Andy’s Music Chicago Get lost in this two-story music store, where you can find instruments from around the world. Balalaikas (triangular guitars) and Irish flutes decorate the walls in more than a dozen showrooms throughout the store. It’s not all exotic instruments here, though. The store also stocks classic guitars and basses. 2300 W Belmont Ave (773-868-1234, andysmusicchicago.com). Tue–Sat 11am–7pm.
Bein & Fushi It’s all things string at this shop, where you’ll find a variety of cellos, violas and violins. Selections include antiques of the 16th century, such as Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù’s violin “Benno Rabinof” and more modern instruments including Takeshi Nogawa violins. This shop also refurbishes instruments and stocks replacement strings. 410 S Michigan Ave (312-663-0150, beinfushi.com). Tue–Sat 10am–5:30pm.
Chicago Music Exchange This store’s catchphrase is “We’re here to rock your world,” and thanks to the selection of guitars, amps, basses, effects and novelty musical instruments, it delivers on that promise. Highlights include vintage guitars from the likes of Fender and Vox. Prices vary from $250 for a starter electric-guitar kit and amp to some of the best guitar collectibles at $25,000 and higher. The shop also offers rental services. 3316 N Lincoln Ave (773-525-7773, chicagomusicexchange.com). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm, Sun 11am–5pm.
Old Town School of Folk Music The Lincoln Park outpost of this music mecca is known for its wide range of musical instruments. But that’s not all. This is also a great place to learn how to play them, or just show up and spontaneously start a jam session. Eight-week classes for adults start at $160, while 16-week children’s classes (12 and under) are $240 and eight-week classes are $120. 909 W Armitage Ave (773-751-3410, oldtownschool.org). Mon–Thu 10:30am–8:30pm, Fri–Sun 10:30am–5pm.
PianoForte This downtown showroom specializes in all models and piano-related services. It opened as a way to sell Fazioli pianos in Chicago and has since expanded to include Grotrian, Schimmel and Yamaha electric pianos. It also has a range of used pianos by Yamaha, Steinway and other high-quality brands. Rent-to-own uprights cost around $120 per month, and grands start at $220 per month. Shopping appointments are highly recommended. 408 S Michigan Ave (312-291-0000, pianofortechicago.com). Tue–Fri 11am–6pm, Sat noon–4pm.