All the excitement about resurrecting my ancient Casio got me to thinking about all of the music stores I used to go to when I was growing up. At the time most of the music stores that I knew of were locally owned, not big franchises like Guitar Center or Sam Ash.
There was a massive sense of excitement about going to pro music stores when I was in my teens. I didn’t have the money to buy any of the awesome synths or drum machines or guitars that were out there, but it was so cool to go to the stores and play around with the gear there.
Invariably I’d show up at the stores with ideas for tunes that I had only been able to play on my Casio. I’d fire up a Korg DW-8000 or a Yamaha DX-7, or maybe a Roland D-50 and play the riffs. In my mind it was massive to hear those ideas on pro gear, and it always fired me up to go home and write more.
In Pittsburgh I haunted Hollowood Music in McKees Rocks, Swissvale Music in (uh) Swissvale, and occasionally a little store in Heidelberg whose name escapes me (I picked up the first issues of Gig Magazine there. I think it’s still lurking around here somewhere).
When I was near Washington DC I always went to Veneman Music in Springfield VA. I also got my first professional synth (a gift from my grandparents <3) from Rolls Music in Falls Church VA.
When I was visiting Cleveland (before I moved here) I always went to Sodja Music. I got my Foonspeeder Strat at Academy Music in Solon Ohio. I got my Korg 01/W and a Vintage Keys rack module at New York Music, which is paradoxically in Boardman Ohio.
It’s nice to see that many of these stores are still in business today, despite big online retailers and chain stores. I have no doubt that there are people going into those stores and being inspired on a daily basis. Here’s to more fresh music from all of them.
(By the way, all the synth links point to Vintage Synth Explorer. Very cool site.)