Maple Street is my go to, for electrics as well. So many music shops have arrogant showboating musicians talking down to you. But not at MSG. They make you feel comfortable.
Atlanta, Georgia, has long been a cornerstone in the USA's modern music industry. From legends like Ray Charles, OutKast, and Gladys Knight to booming indie scenes, the hub of the 'Dirty South', aka the ATL, has musical roots that run deep. It's a place where hip-hop meets soul, where jazz intersects with rock, and where the local music culture has fostered the growth of iconic musicians and unforgettable musical events.
Local music venues and storied music shops in Atlanta go beyond mere retail, to environments that create musical experiences. Visiting them is not just about shopping; it's about engaging in a rich musical tradition. For many musicians in the USA, large chain retailers have overshadowed local music culture. So we've deliberately excluded names like Sam Ash or Guitar Center from this article, focusing instead on Atlanta music stores that provide a personal touch and deep connection to the community. These Atlanta music stores are highly rated by locals, integral parts of Atlanta's music scene, and many of them have rich and lengthy histories in the city.
The list is not ranked in order of best to worst, as each one showcases a different specialty that caters to different types of musicians. Whether it's a particular niche, the type of instrument you play, or a specific price point, each one offers something unique, that will meet different needs for different readers.
Together they reflect the diversity and vibrancy of Atlanta's music history. From the International Pop Festival of 1969 that featured legendary acts such as Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin, and solidified Atlanta's position on the musical map; to pioneers like OutKast and Goodie Mob, that challenged the dominance of New York and California for the soul of Hip-Hop in the 1990s. These local establishments have witnessed and nurtured Atlanta's musical legacy.
Join us for a road trip up and down Peachtree Street, to explore 10 of these musical havens that continue to shape Hotlanta's music scene.
1. Maple Street Guitars
Maple Street Guitars has seen a lot! Having been a mainstay in Atlanta's music scene for 42 years! Specializing primarily in acoustic guitars, this family-owned business has built a reputation for quality and personalized service. Whether you're a professional musician or a budding enthusiast, Maple Street Guitars offers an impressive collection of both new and vintage instruments.
The store itself exudes a welcoming atmosphere, adorned with finely crafted guitars lining the walls. It's not just a retail space; it's a place for musicians to connect, share, and explore their passion for acoustic guitars.
Maple Street Guitars Assistant Manager, Chris Capitanio, was kind enough to give us a tour, showing us around their impressive showrooms and sales floor, which also contains a series of very nice, private rooms designed specifically for lessons. The sound of students honing their craft with skilled instructors use to be a staple at Maple Street. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause on in-person lessons, which they are now slowly getting back to. And throughout it all they've remained one of the premier locations to try out and purchase an acoustic guitar.
Customers often praise the knowledgeable staff, the attention to detail in their service, and the wide selection of unique acoustic guitars. From beginner instruments to high-end collectibles, Maple Street Guitars is a destination for anyone seeking quality and character in their musical pursuits. It's not just another Atlanta music store, it's a part of the city's rich musical heritage.
2. Big House Guitars
Big House Guitars has become a renowned destination for guitar enthusiasts. I had to visit this legend of a music shop to experience it for myself, and it did not disappoint! The first thing you notice is a very atypical vibe for a retail store. It looks almost like a club entrance. I expected someone to check my ID or ask for admission.
Once you enter it feels more like a lounge, with leather sofas scattered throughout, and even a stage that local bands perform on weekly. During normal business hours it is an excellent place for guitar enthusiasts to casually shop for a guitar, with a knowledgeable staff, in a very relaxed environment that invites you to sit back and test out a few.
This Atlanta music store is known for its wide selection of both electric and acoustic guitars, including rare and vintage models. The staff's expertise in guitar setup, customization, and repair has garnered positive reviews from customers, reflecting their commitment to excellence. The ambiance of the store, filled with the rich aroma of wood and the sound of strings, gives it a unique appeal. Before the pandemic, Big House Guitars also boasted an active community of learners and teachers, offering lessons in their well-equipped private rooms. Being one of the top 10 best music stores in Atlanta requires being an important part of the city's music scene, which Big House Guitars excels at by fostering relationships with local musicians, contributing to the city's vibrant musical heritage.
3. Earthshaking Music
We had the pleasure of meeting with the store's Music's owner Dave Strohauer, to learn why Earthshaking Music has been such a treasured among Atlanta music stores for many years. Despite a recent relocation that some questioned could deter business, customers have continued to make the trip to show their support, just as they have for over 20 years.
Unlike Maple Tree and Big House which specialize primarily in guitars, Earthshaking music has a wide array of instruments and offers a diverse selection that caters to both professionals and hobbyists. Whether you're just searching for music stores near me, or looking for the perfect guitar, drum set, or keyboard, Earthshaking Music is a go-to destination for all musical needs. They also have quite a few highly unique items that come through, meaning you might come for a new drum kit, and then spend an hour looking at historic Djembes.
What sets Earthshaking Music apart is their commitment to the community. They have been known to host events, workshops, and shows, connecting artists and fans alike. Their staff is praised for their knowledge and passion, guiding customers to the ideal instruments for their unique musical journey.
Hotlanta's not only guitar shops, they've got something for every musician, DJs included. And Beatlab is the go-to destination for DJs and electronic music enthusiasts. Specializing in DJ equipment, Beatlab offers an impressive selection of turntables, mixers, controllers, and accessories.
Since its inception, Beatlab has become a hub for aspiring and professional DJs in the area. Customers rave about the knowledgeable staff, top-notch gear, and commitment to keeping the art of DJing alive. The store lies in the vibrant Little Five Points neighborhood, known for its eclectic and artistic community. Beatlab contributes to this lively culture, supporting local music and even hosting in-store events. They even sell graffiti supplies, which you'll notice have been used to decorate the location, contributing to its very unique, cultured vibe.Visit Beatlab Online
5. Moods Music
We wanted this list to include something for everyone, including non-musicians. And our next Atlanta music store will appeal to everyone.
Situated in the heart of Atlanta's Little Five Points, Moods Music is very appropriately named, as a "mood" is definitely its vibe. This retro music shop in Atlanta a treasure trove for vinyl collectors, music enthusiasts, and anyone interested in exploring a wide range of musical genres. Specializing in Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop, and World music, Moods Music creates an inviting atmosphere with its curated selection and knowledgeable staff.
Customers appreciate the personal touch, unique finds, and the connection to Atlanta's rich musical heritage. But they don't stop with just vinyl, they often have live DJs, there's also a desert shop, as well as various live performances by local artists. The surrounding neighborhood adds to the charm, with its bohemian vibe and artistic flair. Moods Music reflects Atlanta's musical diversity and continues to serve as a cherished spot for music lovers in the city.Visit Moods Music Online
6. Voss Violins
Voss Violins was founded by Stephanie Voss, a skilled luthier with a Master Diploma in Violin Making from Mittenwald and Munich, Germany. And if that alone is not enough to peak your interest, the shop has been serving its local community for over 30 years, representing a blend of European tradition and American innovation in the world of violin-making.
With an extensive background in restoration and a deep understanding of pre-18th-century instruments, Stephanie and her team of talented young luthiers build, restore, and repair violins, violas, and cellos. They construct instruments using hand-picked seasoned woods such as spruce, maple, and willow, and offer custom-made violas and cellos designed with shorter string lengths for ease of playing. Voss Violins also partners with German workshops, like Heinz Fischbach, to offer a unique blend of traditional European craftsmanship and customization.
Voss Violins places great emphasis on customer satisfaction, providing services ranging from selling new and used instruments, accepting trade-ins, offering rentals, and maintaining a bow rehairing program. The personalized approach, combined with their expertise, has earned the shop positive reviews from students, professionals, and well-known musicians alike.
What sets Voss Violins apart is not only the craft but also the philosophy behind it. The integration of ancient techniques, constant innovation, and the nurturing of young talents makes it a unique haven for musicians seeking quality and authenticity in their instruments.
By embracing both tradition and modernity, this is one of the Atlanta music stores that has carved a niche for itself as a purveyor of excellence, ensuring that the rich heritage of violin-making continues to resonate with musicians of all levels. Whether building a new instrument or restoring an antique one, the team at Voss Violins infuses every piece with a soul that resonates with the musician's artistic journey.
7. Atlanta Discount Music
Atlanta Discount Music, known as the "Home of Tone" since 1978, is a renowned boutique guitar shop situated in Chamblee, Atlanta. A must-visit for guitar enthusiasts, this one of the Atlanta music stores that offers an extensive range of services including sales, trade-ins, consignments, guitar lessons, repairs, and more. They're recognized for having a full-line inventory, featuring both vintage and contemporary effects pedals, hosting 250-300 used pedals at any given time.
Customers praise the welcoming atmosphere, with friendly and knowledgeable staff members who invite you to 'feel before you buy.' The store is often described as a hidden gem, filled with beautiful guitars, vintage amps, and an impressive array of pedals and accessories. Many customers emphasize the family-owned nature of the business and appreciate the non-intrusive service.
Some reviewers also mentioned their love for the shop's family dog, adding to the homely feel of the place. Opinions on pricing are mixed, with some finding them competitive and others deeming them a bit high. Overall, though, the shop is seen as a haven for guitar lovers, with its large used pedal selection and unique consignments.
Whether you're a novice or a seasoned musician, Atlanta Discount Music offers an approachable environment to try out different instruments and accessories. They believe in customer satisfaction and strive to cater to every individual's musical needs. Whether you are in search of music stores near me, looking for specific gear, or just dropping by for strings and picks, this is one of the Atlanta music stores that promises an enjoyable experience.
8. Atlanta Vintage Guitars
Atlanta Vintage Guitars (AVG) is an iconic music store in Atlanta, specializing in vintage and previously owned guitars, stringed instruments, amps, and other musical equipment. Known for its extensive inventory, including brands like Fender, Gibson, and Martin, AVG also offers repair and luthier services, as well as consignment, buying, selling, trading, and appraising.
Customers commend AVG for its exceptional customer service, quality, and fair pricing. Whether assisting a professional artist or someone reigniting their passion for playing, the team provides personalized attention and willingness to go above and beyond.
With a reputation for expertise in evaluating vintage gear and a commitment to sustainable practices, AVG stands out as a trustworthy source for musicians. Their 2,500 sq. ft. walk-in storefront and strong online presence make them accessible to customers all over the U.S. and Canada.
Offering not just instruments but also an environment rich in history, nostalgia, and genuine love for music, Atlanta Vintage Guitars continues to be a favorite destination for musicians seeking quality, value, and a remarkable shopping experience.Visit Atlanta Vintage Guitars
9. Carere Music
Carere Music, founded in 1989 by Tony and Karen Carere, has become an influential player in Atlanta's retail instrument market, guided by the Carere family's many generations of musical experience. Now run by Jeanne Carere, a prominent figure in the Atlanta music scene with a performance history alongside stars like Celine Dion and Elton John, the tradition continues. Carere Music is praised for its excellent instrument sales, rentals, repair services, and lessons by professional musicians.
This is a music store in Atlanta that thrives on a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, with Jeanne Carere continuing her family's tradition of passion and professionalism. Customer feedback often highlights the knowledgeable staff, quality products, efficient repair service, and engaging lessons for musicians at all levels. Whether it's renting a trumpet for a beginner or giving insights into the local jazz scene, Carere Music has established itself as a hub for musical expertise.
One of the charms of Carere Music is its commitment to community and family. Visitors from across the country find themselves drawn to the store's genuine vibe and the professional caliber of the staff, all deeply involved in the local music scene. The store has remained true to its roots as a family-owned business, emphasizing the love for music and Italian heritage symbolized in the Carere name.
With 30 years of history in the Atlanta area, Carere Music stands as a testament to the power of music, family, and community, continually fostering the growth of budding musicians and serving the needs of professionals alike.Visit Carere Music
10. Whipkeys Music
Whipkey's Music, located in Atlanta, has built a reputation as one of Georgia's most respected and knowledgeable musical instrument companies. Their collection ranges from violins and cellos to flutes, piccolos, clarinets, and saxophones, featuring renowned brands like Powell, Muramatsu, Altus, Haynes, and Buffet.
This is a music store in Atlanta that not only sales instruments, including new and vintage collectibles, but they also offers special rental programs. The company's back-to-school information and holiday closings are easily accessible, providing customers convenience in renting or buying instruments.
From professional musicians to parents renting instruments for their children, Whipkey's caters to a wide clientele. Their friendly atmosphere, expertise in musical instruments, and competitive rental programs have solidified their status as a respected name in the musical community in Atlanta.
The physical location and website provide customers with all they need, whether it's browsing closeout specials or looking for the latest deals. Through years of service and a strong connection to the local music scene, Whipkey's Music continues to be a go-to place for music enthusiasts.Visit Whipkeys Music
From the intimate craftsmanship of master luthiers to the extensive collections of vintage guitars, Atlanta music stores cater to musicians across all novelties, genres and expertise levels. But our 10 best music stores in Atlanta are more than just vendors; they are part of the cultural fabric of Atlanta. They've been places of inspiration for accomplished musicians and aspiring artists to connect with the seasoned teachers, instrument makers and respectable retail sellers. They uphold a tradition that resonates with Atlanta's history, from the jazz and soul eras to the rise of hip-hop.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, Atlanta's local music shops remind us of the importance of personal connection and community in music-making. They offer spaces to explore, learn, and grow, reflecting a city that has never stopped playing its tune. Whether you're searching for music stores near me, a local to the ATL, or just visiting, take the time to experience these musical paradises, and become a part of a legacy that extends well beyond commerce.