed a warm friendship with Charley Wirz,
owner of Charley's Guitars, one of the premier guitar shops in the country.
After the death of Wirz in 1985, Pollock was able to take over Charley's
Guitars and with it, the annual Dallas Guitar Show founded by Wirz in 1978.
The Dallas Guitar
Show is a celebration of the guitar. Originating in the basement meeting
room of a Dallas hotel, the show has grown to become the oldest and largest
in the world. In 1989, Pollock formed a partnership with a friend, James
Wallace, and the two have been coordinating the event ever since.
In 2004, the
27th edition of the Dallas Guitar Show will take place over two days in
April at the Dallas Market Hall, a 125,000-square-foot facility. Tens of
thousands of people are expected to attend. The show features the latest
products from Fender, Gibson, Martin, Ibanez and other guitar manufacturers
along with several hundred booths displaying almost 10,000 guitars. The
event attracts collectors, dealers, retailers and manufacturers as well
as guitar enthusiasts from legends to want-to-be musicians. MusicFest 2004,
will be held in conjunction with the guitar show featuring 30 bands performing
on three different stages. The entertainment includes blues, soul, rock
'n' roll, country and jazz - something for everyone.
The Dallas Guitar
Show and MusicFest will take place April 17 and 18, 2004. Admission for
one day is $15 for adults including children 11 years old or older. A two-day
ticket is $25. Children under 11 get in free. Information about the event
is available at www.guitarshow.com.
Pollock is proud
to be a resident of the Big Bend. To date, he has found doing business
here to be "everything I expected and more!" When not at his shop in Alpine,
Pollock can often be found in Dallas playing with Blue Collar Crime, billed
as "four lawyers and a guitar player who needs four lawyers."
will celebrate its Grand Opening on Thursday (Dec. 11) from 6 to 8 p.m.
As part of the celebration there will be a drawing for a Martin guitar,
a Martin jacket and a case of Martin strings. TransPecos Guitars is located
at Texas Treasurers, East Holland Avenue between Second and Third Street
in Alpine. Additional information about TransPecos Guitars can be found
at their website, www.transpecosguitars.com.