The Touch of Sound
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
24 September 2015
The last time I was in Ho Chi Minh was 2007, and some things hadn’t changed since then: the ceaseless flow of motorbikes that make crossing the road a veritable odyssey, the side-walk street food vendors, quiet back-lanes where the tempo drops by a few notches, and the ever-present communist posters.
While wide boulevards and skyscrapers have come to dominate the skyline, the smaller streets are still very much alive. There is a tradition for businesses to clump together here; whether for customer ease or some perverse idea of competition, but nevertheless, if you want to pick up or repair a guitar, just head to Nguyen Thien Thuat Street, better known as Guitar Street.
Here you can find luthiers, resellers, enthusiasts from young to old and a bevy of quiet men hard at work on these six-string sounding boards.
I’ve been told that the best store on this street is Thanh Musical Instruments, found at No. 61. Mr Thanh is a master luthier who hand-makes his guitars and they truly deliver in terms of price, quality, sound and service.