The Holy Grail for any guitar consumer, collector and player is to find a “Guitar Guy” who fits their need, fulfills their wants, and who pays attention to covering all the details while extending a fair price and an open hand for service.  After an intensive five-month search, I have finally found my Guitar Guy — his name is Troy Benns — and he works wonders for Wildwood Guitars in Louisville, Colorado.  You can see below my new, incredible, Fender Vintage Hot Rod ’57 Stratocaster that arrived yesterday from Wildwood.

I have been searching for my Guitar Guy for a long time.  There are big box guitar stores that will take your money and only offer you a better deal once you’ve paid full price a few times.

It took me a while to figure out buying a guitar is a lot like buying a car:  Never pay the posted price.  Ask for a better deal and you will likely get one.  I wasted thousands of dollars paying the first price instead of asking for a discounted final price.  That was a hard lesson won in blood and skin.

Troy Benns has a sterling reputation online with guitar enthusiasts and when a friend and major music artist manager in New York City told me to “go to Troy at Wildwood” for the best service and the kindest deal, I was sold on giving Wildwood a try.

When I contacted Troy via email stating my interest in buying two guitars, I had a reply in less than 30 minutes containing a great price and an enthusiastic spirit on my side.  That was rare.  Most guitar shops won’t negotiate in email.  They force you into a phone conversation first.  I loved it that Troy met my needs and not his wants.

Ten minutes later, still via email, Troy and I had a done deal and he agreed to have his Fender guy professionally set up my guitar, put on new strings and he’d also ship my order overnight for free! 

I was thrilled with Troy’s preternatural want to help and he did not know I would be writing this review or mentioning him online until after I had my new guitars in hand.  Troy obviously treated me just as he would any cold transom inquiry and I was impressed with his guileless willingness to deal. 

Upon arrival in New Jersey, both flawless Fender guitars came out of their cases ringing.  The tones were clear and innately beautiful.  Wildwood did a fantastic job setting up the guitars with proper intonation and a sustained harmonics that just will not quit.

Here is the back of my ’57 Hot Rod and one of the keen things Wildwood does on their website is give you high resolution images of each guitar tied to the serial number.  That means “what you see is what you get” is the Wildwood business mantra of the day — and I can confirm both guitars in my hands in New Jersey matched the images and serial numbers of the Wildwood website in Colorado.  That transparency in selling and service is rare and unifying.

The second Fender I purchased from Troy was an Eric Johnson Stratocaster.  In the images below from the Wildwood site, you can see my EJ Strat just as it appears in real life.

The Hot Rod and the EJ might look identical to an, unobsessed, untrained eye, but they are actually different colors, each guitar has different sound pickups and the necks are radically unsimilar.  An autographed Eric Johnson pickguard was included with my purchase! 

Buying expensive items on the internets can always be a wary and wonky experience.  I can confirm that buying guitars from Troy Benns at Wildwood was a seamless and safe exchange.  I am also confident that if any problems arise with my guitars, Troy will help make it right.

I highly recommend Wildwood Guitars as your go-to place for outstanding musical instruments and I can confirm for you Troy Benns is now my Guitar Guy and we will have an everlasting and fruitful relationship in the future.  I wasn’t paid to say that.  I wasn’t given a sweetheart deal in any way for writing this review.  As ever, I pay my own way, I own my own words, and I have no vested interest in anything I’ve shared with you here today. 


  1. Looks like an excellent guitar, David! When the time comes to buy my own guitar I will look to Wildwood. 🙂

  2. Looks like you have a good guy in your corner now. Bravo for you. Troy seems like a rare breed today. There’s nothing like the smell and feel of a new guitar. Going to remember Wildwood for sure.

  3. Hey Anne —
    I definitely feel like Troy is looking out for my best interests — and you gotta have that with your Guitar Guy. It’s a dynamic relationship that helps both sides of the dyad win.

  4. I also bought my Danelectro 59-DC (pale comparison to your Strat purchases) from Troy!

    I had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with him, as I live in Colorado and I must agree, Troy really knows how to listen to customers and not force them into buying immediately. In fact, the whole staff at Wildwood is exceptional… I feel fortunate to live so close to such a fine establishment. Hearing about customers buying from afar only enforces my opinion of them… top notch!

  5. Troy is my go to guy as well. I purchased two Les Pauls last year from him and one was a prototype of the 55 “hot rod” reissue. Troy got the actual guitar out, called me on my cell and told me about the guitar. His description was completely accurate and helped me feel a lot better about buying on line. I got a great deal on both of the guitars I bought and their service was fantastic. In both cases, they shipped them right out for free and I got them the next day. I highly recommend Troy and Wildwood.

  6. That’s great David, I know what you mean when it comes to guitar guys and guitars, I to have had a very nice experience with Wildwood guitars. I’ve purchased a few Fender Custom Shop Strats from them and must say these guys know guitars. I recently worked with Bruce Beard and he was great.

      1. Yeah Dave, I have two ’57 Strat Heavy Relics at the moment, the others were traded in to help finance the ’57 Strats.

          1. Thanks, Gary!

            I didn’t think I was a burst guy, but I really do like the look of it. The burst changes in the light. Pretty amazing artistry.

    1. The sound is great, Gary. I try to never have the “same sound twice” in my guitar collection. I now prefer Custom guitars — especially Gibson Les Pauls — but I’m looking with wonder at a lot of the Fender masterbuilts.

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