• In the Spotlight… Becketts Music

    Becketts Music... In the Spotlight

    trio of images of the inside of becketts shop
    In the Spotlight today is Becketts Music, based in Southampton. In 2021, this extensively stocked music shop celebrated its 75th year since opening in 1946! We caught up with the owner, Dan Redhead, to find out what they’ve got to offer in the shop and how they can help you, our lovely Take it away customers.

    What is the story behind Becketts?

    The business was started in 1946 by Mr Beckett senior, so we celebrated our 75th year of trading in 2021. I joined Becketts in 1980 as a sales assistant and subsequently became manager. Mr Beckett’s son at that time was running the shop and eventually, we became business partners. I had always wanted to do something within the music sector and a plan was agreed to allow him to eventually retire at which point I took over the business. It was a very amicable arrangement and Mr Beckett still carries out repairs for the store as a 3rd party repairer today.

    Old black and white image of becketts music shop front

    What can customers expect when they come to visit you?

    We can offer a great wealth of knowledge having been involved in the music industry for many years. Our staff are knowledgeable on the instruments we have for sale, either as players or from years of sales experience (or both!). We have a reputation for good honest advice and help which is not earned by being a “quick box shifter”.

    timpani inside shopWhat’s the most unusual instrument in your shop?

    At the moment, probably a 25″ timpani sat in the shop – any takers?

    What additional services do you offer?

    Repairs to instruments are the main additional service we offer. We don’t have much physical space so we’re unable to offer tuition but we do work closely with local teachers – do ask us for recommendations!

    Go on, tell us about your most famous customer…

    Over the years we have had involvement with many celebrities as we are located only a stone’s throw from the local Mayflower Theatre. We have had last-minute requests from musicians appearing at the theatre, musicians who were performing for the Queen on board a ship following its launch but had left gear behind, as well as James Last (a blast from the past) who wanted music stands within an hour.

    Name a favourite piece of music. (From any genre you like, absolutely no judgement!)

    There would be so many, I guess it really depends on your mood at the time. I have quite a range of interests but it would have to be something with a decent melody. Sorry, I can’t pick from such a vast library to choose from!

    How do you get involved in your local community?

    We visit schools to explain how instruments work and meet with bands to give talks on instrument care. If we can, we always try to help with any musically orientated project.

    In one sentence, why do you think music shops like yours are vital and important to your community?

    You will never be able to experience the joy of trying that instrument and getting invaluable advice through a computer screen.

    Why do you think payment options like the Take it away scheme are of value to your customers?

    Money can be tight for all of us and Take it away gives that opportunity for customers to purchase that instrument which in turn opens up a whole world of opportunity.

    Thanks, Dan!

    Visit Becketts Music at: beckettsmusic.co.uk

    And follow them for updates on Facebook + Twitter:

    Tell us what you think @Takeitawaymusic 

  • 60 Seconds with… Ebony & Ivory

    A row of guitars
    We’re delighted to introduce Ebony & Ivory, the newest music shop member of the Take it away scheme!
    Celebrating 40 years of business, we caught up with the team to find out more about the shop based in Colindale, North-West London as well as their music school which now offers handy online lessons too.
    Two people looking at the camera in music shop
    A visit from Ella Henderson

    How would you describe your shop in three words?

    Dedicated to musicians

    How did the business get started?

    We started about forty years ago when Ajit, who had many years of expertise in piano retail, noticed the need for a dedicated piano shop in north-west London, so he decided to open up the business.

    What does your shop specialise in?

    Great customer service! Of course. Relating to our instruments, we originally specialised in new and used pianos but we soon broadened our stock to include digital pianos and keyboards, guitars and basses, ukuleles, violins and violas and other instruments. We also carry hundreds of accessories including strings, bows, picks, tuners, metronomes and cases. There’s a great selection of books in store and also a music printing service.

    Ebony and Ivory Shop FrontWhat additional services do you offer?

    You can come to us for instrument repairs including guitars, amps and keyboards. We can restring guitars, ukuleles, violins and other string instruments and offer setups as well as servicing. We also offer a piano removal service.

    What’s your favourite item for sale in the shop right now?

    Ukuleles – they are a great way to start learning music!

    Name a favourite piece of music. (From any genre you like, absolutely no judgement!)

    How do you get involved in your local community?

    In the basement below the shop we run a music school that teaches hundreds of children and adults to play musical instruments and learn to love music as much as we do. Normally, we hold concerts with our students twice a year where everyone is welcome.

    Find out more about our online music lessons here: ebonyivory.co.uk/online-music-lessons

    Black and white photos of children playing piano, violin and singing

    Visit Ebony & Ivory at:


    Ebony & Ivory shop details
    Ebony and Ivory staff members

    Tell us what you think @Takeitawaymusic 

  • 60 Seconds with… StringWind Repairs

    StringWind Repairs Shop
    From repairing and selling brass, woodwind and stringed instruments to making violins in the onsite workshop, there’s lots going on in this music shop!
    Nestled in Evegate (just outside Ashford, Kent) we spoke to StringWind Repairs owner and maker Derek Himsley to find out more…

    How would you describe your shop in three words?

    Inside shop violins displayed on wall

    We solve problems!

    How did the business get started?

    In 2010, I started to learn to play the flute as a distraction from grief. Being an engineer, I thought that I should be able to service it myself so I signed up for a three year course in brass and woodwind repairs at Merton College. The second year was cancelled due to too few students, so I transferred to the second year of the three year violin making and repair course, which I completed in two years. I have been trading since 2011 and my son-in-law has now joined the business as a partner.

    What does your shop specialise in?

    Following my courses and training, I now repair almost any musical instrument and make instruments in the violin family. We also look for innovative solutions to help the disabled to play music, but this is a generalised answer. I guess we specialise in making people happy ☺️

    What additional services do you offer?

    We sell a range of instruments (both new and used), offer advice on the choice of instruments, have a range of rental instruments available and advise on the viability of repairs.

    What’s your favourite item for sale in the shop right now?

    Actually, my most favourite instrument, a Yamaha bass clarinet has recently been sold. It had been here a while and I was beginning to think that it may end up as mine!

    Name a favourite piece of music. (From any genre you like, absolutely no judgement!)

    Difficult to choose one, in memory of my wife either Pachelbel’s Cannon or Three Times a Lady, but I like the Mozart Wind Concertos.

    Ok we’ll let you have the three! How do you get involved in your local community?

    I support the Pilgrims Hospice by selling donated instruments for them, making sure that they are in playable condition, I also take part in their charity events, such as parachute jumping or walks – I recently did a wing walk!

    We’ve also worked on adapting instruments for physically disabled musicians such as an adapted violin for a one-handed player. We very much support the Take it away Inclusive and Accessible Music-Making Initiative.

    Visit StringWind Repairs at:


    Derek Himsley in his workshop

    Tell us what you think @Takeitawaymusic