Rockhaus

In the Neighborhood

820 E. Locust St., Milwaukee    

Neighborhood: Riverwest

Founded: 1990

Owner: Rusty Olson

Service: Instrument repair


What do you do and how did you get into this line of work?
“We’re a musical instrument shop and we do repairs – drums, guitars, amplifiers, accessories. I fell into it; I played guitar as a kid and, because I never had anything that was terribly good, I always ended up having to fix it. So it snowballed from there.”

Who are your customers?
“All sorts of people; we’ve got everyone from kids to older people. Lots of people from the neighborhood. It’s a lot of word of mouth; I don’t really advertise anymore. And people at the different venues in town are aware of what I do, so if someone needs something, they will send them over here.”

As in, musicians who are in town performing?
“Yes. A week ago I fixed a keyboard for Steve Berlin from Los Lobos. Before that, The Pretenders came in and bought a guitar and a drum. So it’s never dull.”

What’s your favorite part of owning this shop? “Every day is different. There’s always something new to learn. Working with used instruments and the things we get through here, there are some unusual instruments we see now and again that you won’t see other places. A bouzouki, acoustic basses, electric basses, metal guitars – as in, guitars made of metal. I’ve seen a lot of things throughout the years, but there’s always something new.”

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