Bob Page, co-founder of the vintage-instrument shop Buffalo Brothers, died December 24 after falling and suffering a head injury at his home in Faial, in the Portuguese Azores. He was 79.
Page was a professional guitarist who played for The Association in the mid ’60s, departing just before the group recorded its breakthrough hit “Along Comes Mary.” He then became part of the Los Angeles jug-band scene (that sprouted Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others), playing banjo in the Pinkham Orchestra. At the time, he held down a day gig at Eagle Music, which specialized in used instruments.
In ’71, he opened The Guitar Shop, a 400-square-foot store in Pasadena, at first stocking it with 34 of his own instruments and employing his 16-year-old brother, Tim. His taste for folk and bluegrass gave the store an acoustic focus, and whenever a customer traded an electric instrument, Page would flip it to his friend, Norman Harris.
In ’88, Page moved the shop to Leucadia and re-named it Traditional Music. It became Buffalo Brothers (the name honoring their mother’s reference to the way the two ran around the house as boys) in ’99, when Tim returned to the business and began pursuing a broader range of instruments full-time via guitar shows and the internet. Booming business created a need for more space, and they moved the shop to Carlsbad, where they ran it until they retired in 2013.
“Bob was an exceptional musician and had a deep passion and knowledge of vintage acoustic guitars,” said Tim Page. “I haven’t the words to explain how I feel, other than I’ll miss him greatly.”
“I was very sad to hear of Bob’s passing,” added Harris. “He was a very dear friend and a great guy. He was one of the first people I did business with when my wife, Marlene, and I came to California.”
“Bob was known for his tremendous sense of humor,” noted Vintage Guitar Price Guide co-author Gil Hembree, who in 2003 penned a VG profile on Buffalo Brothers. “Like all dealers born in the ’40s, he was an acoustic guy at heart, and pushed for a banjo section in The Guide.”
“Bob and Tim were not only great dealers, they were family to us at Amigo Guitar Shows,” added guitar-show promoter Ruth Brinkman. “They were the example of what honest and respected dealers were supposed to be.”
Page is survived by his wife, Pat, a daughter, granddaughter, brother Tim, and two other siblings.
This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.