Specialist musical instrument shops

Whether you‘re after a reconditioned Steinway or a brand new sitar, there‘s a shop in London to fulfil your needs

  • Allodi Accordions

    Accordions are cool: witness Arcade Fire, King Creosote, Annie Proulx and Beirut, not to mention all those Balkan gypsy punks. This is London’s squeezebox hotspot. Founded in 1953 by Bruno Allodi and now run by his son, Emilio, it heaves with hundreds of (mainly secondhand) piano accordions, button accordions, continental chromatics and bandoneons. There’s also a repair workshop.
    Allodi Accordians, 143-145 Lee High Rd, SE13 (020 8244 3771/www.accordions.co.uk) Lewisham DLR/rail then 122, 178, 261, 321 bus. Mon 2-6pm; Tue, Thur, Fri 10.30am-6pm; Sat 10.30am-5pm.

    Andy’s Guitar Centre

    The daddy of Tin Pan Alley’s guitar shops has been here for more than a quarter of a century and offers five floors of acoustic, electric and bass guitars, alongside sheet music and accessories. They also do repairs and lessons. Next door is Andy’s Drum Centre (020 7916 5080).Andy’s Guitar Centre, 27 Denmark St, WC2 (020 7916 5080/www.andysguitarnet.com) Tottenham Court Rd tube. Mon-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 12.30pm-6.30pm.


    Bina Musicals

    The older rival of Jas Musicals in Southall specialises in a large range of sitars, veenas, flutes and drums from around the world, as well as made-to-order harmoniums. They also do a fine range of Indian figurines, books, videos and music.Bina Musicals, 31-33 The Green, Southall, Middlesex (020 8571 5904/ www.binaswar.com) Southall rail. Mon-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 11am-7pm.

    J

    With more than 140 years’ experience selling Stradivari and other antique violins, violas and cellos, you’ll often see notable orchestral players here. J&A Beare, 30 Queen Anne St, W1 (020 7307 9666/www.beares.com) Bond St tube. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; appointments preferred.

    Bridgewood

    Busy shop selling violins, violas, cellos and double basses alongside early viols, lutes and baroque violins. Violins start at around £200, double basses at £900. Five full-time staff deal with repairs.146 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 (020 7249 9398/www.londonviolins.com) Stoke Newington rail or 73 bus. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-4pm.

    Chappell of Bond Street

    It retained its name, but Chappell recently moved to this three-storey temple in Soho. It’s the leading Yamaha stockist in the UK, with an enviable range of digital and acoustic pianos, guitars, brass, woodwind and electronic equipment. The sheet music is reputedly the largest range in Europe. Chappell of Bond St, 152-160 Wardour St, W1(020 7432 4400/www.chappellofbondstreet.co.uk) Tottenham Court Rd tube. Mon-Fri 9.30am-6pm; Sat 10am-5.30pm.

    Duke of Uke

    A Spitalfields newcomer with ukuleles and banjos for all levels and budgets. A brightly coloured Mahalo is £20, Duke of Uke’s own brand starts at £80, electrics go up to around £700 and vintage ukes (Domino, Martin, Roy Smeck) can cost up to £1,000. They also stage jams and workshops.Duke of Uke, 22 Hanbury St, E1 (020 7247 7924/www.dukeofuke.co.uk) Liverpool St tube/rail. Tue-Sun 11am-7pm.

    The Early Music Shop/London Recorder Centre

    You can go from a tenner for a plastic recorder up to £3,500 for a Paetzold cherrywood model. They also stock harps, flutes, baroque cellos, crumhorns and other world folk instruments. The Early Music Shop/London Recorder Centre, 34 Chiltern St, W1 (020 7486 9101/www.e-m-s.com) Baker Street tube. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm.

    Foote’s

    Percussion specialist with drumkits, African and Latin drums, glockenspiels and electronic kits, plus a good selection of woodwind, brass and string instruments. Plus tuition and a rent-to-buy scheme.Foote’s, 41 Store Street, WC1E (020 7323 2213/www.footesmusic.com) Goodge Street tube. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm.

    Gigsounds

    An amazingly comprehensive stock, from kazoos to studio electronics, with a good range of electric guitars and amps.Gigsounds, 86-88 Mitcham Lane, SW16 (020 8769 3206/www.gigsounds.co.uk) Tooting Broadway tube then 57 bus or Streatham Common rail. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm; Sat 10am-6pm.

    Hobgoblin

    Folk specialist with a large range of banjos, mandolins, Celtic harps, penny whistles, flutes, harmonicas, ukes, bagpipes, hand percussion, bodhráns and autoharps . Also carries a large range of sheet music and a luthier who makes lutes, ouds and guitars and repairs other instruments.Hobgoblin, 24 Rathbone Place, W1 (020 7323 9040/www.hobgoblin.com) Tottenham Court Rd tube. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm .

    Holywell Music

    London’s top harp retailer. Prices start at £750 for the smallest lever harp, rising to £59,000 for the most expensive Salvi jobs, with mother-of-pearl inlay. Beginners can rent harps for three months, students will find strings, tuners and sheet music.Holywell Music, 58 Hopton St, SE1 (020 7928 8451/www.holywellmusic.co.uk) Blackfriars or Southwark tube/rail. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm.

    Kensington Pianos

    Two floors of new Yamaha, Kawai and Zieder pianos plus a large range of secondhand, reconditioned and digital models. Kensington Pianos, 288 Kensington High St, W14 (020 7602 7566/www.kensingtonpianos.com) High St Kensington tube. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 10am-5pm.

    Phil Parker

    Dizzy Gillespie once visited this brass temple, as have hundreds of jazz and classical performers over the last 50 years. They have an unrivalled range of trumpets, trombones and tubas and also specialise in repairs and sheet music.Phil Parker, 106a Crawford St, W1 (020 7486 8206/www.philparker.co.uk) Baker St tube. Mon-Fri 10am-5.30pm; Sat 10am-4.30pm.

    Piano Warehouse

    Through what looks like a shed door there’s a large warehouse selling Yamaha, Steinmayer, Weber, Kemble and Seiler plus secondhand and digital pianos. You can also rent a brand-new upright for £396 for a year. Piano Warehouse, 30 Highgate Rd, NW5 (020 7267 7671/www.piano-warehouse.co.uk) Kentish Town tube/rail. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm.

    Ray Man

    For more than 30 years this family business has sold traditional instruments from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America, from sitars and darbuka drums to Chinese zithers and Vietnamese jaw harps. Ray Man, 54 Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 (020 7692 6261/www.raymaneasternmusic.co.uk) Camden Town tube. Tue-Sat 10.30am-6pm; Sun 11am-5pm.

    The Spanish Guitar Centre

    This shop, set up 55 years ago by the father of guitar virtuoso John Williams, specialises in classical and flamenco guitars.The Spanish Guitar Centre, 36 Cranbourn St, WC2 (020 7240 0754/www.spanishguitarcentre.com) Leicester Square tube. Mon-Sat 10.30am-6pm; Sun 11am-4pm.

    Turnkey/Soho Soundhouse

    London’s finest specialists in synths, samplers, pro-audio and DJ equipment.Turnkey/Soho Soundhouse, 114-116 Charing Cross Rd, WC2 (020 7379 5148/www.turnkey.co.uk) Tottenham Court Rd tube. Mon-Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-6pm; Thur 10am-7pm.

    Wembley Drum Centre

    A drum mecca with a range of Pearl, Tama, Yamaha, Sabian, DW and Zildjian kits.Wembley Drum Centre, Unit 7-8, Metro Trading Centre, Fifth Way, Wembley, Middlesex (020 8795 4001/www.wembleydrumcentre.com) Wembley Park tube. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm.

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