The StratAcademy started out as GRS Music Studios on Corrales Road in 2009, where Jimmy and Lisa did recording, Jimmy repaired guitars, they gave music lessons, and Jimmy held seminars on how to build guitars. Then they moved to another location on Corrales Road until that property was put up for sale. They were in a residential area on the westside of Corrales for a couple of years, where they changed the name from GRS Music Studios to the StratAcademy. When the current location at 4627 Corrales Road became available in the summer of 2017, Jimmy and Lisa set up shop and added a small retail outlet.
In the current location they have the retail store, Jimmy’s repair shop and a studio for lessons in the main building. Behind the retail/shop/studio is another shop where Jimmy builds guitars and holds seminars on building guitars.
Jimmy and Lisa work as team on music lessons. Besides helping Jimmy run the business, Lisa plays either bass or keyboard along with the students once they learn their parts in a song. Then they all play together in a mock band so the students can experience what it’s like to play with other people in a band-like setting. Creating a band-like setting is a value added service that really benefits their students, and other musicians their students might play with in the future.
Lisa has been playing various instruments including viola, violin, guitar, bass and keyboard for the past 15 years. Jimmy and Lisa are a fantastic team, but Lisa prefers to be “the back-up, support person who stays out of the spotlight…” She says “Jimmy is really the face of the business, which suits me just fine!”
While I had noticed GRS Studios in its first two locations, I did not pay attention to it as I drove back and forth through Corrales because I didn’t need guitar repair. I never noticed their sign while driving on Loma Larga Road. Jimmy said it was strange operating a business in the middle of a residential area in those days. After Grandma’s Music and Sound, the only viable music store on the westside, closed on July 31, 2017, the StratAcademy started carrying guitars, amplifiers and accessories (mostly Fender) when they moved to their current location. I was curious to stop in after their new sign went up on Corrales Road, but I never seemed to have the time.
After I got the Gibson Les Paul last August, I needed a guitar strap for it. I wanted a wide strap so the weight of the Les Paul would not cut into my shoulder. I looked on-line, but didn’t find any straps that appealed to me at a reasonable price. I stopped in at the StratAcademy to see if they had guitar straps. They had a good selection of guitar straps, which included a nice, wide, black strap like I was looking for at a reasonable price. About a month later, I needed a specific type of 9 volt power supply for a guitar pedal I have that sucks the life out of batteries like a power hungry vampire. All the extra power supplies I have are 6 or 12 volts. I ran up to the StratAcademy to see if, by chance, they had the type of 9 volt power supply I needed. Wow! They actually had one, and I went home, power supply in hand, a happy man.
Okay, I thought to my self, the StratAcademy is turning out to be the kind of brick and mortar I love. Although small, they so far have had just what I needed when I needed it. Jimmy and Lisa are friendly and personable, and provide excellent customer service. The StratAcademy is only a five minute drive from our house. Not only are they convenient, their prices are close to Amazon, Adorama, B&H Photo (yes photo stores sell musical instruments at discount prices) and eBay; therefore, I haven’t had to say “I’ll think about it” and walk out empty handed because their prices are too high.
So far the StratAcademy has been a one stop shop for me. Besides the strap and power supply described above, I have acquired various goodies over the past several months including: a Squire Bass by Fender, a small amplifier that I use in the darkroom for practice and recording (the guitar amp I’ve had for years is too large and heavy for use in the darkroom), wall mounted guitar hangers (I now have guitars hanging on the walls in my darkroom), patch cables, guitar strings, a gig bag, guitar picks and drumsticks.
Another advantage to buying guitars and basses from the StratAcademy is that Jimmy sets them up very nicely before he puts them in the show room; therefore, even though they generally sell the lower priced Fender line, instruments purchased from the StratAcademy play really well.
Lastly, it’s really nice to live in our paradise along the river, away from the city, and have a music store that has most everything I need only five minutes down the road.