The top-of-the-line equipment is expensive. Guitars from Fullerton-based G&L Guitars--which features designs influenced by guitar hero Leo Fender--run from $900 to $3,000, while Groove Tubes' amps retail for between $1,800 and $3,500.
"These amplifiers obviously aren't going to be some kid's first purchase," Benson said. "Not unless daddy loves him a whole, whole lot."
Economist Lester Thurow said music shops should steal a marketing page from the golf industry, which is enticing boomers with a combination of innovative products and the social trappings that make golf appealing.
Bob Morrison, director of marketing for the music industry association, said Thurow's message was clear: "In the past, we've just been trying to sell them clubs. What we've got to do is sell them the driving range, the 18-hole golf course, the whole experience."