Written by Steve Mosco, firstname.lastname@example.org Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00
All Music in Plainview has maintained its subterranean location for close to 30 years — a feat worth noting as the music industry tends to change faster than a thrash metal chord progression.
Multiple musical genres have come and gone since the store in the Plainview Shopping Centre first opened in 1984; New Wave gave that 80s sound to everything, hip-hop moved from the street to the studio, hair metal gave music a glossy shine, grunge cleaned up at ticket booths and the intrusion of auto-tune into the mainstream insulted the sensibilities of music lovers everywhere.
But Guy Brogna’s store — with its vast collection of instruments, amplifiers and more — remains and continues to support local melody makers through sales, rentals, lessons and repairs. Brogna believes his store is able to remain viable because of one major factor — service.
“It all boils down to service, No one on the floor works on commission, so every customer gets the same service whether they are buying a $5 piece of sheet music or a $5,000 guitar,” said Brogna, a former Hicksville resident who frequented All Music’s first incarnation, Straub Music, back when it served as a hang out complete with pinball machines. “It’s a surreal thing that the place I grew up hanging out in is now my career. It’s something I never expected.”
Brogna took over All Music from original owner Irwin Natman about two years ago after first joining as a co-partner in 2001. At that time, his metal band Scatterbrain called it quits after touring extensively around the world during the 1990s. The store began with a modest inventory but now boasts a stockpile of tens of thousands of instruments on display and in storage, along with many other musical accoutrements.
While all musicians are treated equally by Brogna and his staff, the store takes great pride in its arsenal of guitars. All Music has all the top name axes, including Gibson, Les Paul and Fender, as well as rare, hard-to-find ones.
“From what people say to me and others, we have some of the coolest stuff that no one else has. And I take pride in that,” said Brogna, adding that the store is one of the few Gibson five-star dealeers in the world and boasts rare guitar models like Cole Clark from Australia and Larrivee guitars. “Everyone has the standard guitars, the Les Paul standards, for example. But we carry models that other places don’t. We are not a cookie-cutter music store.”
And in an effort to offer more to their fretboard aficionado customers, Brogna said All Music recently opened a brand new climate controlled Acoustic Guitar Lounge; giving beginner and accomplished acoustic guitar strummers a relaxed, inviting environment to exercise their talents and test the store’s musical tools.
“Each guitar sounds different, feels different, has its own characteristics that can’t be fully realized if you are purely shopping them online,” he said. “So with that in mind, we have gone to great lengths to make sure that when you make the trip to the store, its really worth it and the experience is second to none.”
It is all a part of the positive service experince that Brogna wants to offer his customers and that service does not stop once a purchase is made. The experts at All Music set up each instrument to the musician’s specifications and they are always available for routine maintenance or repairs further down the road.
“We want to be there to help for as long as you have the instrument,” he said. “That is something we offer that the bigger stores do not. We are in this for the music and the musicians.”
And in an effort to create new musicians, All Music’s second location in Hauppauge boasts Rock N Roll University; which provides music students of all ages with private instruction and band performance rehearsals eventually leading to live concert events. Rock N Roll University goes far beyond repetitive lessons featuring banal numbers like “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Students learn simple rock songs by bands like The Ramones, and jam as a real band before performing in the school’s own version of a recital.
“I’ve had parents tell me that their once shy, introvered kid is now up on stage performing, that music totally opened them up,” said Brogna, recalling the important role music played in his early years. “Music can be a great outlet for any kid. It builds camaraderie and really opens up opportunities.”
And while record stores have disappeared for the most part and new bands are not clamouring for radio station exposure as they once did, Brogna’s store will continue to provide a musical release below street level.
“The industry has changed, but there will always be music,” he said.
For more information on All Music, visit www.allmusicinc.com and to check out Rock N Roll University, check out www.rnruniversity.com.