Balaam’s Music in Bury St Edmunds, stocks a huge range of instruments and music books, and is one of the few remaining music shops in the country with its own repair workshop. Trading from the present Risbygate Street site since 1956, the shop has become an institution among musicians, and is a treasure trove of musical instruments and printed music. Browsers are officially welcome!
You can try out digital keyboards and pianos from leading brands Roland and Casio. Nothing beats trying out an instrument for yourself, rather than relying on second hand impressions of what other people think modern keyboards and pianos might be like. Modern digital pianos have an astonishingly authentic sound and touch, and are usually the most sensible answer for the modern home.
Guitars of all kinds, Acoustic, Classical and Electric are always popular, with Acoustic instruments soaring in popularity in the last few years. Balaam’s (it’s pronounced “Baylums” !) stock guitars by Faith, Eko, Kala, Brunswick, Valencia and Admira, among others, providing a range from the basic student models to instruments for the more accomplished player.
As well as the instruments, there’s a large range of all the bits and pieces that go with them – tuners, strings, guitar straps, plectrums, polishes and cleaners, covers and cases, microphones, cables and connectors.
The ukulele is another instrument that has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years.. Available in many different finishes and materials – there’s even a plastic, waterproof model- prices range from below £30 to over £200. It’s almost impossible to say “Ukulele” and not smile!
Saxophones have remained popular through the decades, and Balaam’s carries good stocks of instruments by Yamaha, Trevor James, Artemis and others. Sax players from all over East Anglia regularly bring in their instruments for repairs and servicing by David Ivory, the shop’s long-serving instrument technician (and star Cinema Organist!)
Woodwind instruments feature in Balaam’s Instrument Rental programme, providing beginners with the chance to learn on a decent quality instrument from the start with the minimum of outlay, The scheme is not restricted to woodwind instruments either, as Brass and Bowed Stringed instruments are also available for three-monthly rental on the plan. If the instrument is bought within six months, all the rental payments count against the purchase price, so there’s no risk to rental, in fact for many it’s the obvious solution.
Balaams also carry a huge stock of Printed Music books, including current and past pieces set for exams by ABRSM and Trinity College. They keep tutor books for nearly all instruments, as well as plenty of repertoire and music you can just play for pleasure, in all styles and levels of difficulty. If you’re trying to find a Christmas or Birthday present for a musician, or a would-be musician, there’s also a wide-ranging display of musically themed gifts at sensible prices.