New York / Best Music Store


Tips to get the best music and guitar storre in New York. Ecco alcuni suggerimenti per trovare i migliori negozi di musica a New York City.

Turntable Lab

4Music 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 provides the rest of the necessary gear: 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

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.6

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.

The Juilliard Store

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 Com5pany, 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.

Main Drag Music

This Williamsburg shop is the go-to spot for music makers in the boroughwhere 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 eable to find most anything you need to start your own bar band.7

Rivington Guitars

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).8

Sam Ash

The flagship superstore of New York’s legendary music retail store. The 30,000 square foot retail space opened in 2012 and consolidated the business of the company’s multiple storefronts formerly on 48th Street — New York City’s historic “Music Row” — under one roof.  The huge inventory of musical instruments and accessories, sound and recording equipment, sheet music and videos, computers and music software covers every musician’s needs no matter what his or her playing style or ability. Here playing the incredible selection of instruments is not only allowed, it’s encouraged and you will find people of all ages, from novice to pros playing guitars, keyboards,


Rough Trade NYC
The newest major arrival on the NYC record-store scene is this London import. Their Williamsburg outpost features not only an ample music selection, but also an exhibition room and a cafe. The space is now finally soundproofed, and hosts shows as well—some free and some ticketed. They don’t sell used records, and there aren’t bargain prices, but indie-rock fans may want to drop by all the same.

Come here if you like:
• Sondre Lerche
• The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
• Ingrid Michaelson

Generation Records
Screeching guitars. Painted faces. Primal yelps. Some music scares parents. Generation provides an onslaught of such hard-core, punk and metal—including enough vinyl to fill a mosh pit. Jason, a manager at the store, chalks up the Greenwich Village institution’s continued success to the loyalty of those genres’ fans. “Metal and punk guys are always buying records, [and]that keeps us going,” he says. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a favorite act performing in-store (but don’t thrash so hard you knock over the albums).

Come here if you like:
• …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
• Bridge and Tunnel
• Agnostic Front

Academy Records. Photo: Malcolm Brown

Academy Records
Think your records are ancient? Some music predates LPs entirely. Those who rock it really old school can take heart in Academy’s extensive secondhand classical catalog. According to owner Joseph Ganun, “If you want the original cover art and a nice package [for certain rare recordings], the only way you’ll find it is in a secondhand store like this one.” Academy doesn’t forget the past hundred years or so, either. Its jazz selection is outstanding, and there are also rock, folk and R&B gems scattered throughout, plus a nice selection of used DVDs.

Come here if you like:
• Johann Sebastian Bach
• Louis Armstrong
• Philip Glass
Other Music. Photo: Malcolm Brown

Other Music
True to its name, Other Music wants patrons to discover new artists. “It’s about coming in and finding a lot of interesting, diverse underground music,” says co-owner Josh Madell. Whether you like indie rock, electronic music or experimental jazz, this is the place to find high-quality tunes that haven’t hit the mainstream. The shop also prides itself on supporting local musicians (of which New York City has no shortage).

Come here if you like:
• Grimes
• Deerhunter
• The Flaming Lips
Earwax. Photo: Malcolm Brown

Earwax owner Fabio Roberti feels strongly about tastemaking in his hip Williamsburg neighborhood and prefers his store’s carefully chosen inventory to “all the [hogwash]that’s on every website on the planet. There’s a lot of [hogwash]out there.” If you want to leap from The xx to the next next big thing, Earwax’s knowledgeable staff may clue you in to your new favorite band. And, as befits its name, Earwax has a huge selection of vinyl.

Come here if you like:
• Roots, blues, country
• Psychedelic rock, Krautrock, alternative rock
• Noise/experimental, world music, reggae

The Thing. Photo: Malcolm Brown

The Thing
The Thing is an ever-growing blob of $2 vinyl and whatever else its proprietors find. Previously seen in the space: African statues, theater costumes, carnival props, paintings and found photos from family collections. Though searching the piles almost requires spelunking gear, customers often unearth the valuable and unusual. Just shop with an open mind. If you come in looking for a specific record, you’re unlikely to find it—but if you’re in search of something new, you’ll probably be in luck.

Come here if you like:
• Secondhand appliances
• Every John Coltrane record shoved into one sleeve
• Entropy

Casa Amadeo
This venerable store has stood on the same block for half a century, fueled by owner Mike Amadeo’s love for and knowledge of music. This isn’t the spot to seek out the latest chart-toppers, as they essentially never receive new inventory: “Anyone who has any sense about what music is can come to me and I’ll help them out, but not with the reggaetón,” explains Amadeo. It’s a place for classics—including tunes by artists like Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Cheo Feliciano, for whom Amadeo has composed. Amadeo also sells musical instruments. He only recommends that you call ahead if you’re looking for a specific record, lest you be disappointed.

Come here if you like:
• Tito Puente
• Willie Colón
• Héctor Lavoe

Fifth Avenue Records and Tapes
This Park Slope gem is overflowing with used vinyl (they have new records, too, but the pre-played collection is massive). The stockpile is cramped and not particularly organized, but perusing the offerings is frequently rewarding. In addition to albums, the store carries a large selection of 45s from such standbys as the Beatles and Bob Dylan. There are even cassettes and eight-tracks on the shelves. There are also fantastic finds in the bargain bins outside: anything from show tunes to Phil Collins, Supertramp and Chicago can end up out there. (We saw a vinyl copy of Billy Joel’s Storm Front, which, in certain circles, is pretty exciting.) The owner, Anthony, offers the kind of personality that we want from our record store proprietors. When a young couple purchased a Paula Abdul record recently, he gave the album a cursory glance and dryly remarked, “I used to date her.”

Come here if you like:
• The Beatles
• Kenny Loggins
• Density—the small space holds a huge collection that’s always changing

Black Gold
Black Gold is a candidate for “Brooklyn-est Store in Brooklyn.” Not only does it accommodate both vinyl snobs and coffee snobs—groups that both thrive in the borough—but it also carries taxidermy. Asked about the unusual combination, co-owner Summer replies that it was a natural fit: “We’re all collectors of records, antiques and big, avid coffee drinkers, so it just kind of made sense to us.” Like the store concept itself, the music selection is wide ranging. While the collection is mainly rock, Summer reports, “We have a lot of weird foreign stuff [and]a lot of rare soul.” Now all we need is a record-pickling station.


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