Arts & Culture

Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities

June 13, 2011 10:44 AM

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Whether you’re visiting a local shop or a nation-wide chain, a music store has to have what you’re looking for. Also, you need to know what you’re buying, especially if it’s a new instrument — an option that online options simply can’t feature. So, check out this list of music stores around the Twin Cities!

williesguitars Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities


Willie’s Guitars

254 Cleveland Ave. So.
St. Paul, MN 55105
Website | Directory

Willies is known for its vintage guitars and high quality gear, but it definitely has more than just that. Come here for basses, amplifiers, laps, resos, ukes, mandolins, effects pedals and more. Also provides amp and guitar repair.

schmitt Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities


Schmitt Music

2436 Cleveland Ave. N.
Roseville, MN 55113
Website | Directory

Operating in nine locations around Minnesota, Schmitt Music offers a great selection of pianos, guitars, organs, band and orchestra gear, saxophones and others. Do you want to play music, but have no experience? Schmitt also offers lessons.

piano Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Music Connection

77 8th Ave SW
Forest Lake, MN 55025
Website | Directory

Family owned by musicians and teachers, Music Connection has been selling music gear since 1981. Music Connection, staying true to its name, has a great selection for any musician.

groth music Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities


Groth Music Store

8056 Nicollet Ave.
Bloomington, MN 55420
Website | Directory

Groth has a staggeringly large selection of musical instruments, including stringed basses, cellos, violins, pianos, keyboards, guitars and a lot more. Professional musicians also stop by to give demonstrations.

acoustic guitar e1305311859523 Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Mr. Marks Music

1921 2nd Ave.
Anoka, MN 55303

Tucked away within the cozy buildings of downtown Anoka, Mr. Mark’s Music is hard to describe. It’s a repair shop for music instruments and gear, but also has an interesting and varied selection of guitars, violins, amps, effects pedals and more.

twintown Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities


Twin Town Guitars

3400 Lyndale Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Website | Directory

This standard, but high-quality, establishment located in Uptown is a great place to get repairs or buy stringed instruments and amps.

guitar generic e1289227161648 Best Places To Buy Music Gear Near The Twin Cities

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Guitar Center

1641 West County Road B2
Roseville, MN 55113
(other locations as well)
Website | Directory

Since there are locations in nearly every state, Guitar Center is by far the largest music store in the United States. That doesn’t mean that the store lacks in quality, however. On top of offering a wide array of musical gear, Guitar Center also has great financing options — if you want to pay for expensive equipment over time.

View Comments
  • Cody

    Don’t skip over LaVonne Wagener Music (a.k.a. LaVonne’s) in downtown Savage. Very similar to Willie’s, you can spend hours and hours here just playing, or conversing with employees and other customers.

    4841 West 124th Street
    Savage, MN 55378

    • kathy

      Can’t believe that My Music in Golden Valley isn’t on this list but Schmitt Music is? Who wrote this article?
      Not only does My Music sell just about any kind of instrument that you could possible want, but they still give you good old fashion customer service. Jim and Linda, the owners, are great to work with. My husband and son love to spend time in there.

      • ChadH

        Agreed. Schmitt and GC… Gross. That’s like saying Kmart is the best place to buy a bike.

        I’ve been going to Mr. Mark’s Music for about 15+ years, and My Music Store for about 6 years. You won’t get better service.

  • bml

    It’s Music Connection, not Collection as the article says. It’s a great music store with very knowledgable staff. They also have a showroom in Edina of pianos… Yamaha I believe. And the owner, Charlie O, is awesome!

  • J Wallin

    Lavonne’s in downtown Savage should be on that list also!!!! Pete and crew are the best in the twin cities in my book!!! I have been their customer since the 70’s when they were located in Burnsville. Friendly and knowledgeable….cool vintage guitars and gear!

  • pants

    do any of these stores take/buy instruments? i have a flute that is all cleaned up fixed in perfect condition but no one will buy or take it, dont get it even when they are looking for a flute for their child. They say its so expensive when i put like 200 for it and new ones are like a grand and used is like 800..ughh so frustrating haha

    • Rosalie Hansen

      I take instruments. I give them to those that use them for Music therapy for those in prisons. They have no budget, yet really gives them a new skill and joy from within.

    • Kathy

      Call some of the school districts in your area and ask if they would like it for their band students. Maybe there is a student that will be able to be a part of the school band becasue of your donation. I know our district has a cosignment sale every year.

  • John Red

    Do not buy from Schmitt Music; there prices are outrageously marked up on guitar gear. I bought a new set of guitar strings there for $19 when I could of gotten them somewhere like Best Buy or Guitar Center for $9 standard. The same goes with guitars and amps, always overpriced compared to other (better) stores. They’ll rob you blind if you go in without out any prior knowledge, new buyers beware!

  • Sandy

    Don’t forget Capitol Guitars in St. Paul. Their customer service is the best!

  • Jesse

    This is the worst list of places to buy gear I have ever read. Don’t shop at Schmitt or Guitar Center. Shop at local stores like Twin Town and Willies Encore or online.

  • Reasonable

    The Music Go Round stores are all pretty solid as well and they will buy your stuff.
    There’s also Podium in Dinkytown for some very cool acoustics and such.

  • Buddy Holly

    Schmidt Music has the “Mall Mentality”..They meet you at the door,barrage you with questions & follow you around endlessly..Touching,inspecting or playing an instrument there is almost forbidden..I can go to Guitar Center,spot an instrument & the sales staff is actually eager to allow me to play it without hovering down my back..Schmidt Music will charge FULL RETAIL for any product they sell,no discounts,bartering or haggling allowed..They make a fortune by overcharging uninformed parents on teh School Band Rental Contracts where you end up paying 3x what the instrument is worth.

  • Paul M.

    Schmidt Music does not deserve to be mentioned on the same page as Willies..Ain’t even close.

  • matthew m

    Comments by “Buddy Holly” and “John Red” are actually just false. Schmitt Music does NOT charge “Full Retail” on anything… they wouldn’t still be in business if they did!

    Regarding guitar string prices, Schmitt Music is price competitive on ALL BRANDS… you won’t find cheaper strings at Guitar Center or any other retailer.

    Sorry, Buddy Holly. You expect us to believe that a music store could charge “full retail” and stay in business for over 100 years?! That’ll be the day! ;)

    • Buddy Holly

      Schmidt Music stays in business by maximizing their School Band Instrument Rental Contracts in dozens of School Districts around the state..Uninformed & Non Musical parents are duped into signing rental contracts for Juniors clarinet,trumpet,flute,saxophone,etc. under the guise of “easy return” should Jr. quit band..Those contracts total up to 3-4 times in rental fees of what the actual cash value of the “reconditioned” instrument is worth..Schmidt has been doing this for decades,it’s old news & common knowledge..I hope you like your job at Schmidt Matthew!

      • TristanMarie

        Thanks Buddy, we were going to Schmidt today – will avoid it.

  • lionking

    American Guitar in Maple Grove. Come on people you cant find better custom gear in town. And Cory and the crew know music!

  • Brian Tanning

    Evans Music in downtown White Bear Lake is also a great music store–small and very personable.

  • John 2

    Scmitt music…#2?…Store is a joke. So is the person writing the article.

  • Schmidt???

    I can’t believe they are actually on this list with Wiiles,TwinTown,etc. They are as corporate as IBM. Known as a “Look but don’t Touch” store & the quietest music store around. I’d buy a guitar at Target before Schmidt!

  • Candi

    Schmitt?! Seriously?! That’s funny – every music instructor in town (minus the ones in the schools) will tell you to avoid them like the plague…

    What about Ellis Drum Shop? My son and I were there last night and bought his first set. We stopped into the “Dude” Center a few weeks ago to look at sets and, as usual, they were far too busy with their fellow dudes to help out the woman with the 8 year old boy. My experience tells me that’s because a) neither of us could wail on the instrument we were looking at and b) neither of us is an adult male with a metal mullet. I quit shopping for guitar equipment there years ago. But Ellis was quite possibly THE BEST instrument shopping experience I’ve ever had. Doug called me when the the set I wanted came in, put the heads on and tuned them up, showed us how to put the hardware together, helped us load it up, let my son pick out any pair of sticks he wanted and seemed genuinely excited for the kid. My son even recognized the difference between the two stores and, as we left with his set last night, he said, “Ellis should be our drum shop from now on, Mom.” Rock on, my little man. Rock on.

  • Smahl

    Who did this list I cant believe you left out American Guitar in Maple Grove. But you put Schmitt and the Guitar Center

  • deborahmclaren

    Homestead Pickin Parlor in Richfield is amazing! It’s a real musician’s store – all kinds of stringed instruments all kinds of jams – its a cultural icon in Minnesota. And those folks are right – Schmidt Music is awful. It felt sterile and mall-like and I left within 5 minutes, never to return. Who wrote this article anyway? Seems like one of those pitched formulaic articles where someone got their info out of a phone book. They don’t know the scene.

  • Wimpy

    Whoa, whoa, get out the way with that good ifonrmaotin.

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