After JAMS Music owner Ace Pepper was forced to move out of the Aquarena Springs space he was running a guitar shop in last year, he said he contemplated whether he would reopen elsewhere. In May 2021, a blessing in the form of a three-room space on the Square presented itself to him, and he was back in business.

“I really thought about walking away. That was one of the deal makers about this space. I’m just old San Marcos enough to think that having a guitar shop downtown would be fun and cool. And so this space when it came up, it was kind of a deal maker,” Pepper said.

J and M Music Supply, or JAMS for short, is a music store that provides the San Marcos music community with everything it needs to play. The shop provides strings, tuners, winders, picks and cables as well as on-site guitar repairs and a selection of instruments and amplifiers for sale.

Pepper has been playing guitar since he was a teenager growing up in Dallas. From there, he lived in Houston and Austin until settling in San Marcos in the 1990s. Along the way, he discovered what it took to become a well-rounded artist. He learned and taught himself how to be a sound engineer, built custom guitar amplifiers and figured out how to create a website.

“What I’ve learned is that people still need a real shop where they can walk in and buy strings today,” Pepper said. “They still need a real person to talk to, to [tell them] what kind of guitar they need, or to fix their guitars or to hook them up with some advice or something. There still is a need for a mom and pop, brick-and-mortar rock and roll guitar shop.”

The in-shop instrument selection is sourced from a combination of consignments, wholesale suppliers and dealer connections. Although he understands there is not a market in San Marcos for expensive, high-end guitars like those from Fender or Gibson, he is appreciative of the community that keeps JAMS running.

“You know, who keeps me alive is not even the pro musicians as much as you could think. It’s the serious amateurs. They’re the ones that bring me guitars to you know, fix up, re-string,” Pepper said. “They’re the ones that keep me alive, and I’d just like to serve those folks a little better.”

One-stop repair shop

JAMS Music offers services from full repairs to basic string setup and tuning. Most of the guitars and amplifiers it offers for sale are consignment only, but when it offers new instruments they are usually cheaper, introductory or student-level guitars.

Repair services:

• Basic string setup: $10

• Repairs by the half hour: $30

• Full setup/adjustment: $60

JAMS Music 118 S. LBJ Drive, San Marcos. 512-781-1643 •

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Sat. noon-4 p.m., closed Sun.