Sam Ash stores closing


Well-known member
Dec 1, 2012
Reaction score
A little off topic. I live in Conn. and saw that Sam Ash Stores are closing. I gather a lot of merchandise is on sale. They don't have a huge selection of ukuleles, but it might be worth checking out. I'm maybe 15 minutes north of the New Haven store and have bought a lot of merchandise from them. The staff was always knowledgeable and friendly.
Oh bummer! There's one within walking distance of me, and it's where I bought my first ukulele. The staff there were very nice.
I was just by one store here in Orlando. It was sad as the store is very large and was deserted. They can’t afford to run the AC, they had a bunch of fans in there. No customers and the 2 employees looked liked they were on death row. 30+ years ago, they and Guitar Center came to town. All the little mom and pop independents were soon crushed. And now it seems Sam wasn’t looking forward to the web, I’m guessing. Sweetwater was even mentioned by one employee. He said Sweetwater is killing us. I also remember in Manhatten NYC when Sam bought Mannys Music, which was right across the street….48th? Mannys was iconic.
anyway it seems their reign is coming to an end. Half the retail stores are closing. We have a few stores, small indies still kicking here, but it’s a tough market now.
2 Sam locations in O town and one is on the chopping block, the other hanging by a thread.
Brick and Mortar is indeed getting harder and harder to do
CORRECTION All stores are closing, they’re done!
Last edited:
Wow! This is crazy news. I was in the White Plains NY store earlier this week and it seemed like it was going great guns they have hundreds of guitars!
I’m going go over there tomorrow and see what’s up.
I've been reading about this on the Talk Bass forum. Over the years, I would go to Sam Ash on Sunset Blvd. before going to Guitar Center across the street. I've had good service at Sam Ash, but a number of members on Talk Bass complain about poor service and selection, never been my experience.
Just stopped at the White Plains NY Sam Ash. They have people walking the streets with Closing Sale signs. There were quite a few people in there and staff I've never seen before. Online it says 40% off stringed instruments, but when I got there it was 5% off! I guess the price reduction will increase as it gets closer to the time to close the doors.
There were only three ukuleles there, all under $100 instruments. I was there earlier in the week and there were 8 or 10, including 3 Martin Mexicans. I doubt that people grabbed them for a mere 5% discount, so I'm guessing that they pulled a lot of stuff to sell online.
There were a lot of Taylor and Martin guitars still there but just 5% off.
This was on one of the NY Sam Ash stores. I figured I could grab a Martin Mexican for $300 instead of $500! No such luck.
Yeah, these over-hyped "discounts" are a little annoying, but as a New Yorker from a long line of New Yorkers, this is dang near a tragedy to me. This is a 100 year-old family-owned business, a true story of immigrants making it in the most American way. The Ashkynases (a name I made a point of encouraging in my memory as a child) pawned Rose's ring to make the final payment on their first store!!!

I'm tellin' ya, for most of the 20th century, they WERE music in New York, everything from phonograph needles to theremins.

Samuel himself passed in 1956, and had refused to move or expand. In the early 60s, the second generation added a few more stores in the New York area, including a location on Long Island, but they were still as local as it got.


They expanded through the 80s, and I remembered at one point it seemed like they owned an entire block of midtown Manhattan... so I looked it up, and my memory was pretty close.

In 1969, the company established a presence in Midtown Manhattan on West 48th Street's Music Row, a location they gradually expanded. By the late 1980s, after acquiring several struggling competitors, Sam Ash Music's presence dominated the block with an amalgamation of six storefronts with 12 entrances in nine buildings on both sides of the street. In 1999, the company acquired 64-year Music Row mainstay Manny's Music, which they continued to operate under the same name and management.​

Their first store outside of New York, ask the way over in exotic Cherry Hill New Jersey, wasn't until 1992. They're the largest family-owned music chain left, and I'm genuinely sad to see them go

I do hope some of you find some great deals before they're gone, though!
I went to the 34th St store in Manhattan a few months ago when it was announced that store was closing and the inventory was pretty sparse...and this was a month ago.
I will truly miss Sam Ash. I have been shopping there for decades. Because it’s a one minute walk from my office I would often go there during lunch to check out new equipment and buy instruments for my kids and myself.
I would often see well known musicians shopping there. Bernie Williams of the New York Yankees and a talented guitar player was there frequently shopping and playing music with other customers.
My most memorable encounter happened one day when I was shopping for an acoustic guitar for my son. I had settled on a Takamine and my regular salesperson, Freddie, brought up a new one in the box from the storeroom. As I looked it over a man standing next to me asked if he could see it. I handed it to him and he said, ‘Freddie, this setup is awful. Get this guy another one’.
Freddie obediently ran off and came back with a second one. The guy looked it over and declared it to be much better. He handed it back and I thanked him for his input. After he left the store I asked Freddie who he was and Freddie said,
‘That was Glenn Frey of the Eagles!’
I went home and told my son that Glenn Frey picked out his guitar for him. He said,
‘Sure dad’….
I'm tellin' ya, for most of the 20th century, they WERE music in New York, everything from phonograph needles to theremins.
I also have fond memories of Sam Ash. I frequented both the Sam Ash and Manny's stores on 48th Street. I bought my first folk guitar at Sam Ash, a Martin D28 (made before the fire). Later, as a classical guitarist, I mostly bought strings. But along the way there were harmonicas (and holders), a melodica, a banjo, capos, song books... The classical music came mostly from Petelson's and the Spanish Music Center (both also gone).

Fifty years later, while teaching at the University of Tampa, I mentioned that I had been a folksinger in New York in the late 1960's. A young man in the class asked me I had ever shopped at Manny's. He said it had been his family's business.
I just got back from the local Sam Ash and ukuleles were a whopping 5% off! And they weren’t even nice ones! Sheet music was 30% off so I picked up books. Selection was definitely limited considering most things weren’t actually on sale.
Top Bottom