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Favorite Music Shops

Vixen 22 Mar 99 - 08:21 AM
Big Mick 22 Mar 99 - 08:50 AM
dwditty 22 Mar 99 - 01:43 PM
SeanM 22 Mar 99 - 02:48 PM
The Shambles 22 Mar 99 - 02:49 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 22 Mar 99 - 02:59 PM
lesblank 22 Mar 99 - 03:02 PM
bill\sables 22 Mar 99 - 03:12 PM
Sam Pirt 22 Mar 99 - 03:25 PM
Roger in Baltimore 22 Mar 99 - 05:36 PM
Barbara Shaw 22 Mar 99 - 09:26 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 23 Mar 99 - 01:17 AM
Willie-O 23 Mar 99 - 11:00 AM
Indy Lass 23 Mar 99 - 11:55 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 23 Mar 99 - 12:19 PM
Guy Wolff 23 Mar 99 - 09:42 PM
Big Mick 23 Mar 99 - 11:10 PM
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Subject: Favorite Music Shops
From: Vixen
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 08:21 AM

Dear MudCats--

At the risk of comercializing something that shouldn't get commercialized, I was wondering if anyone has favorite music shops in their part of the world. I've read about Elderly here, and was wondering where it is. I live in Connecticut, and my personal favorites are:

For large selection and unusual items--

Fretted Instrument Workshop in Amherst MA Briggs & Briggs in Cambridge MA Magnamusic in Sharon CT

For the everyday things--

Locally, Ron's Guitars in Groton CT and The Music Center of Norwich CT have been helpful.

For nifty CDs, try Village Records.

Any others?


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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Big Mick
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 08:50 AM

Elderly is in Lansing, Michigan.

No need to describe it as it has been done before.

Great idea for a thread.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: dwditty
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 01:43 PM

Vixen, try Youngblood's on the Post Road in Guilford. A very relaxed environment (Oriental rugs, old velvet couches, etc) in which to place some exquisite instruments. Also, Mandolin Brothers - Staten Island, NY - where you can play $50,000+ guitars with absolutely no hassle from the staff.
DWDitty (in the New Haven area)

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: SeanM
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 02:48 PM

In Northern California, I'll vote for the Lark In The Morning San Francisco store. It's in the Cannery, right by the Maritime Museum so it's conveniently located for those Shanty sing nights. They've got more of a variety of instruments that I've ever seen, and if you're nice, will let you play with all of 'em...


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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 02:49 PM

I have a problem with music shops, in that I can never decide what to settle on and just want everything. I thought long ago that the only solution was to move into one. So when you have all decided where the best one is, I will look into the possibilty of moving in, or at least offering to do an overnight security, shop sitting service. It might be a bit hard on the neighbours though.

I think we should spare a thought for some of the poor souls who have to work in them, having to put up with us. I'm thinking of a specalist drum shop that I visited, near the end of the school holidays. The guy in there was close to a complete breakdown I think and chased out any children who as much as gently tapped on a drum.

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 02:59 PM

The Bay Area (capitalized, for the unbathed masses, indicates it's the San Francisco Bay area) has a lot of them, the ones I go to most regularly are The Fifth String where I've bought four banjos over the years despite the fact that Larry and Phyllis don't have that large a selection: lots of Mastertones and not much else--but I did get my beloved Wildwood there. A good selection of books, lots of Martins and Gibsons (guitars and mandolins as well as banjos). Phyllis gives bluegrass banjo lessons, but they don't have a clawhammer teacher, alas. My neighbor Larry Cohea does their banjo repair as well as make banjos (mostlyl Mastertone types but he's flexible). The Fifth String host a weekly jam--Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30--with good, generous participants.

Marc Silber's Musical Instrument Exchange is a great store, a few blocks north of the Fifth String. Marc makes classical and flamenco guitars--and hawaiian guitars--which I stay away from for fear of having to pay for drool damage.

In Alameda there's the Thin Man String Company. This Larry has a bit more variety in his banjo inventory with some Stellings and assorted used instrument, and he does teach clawhammer style.

The Music Works in El Cerrito is the only local source I know of for Seagull guitars (I fell in love with a 12 string Seagull there but didn't buy it because they offered me only $70 in trade for the Epiphone by Gibson I'd paid them $300 for a few years earlier).

The best local selection of guitars, at the best prices, is at (dare I say it?) the Guitar Center: most of the store is devoted to various electrics, drums, keyboards, mixers, multi-track recorders, etc., but they do have an accoustic room stocked with Taylors, Guilds, Larivierres as well as Martins and Gibsons and a fair selection of mandolins. They offer the best local prices on harmonicas, as well--but there are better prices on the web.

In Corvallis, Oregon, there's a good store (my sister-n-law lives there, my brother having died of cancer last November)(in the town, not in the store), called, I think, The Extended Keyboard. A nice selection of banjos, and good prices (a new Stelling Goodtime for $250--I wish I had bought it). --seed

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: lesblank
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 03:02 PM

The now defunct(as it used to be) McCabes in Santa Monica/ Los Angeles area in the sixties and seventies was an acoustic neophyte's dream come true.

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: bill\sables
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 03:12 PM

For anyone in Yorkshire England I would recomend "The Music Room" in Cleckheaton near Bradford on the M62 They have a great range of instruments and they offer you a cup of tea or coffee when you arrive.

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Sam Pirt
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 03:25 PM

Bill I can vouch for that they have some good instruments on offer, with nice staff. I think that the best Folk CD Music Shop has to be ADA based in Beverly. They have seections of folk music from Bulgaria to Belgium, Qubec to Queensland, From France to the faroes and the rest in between!!

Bye, Sam

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 05:36 PM

I've loved every music shop I have ever been in. Lie! Some shops just cry out "we're stuffed shirts, don't touch our instruments, trust us and buy what we tell you."

First folk oriented shop I entered was The Foghorn in Baltimore. I remember they had a coffeehouse downstairs which I attended twice: Judy Henske and later Jesse "Lonecat" Fuller (I feel blessed still today that I went to his concert).

I bought a few records there and they repaired my Martin after my father rolled out of bed and onto it. This was in 1966 I believe. Two tuning pegs were bent. They replaced all six with the new enclosed Grovers. I still wonder if I was wrong to agree to that. I just figured new was better (actually, the new Grovers were easier to tune with).

I suppose they sold instruments. I was too shy to finger browse and I didn't need to buy. The Foghorn closed decades ago.

Nowadays, I shop the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park (a suburb of DC). I don't think they are cheap, but they seem to have everything (lots of exotic instruments) and are quite helpful. A good collection of folk-oriented CD's. They are very supportive of their customer base, promoting acoustic music in many different ways. They love the music, so I love 'em back.

I have mentioned Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe in another thread. Warm friendly atmosphere. A small collection of instruments in a wide price range. Reasonable prices. They lean heavily on Taylor guitars and they have a smattering of other stringed instruments. Good instructors if you like acoustic string music.

Locally, we have Coffey's Music who caters some to acoustic music. Mike, the owner, is into jazz so they have lots of electric stuff and sell to young kids in garage bands. Coffey's used to be in one small room, things hanging off the wall, hardly any place to sit. Their new digs are more amenable to sitting around and playing their guitars.

I have played many an acoustic guitar in the Guitar Center and in the MARS store. They leave me alone which is the way I like it. Prices are discounted, but not steeply discounted. They have already put Gordon Miller Music out of business. The two stores are about a half-mile apart and Gordon was inbetween them. He didn't have a chance. But I never felt they catered to the acoustic musician, oh no, it's only rock and roll.

I was on vacation in Maine last year and stopped in a store that catered mostly to guitars and violins. They had some nice vintage guitars and some nice handmade guitars. I spent about a half an hour in the two room store, played a few guitars, drooled some, and never saw an employee. The door was open, but no one was there. They may have been upstairs.

Roger in Baltimore

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 22 Mar 99 - 09:26 PM

DWDitty, I don't know where George Youngblood has been lately. The place looks closed every time we go by, and we've only gotten the answering machine.

Some of the best music shops I've seen are in tents at bluegrass festivals. The CD tent at Winterhawk (New York)has every recording I might ever want, and if you don't see it, ask, and he'll pull it out of his van. The Fiddler's Choice booth has all kinds of instruments for sale and they also have a store in New Hampshire somewhere.

Another great music store in CT is the Music Box in Hamden for a huge collection of acoustic music (recordings and sheet music) for sale, plus other genres.

We also get a lot of musical things from mail order. Janet Davis has many things banjo. Stewart MacDonald has things guitar. Lemur Music has things bass. And of course Homespun Tapes for instruction books.

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 01:17 AM

Skimming through quickly last night I somehow missed Sean's mention of Lark in the Morning: the place is as he described, steel drums to tabla to pennywhistles and on and on. Just brousing their on-line catalogue is a gas:


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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Willie-O
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 11:00 AM

This is confusing having duelling parallel threads with the same name and topic, but here goes...

In my hometown of Ottawa, the Ottawa Folklore Centre is certainly the place for all kinds of folk-oriented supplies, including repairs of course. In their new location they have all kinds of room for workshops and mini-concerts, which are usually going on any Saturday. Other stops on my well-worn circuit are Songbird Music (centretown, Gladstone at Bank)--several rooms full of real good used instruments at good prices and the small and funky Used Sound a few blocks west on Preston near Gladstone.

Stateside, when we visit my in-laws in southern Vermont I always, always go by Maple Leaf Music in Brattleboro. It's the kind of place where they not only let you play the good instruments, when Kate the owner sees me come in she practically makes me try a Froggybottom (and they are real nice, but I question the efficacy of the name for a high-end brand). It's also my source for Alaskapiks, those brilliant innovation in fingerpicks which you can't get in Canada.


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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Indy Lass
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 11:55 AM

I remember going to Elderly Instruments when I was a student at Michigan State. It was in a little mall of small shops on Grand River Ave. I took some mandolin lessons there and traded in my Epiphone 12-string for a Guild. Got married and moved away and haven't been back since. I hear it's changed a bit. Can anyone direct me to some current information about it now? Thanks

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 12:19 PM

A lot of haiku have appeared on another thread, mostly dog or cat related, but this one belongs here as it relates to a folk music store I mentioned in my first post above:

hammered dulcimer
joins the guitars, banjos and such
Fifth String Thursday jam


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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 09:42 PM

THese are the places I've found my faverate instroments Elderly Instroments E. Lansing Mi....Fretted Workshop & Botton Box.Amherst Mass...Music Emporium, Cambridge mass.{Are they still going?]John Cook Cheshire Ct.THe Music Man,W.Warwick Ri.....Mandolin Bros...Staton Island NY.. Henry Crabb,Islington London{?}................

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Subject: RE: Favorite Music Shops
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 Mar 99 - 11:10 PM

Here ya go Val. Your description of the location of Elderly indicates that you were a mere child when last you were in Elderly. They have not been on Grand River for years. My understanding of the beginnings of the business is that it started out as a communal business in the 60's. Over the years, Stan Wuerbling (the current owner and one of the founders) bought out the others and has run it since. That could be fiction, but it is the lore of the place.

Stan purchased the Foresters hall on N. Washington and moved the business there. It is about a mile North of the Capitol in the Old Town district.

They are the largest distributor of Martin Guitars in the world.They have one room devoted to Martin and high end new and used guitars and you can walk in and play any one of them you would like without someone over your shoulder. There are several glider chairs made for guitar players (no arms)and you can sit right down and play your heart out. It is a real treat to pick up a $15,000 guitar and play it like you know what you are doing. The main area of the showroom has all the standard grade guitars and also the electric guitars. If you want to hear any of the electric or electric acoustics plugged in there are separate rooms for each, one with acoustic amps and one with electric amps.

The shop is probably one of the great folk shops in the world. They have every kind of stringed instrument from Strad's to Strat's. Name the folk stringed, wind or percussion instrument and you will find it there. Citterns, bouzouki, mandolins, mandocello's, banjo's, dobro's, harps, bodhrans, a great selection of whistles and low whistles, harps, upright bass's, fiddles, didjerido's, frame drums from the various aboriginal peoples, sitar' name it, they got it. And you can feel free to play any of them. Looking for folk/blues songbooks, instructional books, tapes and video's? They have about everything you can imagine. I purchased Leo Rowsomme's tutor for the Uillean pipes off the shelf. They carry Mudcat's own Dan Milner's book A Bonnie Bunch of Roses. How about tapes and CD's of folk/ethnic/blues performers? You will find them here. They carry many of Sandy and Caroline Paton's Folk Legacy CD's and tapes, Art Theime, Dan Milner, Bok-Muir-Trickett as well as most of the performers that 'Catters would enjoy. Need work done on your instrument? They have one of the finest repair departments around. I have had them work on my 1963 Guild 12 string. They do excellent work and I won't take it anywhere else.

I know I sound like a shill for these fine folks, but I have no connection to them. I have had the good fortune to have travelled all over this fine country, and have been in fine shops all over this land. Mandolin Brothers is close, but quite frankly I consider Elderly to be the finest shop of its type in existence.

All the best,


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