Last month, East Nashville instrument shop/repair and service place Eastside Music Supply (pictured above) celebrated some much-deserved growth, moving into a new space at 2915 Gallatin that’s more than double the size of their first place, in the cozy Shoppes on Fatherland.
That growth underlines something worth celebrating about Nashville: We have an appetite for good instrument stores, and we’re excited to support homegrown, independent shops.
Yeah, newsflash: Music City has great music shops. But the particularly cool thing is, while other entertainment cities are losing their indie stores (New York’s Music Row on West 48th is, as of last year, more of a condo and donut row), ours are flourishing and growing.
If you’re a musician here, that’s worth celebrating — big-box stops are fine, but a local link in a chain generally won’t offer the same level of recommendations, advice and unique offerings as a real local shop.
We’re glad to live in a town that supports independent businesses of all sorts, from restaurants and fashion stops to music stores. If you’re new to Nashville and haven’t yet explored the landscape, here are a few of the best places to find your guitars, drums and other tools of the trade.
Nashville’s best independent instrument stores
Fanny’s House of Music
1101 Holly Street
Right in busy Five Points, Fanny’s is one of the best places in town to find instruments with that unmistakable vintage tone — they’re always stocking something cool, from 80-year-old acoustics to road-tested electrics. If you want vintage clothes to go along, their regular vintage sales are a goldmine; keep up on their Facebook page for sale announcements.
Perfect if you’re looking for: all things vintage on the musical front, from guitars and amps to stage clothes
Eastside Music Supply
2915 Gallatin Pike
Now housed in the former Logue’s Black Raven Emporium space, Eastside Music Supply is a particular must-stop for serious tone hunters who are always looking for different sounds to try. If you need a setup or repair, they’re great folks to turn to, too.
Perfect if you’re looking for: boutique effects pedals, custom guitars and amps
Fork’s Drum Closet
2701 12th Ave S
Ask any drummer in town who tours: Having a well-stocked, explicitly drum-focused shop is a luxury that musicians in most cities don’t enjoy. Drummers here (and pretty much everywhere else) fittingly treasure Fork’s, which is always brimming with everything they might want or need, from vintage snares to new custom kits to cymbals to hardware to cases to put all that stuff in.
Perfect if you’re looking for: all things beat-related
2705 12th Ave S
Right next to Fork’s, Corner Music is one of Nashville’s longer-standing providers of … kind of everything musical (they’ve been here for more than 30 years). If you want/need the breadth of a big-box but prefer to shop local, this is your place.
Perfect if you’re looking for: one-stop instrument shopping
Carter Vintage Guitars
625 8th Ave S
(The Gulch area)
Fanny’s in East Nashville doesn’t limit its offerings to rock band-related vintage instruments, but it is a perfect place to go if you’re rock leaning. Vintage instrument hunters who angle more toward country, folk and bluegrass might head over to Carter, which stocks vintage (and new and used) stringed instruments of various kinds, including banjos, mandolins, guitars and more. If you have something cool you want appraised, they’ll help with that, too.
Perfect if you’re looking for: a beauty of a vintage banjo, and other ingredients for a cool country record
2120 Eighth Ave. S.
(Berry Hill/Woodland in Waverly area)
Gruhn is probably the best-known Nashville instrument shop — it’s been around since 1970 (though it was on Broadway, before it moved to its current, larger space on 8th), and it’s provided instruments for some of the biggest names in music, from Johnny Cash to Paul McCartney. If you’re in possession of a Beatles-sized budget, it’s the best place to go in town (in the country? in the world?) to drop thousands of dollars on a rare, museum-quality instrument.
Perfect if you’re looking for: a time-tested musical treasure
This is just a portion — Nashville has more great instrument shops, too. We’re spoiled here, and lucky.
If you’re new to instrument shopping here, hope this list gives you some direction. And if your musical adventures lead you to fall in love with one of these shops’ neighborhoods, let us know if we can help you find a home nearby!