The Sage

A “Good” Life

Carlsbad Local Roy Good Has Managed Giacoletti Music for Nearly Four Decades

Roy+Good+plays+ukulele+inside+the+shop+he+has+been+working+at+for+over+three+decades.
Roy Good plays ukulele inside the shop he has been working at for over three decades.

Roy Good plays ukulele inside the shop he has been working at for over three decades.

Amanda Klein

Amanda Klein

Roy Good plays ukulele inside the shop he has been working at for over three decades.

Amanda Klein, Staff Writer

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The year is 1983. The music scene is blossoming in the quaint little seaside town of Carlsbad, California, as children and adults alike strive to learn to play music like their artistic idols. The door to the small-town music center known as Giacoletti Music jingles as a young Roy Good steps inside. Little does he know, he will spend the next three decades building up the retail business here and nurturing a community with a deep appreciation for music. Good had worked with one of the owners — Mr. Giacoletti — before, and was aware that while the music school was thriving, “they had nothing going in retail.” So he walked in with his experience working in guitar exchange in the seventies and a determination to build a music store up from the ground. Thirty-seven years later, Giacoletti still stands in the heart of Carlsbad Village, pulsating with life and music.

Classic rock hums in the air, mingling with the buzzing conversations of the customers. A collection of ukuleles and guitars in all shapes and sizes from all around the world is displayed along the walls of the little shop. The island-like tone of a ukulele is likely to be heard as a man with long hair and a beard, clad in a colorful Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops, tests instruments to the delight of a lucky customer. This man is Roy Good, manager of Giacoletti Music Center since 1983, a year after it opened.

Good has had a passion for music since the British Invasion hit. This combined with his love for surfing led him to a charming little music school located in Southern California. Good breathed life into the little shop and it has flourished under his guiding hand. He has found his place following a path he paved with passion in mind and sculpted a life dedicated to doing what he loves.

Good was drawn to the ocean and laid-back lifestyle of Carlsbad, and after following advice he grew up hearing from his father, decided it was home to him.

“When I was a little kid my dad always said go to a place you want to live … Well, since all I liked to do was surf, I moved to Carlsbad and I was at college wondering what to do and I always wanted to run a small business in a small town,” Good stated in remembrance. “When the opportunity came up, I came to Giacoletti and we worked well together and as a result, it’s been a very good relationship since the early ‘80s and I have been here ever since.”

Roy Good plays a tune on a ukulele, one of his favorite instruments.

Giacoletti has stood the test of time as the town around it flourished and developed into the city buzzing with life that it is today. The shop is known by nearly everybody in town, and so is Roy. As one of his employees put it, “Everybody knows Roy.”

“In the early days [the shop] was very quiet, it was a very small town at the time, and then things really took off in the late ‘80s — early ‘90s, things really took off in [terms of what] we used to sell; drum sets and big PA systems and a lot of support stuff,” Good said. “Through the years, Carlsbad has turned into more of a tourist town and with the internet and people not needing to come to a shop to get PA’s and things, there has been a shift in interest — and of course the ukulele came around in the late ‘90s and the energy just stayed up and it has always been very positive.”

The idea that happiness comes from appreciating the little things is clear in the way Good lives his life. A sense of thankfulness is apparent in his everyday life; from biking to work, to talking about his wife, to helping a customer pick out the perfect instrument for them.

“I don’t take anything for granted, I live right around the corner [from the store]. I’ve been able to live my life the way that I’ve wanted to. My wife and I have been together since 1982, we started going [out] together in 1970,” Good shared with a proud look on his face, “And being able to ride my bicycle to work or to at moment’s notice go to the beach, it’s not a bad [life].”

I’ve been able to live my life the way that I’ve wanted to”

— Roy Good

.

“Doing this you aren’t going to get rich, and I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish 99 percent of what I want and being able to work here all the years I’ve been here,” Good explained with gratitude.

Just as Good does not take his blessings for granted, the music store does not take Good for granted. Employee Jared Bliss, who has worked at the shop for 13 years and learned everything he knows about guitars from Good, spoke of his mentor with admiration as he manned the shop in the late afternoon.

“Roy has pretty much built this shop from the ground up. The owners — the Giacolettis, Bob and Eleanor — they live in Tennessee now, but Roy with his community skills and the love for music and passion for music, he’s just all around a great guy,” Bliss said, his respect for Good woven in his words, “He really got the ukulele thing going here. Giacoletti is like one of the biggest ukulele stores in San Diego because of Roy Good.”

Ukuleles are one of the instruments that Good treasures wholeheartedly, so it is no surprise he has rallied for their exposure.

“We’ve been here since ‘83 and we’ve always had ukuleles, [but] they did not become popular until the late ‘90s,” Good explained. “[I love] the whole idea, the whole energy, that old ‘Aloha Spirit.’ Everyone wanted to play ukulele.”

Senior Tina Stanley has seen Good in his element, playing the ukulele in his shop and commented on his talent.

“I watched him play ukulele one time and he was really good,” Stanley recalled brightly.

Stanley used to be acquainted with an employee at Giacoletti and has visited the shop a fair amount of times. To her, Giacoletti represents a place for those who hold music close to their hearts.

“I knew someone who worked there a while ago and I would go in there every now and then look at piano books … and see if they had any artists I liked that I could learn on the piano and I went and looked at ukuleles a few times,” Stanley shared, “It’s a good place for people who [want] to expand their knowledge of music or get involved with music.”

Like most of the people in his generation, Good became immersed in the music scene during the reign of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The inside of Giacoletti is plastered with vintage posters and is never without the murmur of classic rock in the background. This tribute to the sounds that laid down the foundation of Good’s love for music honors musicians of the past and influence musicians of the future.

“I originally was listening to surf music, but then I [found] the British Invasion, so we all just fell for [the music] then,” Good remembered with a smile. “When those people came out we all just tried to start playing music.”

Good started playing guitar in elementary school, but it wasn’t until college that he realized music would be the center of his life.

“I got my first guitar in maybe fifth grade, I was in a band in sixth grade, but then I discontinued playing until I got to … Mira Costa College [and] minored in music,” Good recalled, “I came to Giacoletti Music in 1983 and then formed a band with a few local people and I’ve been playing music ever since and I’ve never taken it for granted.”

Out of all the many memories Good has of music’s influence on his life, the one that he holds closest to his heart happened when he was in middle school.

“Back when I was in eighth grade I went and saw the Paul Butterfield Blues Band [on their] East-West tour and … it was a blues band and I saw them at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach and it just made everything [make sense],” Good said with a nostalgic look painted across his face.

Good has a natural talent for music apparent as soon as you see him on the guitar or ukulele. He once taught himself bass guitar over the course of two weeks. He took these skills and joined a band he still plays with today.

“[I play] bass guitar, guitar and ukulele. Back in the early ‘80s, like in 1982, my friend said ‘Hey Roy, can you play bass,’ and so I said ‘I think so,’ so I took one off the wall in the shop, went home and worked on it for two weeks and auditioned for a band, got into the band, and I still … play with several of the guys in that original band,” Good said with a good-natured laugh.

Giacoletti is more than just a music store, it is a school too. The owners had opened it with the intention to grow the love of music in the town, and this mission still stands today.

“Eleanor Giacoletti, the owner, had just a real love and interest in the children, in the musicians, in true musicianship. And so the kids came here and it was originally piano [that they learned], that’s where the foundation tends to be,” Good explained, “[Giacoletti] is a very family-based business.”

Good has a high regard for the teachers and his eyes crinkled with a smile as he spoke about the people he has worked with for so long.

“Our teachers here are not just musicians waiting for gigs, they truly enjoy teaching. Plus they are professional musicians, so [there] is a very positive energy of people working here,” Good said, “Most of the people who have worked here stay. We haven’t had a turnover, a lot of the instructors here have almost been here as long as me … We should get some young ones in here.”

Back in the ‘80s, Good taught in the music school pretty often. Nowadays, he comes in on demand and likes to stick to the ukulele.

“I [taught] a lot in the ‘80s and now I mostly [teach] ukulele workshops [out of demand for the lessons],” Good explained about his role in the music school.

The smooth-running shop has not been without any bumps in the road. Good remembered the challenges as well as the good times of the shop, acknowledging that, with changing times, the shop has had to change.

“The biggest challenge has just been the change with the internet [and] with the traffic … In the old days we had people coming from down in Coronado, coming from Temecula, from Essex,” Good said, “There’s an old actor, Victor Mature, who used to bring his daughter Victoria down here, he lived in Rancho Santa Fe, but the thing is, with traffic now, people can’t come so far …  so we had to find a way to accommodate the people who have to come long distances or just cultivate the area around here more to get students.”

Giacoletti opens in the lull of the mid-morning and stays open deep into the evening, closing after the night sky has fully darkened and the stars are bright, while satisfied students make their way home.

“You just come in, open the doors and people start coming in,” Good described of a typical day in the shop, “Early in the morning you just get people who need help repairing their things and we have a lot of older people who play ukulele, who are in clubs, who want to take lessons in the morning or they just need more information on how to play their instruments  … the morning is mostly customer service.”

“The afternoon is mainly education. I was going to say of the kids, but we do have a lot of adults, people coming in at 2 o’clock to 9 o’clock at night,” Good continued, “The mission is just to properly take care of the customers and the students and make sure we can help them in a positive way to go further with their music.”

In the years to come, Good hopes for Giacoletti Music to continue growing a love for music in the community while remaining a place of positive vibes.

“[I hope] to continue… educating the young people … and being positive, a positive [influence] in downtown Carlsbad,” Good explained on his future hopes as manager of Giacoletti.

Giacoletti Music Center sits in the heart of Carlsbad Village.


This shop has become more than just a store to the community. It beats with the life of the people in the center of the village and provides a place not just for buying instruments, but for advice and assistance.

“People know that we are not just a guitar shop, people come here for us to help them find things and so we will help them choose what they want to do or keep moving forward musically,” Good asserted happily.

The shop is located on State Street in the middle of Carlsbad Village. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on most days and if you are lucky, you may come across the weathered surfer turned musician that has impacted the musical life in our community.

The year is 2018. For over 37 years Good has been opening the doors of Giacoletti to the community, sharing his love for music with a lively spirit. A young Good is somewhere inside him smiling with pride at what he has accomplished while staying true to the beliefs that make him such a positive member of the community. Let us take a lesson from Good and believe that if we follow our passions in life, we may never be without happiness.

“It’s the typical, almost cliche, just start [following your passion] … You have more fun chasing the goal [when you like it]. Decide what you want to do and just work your way towards that and … never take it for granted.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “A “Good” Life”

  1. Alex Estes on March 22nd, 2018 2:27 pm

    Great article! Loved it!

    [Reply]

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A “Good” Life