Music store

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A selection of electric guitars at Sam Ash Music in Hollywood, California. Gretsch & other guitars, Sam Ash, Hollywood.jpg
A selection of electric guitars at Sam Ash Music in Hollywood, California.
A cymbal room in a music store. Cascio Interstate Music SuperStore Cymbal Room.jpeg
A cymbal room in a music store.
A selection of electric basses at a music store in Louisville, Kentucky. KALA U-Bass short scale 21" bass, AWESOME BASS, music store, Louisville, KY.jpg
A selection of electric basses at a music store in Louisville, Kentucky.

A music store or musical instrument store is a retail business that sells musical instruments and related equipment and accessories. Some music stores provide additional services for a fee, such as music lessons, instrument or equipment rental, or repair services. [1]

Contents

Products

A selection of acoustic guitars at Cascio Interstate Music SuperStore. Cascio Interstate Music SuperStore Acoustic Guitar Cabin.jpeg
A selection of acoustic guitars at Cascio Interstate Music SuperStore.

Music stores range from full-line stores [2] that sell products across all musical instrument categories and even pro audio categories, to music stores that focus on a subset of those categories (e.g. a store that sells acoustic and digital pianos, or a store that specializes only in drums and percussion), to highly-specialized stores focused on a single product type (e.g. a guitar boutique focused on vintage collectible guitars, or a sheet music store). In the United States and Canada, another common distinction exists between “Band & Orchestra” stores that cater to the needs of school music programs and their students, versus “Combo” stores that focus on instruments and equipment used by a rock band.

Music stores arose to service the needs of the local community. This included not only individual amateur musicians, but schools from elementary to college level, civic bands and orchestras, churches, and entertainment ensembles that performed at events of the community and its organizations. In service of this diverse clientele, store owners might focus on some specialty or niche market (pianos, sheet music, percussion). Instruments might be purchased outright, leased or rented. Specific or non-stock items could be ordered through the store.

More commonly, music stores offered some variety, depending upon the tastes and resources of the owners and the desires of their clientele (whether actual or sought-after). This might include some mixture of fretted instruments (electric guitars, acoustic guitars, mandolins, ukuleles); brass, woodwind, and violin-family instruments; drums and percussion; pianos and organs; consumable items (strings, reeds, drum sticks); accessories (metronomes, music stands); and sheet music.

In more recent decades, stores began to include instrument amplifiers, guitar effects units, electronic keyboards, microphones, sound recording equipment and digital audio software. Recorded musical instruction became a niche, beginning with LPs and evolving through formats of cassette tape, VHS video, compact disk, and DVD.

Some music stores provided instrument maintenance and repair, music lessons, or leasing of instruments and equipment.

Specialized stores

In the 2010s, general music stores have had to face competition from online music stores, which offer a huge selection of instruments and equipment.

Electric guitars

Electric guitars started appearing in the 1930s. Mainstream electric guitars stores sell well-known brands like Gibson, Fender and Ibanez. Most guitar stores sell six-string models, bass guitars, left handed guitars and electric guitar packages for beginners, which typically include a budget-priced electric guitar, a small practice amplifier, a strap and picks.

Guitar World magazine states that since guitar stores require patrons to try out guitars and amplifiers in the premises, some guitar players are nervous about playing in front of the store staff and other patrons. [3] A University Press of Kentucky book on women in music states that customers did not treat a woman who worked at a guitar store like she knew anything about guitars until she would use special guitar terms. [4]

Acoustic guitars

Acoustic Guitar sections are one of the main sections in Music Stores. Famous Acoustic guitars include C. F. Martin & Company, Taylor Guitars, Fender, Gibson, Guild, Washburn and Lowden Guitars

Piano

The H.S. Schultz Piano Store in 1905. 1905 - H S Schultz Piano Store Interior.jpg
The H.S. Schultz Piano Store in 1905.

One common specialty store is the piano store, which typically sells a range of upright pianos and grand pianos. In the 2010s, some piano stores sell high-end digital pianos, including grand pianos equipped with a digital player piano mechanism that can play back a recorded performance by activating the hammers. Piano sales are on the decline, in part because high-quality, properly-maintained pianos can remain playable for 60 to 80 years after their original purchase. [5] Some piano stores offer rental of new pianos; as well, some piano stores sell used pianos. [6] [ better source needed ]

The high price of pianos is one factor that is causing the closing of piano stores: "A good grand piano from a respected name costs about as much as a luxury automobile", and as such, children (and their parents) are choosing less expensive instruments, such as electronic keyboards or stringed instruments. [7]

Though sales of acoustic pianos and quality keyboard instruments continually declines in the United States, in China "piano sales are booming", with most instruments being intended for home use. This rise in sales is in part because the costly instruments are viewed as a status symbol in China. [8]

Violin family

Another specialty shop is the "violin shop", which, despite its name, often sells various violin family instruments (violin, viola, cello and often double bass, and the bows, strings, rosin, chinrests, and other accessories used with these instruments). Violin shops are often operated by luthiers (violinmakers) who make violin family instruments and bows for sale. Luthiers also do maintenance and repairs on violin family instruments and bows.

Sheet music

Sheet music stores sell printed classical music for songs, instrumental solo pieces, chamber music, and scores for major symphonies and choral works, along with instrumental method books, "etudes" (studies) and graded musical exercises. Many sheet music stores also carry printed music songs for popular music genres such as rock, pop and musical theatre including individual songs and collections of songs grouped by artist, musical, or genre. Music for guitarists or electric bass players may be in tabulature notation, which depicts where on the instrument the performer should play a line. In the 2010s, sheet music stores often sell legal, copyright-compliant jazz fake books. Sheet music stores often carry some practice accessories, such as metronomes, music stands and tuning forks.

Pro audio

Pro audio stores sell and in many cases, rent sound reinforcement system components, PA systems, microphones and other audio gear. Some stores also rent "backline" musical gear, such as stage pianos and bass amps.

Organ stores

Prior to the widespread availability of lightweight electronic clonewheel organs in the 1980s and 1990s that emulate the sound of a heavy, electromechanical Hammond organ, many cities had organ stores which sold large electric and electronic theatre organs and spinet organs made by Hammond, Lowrey and other manufacturers. These organs were sold for use in private homes and in churches; electric and electronic organs were popular for churches, because they cost significantly less than a pipe organ.

Used stores

A music store display showing an acoustic bass guitar and a variety of bass "combo" amplifiers and speaker cabinets. Acoustic bass guitar 1.jpg
A music store display showing an acoustic bass guitar and a variety of bass "combo" amplifiers and speaker cabinets.

Music stores may sell used, possibly vintage or collectible instruments and sound gear.

Used-gear stores may employ or offer a consignment model, in which the store (acting as the consignee) sells the piece on behalf of the actual owner (the consignor) and takes a portion of the purchase price.

Stores that primarily sell used equipment may carry new merchandise, minimally guitar strings, patch cords and microphone cables. In the United States, nationwide chains such as Music Go Round (about 30% new gear) and Sam Ash Music carry on a steady trade of used instruments and equipment.

Online stores

In the 2000s, some music stores sell their instruments and sound gear through a website that contains digital photos of the equipment, which are grouped into categories (e.g., electric guitars, amplifiers, PA gear). Each photo of a product is accompanied by the name and model number of each item, a description of each product's features and the price. The sophistication of online music stores varies. Some online music stores have a single photo of the item, the product name and price, and a few bullets about the features. On the other hand, some online music stores have interactive Web 2.0 features, such as 360-degree virtual reality-style images of the products, in which the viewer can "turn" the product around to see the back and sides, online comments sections where customers can review their purchases and additional music-related content, such as articles on musical instruments or sound gear written by store staff. Patrons pay electronically at online music stores using a credit card, PayPal or other electronic payment systems. The goods are shipped through the mail or by express delivery companies such as FedEx. Some music stores sell their products solely online. In other cases, some stores operate both a "bricks and mortar" store (or chain) and an online store.

Related Research Articles

Effects unit Electronic device that alters audio sources

An effects unit or effectspedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument or other audio source.

Roland Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. It was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972. In 2005, Roland's headquarters relocated to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. It has factories in Taiwan, Japan, and the USA. As of March 31, 2010, it employed 2,699 employees. In 2014, Roland was subject to a management buyout by Roland's CEO Junichi Miki, supported by Taiyo Pacific Partners.

String instrument musical instrument that generates tones by one or more strings stretched between two points

String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when the performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.

Recording studio facility for sound recording

A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home project studio large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties.

Digital piano Musical instrument which uses samples and synthesisers to replicate the sound of an acoustic piano and other instruments

A digital piano is a type of electronic keyboard designed to serve primarily as an alternative to the traditional acoustic piano, both in the way it feels to play and in the sound produced. Digital pianos use either synthesized emulation or recorded samples of an acoustic piano, which are then amplified through an internal loudspeaker. They also incorporate weighted keys, which recreate the feel of an acoustic piano. Some digital pianos are designed to also look like an upright or grand piano.

Korg company

Korg Inc., founded as Keio Electronic Laboratories, is a Japanese multinational corporation that manufactures electronic musical instruments, audio processors and guitar pedals, recording equipment, and electronic tuners. Under the Vox brand name, they also manufacture guitar amplifiers and electric guitars.

Instrument amplifier

An instrument amplifier is an electronic device that converts the often barely audible or purely electronic signal of a musical instrument into a larger electronic signal to feed to a loudspeaker. An instrument amplifier is used with musical instruments such as an electric guitar, an electric bass, electric organ, synthesizers and drum machine to convert the signal from the pickup or other sound source into an electronic signal that has enough power, due to being routed through a power amplifier, capable of driving one or more loudspeaker that can be heard by the performers and audience.

Electronic keyboard electronic keyboard instrument

An electronic keyboard, portable keyboard, or digital keyboard is an electronic musical instrument, an electronic or digital derivative of keyboard instruments. Broadly speaking, the term electronic keyboard or just a keyboard can refer to any type of digital or electronic keyboard instrument. These include synthesizers, digital pianos, stage pianos, electronic organs and digital audio workstations. However, an electronic keyboard is more specifically a synthesizer with a built-in low-wattage power amplifier and small loudspeakers.

Guitar amplifier Electronic amplifier for stringed pickup-equipped instruments

A guitar amplifier is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar, bass guitar, or acoustic guitar so that it can produce sound through one or more loudspeakers, which are typically housed in a wooden cabinet. A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or metal cabinet that contains only the power amplifier circuits, requiring the use of a separate speaker cabinet–or it may be a "combo" amplifier, which contains both the amplifier and one or more speakers in a wooden cabinet. There is a wide range of sizes and power ratings for guitar amplifiers, from small, lightweight "practice amplifiers" with a single 6" speaker and a 10 watt amp to heavy combo amps with four 10” or four 12" speakers and a powerful 100 watt amplifier, which are loud enough to use in a nightclub or bar performance.

DI unit

A DI unit is an electronic device typically used in recording studios and in sound reinforcement systems to connect a high-output impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal to a low-impedance, microphone level, balanced input, usually via an XLR connector and XLR cable. DIs are frequently used to connect an electric guitar or electric bass to a mixing console's microphone input jack. The DI performs level matching, balancing, and either active buffering or passive impedance matching/impedance bridging to minimize unwanted noise, distortion, and ground loops. DI units are typically metal boxes with input and output jacks and, for more expensive units, “ground lift” and attenuator switches.

Rhythm section group of musicians within a music ensemble or band who provide the underlying rhythm, harmony and beat for the rest of the band

A rhythm section is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band that provides the underlying rhythm, harmony and pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest of the band. The rhythm section is often contrasted with the roles of other musicians in the band, such as the lead guitarist or lead vocals whose primary job is to carry the melody.

An electric musical instrument is one in which the use of electric devices determines or affects the sound produced by an instrument. They are contrasted with acoustic instruments.

Keyboard expression is the ability of a keyboard musical instrument to change tone or other qualities of the sound in response to velocity, pressure or other variations in how the performer depresses the keys of the musical keyboard. Expression types include:

First Act manufactures musical products

First Act is a manufacturer of musical instruments and musical learning toys, which has produced guitars, bass guitars, guitar and bass accessories, drum sets, percussion instruments, and amplifiers. Mark Izen founded the company in 1995; its online presence first appeared early in 2000.

Long & McQuade is the largest chain of musical instrument retailers in Canada.

Glossary of jazz and popular music

This is a list of jazz and popular music terms that are likely to be encountered in printed popular music songbooks, fake books and vocal scores, big band scores, jazz, and rock concert reviews, and album liner notes. This glossary includes terms for musical instruments, playing or singing techniques, amplifiers, effects units, sound reinforcement equipment, and recording gear and techniques which are widely used in jazz and popular music. Most of the terms are in English, but in some cases, terms from other languages are encountered.

Vintage musical equipment

Vintage musical equipment is older music gear, including instruments, amplifiers and speakers, sound recording equipment and effects pedals, sought after, maintained and used by record producers, audio engineers and musicians who are interested in historical music genres. While any piece of equipment of sufficient age can be considered vintage, in the 2010s the term is typically applied to instruments and gear from the 1970s and earlier. Guitars, amps, pedals, electric keyboards, sound recording equipment from the 1950s to 1970s are particularly sought. Musical equipment from the 1940s and prior eras is often expensive, and sought out mainly by museums or collectors.

Music technology (electric)

Electric music technology refers to musical instruments and recording devices that use electrical circuits, which are often combined with mechanical technologies. Examples of electric musical instruments include the electro-mechanical electric piano, the electric guitar, the electro-mechanical Hammond organ and the electric bass. All of these electric instruments do not produce a sound that is audible by the performer or audience in a performance setting unless they are connected to instrument amplifiers and loudspeaker cabinets, which made them sound loud enough for performers and the audience to hear. Amplifiers and loudspeakers are separate from the instrument in the case of the electric guitar, electric bass and some electric organs and most electric pianos. Some electric organs and electric pianos include the amplifier and speaker cabinet within the main housing for the instrument.

Professional audio store

A professional audio store is a retail business that sells, and in many cases rents, sound reinforcement system equipment and PA system components used in music concerts, live shows, dance parties and speaking events. This equipment typically includes microphones, power amplifiers, electronic effects units, speaker enclosures, monitor speakers, subwoofers and audio consoles (mixers). Some professional audio stores also sell sound recording equipment, DJ equipment, lighting equipment used in nightclubs and concerts and video equipment used in events, such as video projectors and screens. Some professional audio stores rent "backline" equipment used in rock and pop shows, such as stage pianos and bass amplifiers. While professional audio stores typically focus on selling new merchandise, some stores also sell used equipment, which is often the equipment that the company has previously rented out for shows and events.

St. Louis Music (SLM) is a manufacturer and distributor of musical instruments, accessories, and equipment. SLM distributes products from over 260 music products industry brands, is the corporate owner of several string- and brass-instruments brands, and is the producer and exclusive worldwide distributor of Alvarez and Alvarez-Yairi guitars.

References

  1. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/industries/Retail-Trade/Musical-Instrument-Stores.html
  2. "The Changing Face of Music Retail". The Music Trades. 163 (10): 107. November 2015.
  3. Larson, Tyler (September 5, 2017). "Don't Be Nervous to Play in a Guitar Store". guitarworld.com. Guitar World. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  4. Carson, Mina; Lewis, Tina; Shaw, Susan M. Girls Rock! Fifty Years of Women Making Music. University Press of Kentucky. p. 19
  5. Millar, Lisa (March 15, 2015). "US piano stores forced to close as recession, new technology and cultural change take their toll". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  6. Miller, Neil. The Piano Lessons Book. December 8, 2007. ISBN   978-1-4348-1853-9
  7. Kennedy, Mark. "Kennedy: Piano stores and American economics". timesfreepress.com. Times Free Press. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  8. Millar, Lisa (March 15, 2015). "US piano stores forced to close as recession, new technology and cultural change take their toll". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved September 4, 2017.