Note for note

There's a slew of very different musical instrument stores in the Reno area. Here's a quick guide to some of them.

Violins on display at the Dodd Violin Shop.

Violins on display at the Dodd Violin Shop.

Photo/Eric Marks

Many of Reno's current music stores are in an early stage of business, making it an exciting time for local musicians to discover something new. If you're a veteran musician or want to get started, here are some places to explore.

Carpenter's Music World

2700 S. Virginia St., 852-7618

Carpenter's Music is a staple in Reno. It started as a small, thousand-square-foot store in 1964. The business has grown to its current size of 12,000 square feet, which offers retail, rental and lessons for “every instrument under the sun.” Carpenter's claims to be the only full-service music store in town. They'll also throw in a free month of lessons with your chosen instrument, and all their teachers are certified by the Music Teacher's Association.

Blue Note B's Horn Shop

1155 W. Fourth St., 453-9219

The staff at Blue Note B's Horn Shop know their repairs. Reno's newest band shop, which opened in February 2014, is fully staffed by certified technicians. Brandon Dolph has been playing saxophone and horns in jazz and funk bands for years, and is also himself a repair tech for other music stores around town. Blue Note B's also offers in-store lessons for not only brass and reed instruments, but also guitar, piano and violin. They also organize an Artown event called Music Under The Stars. This is a great place to go for band instrument repairs, either in large or small quantities.

Dodd Violin Shop

1170 S. Wells Ave., 348-7492

Tim Dodd is regarded as a master of his craft. In his new string repair shop, which opened this year, you'll also find expert guitar work by Jim Anderson. The Dodd Violin Shop emerged when a group of former Maytan's Music employees decided to form a dedicated outlet for specialized string work. Although already renowned for repairs, they also sell handmade professional and student instruments, and can modify your instrument for better sound and playability. Go here if you want to support a new business, and if you want a quality job of customizing, upgrading, or repairing your stringed instrument.

Absolute Music

8175 S. Virginia St., 852-2637

Absolute Music is celebrating a decade of business in Reno. It began when owner Steve Gibson bought the string section of Carpenter's Music to start his own store. Absolute's specialty is the band and orchestra world, and this store is a great choice for large quantities of school repairs. The store also sponsors music groups. The staff presents the trophy at the Marching Band Competition, and sponsor Envision Performing Arts. They also work with the Reno Municipal Band, where Gibson performs. They offer free emergency repairs at events.

Antique Rocker

454 Washington St., 324-4540

A self-described “guitar junkie,” Bill Young of Antique Rocker is your friendly neighborhood guitar guy. He's a humble dude who likes to let his work speak for itself. He has a selection of used instruments, mostly in the rock band range of supplies. He offers a free re-string of an instrument, and only charges for the strings. “My philosophy is to build a relationship with my customers by giving them excellent service,” says Young. “People come back because I treat them right.”

JamPro Music Factory

9300 Prototype Drive, 800-1772

Approaching their first anniversary here in Reno, JamPro is a blend of music school, professional “LA-Style” engineering studios, and a retail store on steroids. Owner Chris Sewell is an intense and intelligent guy, who covers all the bases. JamPro's school has a semester-based program that includes high-end recording equipment, giving its students the chance to hear their music played back. The demo is then given thorough critique and polished. Students can form anything from a rock band to a chamber ensemble. Musicians here are trained to be professionals; recently a band of eleven-year-old JamPro students opened for Billy Ray Cyrus at his Fourth of July show.

Terry Scott's All String Repair

4742 N. Virginia St., 379-0322

Terry Scott is a warm and friendly guy. He's also a multifaceted worker, taking on such diverse professions as college professor, writer and musician, all on top of being a master luthier. Terry Scott's All String Repair is just what it sounds like—a shop dedicated to work on string instruments. A luthier, by the way, is a title for someone who crafts lutes, which translates in the modern day to any instrument with strings, the descendants of the lute. Scott has been repairing since 1969, and has been in Reno since 1995. He considers it a labor of love, so expect this guy to take good care of your instrument.

Guitar Center

6663 S. Virginia St., Reno, 853-3961

Widely considered “The Walmart of Music Stores,” many local retailers might think of Guitar Center as the devil, but others admit that it's a great place to go for a musician on a budget. It's true that music is not the most profitable venture, so there's something to be said for this megalith's business model, which is aimed toward both beginners and pros. Any local guitarist would be lying if they told you they haven't shopped here, because sometimes Guitar Center will genuinely offer the best deal in town on a brand new instrument or accessory.

Steinway Piano Gallery of Reno

500 E. Moana Lane, 829-0600

Steinway Pianos, according to Steve Gibson of Absolute Music, are the “Cadillac of Pianos.” The Reno retailer for Steinway offers rent-to-own, piano repair, tuning, and refurbishing. They'll also store your piano, which could be useful for anyone in the process of moving.

Music Fuze

4690 Longley Lane, 432-2422

Another new kid on the block is Music Fuze, a retail and rental shop run by Tim Lake. They're trying some novel ideas about how to run a music store. For example, they have a “Jam Room” in the back with instruments already set up, so you can play around and see what kind of instrument you'd be interested in playing or learning. Once you find something that fits, and if you're between the ages of 7-14, you can sign up for Camp Fuze during fall, winter or spring break. If you're outside of that age group, they have a program called Rock Starz that puts you in touch with like-minded people to get your act going. If you're curious about music, or have always wanted to start a band, Music Fuze is a great first step.

Parsons Guitar Shop

190 California Ave., 843-8642

Parson's Guitar Shop is elusive for being such a centrally located business. Very little information is available around, so you have to go inside to find anything out. The shop, run by Bill Parsons, claims to offer guitar sales, consignments, repairs, re-frets, and vintage appraisal.

Bizarre Guitar

190 California Ave., 843-8642

Bizarre Guitar is the fastest gun in town, both precise and deadly. Besides selling guns, they've earned their reputation for being the town badass because of their dedication to high-end guitars. They've been around for 40 years, and have a near-mythic “vault” downstairs with their best products. They also offer lessons. Bizarre Guitar are defenders of local music stores against corporate encroachment, and have carved their name in town as a bold and unique business to be reckoned with.