A look at Melbourne’s best guitar shops
16.07.2021

A look at Melbourne’s best guitar shops

Echo Tone - photo via Facebook
Words by Elsie Lange

For first time guitar buyers, custom builds or repairs, these Melbourne music stores have you covered.

Melbourne is literally the live music capital of the world. Every weekend, everyone is either seeing a gig or playing one. A live music census from 2017 found the city held more than 73,000 live gigs that year, creating more than 3,500 jobs for musicians.

So, where do all those musicians pick up their guitars? Where do they go for a fix, or to buy a new six-stringed pal? Here’s an inexhaustive list of some of the city’s best guitar shops and why they rock.

Keep up with the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

Found Sound

Connoisseurs of the weird, wonderful, and rare, Found Sound is a Melbourne institution and one of the best guitar shops in the city. Scrolling through the store’s Instagram, you’ll see familiar faces like Courtney Barnett, Osees, Gareth Liddiard, and Kurt Vile. Though it’s probably not the spot for beginners to pick up an entry-level guitar, it is the place to go for repairs or to buy something special you’ve been eyeing off for a while. Check out the Bjenny Montero mural while you’re there, it’s magic.

Find Found Sound at 155 Elgin Street via Markov Place, Carlton.

 

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Music Swop Shop

If you are still finding your feet (or hands?) as a guitarist and aren’t quite ready to splash too much cash just yet, head around the corner from Found Sound to the iconic Music Swop Shop, where they have everything from beginner nylon string guitars through to vintage Rickenbackers and Gibsons. Operating since 1982, the staff in this cosy store will give you all the advice you need on your guitar-shopping journey.

Find Music Swop Shop at 145-147 Elgin Street, Carlton.

 

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Guitar Emporium

Guitar Emporium is another good option if you’re on the hunt for something a bit special (and have a bit of dosh to drop). The store’s red brick walls sparkle with their vintage stock, so even if you just want to gander at some beautiful instruments, this is a hell of a place to find inspiration or to add to the wish list. They do in-house repairs as well.

Find Guitar Emporium at 20 Lalor Street, Port Melbourne.

 

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Shub Guitars

Want a custom-built guitar by one of Melbourne’s best? Look no further than Shub Guitars. Their handcrafted gats are one-of-a-kind, plus they also do instrument setups, modifications, and repairs. They’ll take the time and work with you to make sure your new guitar is literally made to suit you, which is pretty incredible. You can find their rates and start a conversation through their website.

Find Shub Guitars at 231 Dundas Street, Preston.

 

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Echo Tone

It would be blasphemous to write a list of great guitar shops in Melbourne without mentioning Echo Tone. Not only is it a stunning shop to walk into, but the staff are also friendly, patient, and willing to lend an ear to goofy queries (trust me, I know). They specialise in old and new guitars and gear, with a guitar repair workshop operating, too.

Find Echo Tone at 497 High St, Northcote.

 

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Clingan Guitar Tone

This shop made headlines a few years ago when they put a 24/7 music vending machine out the front of their store, but because guitars generally don’t fit in vending machines, it’s probably best you head inside to have a look around and a chat. Clingan Guitar Tone is another great custom guitar builder, using new technologies and older techniques to create guitars that look and sound exquisite.

Find Clingan Guitar Tone at 34 Sackville Street, Collingwood.

Acoustic Centre

This is Australia’s only dedicated acoustic store and your one-stop-shop for a new hollow-bodied guitars and buying advice. They stock classic brands including Maton, Cole Clark, Martin and Taylor, as well as handmade, boutique instruments from across the world. They have a cool entry-level selection too. Simply wander in to yarn with their passionate staff about what you need.

Find Acoustic Centre at 206 Park Street, South Melbourne.

Other notable mentions

World of Music – 809 Nepean Highway, Brighton East
Eastgate Music1131 Burke Rd, Kew
Guitar Paradise – 402 Victoria Street, Richmond
Scarlett Music – 284-288 Ballarat Road, Footscray
Sky Music – 4/2181 Prince Highway, Clayton
Coleman’s Music – 105 Elizabeth Street, CBD
The Guitar Colonel – 222A Clarendon Street, CBD
Guitar Gallery – 38 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Guitar Station – 487 Malvern Road, South Yarra

Up next: we asked a bunch of cherished Melbourne musicians to tell us about their favourite books