Saratoga Springs

Duo share love of music in former Saratoga Guitar shop space in Saratoga Springs

Sixth Generation Strings owner Tom Dunn (right), of Canajoharie, and Owner of Off-Track Records Jason Planitzer, of Greenwich, at Sixth Generation Strings on Broadway in Saratoga Springs recently

Sixth Generation Strings owner Tom Dunn (right), of Canajoharie, and Owner of Off-Track Records Jason Planitzer, of Greenwich, at Sixth Generation Strings on Broadway in Saratoga Springs recently

SARATOGA SPRINGS – When Thomas Dunn and Jason Planitzer decided to move into the former Saratoga Guitar space inside the Collamer Building neither of them knew each other, but they knew they each liked music in different ways. 

In May the two opened their store Sixth Generation Strings which mashes both of their interests. Planitzer buys and sells records, while Dunn buys, sells and creates string instruments. 

“We both pursued this space and the building management put us in contact with each other and it just seemed like holy cow it’s kismet, what a perfect union of vinyl and instruments,” Planitzer said. “It’s basically what was in this space before but now we’re both tackling it and focusing on separate but related areas.”

Planitzer said he’s always been into alternative records. 

“College rock from the 80s, classic alternative from the 90s, punk rock,” he said. 

He said his favorite all-time record is R.E.M’s “Murmur.”

“Although my favorite R.E.M. record changes every week,” he said. “I’m a big R.E.M fan.”

But the most popular records the store sells tend to be a lot of classics like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and The Beatles, he said. 

“I’m always stocked with that stuff,” he said. “We got a good selection of jazz stuff too. I always get a few good Blue Note records passing through here. That’s stuff real jazz collectors are into.”

Planitzer said over the past few years records have regained their popularity, particularly during the pandemic.

“People had time during the pandemic to focus on their hobbies and then they stuck with them,” he said. “So what happened was people who were casually interested in records or collecting records, listening to records at home, they stuck with that hobby and it’s become more and more popular.” 

He also sells stereo equipment including vintage pieces. 

Dunn also saw an uptick in people picking up their string instruments during the pandemic, which brought some business as orchestras weren’t playing. 

“There were a lot of hobbyists or people who had not played since high school who wanted to pull out their instrument,” he said. 

Dunn, who comes from a family of musicians, said he decided during high school that he wasn’t going to be a professional musician but he loved the attention to detail that went into making string instruments and he loved the science behind it. So, while Dunn has a college degree in physics he spent seven years as an apprentice with Nick Frirsz, a fifth-generation Hungarian violin maker. 

The Frirsz family is the oldest family of violin makers in the world, Dunn said. 

“It’s been something that’s really cool for me to be able to come in and take that over,” he said. “It’s such a long family tradition.” 

He said Frirsz still comes down about every week and that the two of them are building a cello together.

Dunn said he’s made instruments for people all over the country and took second place in the Viola Society of America competition over the summer.

Dunn said every string instrument he makes has its own character–making them each special in their own way. 

“That’s the cool thing,” he said. 

He said the wood’s features give the pieces uniqueness. 

While Dunn does make his own string instruments for sale and rent, the shop does have some common brand string instruments like Stratocasters. 

Planitzer said records are each unique in that a record can tell its own story, including what song the prior owner loved to play most. 

Planitzer said he and Dunn have both been able to share their interests with each other too since working in the space together. 

“I think it’s cool for both of us to be introduced into each other’s worlds a little bit,” Dunn said.


“The Biz Beat…” is a weekly profile on a local business. Anyone with suggestions on businesses to feature please email [email protected]

Categories: Business, News, News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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