Discover the Best Music Stores in Berkeley: Your Ultimate Guide

Music stores in berkeley offer a wide range of musical instruments and equipment for purchase. Located in the heart of the san francisco bay area, berkeley is home to a vibrant music scene that attracts musicians from all over the world.

Whether you are a seasoned musician or just starting out, the music stores in berkeley have everything you need to get started or take your skills to the next level. From guitars and drums to keyboards and amplifiers, these stores offer a diverse selection of products from top brands in the industry.

Additionally, many of these stores also provide music lessons and repair services to help you enhance your skills and keep your equipment in top shape.

Discover the Best Music Stores in Berkeley: Your Ultimate Guide


Overview Of Music Scene In Berkeley

Berkeley’S Rich Musical History

Berkeley, california, has a rich cultural history associated with music and is home to a vibrant and diverse music scene. Here are some fascinating things to know about the city’s musical past:

  • The renowned university of california, berkeley, is the birthplace of the free speech movement and played a central role in shaping the city’s music culture in the 1960s. It was during this time that berkeley became a hub for artists, social activists, and musicians.
  • Legendary musical icons such as joan baez, country joe & the fish, grateful dead, and creedence clearwater revival – all formed in the 1960s – have immense ties to berkeley and its musicians. The city thrived amidst the fiercely creative and innovative environment of the 1960s counterculture, and many musicians still hold berkeley close to their hearts.
  • The music scene diversified in the years that followed, and berkeley became host to a multitude of genres and myriad venues, including historic jazz clubs, world-class symphonies, outdoor festivals, and independent record stores. Today, the city continues to build on its musical legacy, attracting artists and music lovers from around the world.

Popular Genres In The Area

Berkeley’s musical landscape encompasses a wide range of genres that cater to different tastes and audiences. Here are some of the most prevalent ones:

  • Jazz: Berkeley has a long history of jazz, dating back to the 1950s when renowned artists like dave brubeck, gerry mulligan, and chet baker played at local clubs. Today, the tradition continues, and venues like the freight & salvage coffeehouse still host legendary jazz performances.
  • Rock: The city is home to a thriving rock scene and has produced several famous bands in the genre, such as green day, rancid, and tigers jaw. Venues like 924 gilman and the uc theater host regular rock concerts that attract fans from all over the bay area.
  • Classical: With the highly esteemed uc berkeley department of music and the berkeley symphony orchestra, the city has a rich musical heritage in the classical tradition. The cal performances series brings world-class classical musicians and orchestras to the city.
  • World music: Berkeley’s diverse community is reflected in its music scene. Venues like ashkenaz music & dance community center and the uptown nightclub offer a varied selection of world music, including latin, african, and indian.

Current State Of The Music Industry In Berkeley

The music industry has gone through evolutions in recent years, and berkeley’s music scene has had to adapt to changing times. Here are some key takeaways:

  • The city’s independent music stores have had to compete with the convenience of music streaming services like spotify and apple music. However, stores like amoeba music and rasputin music continue to thrive by offering a vast selection of vinyl records, cds, and merchandise that caters to music lovers of all ages and genres.
  • The covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the live music industry in berkeley, as it has everywhere else. Venues have had to adapt to social distancing measures, and some have shut down permanently. However, the city’s passionate community of musicians and music lovers has continued to support the scene, and venues have had success with streaming services and virtual concerts.
  • Looking forward, the future is bright for berkeley’s music scene. The city’s cultural heritage and fantastic venues continue to attract emerging artists and seasoned musicians, ensuring that the vibrancy and diversity of the scene will continue to exist for years to come.
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Amoeba Music

The History Of Amoeba Music In Berkeley

Amoeba music is a famous independent record store located in the heart of berkeley, california. Here’s a brief history:

  • Amoeba music started in 1990 in berkeley as a small indie music shop.
  • In 1997, amoeba music moved to its current location and expanded its store to 24,000 square feet, making it the biggest independent record store globally.
  • The record store features a wide variety of genres such as rock, pop, hip hop, jazz, etc.
  • In addition to that, amoeba music hosts live performances and events throughout the year.

The Unique Selection Of Vinyl Records And Cd’S

Amoeba music is a music lover’s paradise, with a vast collection of vinyl records and cds. Here are some reasons why amoeba music has gained high recognition for its unique selection:

  • Amoeba music features a vast collection of old and new vinyl records, ranging across every music genre.
  • The store also houses a vast collection of cds, making it the largest independent music retailer of physical cds.
  • You can find rare and hard-to-find vinyl records and cds that you may not find elsewhere.
  • Amoeba music provides local and independent artists with a platform to showcase their music, and the store houses a dedicated section for local music.

The Knowledgeable Staff

The staff at amoeba music is always available to assist customers in finding the perfect record or cd. Here are the reasons why the staff is highly knowledgeable:

  • All of the staff members are music aficionados and are passionate about their work.
  • If you are unsure what to buy, the staff can guide you and make recommendations based on your preferences.
  • The staff also includes musicians who can help you find what you’re looking for, and give suggestions on the best playing equipment.
  • The staff members are always ready to share their knowledge about music and help you discover new artists.

Rasputin Music

Music fans in berkeley, california, are spoiled for choice with the many music stores spread throughout the city. One of the most popular and famous is rasputin music, which has been a fixture in the community for many years. In this section, we will explore the history of rasputin music in berkeley, the variety of new and used cds and vinyl, and the in-store events and promotions.

The History Of Rasputin Music In Berkeley

  • Founded in 1971 in berkeley, rasputin music started as a small, independent record store that quickly gained popularity in the community.
  • Today, they have several locations throughout northern california that continue to serve passionate music lovers.
  • The store has always been a go-to spot for vintage and used vinyl enthusiasts, as well as fans of new releases across all genres of music.

The Variety Of New And Used Cds And Vinyl

  • Rasputin music boasts an impressive selection of new and used cds and vinyl with the latest releases and classic hits.
  • Their collection includes genres such as rock, pop, hip-hop, country, jazz, soul, and much more.
  • Their staff is dedicated to ensuring that the music selection remains fresh, exciting, and diverse for their loyal customers to explore.

The In-Store Events And Promotions

  • Rasputin music is not just a store; it’s an experience. The store frequently hosts in-store events, such as intimate performances and album signings by popular artists.
  • They also have exciting promotions like clearance sales and exclusive releases for their customers.
  • Their friendly and knowledgeable staff is always eager to help music aficionados discover new, exciting pieces to add to their collections.

Rasputin music is a music lover’s paradise that has been a staple of the berkley community for decades. Their passionate staff, incredible selection, and exciting in-store events and promotions continue to make them the go-to music store for fans throughout northern california.

Down Home Music Store

The History Of Down Home Music Store In Berkeley

If you’re a music lover in berkeley looking for some of the city’s best selection of blues and roots music, the down home music store is a must-visit destination. This iconic music store has been a fixture of berkeley’s vibrant music scene since it was established in the mid-1970s.

Here are some interesting facts about the down home music store’s history:

  • Founded by local blues enthusiast chris strachwitz, the down home music store was originally located on adeline street in south berkeley.
  • Strachwitz had founded the arhoolie records label in 1960, and he established the down home music store as a way to promote and sell the music he loved.
  • The store moved to its current location on hearst avenue in 1982, where it has remained ever since.
  • Today, the down home music store is still owned and operated by strachwitz and his family, who have become an important part of the berkeley community over the past several decades.
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The Focus On Roots And Blues Music

One of the things that sets the down home music store apart from other music shops in berkeley is its focus on roots and blues music. Here are some reasons why the store’s selection is so special:

  • Down home music store specializes in american roots music and has one of the largest selections of blues music on the west coast.
  • If you’re a fan of old-time, country, or folk music, you’ll find plenty to love at down home music store.
  • The store also offers a selection of international music, with a particular focus on the music of mexico, latin america, and the caribbean.

The Selection Of Vinyl, Cds, And Books On Music

In addition to its impressive selection of roots and blues music, the down home music store also sells a variety of vinyl, cds, and books on music. Here are some things you can expect to find:

  • Down home music store has a vast selection of vinyl records, including rare and hard-to-find releases.
  • The cd selection at the store includes jazz, classical music, and world music, in addition to the blues and roots music for which the store is best known.
  • If you’re a music lover who enjoys learning about the history and culture behind the music, you’ll appreciate the store’s selection of books on music, which covers a wide range of topics and genres.

If you’re a fan of roots and blues music, a visit to down home music store in berkeley should be at the top of your list. With its impressive selection of music, knowledgeable staff, and rich history, it’s one of the city’s true musical gems.

Mod Lang

The History Of Mod Lang In Berkeley

Mod lang, located on college avenue in berkeley, has been an integral part of the bay area’s music scene since 1985. This iconic music store has a rich history that spans across three decades. Here are some key points about the history of mod lang:

  • Founded in 1985 by chris knab, mod lang started as a specialty shop that catered to fans of independent rock music.
  • The store quickly became a popular haunt for college students and music aficionados who were seeking the latest underground releases and hard-to-find imports.
  • Over the years, mod lang has played host to many in-store performances and signings by influential artists such as wire, my bloody valentine, and the flaming lips.

The Focus On Alternative And Indie Rock

Mod lang’s focus on the alternative and indie rock genres has been a defining characteristic of the store since its inception. Here are some key points about the genres that are celebrated at mod lang:

  • The store’s racks are carefully curated to showcase the latest releases and classic albums from alternative and indie rock bands from around the world.
  • Fans of the genres can find everything from obscure garage bands to cult favorites and chart-toppers.
  • The staff at mod lang is knowledgeable and passionate about alternative and indie rock music and can offer personalized recommendations and expert insight.

The Curated Selection Of Records And Cds

Mod lang’s selection of records and cds is curated to ensure that every item on the shelves is worth considering. Here are some key points about the selection of music at mod lang:

  • The store focuses on stocking vinyl, cds, and other physical formats instead of digital downloads to cater to collectors and audiophiles.
  • The selection of music at mod lang is varied and includes everything from punk and post-punk to shoegaze and dream pop.
  • Customers can expect to find rare and hard-to-find items alongside new releases from emerging artists.

Mod lang has been a landmark institution in the bay area music scene for decades, with its focus on alternative and indie rock, carefully curated selection of records and cds, and knowledgeable staff. For music lovers, a visit to mod lang is a must for discovering new sounds and rediscovering old favorites.

The Starving Musician

The starving musician has been a focal point for the musical community in berkeley for over 40 years. It stands out as a treasure trove of musical instruments and equipment for people of all levels of experience, and is an ideal place to shop for music enthusiasts, professionals, and beginners.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the history of the starving musician, the vast selection of instruments available for sale, and the repair and rental services offered to customers.

The History Of The Starving Musician In Berkeley

The starving musician started in the 1960s as a small guitar store by a student named robert quezada. It was solely dedicated to selling used and vintage guitars. In 1972, the store relocated to berkeley and began to expand its offerings.

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The store quickly became a hub for the local music community, as it offered a huge selection of new and used instruments, software, and accessories at affordable prices.

The Vast Selection Of Musical Instruments For Sale

The starving musician is a mecca for any musician, whether you’re looking for a beginner guitar or a professional-grade drum set. The store stocks a range of instruments, including but not limited to:

  • Guitars: Acoustics, electrics, basses
  • Drums and percussion: Drum sets, cymbals, congas, bongos
  • Keyboards and pianos: Digital pianos, midi controllers
  • Wind and brass: Trumpets, saxophones, flutes
  • Strings: Violins, violas, cellos, upright basses

The store also offers a range of music accessories, such as stands, sheet music, cases, and cables. The range is vast and ever-changing, with new products frequently added to the shelves.

The Repair And Rental Services Available

Buying a high-quality instrument can be a considerable investment. The starving musician understands this, which is why it offers repair and rental services. The store’s repair shop is staffed with professionals who provide a comprehensive range of services, such as fixing broken strings or restoring the finish on a guitar.

Rental services are available for anyone who needs an instrument for a specific event or performance. The rental process is simple, and the prices are reasonable, making it a great option for beginners or musicians on a budget.

The starving musician in berkeley is a musical oasis that offers an unparalleled range of instruments, accessories, and services. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, it’s an excellent place to explore. The store has a rich history, and its commitment to providing a wide range of musical products and services at affordable prices has made it a staple in the berkeley community.

Music Events And Community In Berkeley

Music can be a part of our everyday life, and it’s no surprise that berkeley, california, is a booming hub for music lovers. The city has a vibrant music scene with a variety of options for live music events and great music stores.

In this section, we’ll explore the music events and community in berkeley.

Overview Of Music Events In Berkeley

Berkeley is known for its live music events, from concerts and festivals to intimate shows at smaller venues. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The freight & salvage coffeehouse, which hosts various genres of live music, including folk, blues, and bluegrass.
  • The greek theatre, located in the university of california berkeley campus, is a popular venue that hosts big-name bands and artists.
  • Berkeley’s jazzschool institute presents a diverse range of concerts throughout the year.
  • The corner of telegraph ave. and haste st hosts a regular street fair called telegraph ave. street fair where they have a large stage for live music and other activities.

Popular Music Venues

Berkeley boasts several popular music venues that attract local and international artists. These include:

  • Cornerstone craft beer & live music, which has a full bar, outdoor patio, and two stages for live music.
  • Uc theatre taube family music hall, which hosts a variety of concerts by indie, rock, and hip hop artists.
  • Starry plough pub, a cozy pub with live music performances ranging from rock and jazz to irish fiddle music.

The Supportive Music Community In The Area

Berkeley’s music community includes a diverse group of music enthusiasts and artists who support and celebrate the city’s music scene. Here are some of the ways in which the community supports local artists:

  • The annual berkeley world music festival is a platform for local musicians to showcase their talent.
  • The berkeley community theatre offers opportunities for young and aspiring musicians to perform.
  • Many music stores in berkeley, including amoeba music and the starving musician, support local artists by hosting in-store performances and selling their music.

Whether you’re a music lover or musician, berkeley’s music scene has much to offer. With a variety of live music events, popular venues, and a supportive music community, it’s no surprise that berkeley is a top destination for music enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions For Music Stores In Berkeley

What Are Some Of The Best Music Stores In Berkeley?

Amoeba music, the starving musician, rasputin music, down home music

Is It Possible To Buy Music Equipment Online From Berkeley Stores?

Yes, most berkeley music stores have online stores where you can buy instruments, gear, and accessories.

How Do I Find Sheet Music For A Specific Song In Berkeley?

Most music stores in berkeley have extensive collections of sheet music. You can also try local libraries and online stores.

Are There Any Music Stores In Berkeley That Specialize In Vintage Instruments?

Yes, the starving musician specializes in vintage guitars and amps and has a large collection of rare instruments.

Can I Find Music Lessons At Berkeley Music Stores?

Yes, many music stores in berkeley offer lessons for a variety of instruments as well as voice lessons. Check with the individual store for more details.

Is It Possible To Rent Musical Instruments In Berkeley?

Yes, many music stores in berkeley offer instrument rentals including amoeba music and the starving musician.


Berkeley boasts of a vibrant music scene with several music stores that cater to the diverse needs of its residents and visitors. From the iconic and historic rasputin music to the innovative and technology-driven music works to the community-focused down home music and amoeba music, there is something for everyone in the city.

These music stores offer more than just a place to buy cds, vinyl, and instruments but also an opportunity to connect with other music enthusiasts, attend concerts, and learn from experienced professionals. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned musician, the music stores in berkeley offer a rich and authentic music experience.

So, if you are looking for a place to explore your passion for music or to discover new sounds, be sure to stop by one or more of the music stores in berkeley.

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