SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Two music companies – Sixth Generation Strings and Off-Track Records – recently celebrated their grand opening in the town of Spa as Saratoga Sound Center.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce marked the official opening of the Saratoga Sound Center, which includes a record store and a string instrument sales and repair shop.
Located on the lower level of 480 Broadway, the former site of Saratoga Guitar, Sixth Generation Strings and Off-Track Records opened its doors this summer and now welcomes musicians and music lovers to their joint site in downtown Saratoga Springs.
For Sixth Generation Strings, formerly known as Sixth Generation Violin, the new space is a relocation of its old unit above street level on Broadway, while Off-Track Records is a brand new venture.
Although Sixth Generation Strings is relatively new to the Saratoga Springs area, its history dates back hundreds of years to the Frirsz family of Hungary. The Frirsz family is the oldest family of violin makers in the world and has developed a method of making formless violins. Sixth Generation Strings continues in this method today and is the only professional manufacturer in the world to do so exclusively.
“We carry on six generations of family traditions here,” said Sixth Generation Strings owner Thomas Dunn.
Trained by fifth-generation master luthier Nicholas Frirsz, Dunn opened the local studio in 2017 ahead of its recent expansion and partnership with Off-Track Records.
The company offers beautiful solo string instruments – violins, violas, cellos and guitars – entirely handcrafted in the workshop, as well as repair services, rental of instruments and accessories.
Off-Track Records primarily carries used vinyl and new selections, representing music from all genres from the 1960s onwards. owner Jason Planitzer, noting that the city’s downtown had been without a second-hand record store for about a decade. “It warms my heart every time someone walks in and says, ‘I’m so glad there’s a vinyl record store in Saratoga again.'”
Besides lots of vinyl, the store also has a small selection of CDs.
In addition to his career as a film and television scout, Planitzer has been a vinyl collector for about 20 years, working in record stores from time to time, and has always wanted to open his own store. “Once my own personal collection picked up speed during the pandemic, I felt like maybe it was time to try something like this,” he said, adding that the shop also bought and traded records.
Dunn and Planitzer were both looking at the Broadway space separately before deciding to team up and create the Saratoga Sound Center together.
At its ribbon-cutting ceremony, which included a sidewalk performance by cellist Laura Melnicoff, the Saratoga Sound Center was congratulated by Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim, Senator Daphne Jordan and a representative from the Congresswoman’s office. Carrie Woerner, as well as staff from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.
Looking ahead, “We really hope to become a big part of the community,” said Dunn, who envisions the store as a music hub that can support area musicians.
Planitzer also tries to find ways to be active in the community, such as its weekly Off-Track Radio show which features music from the store. He can be heard at 11 a.m. Thursday on Skidmore College radio station WSPN 91.1 FM
“It’s such a big music community,” Dunn said of Saratoga Springs, “so we’re excited to be a part of it and to spread more music to the world.”
The Saratoga Sound Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Sixth Generation Strings can see clients by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays.
More information on Sixth Generation Strings is available online at sixgviolin.com or by calling 518-886-9188.
Off-track records can be found on Instagram @otrsaratoga.