Larry Briggs has been active in the music business since 1970, when he and his father opened a used guitar shop in Sperry (rural Tulsa County), Oklahoma. In 1974 he purchased a music store in Tulsa, and proceeded to combine his extensive collection of old and rare instruments and amplifiers with the existing new inventory. Larry was one of the few people in the Southwest dealing in vintage guitars during this time period, and his reputation grew rapidly.
Within a few years, Strings West became an oasis for old and rare guitars, amplifiers, banjos and mandolins.
Larry and Terry some years ago.
Larry hard at work at the shop on 1129 S. Peoria
Larry was appointed to the dealer advisory board of Guitar Player Magazine in 1983, and served thereon for many years. He has sold guitars and amplifiers to many of the super groups and stars of the seventies, eighties, nineties and into this century, including Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan, Billy Gibbons, Ted Nugent, Vince Gill, Neil Schon, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Little River Band, Heart, Bob Dylan, the Bee Gees, Barney Kessel, Brian Setzer, Bobby and David Carradine, the Climax Blues Band, Elvin Bishop, Hank Williams, Jr., J. D. Souther, J. J. Cale, Ry Cooder, Jerry Jeff Walker, Ricky Van Shelton, John Fogerty, Junior Brown, Thom Bresh, Merle Travis(Larry owns Merle’s 1962 Cadillac convertible), Leo Kottke, Michael Martin Murphy, New Grass Revival, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Pete Anderson, Pink Floyd, Pure Prairie League, Robert Blake, Scotty Moore, Stone Temple Pilots, Survivor, David Bromberg, Ronnie Dunn, 1964 Beatles Tribute Band and many others. See the Strings West Celebrity Clients page for great photos of some of these stars!
Our shops through the years:
1133 S Memorial Dr in Tulsa 1976
In 1988, Larry co-authored “Guitars, Guitars, Guitars”, a reference bible which contains some of the first comprehensive serial number reference information for Fender, Gibson, Guild, and other American brand guitars, and which was used extensively in the vintage guitar business.
In 1978, Larry traveled to Dallas to participate in the very first national guitar show. In 1984, he joined forces with two partners to form Texas Guitar Shows, Inc. Their first show was a highly successful event held at the Tulsa Convention Center. The Amigos have produced over two hundred guitar shows since that humble beginning. Larry is owner and president of California World Guitar Shows, and since 1993 has held four annual shows in various venues in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, as well as in San Diego, Phoenix and Tulsa. He is also co-producer of the world’s largest consumer guitar event in Arlington, Texas each October. The Amigos also produce shows in Nashville and Chicago. All Amigo shows are co-sponsored by Vintage Guitar Magazine. Visit the Amigo Guitar Shows website for more information.
Larry has owned many significant guitars, among them Billy Byrd’s Bigsby standard guitar, the iconic Eldon Shamblin (Bob Wills Band) gold 1954 Fender Stratocaster (See Eldon’s Strat page), and The Chief Mack Thomas 15 pedal Bigsby 3-neck steel guitar.
World’s largest pedal steel guitar, made by Paul Bigsby for the Chief
Larry has also owned and sold eighteen 1958-1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard (Burst) models. At one time Larry’s vast amplifier collection included 140 Fender amplifiers in black face, tweed, white and brown colors. Larry’s collection of stencil guitars numbers over 200, and he still actively buys models with unique scenes painted on the front.
In 1999, Larry opened the Oklahoma Guitar and Cowboy Museum (open by rare appointment only) in his home town of Sperry, a community of some 1000 citizens about 10 miles north of Tulsa, on the border of the Osage and Cherokee nations.
Although Larry and his family live on the Osage Reservation, his wife, son and daughter are proud Citizens of the Cherokee Nation. Founded in 1902, Sperry was a rowdy oil boom town with large cattle ranching operations nearby. Larry has been slowly restoring several historic buildings on the town square since 1986. They include a drugstore, filling station, grocery store, barber shop, automobile garage, and post office.