Since 1976, Nashville Used & New Music has been the musicians’ music store. The place for top-notch musical gear at reasonable prices and also the place to sell your gear for a fair price. Family-owned and staffed by experienced and knowledgeable musicians with decades of experience in studios and on the road, Nashville Used & New Music offers expert and friendly customer service with a family feel. Whether you’re an old pro or just learning your first notes, it’s no wonder that many of the Music City’s most up-and-coming as well as accomplished musicians have been giving Nashville Used & New Music their business for decades.
The story of Nashville Used & New Music began, appropriately enough, with the classic and often repeated tale of a young musician moving to Nashville to make it in the biz. Inspired by his brother’s band, Clarksville, Tennessee native Charlie Shrader began playing music while in high school, in both the school band and as the leader of his own garage band. After moving to Nashville in 1966, Charlie worked the Middle Tennessee nightclub circuit as a vocalist and sax player, eventually joining the up-and-coming show band, The Graduates in 1968, playing many of the country's greatest venues. Years of hard touring and two albums followed until Charlie and his bandmate, Jim Mullins, decided to get off the road and start a custom furniture business in Nashville. This would be the seeds for what would eventually transition into a music store.
“We had a small shop on Nolensville Road,” Charlie recalls. “One day I decided to sell all my music gear and Jim wanted to sell his stuff too. So we set up a sale on a Sunday and ran an ad in the paper. At the end of the day we had a room full of sawdust and about 10,000 bucks. So we decided to get rid of the sawdust.”
What Charlie and Jim discovered was an untapped and under-served market in Nashville for used, quality musical equipment. The handful of dedicated music shops in the city tended to emphasize new product to the general public and pawn shops offered little in the way of knowledgeable customer service about the products they sold. They started off selling strings and acessories while consigning musical instruments. The vision was to be one of the first shops to offer a full line of music instruments — from guitars to drums, keyboards, horns, woodwinds,and more — catering to a clientele that ranged from grade school novices to experienced Nashville Cats.
The concept of a full-service music shop that paid equal attention to both used and new merchandise and provided customer service based in the personal experience and expertise of working musicians proved to be a winning formula. Starting with their small shop on Nolensville Road, Charlie and Jim grew their business, often tapping their own customer base for knowledgeable employees. In 1976, they formally incorporated the business as Musician's Flea Market, which within a couple of years adopted the name Music City Music Store.
Along the way, the business partners also maintained a presence in Nashville’s local music scene, owning and managing the popular early-80s nightclub, Blazing Saddles, and reopening and running one of Nashville’s most iconic music venues, the Exit/In, for a short period in the early 1980s.
Charlie and Jim grew the business to become a cornerstone of Nashville's music community, eventually comprising five stores in the greater Middle Tennessee area. The success did not come without some major bumps in the road however, including a fire at the main store in 1993 which amounted to a total loss. But the duo pulled themselves from the ashes, found a new location, and reestablished themselves as Nashville Used & New Music. Sadly in 2012 Jim Mullins passed away, but Charlie continued, eventually bringing his son into the business.
Despite the challenges, increased competetion, and the many changes that Nashville has undergone over the decades, Nashville Used & New Music has continued their reputation as the place to shop for musical gear and equipment — from quality entry-level instruments to high-end vintage gear. Whether you’re an experienced professional or a absolute beginner, you can expect the same level of knowledgeable service from the friendly and welcoming staff. That’s why this store remains one of the best music stores in the nation.
“We made our name off selling used and new musical equipment,” Charlie says. “And the basics haven’t changed that much. We have a great staff, and we’re proud to be the longest-operating full-line music store in Nashville.”