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Rogue Music
Photograph: Courtesy Rogue Music

The best music stores in NYC

Need a music store? Here’s eleven essential spots for buying new and used instruments and gear in New York City

By Andrew Frisicano, Ro S, Vivienne van Vliet and Tolly Wright

If all those amazing record stores, best parties and phenomenal concerts in NYC have left you feeling inspired head to a phenomenal, local music store. No need for ordering online when Gotham has some of best places in the country for finding instruments and gear of all varieties and qualities at just the right price. Whether you're searching for the perfect Strat, a gorgeous piano or the right vintage synth, New York City's got what you need at these music stores.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to shopping in NYC

Best music stores in NYC

1. Main Drag Music

Music Williamsburg

This Williamsburg shop is the go-to spot for music makers in the borough where despite insane real-estate prices, musicians still represent a definition portion of the populace. New and used guitars, effect pedals, weird acoustic instruments and a full arsenal of drums means you should e able to find most anything you need to start your own bar band.

Photograph: Courtesy ProAudioStar

2. ProAudioStar

Music Greenpoint

If you're more or less familiar with the type of gear you're looking to purchase, ProAudioStar is a great local option offering new equipment at competitive prices. The independent retailer has been around since 2006 and serves as a go-to spot for artists—particularly DJs and producers. The store's wide selection of Pro Audio and DJ equipment is accessible online, and its employees—both in-store and online via live chat—are extremely helpful and knowledgeable. While it's probably not the place to roam about and freely try out equipment, the Brooklyn warehouse is an affordable and convenient local source for professional musicians—many of whom have done a fair share of research online and are ready to buy either in-store or via mail/phone order.

Retrofret Vintage Guitars
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Brad M.

3. Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Shopping Musical instruments Gowanus

For those looking for a rare, vintage or truly bizarre acoustic or electric guitar this Brooklyn second-hand instrument and repair shop. Specializing in fretted instruments—guitars, banjos, mandolines, ukuleles and even the occasional lute—this spot sells used gear that ranges from beautiful ornamental pieces that cost a few hundred to some state-of-the-art treasures with a hefty price-tag.

4. The Juilliard Store

Music Upper West Side

To say that sheet music stores are in short supply is a bit of an understatement. They've been straight-up extinct since Frank Music Company, the city’s last classical sheet music store, shuttered in early 2015. Which makes the Juilliard Store all the more important. Among the CDs, books and t-shirts, there’s also a serious stash of honest-to-goodness, printed-on-trees piano sheet music.

Rogue Music
Photograph: Courtesy Rogue Music

5. Rogue Music

Music Chelsea

This shoebox store specializes in unique used and vintage gear—from guitars to keyboards to analog synths. Rogue Music has been buying and selling hard-to-find equipment since 1983, making it a true musical mecca for musicians and techies alike. Whether you're looking for a wide selection of guitar pedals, a rare Akai keyboard or a vintage Moog synthesizer, Rogue Music certainly does not disappoint! The store also houses a fully authorized service department staffed by licensed technicians for inspections and repairs.

Photograph: Courtesy Control

6. Control

Shopping Musical instruments Williamsburg

This tiny storefront, specializing in synthesizers, is more like an art gallery than a traditional gear shop. If you’ve always wanted to start your own Kraftwerk–esque electronic-music band (and what Williamsburger hasn’t?), Control is your spot, with walls lined with modular synths and attendant accessories, plus a helpful staff to get you started.

Rivington Guitars
Photograph: Courtesy Rivington Guitars

7. Rivington Guitars

Music East Village

This boutique storefront hits above its weight for the small space it occupies (which we should note is no longer on Rivington Street). With its walls lined with new and vintage guitars, the shop offers a good mix of average-Joe axes and Wall-Street-banker-priced rarities (and for the latter, you probably wanna ask before you touch).

Steinway Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Alice O.

8. Steinway Hall

Music Music venues Midtown West

Piano purveyor Steinway & Sons' elegant flagship moved in April 2016 to this sharp and sophisticated show room. Admire the craftsmanship of some of the world's finest grand and upright pianos, many of which were manufactured right across the East River in Astoria's Steinway & Sons Factory.  Don't believe the hype? The store hosts a healthy number of performances year-round in its 76-seat recital hall, which, with elements like imperial yellow seats and panelled wood walls, will remind you of the beauty and power of the Steinway pianos.


9. Turntable Lab

Shopping Music and entertainment East Village
Music lovers and DJs alike will be drawn to this hip-hop haven, which not only sells the latest high-tech audio toys, such as Rane sound-mixing equipment and Audio-Technica live turntables, but also offers music-related streetwear for men (including Rock Well graphic tees) and an assortment of pop culture books and magazines, including arty Arkitip magazine.
Guitar Center, Times Square
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/ThomasHawk

10. Guitar Center Times Square

Shopping Musical instruments Midtown West

The national chain is basically shorthand for mom-and-pop crushing uncoolness (and it should be noted that until recently, a nearby block of West 48th Street was known as Music Row for its abundance of now-shuttered independent guitar shops). Still, the Times Square Guitar Center has a strangely serene atmosphere. If you can time your visit to avoid the shredding hordes, the massive space has tons of expensive axes and amps to try out hassle-free, as well as an ample stock of basic supplies like strings and drumsticks.

B&H Photo
B&H Photo

11. B&H Photo Video

Shopping Electronics Midtown West

B&H isn't just a photo and video store. It is the place where professional photographers from around the world get their equipment. The flagship is huge and busy, necessitating that goods be transported from the stockroom via an overhead conveyor belt. Whether you’re a professional or a keen amateur, B&H is the ultimate one-stop shop for all your photographic, video and audio needs. Note that due to the largely Hasidic Jewish staff, it’s closed on Saturdays.

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