One of a kind academy offers classes that rock

CORRALES – Imagine a classroom environment where cranking up a guitar solo is not only encouraged but mandatory to pass the class.

Believe it or not, this is the type of curriculum that is offered, among many other guitar related items, at the Strat Academy located in the village of Corrales.

The Strat Academy is the brainchild of owner and former touring musician Jimmy Smith.

Smith, along with his wife Lisa, offer students guidance in almost everything guitar related.

“This idea started back in 99,” Smith said. “Back then I was teaching people how to build their own guitars and the (Fender) Stratocaster is probably the most famous guitar…so I thought this would be a good name for an instructional academy.”

Since then, Smith has expanded from guitar builds to also teaching guitar to beginners and advanced players.

“The Strat Academy is a one of a kind business in the state of New Mexico,” he said. “We are the only ones as far as I know who do this type of instruction.”

Besides guitar building and lessons, the Academy also provides guitar repair services and a retail section in its entrance.

“We wanted to encompass everything guitar related in one space,” he said.

The Strat Academy consists of three sections that span the large parcel of land it resides on. Besides the retail and repair shop, the academy has an 800 foot loft where students can learn drumming and piano. The back shop is equipped with various tools that are completely dedicated to guitar building.

After several incarnations and three buildings later, Smith said his business has hit its stride in its current location on 4627 Corrales Rd.

“It comes down to the parking,” he said with a laugh. “If you don’t have that, business can be kind of bleak.”

But business has been anything but bleak for the Smith’s since the spike of COVID has gone down.

“We have a waiting list now,” he said. “We are happy that we get to continue this, because it is our passion.”

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