Mantova's miracle: stranger buys local guitarist $3,300 amp, vanishes
Sean Sabo, 21, moseyed into Mantova's Two Street Music in Eureka on Sunday, Feb. 13 with the intention of purchasing a nice amp. He had no idea of the miracle that was about to materialize before his very eyes. He was going to receive the gift of a lifetime.
”The amp was the first thing I saw when I walked in the door,” Sabo said.
He knew exactly what he wanted: a $3,300 Orange Rockverb 100 stack cabinet. He was considering buying the stack on layaway or trading his Gibson guitar in for it.
It's a rare amp. Mantova's is one of a select few stores on the North Coast that carry the Orange brand out of the United Kingdom.
”[The Orange Rockverb 100] is literally the single most expensive thing in our store,” said Anthony Mantova, a co-owner of Mantova's Two Street Music.
Sabo entered the store along with the drummer of his band Serious Lee and a close friend. He asked Mantova's employee Halsey Ray if he could plug in to the high-end cabinet and crank it to the max. To “gig” volume.
”Most music shops don't allow customers to crank the amps up all the way for fear of the result,” Ray said. “The fear is that the great guitar players would be allowed to play whenever they wanted and it would exclude the people who only know a few chords.”
Mantova's will literally let anyone crank it up out of respect for their patrons.
”It's an honesty thing,” he said. “We want our customers to be familiar with the product they're buying.”
Sabo plugged his Gibson in and let it wail. Loudly.
”If it was before 11 a.m. we probably would have had to the deal with the someone complaining to the police over noise ordinances,” joked Matt Mantova, Anthony's brother and a co-owner of the shop.
”He was good. Really good. Good enough to want to get [Serious Lee] booked on our stage as soon as possible,” Anthony Mantova said.
A man named Zan walked in. He was staying at the Eagle House Victorian Inn, and headed straight to the source of the loud riffs emerging from the fantastic amp.
”When he came in my first thought was that he was coming into the store to tell us to turn it down,” said Matt Mantova. “Not the case.”
Zan asked if the show was free or if he had to pay for admission to listen to Sabo. He was there because he liked what he heard.
Zan and Sabo ended up talking for around 15 minutes about music tastes, their lives and the cost of the amp. Zan asked Sabo when his birthday was. “June second,” Sabo replied.
”Merry Christmas, then,” said Zan. “I'm gonna buy you this amp.”
Sabo refused at first. Zan wouldn't take no for an answer. He told Sabo he would purchase the amp for him under one condition: that he never stop playing music. He said that music was priceless because it puts smiles on people's faces.
”At first I assumed [Zan] was crazy and his card would be declined,” Ray said. The transaction went through.
Sabo, his friends, and Zan then walked over to Gallagher's Irish Pub for a couple beers.
”My hands were shaking,” Sabo said. “I'm still baffled.”
Afterwards they walked back to the Mantova's. Zan pulled out his video camera to record Sabo on his new amp and his drummer rock out for a little bit.
They exchanged e-mail addresses and Sabo promised to keep Zan informed about the future of his band and music career.
”[Zan] just wanted me to follow my dream,” Sabo said. “After that he gave us all a hug and disappeared.”