D’Addario Re-String Re-Cycle event Saturday 4/8/17


This Saturday we will be hosting a free re-stringing event courtesy of D’Addario strings and the Terra-cycle recycling program.  This program will introduce you to D’Addario’s premium string line–NYXL for electric and Nickel Bronze for acoustic guitar–and to the concept of string recycling. These new strings feature enhanced strength, projection and clarity.  It’s hard to describe sound, so the best way to check them out is to listen to them on your guitar.  And this Saturday is your opportunity to take a no-risk test-drive. Just bring your guitar to Downtown Sounds and we’ll put on a set for free.  We have a limited supply, so if you’d like to reserve a set for yourself, give us a call at 413-586-0998 or send an email to info@downtownsounds.com and let us know which set you want.  We have 9’s, 10’s and 11’s in the NYXL electric sets, and 11’s, 12’s and 13’s in the nickel bronze.

After we change the strings, your old strings will be deposited in a special box that goes to a company called Terracycle.  They specialize in recycling all kinds of consumer products.  So in addition to your free strings, you can feel good that you have kept your old strings out of a landfill.  Every time we take off an old set of strings at Downtown Sounds, they are recycled.   If you change strings yourself, we can also take your old strings if you want to bring them in.

Hope to see you Saturday.

Stu Fuchs Ukulele Workshops April 29, 2017

Downtown Sounds is pleased to bring back ukulele virtuoso and teacher extraordinaire Stu Fuchs for two workshops on April 29, 2017.  There will be a beginner workshop at 1 pm, and “Ukulele Zen band” at 2:30 pm.  Both will take place at the Click Workspace, 9 1/2 Market St. in Northampton. For more information and registration, please click on the individual workshop buttons.

Stuart will also play a concert set on his ukuleles & guitar with Sarah Carlisle on upright bass and mandolin at 7pm.  The two will premiere new songs from Stu’s upcoming album “After all the Time”.  www.stufuchs.com



New Portable PA systems from Mackie

We have just received two excellent new small PA systems from Mackie.  The Freeplay is great for buskers, as it can be used with batteries; it’s also great for small studios or home entertainment, as it has bluetooth capability that will play music from your phone or tablet.  The Reach is a great sounding line array PA system which can be used alone or with a subwoofer for small stages.

Please click on the image for details on each one.



Inspiration at the NAMM show

Last month I was fortunate to get away from winter for a couple of weeks, and at the end of the vacation I attended the annual music industry trade show, NAMM.  One of the things I do there is go to dealer breakfasts, where we get to listen to people talk about the industry.

I was particularly lucky to hear Jake Shimabukuro play his ukulele, and then be interviewed by Joe Lamond, NAMM’s president, about his life’s work. Jake talked a great deal about the importance of music education, and the role it can play in improving the lives of young people.  As someone who was bad at sports, music is what gave him the confidence to get through all the trials of the teen years.  I loved it when he said “Music and arts are PE for the mind”.  And I loved it when his interviewer remarked that you just can’t help smiling when someone is playing ukulele.

You can hear the interview here if you’d like: https://www.namm.org/nammu/industry/game-changers-jake-shimabukuro-2016-namm-show

And if you’d like to hear Jake play the ukulele, he’s coming to the Academy of Music on April 14th!

Earthquaker pedals now in stock

Aaron saw this line of pedals at the NAMM show and really liked them.  So now we have a selection of their pedals.  They do some very interesting and unusual things!  You’re welcome to drop by the store and see for yourself.  Scroll down to see what we have, and click on the images of the pedals for more information about each one.


Just in: Vintage Fender Tremolux amp

We don’t often get the really cool old vintage amps, but this one just came in.  Howard Rose, our repair tech, went through it and restored it to great working condition.  Come check it out!

Click on the image of amp for more details.

Supro Jupiter amp now in stock

We have just received the new Jupiter model amp from Supro.  This is the third of their amps we have received, featuring extra power and a 12″ speaker.  Click on the image below for more details.


Downtown Sounds wins the sale on MI Spy!

Every month the music industry trade magazine “Music and Sound Retailer” publishes a story about a mystery shopper they send around to stores all over the US.  The shopper is called MI Spy, and last month he (or she) visited Northampton to check out the music scene here.  Downtown Sounds was one of four stores featured, and I’m very please to say that we came out on top and won the spy’s endorsement.  Here is the part of the article about us:

There’s a reason why Downtown Sounds has been awarded “Best Mu­sical instrument shop in the Pioneer Valley” by the local Valley Advocate this year and, judging by the award stickers on the wall, nearly every other year for the past few decades. (This year, Luthier’s Co-op won second place in the same contest, and Gerry’s Music Shop took third.)

Downtown Sounds opened in the ’70s, and it has been an integral part of Northampton’s music scene ever since.  During my visit to the shop, customers poured in and out of the store, many staying longer than I did, and tested out the vast selection of instruments. From floor to ceiling, the store is lined with guitars, bass guitars, drum sets, accessories and, yes, ukuleles.Downtown Sounds is one of the larger stores I visited, similar in size to Gerry’s. I was greeted by one of the two store employees behind the counter, and I told them both my mission.They pointed me to where a handful of ukuleles were hanging on the wall.  I walked over and, at the recommendation of one of the employees, picked up a Kala tenor travel ukulele, listed at $259.The body was one of the thinnest I’ve ever seen on a ukulele, which, the man said, is what makes it travel-sized. Even though the body was nearly half the width of the others, it still had a nice sound. It also, of course, was incredibly light.  The employee also pulled out two others he recommended, made in the U.SA. by Massachusetts-based company Fluke.They were listed at $229. A large, circular opening on the head of the ukes near the tuning instruments helps add more depth to the bass and the overall sound of the instrument, the man told me. Indeed, they both had a rich sound, especially for a ukulele. The one drawback to the Flukes, I was told,is that they have plastic frets instead of metal, and they could become worn over time.Still, he told me, “I’ve played $1,000 ukuleles that didn’t sound that much better than these.  They really have a nice sound, and they’re a local company.” Their appearance was interesting, too; both bodies were unusual shapes, and the front of the bodies were painted different colors.  I was really impressed by the employee knowledge. Clearly, they’re passionate about music and the instruments they sell, and they were able to tell me all kinds of fine details about the pros and cons of each instrument. It seemed to me like their top priority wasn’t making a sale but, rather, making sure I found the best possible instrument for my needs.There were plenty of stools and quiet side rooms to try out the instruments, and it was a pleasure to browse through the selection in peace and to ask for help when I needed it.

The greater Northampton area is a fun, artsy place to visit, as were the music stores I shopped.Judging by the stores’overall selections and customer service, my two favorites were Downtown Sounds and Gerry’s Music Shop. It’s hard to pick between the two, but I’d have to award the final sale to Downtown Sounds for its vibe, exception­ally knowledgeable staff and expansive selection. A music lover could spend all day in that store, which is what I intend to do the next time I return.

If you’d like to read the full article, here’s a link:  http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/507100a7#/507100a7/36.  Enjoy.


Sale on Novation keyboard controllers

If you’re in the market for a keyboard controller for your computer recording setup, you’ll be happy to hear about a sale on our Novation controllers.  The sale prices are good until the end of the year.  These USB keyboards work really well: the keyboards feel good, the they’re easily recognized and compatible with any program out there.  Click on the images for more details.

on sale for $79.99

on sale for $129.99

Launchkey 49

on sale for $169.99


Arrived this week: Ampeg bass amps

We have just received our first shipment of Ampeg bass amps.  Included are the inexpensive BA- series for practice or low-key gigs, plus  a couple of their professional amps.  The Portaflex amp, based on a classic design from the 1960’s, has a head that flips over to hide inside the cabinet when it’s being moved.  The cabinet has one 15″ speaker with a horn, the head boasts 500 watts of power.  We also received the head and cabinets in the photo:  the SVT-7Pro bass head, which features 1000 watts of power into 4 ohms and a tube preamp but weighs only 15 pounds, a 2 X 10 cabinet (SVT-210AV) and a 4 X 10 (SVT-410HLF) which has built-in wheels for easy transport.  They make a really great sounding combination!


TC Poly tune clip-on tuner

For those of you who love clip-on tuners but want one that does a little bit more, the TC polytune clip-on is for you.

Click on the image for more details!


Happy Birthday Les Paul

Legendary guitarist Les Paul was born 100 years ago this month.  Gibson, which makes his namesake guitar, as decided to celebrate by putting its Epiphone Les Paul guitars on sale.  So for the rest of this June you can save about 15% on Epiphone Les Paul guitars which we have in stock.  Come in and check out our selection.