Best of Columbus 2015: A Band's Worth of Niche Music Shops

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

These specialized music shops keep Cap City musicians sounding great.

Owner Paul Graves was just 21 when he opened a small piano shop in 1961 in Alabama. Today, his business, still family-run, is one of the Midwest's largest piano dealers and is Central Ohio's only authorized Steinway dealer. Graves' elegant showroom, lit with glittering chandeliers, is a landscape of new and used pianos and organs, as well as a wide selection of sheet music. The shop also offers a recital room to young musicians.

Stepping into The Loft Violin Shop is like stepping back in time. The shop, once a house and hair salon, is quaint and cozy, and it smells like an old workshop. Sturdy work tables and walls lined with instruments add to the crafty feel. Shopkeepers (some in leather aprons) tune and mend instruments right in front of customers, a mix of student and professional musicians. Craftsmen here combine traditional and modern practices to keep string instruments sounding like new.

For a shop that sells instruments known for making noise, Columbus Percussion is lively and welcoming, not overwhelming. Customers are greeted by upbeat music and a wide array of percussion instruments-from full drum sets and cymbals to Djembe drums. Columbus Percussion has been serving local, national and international musicians since 1981. Ready to pick up a pair of sticks? Columbus Percussion employs a teaching staff of professional drummers who offer lessons to students of all levels.

Owner Robert Phillips likes to joke that, like most small businesses, Buckeye Brass & Winds started out in a garage. Phillips, who has been repairing musical instruments since he was a teenager, moved to Columbus from Cleveland in 2007 to take over the business for an old acquaintance. The shop is well-known for its brass selection, but it also offers a variety of beautiful wind instruments.