The drum shop no more...

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I was strolling through downtown taking photos this morning. Being approached by an old man asking me for some change. I asked him 'what used to be that building'?
His reply: "It was a little breakfast place, a cafe. But many years before that, before you were born, the store sold musician instruments."
Did they sell drums? I asked. "Yeah, I think they did."

This saddened me to think of the memories that place must have had from by-gone era, when shops were so common across American cities and towns, supplying the needs for working bands as well as beginner students..

Do you have a drum shop or music store that now only exists as a memory?
 

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SquadLeader

Gold Member
I was strolling through downtown taking photos this morning. Being approached by an old man asking me for some change. I asked him 'what used to be that building'?
His reply: "It was a little breakfast place, a cafe. But many years before that, before you were born, the store sold musician instruments."
Did they sell drums? I asked. "Yeah, I think they did."

This saddened me to think of the memories that place must have had from by-gone era, when shops were so common across American cities and towns, supplying the needs for working bands as well as beginner students..

Do you have drum shop or music store that now only exists as a memory?
Pubs over here is the similar theme.

This entire country used to be absolutely buzzing with pubs and ram packed. The town I live in (Heywood, Lancashire) used to hold the record for the most pubs per square mile of any town in the country. Plenty of other little towns and villages would boast similar records.

The Government brought a smoking ban in public places (including pubs) into legislation. That, alongside the low price of alcohol in supermarkets means that people can simply no longer be arsed going out to the local. The 'local' is almost dead in this country.

So we now have a country of old, classical, huge, buildings....former pubs...which are boarded up and left to rot. Very sad.

And the pubs and live venues left behind. You're lucky to have an audience of more than a dozen people in there (unless a bespoke music venue with an existing and regular audience...some still exist). But the idea of thinking "it's Saturday, let's go watch a band down at The Jockey and Whip"....DEAD for all but a tiny minority of people.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
Yes! I can't be the only one...

Grew up 25 miles outside of Milwaukee. A drum teacher told me THE place to get your drum gear was Faust Music. The owner was quirky he said but "tell him I sent you". I ended up buying my high school drum set (1977 Pearl fiberglass shells) which I still have, re-wrapped and still use. He put his stamp on everything that came out of the store and is still on the drums. Mr. "Faust" died a couple years ago and the shop was sold and demolished for condos. Still, I have a great memory of buying drums and being a customer of a very old-school drum shop.

https://www.milwaukeemag.com/2013/10/24/oldschool-2/
https://www.milwaukeemag.com/2016/02/22/secret-stash-faust-music/
 

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Superman

Gold Member
Yup, here in upstate NY we had Sal's Music store. I took lessons there as a kid. My first drum set was a black Pearl Export set that was in their display window for the Christmas Season. My dad got it for me when I was 15. Been out of business forever now..very sad.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
Do you have drum shop or music store that now only exists as a memory?
As a kid we had a music store that always had a few kits on hand, and come the weekend, I'd be on the city bus to make my regular monthly trek uptown to visit the music store and owner.

I'll call him, JJ, and he always had time for everyone who wandered in, and could usually be found tucked-away in the corner strumming away on an acoustic guitar when you walked in.

He had a little of everything in his store (music related), and occasionally I left with a freebie. A true kids dream.

Well, JJ, has been gone now for a good number of years, and his store is no more, but those great old memories live-on in my mind. It was JJ's store where my folks bought me my first kit.
 

brady

Platinum Member
There was a cool shop in St. Paul that closed a couple years ago. Ellis Drum Shop. I loved going in there every time I was in town. They had a good mix of new and vintage stuff, plus a nice consignment area where I bought and sold quite a few items. He always had something I could use. On the rare occasion there wasn't, the employees in the shop were always willing to nerd out on drum talk for hours.

It was sad to walk up to the store and see that it was permanently closed. But in a town with 3 or 4 Guitar Centers, what to you expect.
 

PlayTheSong

Senior Member
In Ottawa, in the 70's, there was an awesome 2nd floor walk-up shop in the Byward Market called Drummers' Dream that sold only drums. To an aspiring teen drummer it was pure magic, filled with all the funky outrageousness that drum companies were putting out in the 70's. I don't think it survived far into the 80's, but I'd love to go back as see it as it was then.

Modern music stores seem devoid of imagination compared to that place.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I live in a small town in the foothills of NC. We only had pawn shops, and that's pretty much still the case. The only place in town that sold instruments was our local Bible bookstore which I renamed "The Bible-Crook" store because those guys sold ABOVE retail and made their money charging astronomical amounts of cash putting in those cheap Peavey PA systems into local churches.

I only bought stuff there when I was in a bind and I needed some quick supplies, but I swear it was cheaper to drive an hour to the closest DECENT music store and spend $50 as it was stay in town and spend about $120. What's ironic is that a friend of mine rents that place now and sells used instruments, but it's much better quality instruments and better prices than the previous establishment.

With that said, pawn shops are king here.

I miss Reliable Music in Charlotte and The Music Loft in Winston-Salem. Both were in NC.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It wasn't long ago here in L.A. that there were a dozen drum shops, and music stores with respectable drum departments. They were family-owned, so you knew the same people would be there year after year, and they'd get to know you, too. In a world where the product is the same no matter where you get it, it was those relationships that often made the difference when deciding where to make a purchase.

I remember Bill Faust, I was one of the handful of people he liked. Of course that didn't mean I had the run of the place. He was very old school, and if you wanted to see or try something, he would get it and set it up for you. Very service-oriented, a real holdover from the old days. I showed him respect, even down to not taking phone calls in his shop, and he respected me for that.

One of my favorite snares - a pre-serial 6 1/2 COB with its original brass hoops - started out in his shop way back, it still has a sticker inside!

Bermuda
 

Jidis

Junior Member
We had a really weird one here in VA when I was growing up that was downtown in what was sort of a sleazy pawn shop district. It was a mid-sized family run place, which was notoriously unfriendly, almost like they didn't care whether they sold anything or not. The floor and all the instruments had about ten years worth of dust on them. What made them unique was that they seemed to specialize in what my uncle called "wildcat" drums, which were the noname imports from back in the 60's and 70's. They had stacks of drums lining the walls, way up into the air in crazy psychedelic swirl finishes and glam rock looking glitter wrapped concert toms. I can't even remember if they had brand name stuff as it wasn't a comfortable place to hang out and look around in. It seemed like nothing moved in there, and still to this day I wonder where all the stuff went. I'm guessing it all got dumped on some sort of estate sale, but it wouldn't surprise me if they burned or buried it.
 

TheElectricCompany

Senior Member
My dad always mentions Brockstein Music in Houston. They were in an old house and it was a good place to hang out. They were bought by Brook Mays in 1969. We have a used instrument shop in town called Rockin' Robin and occasionally I'll see drums with the Brockstein badge. I love finding those drums because it's a neat connection to the world my dad grew up in.
 

Stroker

Platinum Member
In Ottawa, in the 70's, there was an awesome 2nd floor walk-up shop in the Byward Market called Drummers' Dream that sold only drums.
Your story reminds me of a drum store I remember from the 70's. It was located in Vancouver BC... Burnaby, to be exact (Kingsway Street), and it was called Drums Only. Man, the outrageous kits that store used to have on display in the windows was mind-blowing! It, too, is no longer, but one which I will never forget.
 

The Modernist

Senior Member
Pubs over here is the similar theme.

This entire country used to be absolutely buzzing with pubs and ram packed. The town I live in (Heywood, Lancashire) used to hold the record for the most pubs per square mile of any town in the country. Plenty of other little towns and villages would boast similar records.

The Government brought a smoking ban in public places (including pubs) into legislation. That, alongside the low price of alcohol in supermarkets means that people can simply no longer be arsed going out to the local. The 'local' is almost dead in this country.

So we now have a country of old, classical, huge, buildings....former pubs...which are boarded up and left to rot. Very sad.

And the pubs and live venues left behind. You're lucky to have an audience of more than a dozen people in there (unless a bespoke music venue with an existing and regular audience...some still exist). But the idea of thinking "it's Saturday, let's go watch a band down at The Jockey and Whip"....DEAD for all but a tiny minority of people.
Not just a theme in the towns - same thing has been happening in Liverpool for years.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I live in the same town where I grew up...population now is about 35,000.

No musical instrument store remains here.

There were 2 back in the early 80's...the last closed a few months ago.

No hand checking sticks before I buy them anymore...unless I want to drive to the next town.

I bought an Axis dbl pedal a few years ago online...it was not assembled correctly(wrong parts for the long boards) and I had to send it back for replacement...a pain and a sad lack of service that I used to have available.
 

TheElectricCompany

Senior Member
We had a really weird one here in VA when I was growing up that was downtown in what was sort of a sleazy pawn shop district. It was a mid-sized family run place, which was notoriously unfriendly, almost like they didn't care whether they sold anything or not. The floor and all the instruments had about ten years worth of dust on them. What made them unique was that they seemed to specialize in what my uncle called "wildcat" drums, which were the noname imports from back in the 60's and 70's. They had stacks of drums lining the walls, way up into the air in crazy psychedelic swirl finishes and glam rock looking glitter wrapped concert toms. I can't even remember if they had brand name stuff as it wasn't a comfortable place to hang out and look around in. It seemed like nothing moved in there, and still to this day I wonder where all the stuff went. I'm guessing it all got dumped on some sort of estate sale, but it wouldn't surprise me if they burned or buried it.
In my previous post I mentioned Rockin' Robin in Houston and they're the same way. The only people with any courtesy work the guitar department or the register. I've been going in there since I was in high school, over ten years now, and I'm still followed around by the head of the drum department like I'm a nuisance. Never a "How are you?" or even "Can I help you find anything?" Just sitting down and watching you like you're gonna shoplift a bass drum.

One of the last times I was in there I asked the guy what sizes a psychdellic red Ludwig were, and his response was "Not for sale."

F*** you, too, George.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
We had a really weird one [...] It was a mid-sized family run place, which was notoriously unfriendly, almost like they didn't care whether they sold anything or not.
What IS it with those places? I know of two or three of those.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Pubs over here is the similar theme.


The Government brought a smoking ban in public places (including pubs) into legislation. That, alongside the low price of alcohol in supermarkets means that people can simply no longer be arsed going out to the local. The 'local' is almost dead in this country.
.
Bit off topic but I for one was so glad when the ban on smoking inside English pubs venues etc. came into law. How much smoke did we drummers of the 80s inhale night after night; must have been horrendous in the 60s and 70s. Basement venues are/were the worst, you didn't need a smoke machine because the PAH cyanide fog was more than enough.

Back on topic, when I did my first ever recording the local drum store owner actually lent me (no charge) his prized Ludwig snare and a pair of 5 star super Zyns hi-hats without any expectation I would purchase xyz; What a gentleman.
 

Croc

Senior Member
There used to be a small local chain in Cincinnati which sold all types of musical instruments. At one location, there was a salesman who would sell to anyone on an installment plan but off the books. Half of the teenage musicians on the west side was into this guy for hundreds of dollars. Can't imagine getting away with that these days.
 

Jidis

Junior Member
What IS it with those places? I know of two or three of those.
I don't get it either. I'm guessing it's the difference in dealing with people who are in it strictly for business and can't remember or relate to the enthusiasm and interest in the instruments that most young musicians have. It seemed like the places with guys who actually played, even if they were older, would still talk to you if your parents weren't standing behind you with a checkbook.

It's a shame that all the good ones disappeared along with the bad ones though.

Take Care
 

Nate'sKit

Senior Member
There used to be a small local chain in Cincinnati which sold all types of musical instruments. At one location, there was a salesman who would sell to anyone on an installment plan but off the books. Half of the teenage musicians on the west side was into this guy for hundreds of dollars. Can't imagine getting away with that these days.
Buddy Rogers? I can't say that they were all that great to me. Not terrible, just not that friendly. They still have the repair shop and one store in North College Hill. They only do school band stuff now.

Ray Lammers was downtown and they had a woodwind specialist that was super knowledgeable and often steered me in the right direction when I played sax. Spent a whole day in there trying out mouthpieces under his guidance. He said that he did alright. I didn't choose the most expensive mouthpiece in the store. Just the second most expensive.

They had been around for a long time back when WLW had all of those live radio shows which included live music of course. Then into the 70s when some of the local TV stations had live bands on the Ruth Lyons, Paul Dixon, and Bob Braun shows. Not the best place for Rock and Roll instruments though.
 
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