Home Life and Arts JAMS music strikes a chord

JAMS music strikes a chord

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Ace Pepper, Jan. 25, plays his Gibson in the green room of his store that showcases various amplifiers.
Ace Pepper, Jan. 25, plays his Gibson in the green room of his store that showcases various amplifiers.
Photo By Clayton Keeling

Strings line the walls alongside guitars and amplifiers. In a leather jacket, the owner begins to strum “Stairway to Heaven,” and for any musician, it may feel as if they are in heaven.

JAMS Music is saving the day for local musicians as it becomes the first music store in San Marcos to open in four years. JAMS, short for J and A Music Supply, is owned and operated by couple Ace Pepper, local musician, and Jesika Savage, Texas State alumna.

Savage said since opening three months ago, musicians have thanked them for the store.

The couple said they want JAMS to be the center for music in San Marcos. They see the shop as the place bands go to put fliers up and release CDs. At some point in the near future, the couple plans on turning JAMS into a music venue.

Pepper and Savage wanted to open a shop that had essentials for musicians, such as strings and batteries. The idea behind the shop is summed up in three points: sell affordable equipment people need, serve as a guitar repair shop and sell groovy previously owned equipment like guitars and amps.

As someone who speaks like a musician, Pepper knows good quality from bad. He said the shop will only have equipment that works, without being too expensive.

“I want to be in the middle of the musical community,” Pepper said. “I’ve done just about all of it in my time being a musician, so hopefully I can help people out.”

Pepper said he has learned a lot in the musical industry. He started out in a band but has now learned how to record CDs, work with graphics and edit videos for demos.

“It’s not enough to know just three chords anymore,” Pepper said.

Since learning to play guitar at age 13 in Dallas, Pepper dived into the music world, never looking back. He met his wife in high school in her hometown of Houston. Ten years went by before they found each other again in Austin.

In 1987, the couple made San Marcos their home so Savage could finish school. They had a child a few years later.

Pepper has since been in over 20 bands. He started as a guitarist, but has taken on bass, drums, keyboards and sound engineering. Pepper’s bands have consisted of all kinds of musical genres including classic rock, blues, reggae and country.

Savage stepped in to be the sound engineer for the first San Marcos band Pepper was in. The two have let music run their lives. Together, they have had a home recording studio, produced a radio show and made custom amps.

“In a lot of ways, this store is going public with what I’ve already been doing for 20 years,” Pepper said. “We just added some retail.”

Grant Mazak, senior lecturer in the school of music, has known Pepper for over 30 years. He mentioned the store opening to his classes because musicians often need equipment.

“I think (JAMS) is a good idea because we need it,” Mazak said. “(Pepper) is doing it the smartest way possible: starting small then building larger, especially for a smaller town.”

The first event the music store hosted was JAMS Kazoo Choir. Community members attended to play kazoos alongside classic rock. The event is open to anyone and takes place the second and fourth Saturday of every month.

Come March and through the summer months, The Jams will take place. Every Saturday from 2-4 p.m. bands will get to play on an outdoor stage at JAMS.

Additionally the shop will host songwriting showcases as well as seminars on how to record music at home.

“Everything we’ve done has been music related,” Savage said. “It is the absolute center of everything we do. All of the really great things that have happened in our world has had something to do with music.”

JAMS Music is only getting started, and its owners hope there is much more to come. JAMS Music is located at 1508 Aquarena Springs Dr. More information can be found at jamsmusicsmtx.com.

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