Yes, the Amigos were there in 1978, when America’s first national guitar show was held in a Dallas hotel basement. John Brinkmann and his partners organized that now-legendary event, which garnered participation from a dozen-or-so nervous and nationally known dealers. No one owned guitar stands, so Les Paul models and Stella parlor guitars shared table tops next to each other. Curious show-goers meandered among stacks of empty cases in the narrow aisles, and exhibitors warily posted prices on their merchandise.
John, owner of Waco Vintage in Mansfield, Texas, along with veteran dealers, Larry Briggs of Strings West in Tulsa County, Oklahoma, and Dave Crocker of Fly-By-Night Music in Neosho, Missouri, would form Texas Guitar Shows, Inc., perhaps America’s most prolific and respected show organization. The Amigos have continually fine-tuned the look and feel of guitar shows, taking them from hotel ballrooms to unique venues such as the Arlington Convention Center, Mesquite Convention Center, OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, Marin Civic Center in San Rafael and the Williamson County agExpo Park in Franklin near Nashville.
Over two hundred-forty shows later, Amigo events are still known for their smooth-running organization, tight security, and the abundance of foreign and domestic buyers. Since founding Texas Guitar Shows in 1984, the Amigos have pioneered almost every innovation in the guitar show business. In 2016 the organization changed its name to Amigo Guitar Shows to highlight the Amigo brand.
GUITARLINGTON, the annual event held in Arlington, Texas through 2023, was known as the world’s finest consumer guitar event. That event will continue to be the flagship Amigo show in its new location, the Mesquite Convention Center, as of October 2024.
John Brinkmann passed away in 2013, and his wife Ruth continues as an Amigo.