Miscellaneous Rumbles

Arlington, VA (or thereabouts) Guitar Stores


Oh, lucky me. My employer is relocating from Glendale, CA to Arlington, VA, and while I thought they would put me out to pasture and move on, they actually offered me a job there. Now I haven't accepted it yet, as I need to do a fair bit of research to do in order to assess the feasibility of such a relocation. So besides the secondary stuff like housing affordability, quality of life, demographics, and climate, I need to learn about the critical stuff there, like quantity and quality of guitar stores.

Any GDPers familiar with the area? I have to go there in a couple of weeks to help set up the new offices, but I should have some time after hours for primary research. Any suggestions or drivably-nearby locales to check out would be appreciated.


Heck yeah -- been here 20+ years now. It's expensive but still CA always tops the list of 10 most expensive places. Congested also but still CA ranks up there. As far as stores, there's Action Music in Falls Church, Atomic Music in Beltsville (MD) -- then the usual constellation of GC (aka Satan's Guitar Store), Victor Litz up in Gaithersburg... there are some smaller ones also


Frank, I just moved to DC in September. I think a guitar store you would really dig, would be Action Music in Falls Church, VA. They have piles and piles of cool vintage gear. Chuck Levins in Weaton, MD (DC) is also good for new gear.

I've likened Action Music to a fine art dealer, whereas Chuck Levins is like a hardware store . . .it is filled with items of great utility.

I'm sure Bob Howard and/or DCBirdman will be here shortly to fill in any gaps.

Edit: DCBirdman was on it before l could finish typing.


Yup. These are the places I would recommend as well as a cool shop called Shamrock Music in Purcellville, VA that seem to be the first to get the new Gretsch stuff and a couple more shops up in Catonsville, MD.

Action Music is my favorite as it has the coolest revolving collection of vintage things, and where else can you pop in and try out a Swart amp and then compare it to Dr. Z or an old Supro?

I've been going to Chuck Levin's Washington Music since the early 1960's. They fell like a New York store, packed with decades of stuff and a no nonsense way about them.


Cool! Thanks, all. Good thing I'm there for a week, and then back again two weeks later, I may need that time to hit all those places. Not convinced I want to move there yet, but still looking into it.


Yes, forgot about Levins... it's sort of off my path. Still, something for everyone.


Classic Axe in Gainesville usually has a good selection of Gretsch and Rics and other fun things. Shamrock Music in Purceville has Gretsch's.

For bluegrass, Pickers Supply in Fredericksburg is worth a visit as is Fredericksburg itself.

I hear good things about House of Musical Traditions in Tacoma Park, MD but never been there.

For wow factor, Action Music is it.


Matt at Action Music is the guy! I love that shop. Atomic Music is a large collection of used stuff, but there's always something cool in there. Worth the ride on the beltway...


Couple of other things. The GC at 7 Corners (maddening intersection) in Falls Church has been slowlyselling off vintage gear of a local collector. There have been some nice items show up there. Plus, it is not too far from Action.

NOVA Music in Manassas (NOVA=North Virginia) is a small, family run shop. Everyone there is extremely friendly. They too have been selling a collectors vintage gear.

There is a BRAND NEW GC in Alexandria. I visited the other day just to see what a new GC looks like.

Keep in mind traffic around here is a challenge just about any time of day so plot your trips carefully!


Too bad The Guitar Shop closed back in 2011... ( https://www.washingtonpost.... )

it wasn´t a place for great deals but it was really nice for chatting and get to know interesting people. I exchanged a few words with Bruce Springsteen there once.

I second Action Music in Falls Church, Atomic Music in Beltsville and Chuck Levin´s


traffic around here is a challenge just about any time of day so plot your trips carefully! -- Mark G

Well that right there is enough to make me not want to move there, I already live with this in L.A.

Looks like I'll have a hard time getting any actual work done with all these music stores to investigate. But priorities are priorities.

Thanks again to all for the responses. Still waiting to find out more about the relocation package, but based on what I've seen of real estate pricing there, it doesn't look like a noticeably lower cost of living, I'm struggling to find a compelling reason to relocate, beyond retention of ongoing employment, which, admittedly, is nothing to sneeze at these days, particularly for someone my age.


Frank, it doesn't sound like you want to move. I'll bet there are more cool guitar shops near you than there are around here. And what about the Lizards? Cost of living is among the highest and the traffic gridlock this year eclipsed the LA area for the first time. I could be wrong about all of these things but that's the way it seems to me. At least do a visit first.


In my best hypnotic voice:

You don't want to move. You don't want to move. You don't want to move. You don't want to move.


Yeah, Bob (Howard). I've been told the same thing by others about the cost of living and the traffic, and the notion of uprooting everything, divesting a lot of gear, and moving what's left across the country at my age isn't terribly appealing. And I took a survey at rehearsal last night, and the band voted against my moving (I figured since guitar players are easy to find in L.A., they might have felt I was more expendable). My quartet voted similarly. But I will be spending a few weeks there in Arlington (one week at a time) in the coming months, so at the very least I'll see what the local guitar emporia have to offer, something I do when I travel by myself.

You don't want to move. You don't want to move. You don't want to move. You don't want to move. -- Ric12String

Oh, and apparently my attorney doesn't want me to go, either.

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