Transpecos Guitars - Alpine, Texas


A lifetime of devotion to guitar music behind a new Alpine business

By Dennie Miller
Business writer for the.Desert Mountain Times
From an article that appeared in the Desert Mountain Times on December 11, 2003.

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."

Mark Pollock, 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.

TransPecos Guitars 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.

An important 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.

Pollock learned 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 Austin favorite.

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 Cotton.

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

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."

TransPecos Guitars 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,

Pollock & Clapton team up for music-guitar festival - article dated May 6, 2004