The 60 Best Brick & Mortar Music Instrument Stores in the U.S.




This article is a bit peculiar.  It's posted on the internet, but it's about the 60 best brick-and-mortar music instrument stores in the United States.  Music stores and the internet don't really go together.

Most musicians will tell you that it's not the best idea to buy instruments on the internet.  You ought to go to a brick-and-mortar music store and actually play the instrument so you can both feel and hear it in person.

Sure, musicians can use the internet for accessories, and stuff like that, but when you're serious about buying an instrument, you're going to be a lot better off trying it for yourself. And since an instrument is often a very personal thing for a musician, something you'll spend a lot of time with, it's best to see, feel and listen to it first-hand.

That's the idea behind our list.  Many of the music stores we've selected have an online component, but they've separated themselves from their competition by creating a great in-store atmosphere that allows musicians to try instruments before buying.

The 60 stores listed below have the selection and staff to serve both veteran and novice musicians.  All routinely create a pleasurable instrument-buying experience.  All stores are fun, professional, and passionate about music.

Furthermore, all the entries on our list are independent.  To be a great musician you need soul.  That means you need an instrument with soul.  Those types of instruments are hard to find at chain stores. 

So, stay on the internet and finish reading our list.  Then afterwards, visit the music store nearest to you and buy an instrument.

 

Arlington, Massachusetts  

 


DrumConnection

177 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02474
(781) 316-8068

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Wednesday through Friday: 12pm to 6pm
Friday: 12pm to 6pm
Sunday through Tuesday: CLOSED

  • Opened in 1990
  • Offers drum and percussion lessons for adults and kids
  • Professional repair shop

Have you ever dreamed of participating in a drum circle?  If you have, you need to visit DrumConnection.  They have a great selection of world drums and a cadre of competent instructors.  They teach classes in several genres including djembe, dunun, conga, and doumbek.

Yelp Rating:
4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Austin, Texas   

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Switched On

2400 East Cesar Chavez Street
Suite #200
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 782-8806

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Sunday: 12pm to 6pm
Monday: By appointment

  • Repairs instruments
  • Trade or sell your instrument on consignment
  • In-store sampling for musicians and producers on a budget

Switched On was founded in 2010 and is now an international destination for musicians that are into vintage audio devices.  Even if you don't play music, you should check out this store.  It's very cool.  Switched On's scholarly staff wants to do more than sell you an instrument, they want to enrich the world.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)


Switched On in Austin, TX. Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

Rock n Roll Rentals

1420 West Oltorf Street
Austin, TX 78704
&
8335 Burnet Road
Austin, TX 78757
512-447-5305 (both locations)

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 11am to 5:30pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Opened in 1969
  • Event production services
  • Rent instruments, sound equipment, and pro gear

The helpful staff at Rock n Roll Rentals will help you with instruments as well as audio, visual, DJ, karaoke, and recording equipment.  If you're looking to start playing an instrument this is the place to call on.  Their low rates are ideal for beginners.  In fact, their rates for everything they sell (and rent) are ideal.

Yelp Rating: 4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Baltimore, Maryland

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Brothers Music

2112 North Charles Street
Suite 100
Baltimore, MD 21218
(667) 212-5328

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday and Tuesday: 12pm to 7pm
Wednesday through Saturday: 12pm to 8pm
Sunday: 12pm to 4pm

  • Offers on-site set-up and repair
  • Musicians can buy and sell new and used instruments
  • Authorized dealer of many brands including Reverend Guitars, Hagstrom Guitars, and Korg

Most musicians want to support local music stores. If all music stores were like Brothers Music that would be easy to do.  Billed as Baltimore's only new and used guitar shop, and proclaiming corporate music chains “suck,” Brothers' friendly and knowledgeable staff can help everyone, from greenhorns to virtuosos.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Bartlett, Tennessee 

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REvolve Guitar & Music Shop

5832 Stage Road
Bartlett, TN 38134
(901) 371-0928  

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 7pm
Friday: 10am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Offers private lessons
  • In-store repair and maintenance services
  • Financing and layaway plans available

Sure, there are bigger music stores than REvolve Guitar & Music Shop, but none have more heart.  Revolve wants to help customers increase their enjoyment of playing music.  They don't care if you're learning chords or a professional guitarist, they'll help you all the same.  Their friendly staff is focused on value, selection, and service.

Yelp Rating:
4 stars (as of summer 2017)



REvolve Guitar & Music Shop in Bartlett, Tennessee.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 

Bozeman, Montana 

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Music Villa

539 East Main Street
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 587-4761

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Located about three miles from the Gibson Acoustic Factory
  • Founded in the 1970s, been at current location since 2000
  • Offers rentals, repairs, and music lessons

Music Villa is a world-renowned music store in Big Sky country.  They are famous for their spectacular, one-of-a-kind guitars.  They carry tons of brands including Gibson, Fender, and Gretsch.  The store frequently hosts free events and is the place to go if you're a musician looking to network.

Yelp Rating:
4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Charlotte, North Carolina 

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Midwood Guitar Studio

1517 Central Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
(980) 265-1976

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sundays: 1pm to 6pm

  • Provides professional repair and set-ups
  • Hosts educational clinics
  • Will consign your high-end instruments and amps


Midwood Guitar Studio is in the center of the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood.  The music store specializes in the highest caliber of handmade guitars and basses.  Their super staff will set you up with the gear of your fantasies.  With exposed brick, and an industrial-chic vibe, Midwood is one of the best-looking music stores on our list.

Yelp Rating: 4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Chicago, Illinois 

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Chicago Music Exchange

3316 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
(224) 225-4931

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 11am to 5pm

  • Been in business for more than a quarter century
  • Repairs guitars and tube amps
  • Backs all instruments with their own certification process

Chicago Music Exchange offers patrons a prodigious selection of guitars, basses, and drums.  They also sell amps, effects, and percussion instruments.  Of course, their main attraction is their love for everything music.  All team members are musicians who possess copious amounts of experience, knowledge, and skill.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Avenue N Guitars

1823 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-5580

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 12pm to 7pm
Saturday: 12pm to 6pm
Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Private music lessons available
  • Repair shop for guitars, amps, pedals, and more
  • Offers internships (see website for details)

Avenue N Guitars was founded in 2006 by musicians Phil Angotti, Tim Burns, and Leslie Semmel.  The trio have created a music store for professional musicians and vintage collectors.  They invite you to come on in and peruse their elite, but affordable, roster of instruments.

Yelp Rating:
4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Nerd Audio

1613 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
(800) 975-1613

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 11am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Sells new and used gear
  • Sells a variety of accessories like cables, cases, and software
  • Offers financing and layaway plans

Don't let the name fool you.  Nerd Audio is cool.  Chicago's local synth shop specializes in new and used synthesizers—plus pro audio equipment.  Nerd Audio carries a plethora of premiere brands like Arturia, Novation, Moog, and Roland.  Their erudite and affable staff are intimate with the equipment they sell. 

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)



Tom Erbe visiting Nerd Audio in Chicago, Illinois.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 

Cleveland, Ohio 

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Peter Zaret & Sons Violins

5767 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44124
(440) 461-1411

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Friday: 9:30am to 6pm
Saturday: 9:30am to 4pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

  • Buy and trade instruments
  • Offer rental and repair services
  • Sells 7/8 size violins and cellos

Peter Zaret & Sons Violin carries a wide array of cellos, violins, violas, and other stringed instruments.  Prices range from the affordable to more than $100,000.  Many of their instruments contain Dr. Zaret's patented Bass Bar.  They offer a one week trial for up to three instruments and three bows (see website for details).

 

 

Columbus, Ohio 

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Columbus Pro Percussion

5052 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 885-7372

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 10am to 8pm
Friday and Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Founded in 1981
  • Best full-service repair shop in the Midwest
  • Offers over 170 lessons a week

Columbus Pro Percussion loves to help drummers.  They don't care if you're an aspiring Neil Peart, or the actual Neil Pert, they'll treat you right.  CPP excels at new and used drum sets but market just about everything associated with percussion instruments.  Quick note: Columbus Percussion has repaired drums for Ohio State University and Prince.

Yelp Rating:
5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Cupertino, California 

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CrossRoads Music & Instruments

10564 South De Anza Boulevard
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 996-8742

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 7pm
Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 12pm to 5pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Repairs instruments
  • Offers in-store music lessons
  • Rents instruments

Found in the heart of Silicon Valley, CrossRoads Music & Instruments believes in one-on-one service that's tailored for each customer.  CrossRoads is owned by three professional musicians who possess more than 60 years of experience in the instrument biz.  Need notes to play?  They have a huge catalog of sheet music.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Dallas, Texas 

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Shake Rag Music Store

4112 Live Oak Street
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 821-3922

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Wednesday through Saturday: 1pm to 7pm
Sunday: 1pm to 5pm
Monday and Tuesday: CLOSED

  • Sells vinyl and music memorabilia
  • Owned by John Gasperik
  • Their motto is “We get up early, so you don't have to."

If you're a devotee of rock and roll, you might mistake Shake Rag Music Store for heaven.  Only everything in this heaven is for sell.  SRM presents their guests with a huge inventory of used and vintage instruments.  You'll find stuff here you won't find anywhere else and their prices are very reasonable.

Yelp Rating:
4 Stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Denver, Colorado 

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The Denver Folklore Center

1893 South Pearl Street
Denver, CO 80210
(303) 777-4786

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 7pm
Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Offers rentals and repairs
  • Sells accessories for a variety of stringed instruments
  • Hosts acoustic guitar lessons

At the Denver Folklore Center, you can not only pick up an acoustic guitar, but a banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, and dobro as well.  The DFC commenced in 1962.  It's currently the epicenter of the city's folk and acoustic music scene.  The center was modeled after the original Folklore Center in New York City.
Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)



The Denver Folklore Center in Denver, Colorado.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 

Fort Worth, Texas 

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Garland Pipe Organs

2968 Southeast Loop 820
Fort Worth, TX 76140
(817) 293-9481

  • Founded in 1962
  • President and tonal director, Dan Garland, is a member of the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America and the International Society of Organ Builders.
  • Installs both electro-mechanical and electro-pneumatic organs

Garland Pipe Organs is the most unique “music store” on our list.  After all, you really can't browse pipe organs in a showroom.  We've included Garland because pipe organs are the “King of Instruments.”  Furthermore, Dan Garland's organization builds pipe organs that inspire and electrify everyone fortunate enough to hear them played.

 

 

Jacksonville, Florida 

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Chip's Music

3505 Southside Boulevard
Suite 8
Jacksonville, FL 32216
(904) 641-2003

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Friday: 11am to 6:30pm
Saturday: 11am to 6pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

  • Professional repair shop
  • Offers beginning and expert music lessons
  • Sells new and used instruments

Chip's Music is owned by Chip Jaynes.  He's a well-known professional musician in the Jacksonville area.  Chip has nearly 30 years of experience repairing and restoring stringed instruments.  He really knows his stuff.  His “new inventory” includes instruments from the brands Jay Turser and Hagstrom.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Lansing, Michigan 

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Elderly Instruments

1100 North Washington Avenue
Lansing, MI 48906
(517) 372-7890

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Wednesday: 11am to 7pm
Thursday: 11am to 9pm
Friday and Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Offers music lessons
  • Repair shop and restoration services
  • Sell, trade, or consign your instrument

Since 1972, the family-owned Elderly Instruments has faithfully served musicians in the Lansing area.  Elderly is known as a “mega store” and has received much praise from the local and regional media.  Their jam is fretted instruments, but they peddle odd and unique ones too.  Their customer service is second to none.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Las Vegas, Nevada 

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Violin Outlet

900 Karen Avenue
Suite A122
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 733-3028

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Opened in 1983
  • Offers rentals, repairs, and lessons
  • One of the largest collections of sheet music in the nation

Violin Outlet sells superior stringed instruments and delivers outstanding customer service.  They take pride in what they sell and it shows.  The Violin Outlet treats beginners and experts with the same amount of veneration.  Their inventory of violins, violas, cellos, and basses will make your jaw drop.

Yelp Rating:
4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Los Angeles, California 

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International House of Music Inc.

339 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 628-9161

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 9am to 6:30pm
Sunday: 10am to 5pm

  • Also called “IHOMI” and “La Casa del Perro”
  • Sells Latin instruments
  • Hosts clinics, concerts, and workshops

International House of Music, Inc. goes all the way back to 1902.  Located in downtown Los Angeles, IHOMI is much more than a merchant of musical instruments.  They are part of their community.  Their staff loves music and musicians.  They will bend over backwards to ensure that you leave happy and excited to play your new instrument.

Yelp Rating:
3 stars (as of summer 2017)



International House of Music, Inc. in Los Angeles, California.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

Truetone Music

714 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 393-8232

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 9pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Offers music lessons
  • Professional repair shop
  • Trade-in your old instrument

Locally owned, Truetone Music is staffed by a dedicated and approachable team of music experts.  They will help you find exactly what you want.  When you buy a used instrument from Truetone, you can rest easy that it's been fully serviced.  Six months after your purchase, they'll check out your instrument for free.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Westwood Music

1627 Westwood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 478-4251

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Thursday: 11am to 7pm
Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

  • Opened in 1947
  • Offers lessons in guitar, ukulele, voice, and much more
  • Highly trained repair shop

If you want to go home with an instrument you love, you need to check out Westwood Music.  They're fervent about music, and they don't use high-pressure sales tactics.  Over the years, Westwood has had some famous customers including Lindsey Buckingham, Lyle Lovett, and Joni Mitchell.

Yelp Rating:
4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Mesa Boogie Hollywood

7426 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 883-9090

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 6:30pm
Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Their focus is MESA/Boogie amps
  • Located in the center of Hollywood's Music Row
  • Carries a wide range of accessories

If you only had one word to describe Mesa Boogie Hollywood, that word would be “old-school.”  Okay, that's two words and a hyphen, but you know what we mean.  MBH impresses with superior guitars, pedals, and basses.  Their staff is easygoing, helpful, and attentive.  It's common for big-time musicians to pop in and jam.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Louisville, Kentucky 

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Miles Ahead Music

808 Lyndon Lane
Suite 103
Louisville, KY 40222
(502) 479-3772

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Kentucky's premier repair shop
  • Offers lessons for a variety of instruments including French horn, trumpet, and flute
  • Advantageous rental program

Miles Ahead Music serves up the finest band and orchestra instruments.  Their service is superb, whether you're part of a student band or first chair in the Louisville Orchestra.  MAM was founded by Miles Davis (not that Miles Davis) in his garage.  Their instruments come with a “Better Than New” guarantee.

 

 

Memphis, Tennessee 

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Saint Blues Guitar Workshop

645 Marshall Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 578-3588

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 10am to 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: CLOSED

  • Born in the heart of the Delta in 1984
  • Sells cigar box guitars you can actually play
  • All guitars made in the U.S.A.

Saint Blues Guitar Workshop has manufactured instruments that have been strummed by legends like
Eric Clapton, Bono, Albert King, Glen Frey, and Billy Gibbons.  You can strum one too.  They sell direct to the public.  Saint Blues guitars look and sound beautiful.  We want a Custom 61 South.

Yelp Rating:
5 stars (as of summer 2017)



Saint Blues Guitar Workshop in Memphis, Tennessee.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 

Miami, Florida 

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Allegro Music Center

6869 Southwest 8th Street
Miami, FL 33144
(305) 740-9400

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 7pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Only independent distributor of YAMAHA instruments in the Miami area
  • Exclusive U.S. distributor of Sousa Bows
  • More than 22,000 titles of sheet music

Are you a professional musician?  Are you a music student?  Perhaps you're a music educator?  If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, and you live in South Florida, you must visit Allegro Music Center.  They've been serving musicians for more than 50 years.  Their remarkable staff is fluent in Spanish.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Nashville, Tennessee 

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Fanny's House of Music

1101 Holly Street
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 750-5746

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Sunday: 10am to 6:30pm

  • Buys, trades, and consigns musical gear
  • Offers private and group lessons
  • Full-service repair shop

Fanny's House of Music prides itself on being Nashville's most comfortable music store.  That doesn't necessarily mean you can shop for a guitar in your pajamas.  It means Fanny's wants the instrument buying experience to be relaxed, easy, and worry-free.  No wonder this shop is observed as Nashville's best place to buy a used instrument.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Gruhn Guitars

2120 8th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 256-2033

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 9:30am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Unrivaled repair shop
  • Sell, trade, or consign your instrument
  • Possesses one of the world's greatest collections of new, used, and vintage fretted instruments

Gruhn Guitars is one of those music stores that you visit even if you can't find middle C on a piano.  It encompasses three floors—two of which are packed with musical gear (the third floor is for repairs).  Gruhn is considered the city's best guitar shop.  That's a huge honor considering its in Music City.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Eastside Music Supply

2915 Gallatin Pike
Nashville, TN 37216
(615) 480-7709

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 9pm
Friday: 11am to 10pm
Saturday: 10am to 10pm
Sunday: 12pm to 6pm

  • Full service repair shop
  • While there, procure an EMS t-shirt
  • Sells boutique effects

Eastside Music Supply is a little hard to find, but when you finally get there, you won't be disappointed.  That's because their selection of quality instruments is extraordinary.  Their staff is kindly, smart, and hard working.  They will do everything they can to ensure that you leave happy.  We like the dark wood planks hanging on their walls. 

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Rumble Seat Music

1805 8th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 915-2510

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday to Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

  • Has some of the best repair technicians in the business
  • Buys and consigns guitars
  • Will appraise your guitar

Rumble Seat Music stocks a bevy of fine guitars and their staff really knows their stuff.  The shop concentrates on quality, high-end vintage guitars, used guitars, and stringed instruments.  RSM began in 1993 in Ithaca, New York.  Over the years, they've worked with dignitaries like John Mayer, U2, and Joe Bonamassa.

Yelp Rating:
4 stars (as of summer 2017)



Rumble Seat Music in Nashville, Tennessee.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 

New York City 

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Chhandayan

4 West 43rd Street, Suite 618
New York, New York
(212) 302-0720

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 9am to 9pm
Saturday: 5pm to 10pm
Sunday: 10am to 2pm

  • Offers Bayan and Dahina servicing
  • Holds classes in different aspects of Indian music
  • Hosts a culturally-rich concert series

Chhandayan is the only non-profit music store on our list.  Besides selling beautiful Indian instruments, they are also committed to the preservation and promotion of Indian music.  Chhandayan was founded in 1984 in Calcutta, India.  It relocated to the U.S. in 1998.  Today, you'll find Chhandayan in five states.

 

D'Angelico Guitars of America

141 West 28th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(646) 460-8472

  • Buys instruments
  • Repairs instruments
  • D'Angelico Guitars are considered collector's items

If you play the guitar, you've got to check out the D'Angelico Showroom in midtown Manhattan.  Their luxurious showroom has gorgeous wooden walls, a live stage, a bar, and every model D'Angelico makes in an assortment of hues—it's a guitarist's paradise.  The company's namesake, John D'Angelico, began making guitars in 1932.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Jon Baltimore Music Company

151 West 46th Street, Floor 2
New York, New York
(212) 575-1508

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Buys instruments
  • Repairs instruments
  • Offers an upgrade policy

Jon Baltimore Music Company can hook you up with quality woodwind and brass instruments.  They carry all major brands of saxophones, trumpets, clarinets, and trombones—just to name a few of the instruments they sell.  Also, the store stocks a full line of accessories.  Feel free to ask questions.  JBMC is renowned for their customer service.

Yelp Rating:
3 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

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Main Drag Music

330 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
(718) 388-6365
Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 12pm until 8pm 
Sunday: 12pm to 7pm

  • Buys instruments
  • Repairs instruments
  • 6,000 square feet of retail space

Main Drag Music invites you to visit their showroom and just hang out.  Their staff is cordial and informed, but not pushy—they'll never upsell.  The sales team endeavors to find good homes for their amazing inventory of instruments.  They have one of the best selections of synths, pedals, and vintage instruments in the Big Apple.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Dan's Chelsea Guitars

224 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-4993

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 12pm to 6pm

  • Professional repairs of all kinds
  • Offers free estimates
  • While you're there, purchase a Chelsea Guitars signature strap

Dan's Chelsea Guitars is located inside the Chelsea Hotel.  They've filled their modest space with as many guitars as physics will allow.  They invite guitar players of all skill levels to stopover, say hello, look around, and strum a few models.  Some of their most famous customers include Keith Urban, Billy Gibbons, and Elvis Costello.

Yelp Rating: 4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Matt Umanov Guitars

273 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 675-2157

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 12pm to 6pm
Repair department is closed on Sundays

  • Offers repairs, restorations, and set-ups
  • Huge selection of left-handed guitars
  • Competitive pricing on new guitars

Matt Umanov Guitars is closing in on 50 years of being in the music business.  All throughout their existence, they've been about guitars and only guitars.  Their expert team of professionals have created a welcoming atmosphere in which to select the guitar of dreams.  You're free to take your time and ask questions.

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars (as of summer 2017)



Matt Umanov Guitars in New York City.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

Turntable Lab

84 East 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 677-0675

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Sunday: 12pm to 8pm

  • Founded in 1999
  • Offers a wide variety of turntable set-ups
  • Huge selection of vinyl records

Turntable Lab is the destination for current and future DJs.  Here, you can pick up turntables, audio components, cartridges, speakers, and just about any DJing accessory you can imagine.  Their inventory includes starter equipment for newbies and high-end audio gear for professionals.  Their staff is nice and knowing.

Yelp Rating: 4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

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David Gage String Instruments

36 Walker Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 274-1322

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Wednesday: 9:30am to 5:30pm
Thursday: 1pm to 7pm
Friday: 9:30am to 5:30pm
Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Opened doors in 1978
  • Rents fine instruments
  • Hosts informative workshops

David Gage String Instruments' area of expertise is upright basses, violins, cellos, and violas.  They aim to maximize the sound potential of every instrument they sell or repair.  They serve beginners to mavens and do so with professionalism, courtesy, and wisdom.  They also sell top-of-the-line cases, bows, and tuners.

Yelp Rating: 4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Rudy's Music

461 Broome Street
New York, New York
(212) 625-2557

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 10:30am to 7:00pm
Sunday: Closed

  • Founded in 1978
  • An onsite full repair shop
  • Owned by Rudy and Fran Pensa

Rudy's Music debuted the first “R Custom” in 1982.  Since that time, Rudy Pensa has built one collectible instrument after another.  Legends like Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton strum and pick Pensa guitars. Besides their own brand, they are authorized dealers for several others including Danelectro, Fender, and Blueridge.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 

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OKC Music & Sound

7423 North May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
(405) 842-0303

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Rents professional sound equipment
  • Offers private music lessons
  • Welcomes your trade-ins

OKC Music & Sound provides local expertise at chain store prices.  Their inventory includes unique brands that you won't find in chain stores.  Music & Sound's vast experience has taught them what works and what doesn't.  They pass along their insight to all musicians, from students to professionals.

Yelp Rating:
5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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BridgeSet Sound

710 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 507-4350

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 12pm to 8pm
Sunday: 12pm to 6pm

  • Offers a variety of music lessons
  • Visit their website for a schedule of great events
  • Also sells vinyl records

When it comes to audio, BridgeSet Sound has just about everything you can ask for.  That includes the sale and installation of commercial sound systems.  They vend a huge selection of instruments, music tech, and accessories.  If you need help, their expert staff will provide it, and they'll provide it with a smile.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)



BridgeSet Sound in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

DiPinto Guitars

407 East Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(215) 427-7805

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 12pm to 7pm
Sunday: Closed

  • Founded in 1995
  • Offers lessons on guitars and music theory
  • Professional repair shop

Here's the deal: DiPinto Guitars is both a retail outlet and a full-scale guitar manufacturing operation.  They sell their own brand of guitars and basses as well as used and vintage equipment (including synths).  DiPinto's team members are bright, pleasant, and they love what they do.  The staff is quite fond of helping their fellow musicians.

Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Mount Airy Violins & Bows

6665 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(215) 438-9031

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Saturday: 1pm to 6pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED
Evenings by appointment

  • Instrument restoration and repair
  • Rents violins, violas, and cellos
  • Hosts events, workshops, and concerts

If you have young violinists, violists, and celloists in your family, you must call on Mount Airy Violins & Bows.  Their team of experts are great with young musicians.  They're respectful, encouraging, and clued-in.  Found in the northwest region of Philly, Mount Airy tailors their fantastic service to the individual needs of each musician.

Yelp Rating:
4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Roxy Guitars

7026 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 483-1889

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 11:30am to 5pm
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: By appointment
Saturday: Browsing hours 12pm to 2:30pm, but open until 5pm for purchases

  • Founded in 2005
  • Professional repair shop
  • Offers music lessons

Founder Lou Mueller wanted to create a boutique guitar shop that caters to doyens, tenderfeet, and every player in between.  Guess what?  He succeeded.  Roxy Guitars is the terminus for any musician looking for nonpareil guitars, amps, pedals, and accessories.  Their staff is tremendous too.

Yelp Rating:
3.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Cunningham Piano Company

King of Prussia Flagship Store
198 Allendale Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406
(215) 991-0850
&
Germantown Factory Showroom
26 East Coulter Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144
(215) 438-3200

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
King of Prussia
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 6pm
Sundays: 12am to 5pm

Factory Showroom
By appointment only

  • Offers tuning, restoration, and player piano services
  • Rents upright and grand pianos
  • Attend classes at Cunningham Piano Co. Music School

If possible, swing a tour ofCunningham Piano Company's factory.  You'll learn a lot about pianos and how they're made.  It's fascinating stuff.  Their mannerly sales people know their keyboards and they'll treat you like family.  CPC are piano whizzes with tons of experience.  This should come as no surprise.  Their company started in 1891.

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars (as of summer 2017)



Cunningham Piano Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

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Pittsburgh Guitars

1305 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 431-0700

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 8pm
Friday and Saturday: 11am to 5pm

  • Founded in 1979 by Carl Grefenstette
  • Repairs guitars, basses, stringed instruments, and amps
  • Offers private guitar lessons

Pittsburgh Guitars is owned by musician John Bechtold.  Over the years, Bechtold's store has made a lot of guitar players very happy.  That includes Ray Davies, Peter Tork, and Jackson Browne.  Their inventory includes new, used, and vintage guitars, basses, and amps.  PG doesn't just sell instruments, they build relationships.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Portland, Oregon 

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Revival Drum Shop

2045 Southeast Ankeny Street
Suite R
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 719-6533

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Sunday: 11am to 6pm

  • Large lesson room away from retail space
  • Offers daily rental of vintage and custom outfits
  • Carries several top brands including Istanbul AGOP, Vintage Zildjian, and Paiste

Established in 2009, Revival Drum Shop was created by drummers for drummers.  For those drummers that work at RDS, drums are more than instruments.  They are life.  It doesn't matter your level of experience, you'll find the products you need at Revival.  You'll also find reasonable prices.   

Yelp Rating:
4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Portland Piano Company

711 Southwest 14th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 470-5399

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Offers piano tuning and restoration
  • Sell or consign your piano
  • Rentals for concerts and events

Owner Mitch Paola and his staff at Portland Piano Company are continuing a long legacy of selling eminent keyboards.  They're doing so with integrity, honesty, and sagacity.  Portland Piano can outfit you with a set of ivories that fits your needs and your budget.  Their stunning inventory includes a plethora of styles and brands. 

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Rhythm Traders

3904 Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
Portland, OR 97212
(503) 288-6950

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 12pm to 5pm

  • Founded in 1992
  • Offers music lessons
  • Hosts special events, workshops, clinics, and performances

If you can't find a drum, or drum accessory, at Rhythm Traders it probably doesn't exist.  Traders has a massive inventory inside their 11,000 square-foot facility.  The retailer also has the best prices in Stump Town.  At Rhythm Traders, you won't be waited on by some slick sales person.  You'll be assisted by a fellow drummer.

Yelp Rating: 4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

St. Paul, Minnesota 

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Willie's American Guitars

254 Cleveland Avenue South
St. Paul MN 55105
(651) 699-1913

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 7pm
Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 11am to 5pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Owned by Nate Westgor
  • Once served former French president Nicolas Sarkozy
  • Inventory contains around 600 guitars

Willie's American Guitars believes in an “X factor.”  As an instrument gets played, it's infused by the soul of the musician.  The instrument retains this powerful energy forever.  It's these types of infused instruments that are sold at Willie's.  If you're looking for well-made guitars, with personalities, visit Willie's as soon as you can.

Yelp Rating:
4 stars (as of summer 2017)



Willie's American Guitars in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 

San Antonio, Texas 

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Terra Nova Violins

6983 Blanco Road
San Antonio, TX 78216
(210) 349-4700
&
7795 Burnet Road
Austin, TX 78757
(512) 640-4072

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Both Locations
Monday through Friday: 10am-7pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Full range of repair services
  • Custom-designed rental instruments
  • Offers lessons in violin, viola, cello, and bass

Terra Nova Violins is owned by Abbas Selgi.  He has put together an outstanding assortment of superior instruments and assembled a staff that really believes in the instruments they sell.  Terra strives to provide quality set-ups.  They want you to have all the necessary tools to succeed as a musician, regardless of your experience and skill level.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

High School Music Service

5535 Northwest Loop 1604
San Antonio, TX 78253
(210) 509-4100
&
2121 Northwest Military Highway
San Antonio, TX 78213
(210) 349-2775

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: Hours vary by locations
Sunday: CLOSED (both locations)

  • Rents orchestra and band instruments
  • Offers private music lessons
  • Provides reliable instrument repair

High School Music Service is the only retail music store you'll ever need.  That's especially true if you're a member of a school band.  Their prices are reasonable and they offer fantastic rental and rent-to-own programs.  You'll leave their shop excited to play music.  HSMS has been a proud member of San Antonio's musical community for decades.

Yelp Rating:
3 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

San Diego, California 

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The Blue Guitar

5959 Mission Gorge Road
San Diego, CA 92120
(619) 283-2700

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 11am to 5pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Repair and restoration services for all string instruments
  • Offers lessons for guitar and ukulele
  • Makes quality custom guitars

Are you looking for a Flamenco, acoustic steel-string, or a Hawaiian ukulele?  If you are, quit your search and run, don't walk, to The Blue Guitar.  You'll definitely want to visit them if you have a broken classical guitar—repairing them is their main domain.  The Blue Guitar sells enviable instruments and their staff is skilled, savvy, and sociable.

Yelp Rating: 4 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

Hale Ukulele

3650 Clairemont Drive
Suite 5-A
San Diego, CA 92117
(858) 414-4492

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 11am to 4pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

  • Hosts special events like concerts and workshops (see website for schedule)
  • Offers ukulele classes
  • Recording studio available by appointment only

Who doesn't want to play the ukulele?  Whether you're new to the instrument, or as skilled as Bruddah Iz, the staff at Hale Ukulele will answer all your questions.  They'll also set you up with the perfect instrument.  They stock more than 150 ukuleles and will help you connect to San Diego's vibrant uke community.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

San Francisco, California 

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Bronstein Music

363 Grand Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080
(650) 825-5695  

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Friday: 10:30am to 7pm
Saturday: 9:30am to 5:30pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

  • Offers rent-to-own and rent-to-rent programs
  • Full repair shop
  • Bronstein Music School is open six days a week

Bronstein Music opened in 1946.  Current owners, Rich Welker and Don Edwards, started working there in 1968.  They purchased the retail store in 1981.  They're professional musicians with strong ties to the community.  Today, Bronstein Music is regarded as one of the Bay Area's top independent music stores.

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Seattle, Washington 

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Emerald City Guitars

83 South Washington Street
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 382-0231

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Founded in 1996 by Jay Boone
  • Professional guitar repair
  • All sales come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee

Seattle-area guitarists describe Emerald City Guitars with words like “honest,” “integrity,” and “reliability.”  ECG has cultivated a positive reputation over the years and is considered the city's best guitar shop.  They are also a major force in the worldwide vintage guitar market. 

Yelp Rating:
4.5 stars (as of summer 2017)



Emerald City Guitars in Seattle, Washington.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

The Drum Exchange

4501 Interlake Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 545-3564

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 11am to 6pm
Sunday: CLOSED

  • Offers short-term drum and percussion rentals
  • Private drum and percussion lessons taught by Ed Hartman
  • Been in business for more than 25 years

The Drum Exchange focuses on new, used, and vintage drums, drum sets, and percussion instruments.  How do they select what they sell?  They select drums and accessories that are unique, well-made, and offer an attractive value to musicians.  The Exchange is proud to be one of the region's best independent drum stores.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Tarzana, California 

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Normans Rare Guitars

18969 Ventura Boulevard
Tarzana, CA 91356
(818) 344-8300

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Tuesday through Saturday: 11am to 6pm
Sunday and Monday: CLOSED

  • Active buyer of guitars
  • Offers private music lessons
  • Repairs guitars and amps

Norman's Rare Guitars is situated in the San Fernando Valley.  Its retail store opened in 1975.  They are famous for their enormous selection of collectible-grade guitars.  If you have a question about guitars, Norman's intelligent staff will have the answer.  While you're there, chances are good that you'll see a celebrity or two.

Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

Webster Groves, Missouri 

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David's Guitar Loft

8136 Big Bend Boulevard
Webster Groves, MO 63119
(314) 962-9536

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Thursday: 11am to 9pm
Friday: 11am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 5pm

  • Offers instrument and amp repair
  • Holds private lessons and workshops
  • Sells a variety of brands including Ibanez, Oscar Schmidt, and Washburn

David's Guitar Loft began in 2000 by teaching private lessons.  The retail space opened in 2004.  If you're looking to take a musical journey on the guitar, you've got to visit David's.  Their staff is qualified, patient, and polite.  Even better, their inventory is reasonably priced.  If you're an experienced guitar player, you'll love their huge selection.

Yelp Rating: 5 stars (as of summer 2017)

 

 

West Seneca, New York 

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The Guitar Factory

1062 Union Road
West Seneca, NY 14224
(716) 677-0908

Hours (subject to change, call before visiting)
Monday through Saturday: 10am to 9pm
Sunday: 12pm to -5pm

  • Offers a variety of music lessons
  • Professional repair shop
  • Inventory includes PA Gear, recording tech, and keyboards

The Guitar Factory lays claim to Western New York's largest selection of new and used equipment.  Locally owned, the Factory has been serving musicians for more than two decades.  Their supply and staff are world class, but what really sets them apart from the competition is their comprehensive music programs. 



The Guitar Factory in West Seneca, New York.  Photo courtesy of store's Facebook page.

 

 


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