Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Musician or Not - Dusty Strings, in Fremont, is a Feast for the Eyes and Ears.


An Unexpected Musical Encounter -


I thought I was going to be writing a post on a wonderful lunch with my daughter at Jai Thai on Fremont Ave. in Fremont, an eclectically charming neighborhood of Seattle; self-proclaimed “ImagiNation” and Artistic Republic as recognized by the King County Council. And we did have a delicious lunch of Thai food but the restaurant was slightly uninspiring. It was a little worn around the edges, in need of repairs – which was not all bad, except in the ladies room.  But I got the feeling that deep cleaning was not a priority. The food was enjoyable, fresh and reasonably priced but this was perhaps, not a destination restaurant.

We left Jai Thai to stroll the inviting neighborhood. My daughter wanted to sample the wares at the “Flying Apron”, a gluten-free coffee shop she had heard about, but we needed to walk off a little Phad See Iew (which was delicious, by the way) before heading into another foodie experience.

So, my daughter suggested we pop into the Dusty Strings, Acoustic Music Shop, a music store on Fremont Ave. specializing in acoustic stringed instruments.  I’m a musician so I always take an interest in music-related outings. Though my stringed instrument of choice is the piano, I do love to ogle over beautifully made instruments of all types. My daughter plays guitar and has an affinity for the dulcimer, as well. Little did I know, she was on a mission.

This is how Dusty Strings describes itself.

"Since 1982, Dusty Strings Music Shop has been a haven for music lovers from the curious beginner to the seasoned professional. We offer guitars (electric and acoustic) and other fine instruments in a store that encourages you to pick them up and play. A friendly and experienced staff will help you sort out the options between models, woods, features, and all the accessories to go with it."

This is how I describe Dusty Strings

You step off Fremont Ave. and head down a flight of stairs. You enter into a warm room and are surrounded by luscious, rich wooden instruments of every shape and size. Several people are seated around the space, sampling guitars, hammering away at various dulcimers, seriously determining the perfect instrument with which to begin a lifelong relationship. Unlike many music stores I have visited, Dusty Strings offers a “hands-on” experience. Music lovers are encouraged to try, touch and test-drive the wide variety of acoustic instruments.

My daughter entered the store, wide-eyed, and in a hushed voice whispered, “Where are the dulcimers?” Suddenly, she was off. I was immediately mesmerized by the large section of beautiful lever harps - row after row of beautifully carved, stringed instruments evoking scenes of ethereal melodies and pastoral scenes. 

I finally caught up with my daughter as she stood in front of a beautiful, large hammered dulcimer, gently tapping the strings with delicately carved mallets to test the tone quality and feel. The result was lovely.

We spent the next two hours sampling exquisite lap dulcimers, looking for the perfect shape, tone, feel and vibe. With expert (and patient) help from Steve, my daughter managed to find her perfect soul mate and, much to her surprise and mine, took it home that day. It turned out to be an unexpected, immensely pleasurable day. 
Whether you are a seasoned musician, acoustic music lover or just appreciate meticulously handmade instruments, I know you will enjoy spending some quality time at Dusty Strings, home of fine acoustic instruments, in Fremont.


Concerts, events, and music school activities take place at Dusty Strings Acoustic Music Shop, 3406 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle. Tickets for events or music school registration can be arranged by visiting the website at the link above.