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Cincinnati Deserves A Great Guitar Store, And Oakley’s DHR Guitar Is It

Rows of gleaming guitars adorn the walls of Dale Rabiner’s Oakley boutique, DHR Guitar Experience. And even if you don’t yet play the instrument, it’s an impressive display.

DHR is widely considered one of the most interesting guitar boutiques in the country, and they’re unique in the landscape of Cincinnati guitar stores. Why?

  • DHR specializes in mid- and high-end products
  • They have exclusive deals with renowned brands
  • They carry an incredible array of left-handed pieces
  • They have three of the finest guitar teachers in town offering lessons
  • They provide a superlative customer experience
  • And they offer massage chairs so you can play for hours in absolute comfort


DHR is the premiere dealer for Preston Thompson and K-Line guitars. They also offer Benedetto, Breedlove, Collings, and Hamer guitars.

Those are superior guitar makers, especially Thompson and K-Line. In fact, DHR is the world’s largest dealer of K-Line guitars as well as the exclusive dealer of left-handed K-Line guitars. Moreover, K-Line made an original design upon Rabiner’s request. It’s called the DHR Bari, and it has a remarkable sound somewhere between a guitar and a base.


And that includes lessons, in which Rabiner takes a considerable amount of pride. He speaks at length about the limitations of pattern playing, or playing from memory.

Pattern players account for the vast majority of guitarists out there, and that’s fine. I happen to know a few of them, and they’re great for campfires and car trips. But if you want to get the most out of your guitar (and why wouldn’t you?), you have to learn to read music. Many of the lessons DHR offers by way of its three guitar teachers focus on just that, and it really sets them apart.


Rabiner gushes about the centrality of Cincinnati to the bluegrass scene, and the centrality of the bluegrass scene to Cincinnati. This is a music town, he says. ... Or it used to be.

“It’s amazing how few people know how significant Cincinnati was in the history of music,” Rabiner says. “Most people don’t even know James Brown recorded in Cincinnati, or that King Records was once the fifth-largest record company in the country.”

To that end, DHR Guitar exists in part to return Cincinnati to its musical glory. But it isn’t doing so alone. Rabiner’s other business, which happens to occupy the same space as DHR, is J-Curve Records, specializing in jazz and bluegrass guitar recordings.

Because Rabiner wants to usher in a new wave of record creation in the Queen City. And that’s music to our ears.

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DHR Guitar Experience is located at 3092 Madison Road. To learn more about the business, peruse their selection or purchase a guitar online, head to their website. Here’s their Facebook page too.

While you’re at it, check out their awesome YouTube channel. It’s filled with instructional and informative videos.