Written by Alyssa Benitez and Morgan Switzer-McGinley
Music is an amazing thing, often times expressing far more emotion than words could ever come close to. French poet and novelist, Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables, once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ”Looking to experience the power of music in your life? These three local shops have you covered.
Striking a Chord with Local Musicians
For a one-stop-shop for musical instruments of all kinds, visit Dru Hubbard and his team at Hubbard’s Music-N-More. The store was founded in 1979 by Dru’s father, the late Peirce “Pops” Hubbard. Dru spent the 80s touring with his band, The Footnotes. While on the road in Nashville, he met the love of his life and continued to tour and record with her by his side. They would eventually marry and go on to have two boys of their own.
After a stint with the modern rock band, The Pack, and a decade on the road, he returned to the City of Crosses and embedded himself in the family business, working to foster the growth of Hubbard’s Music-N-More. He took over the reins officially in 2006 and continues to carry on his father’s legacy as a household name in the local music community.
Here are just a few of the instruments both rookie and experienced musicians can find at the store, along with some expert advise on how to select just the right music-maker.
108 Wyatt Drive
Upon the release of popular tracks such as Train’s “Soul Sister” (2009) and a rendition of “Over The Rainbow” (2001) by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, ukuleles have been flying off the shelves at Hubbard’s. Found at affordable prices, conveniently sized, and promising loads of fun, it’s no wonder that the ukulele is the “hot” item right now. (Want to start jamming? Turn to page 36.)
Tip: Keep in mind that the size of your instrument heavily influences the sound that you will produce with it. Larger builds will produce more robust, bass-oriented sounds, while smaller builds will yield sharper, shorter sounds. There are four different sizes of ukulele: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
Boasting bright colors and flashy decals, the electric guitar is what most of us think about when we imagine the rock star lifestyle. From groups like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers to Metallica, the electric guitar can be heard in hundreds of our favorite classics, and for that it holds a special place in the hearts of musicians and music lovers alike. Perhaps one of the most eye-catching rooms in Hubbard’s is the one with walls lined from corner to corner with a spectacular variety of electric guitars.
Tip: The material your guitar is made out of can affect the sound produced by your instrument, as well as potentially have a huge effect on where and when you’re able to produce this sound. “Mahogany will be different than rosewood, cedar will be different than spruce,” Dru notes. He goes on to explain that choosing the right guitar based on material almost exclusively depends on what type of music you, the musician, are wanting to play.
Drums and Percussion
While on the road for those 10 unforgettable years, Dru spent a majority of his time behind a drum set. Lucky for Las Cruces, Hubbard’s Music thus features a great selection of percussion instruments, as well as an impressive drum room. Add that to the wealth of knowledge and personal experience Dru has in this area, and you’ve found a gem of a music store.
Tip: Following the rule of material effecting sound, different woods will produce different types of music. For example, maple will give a warm, resonating sound, while something like birch will produce a sharper, punchier sound. Different metals will also produce different sounds, as not all cymbals are made of the same material.
Hubbard’s also offers instrument repair services and music lessons, and is a great resource for finding local musicians, bands, and live music events.
Shopping Local Hits the Right Notes
Framed photos of 37 year worth of prior customers line the walls of the cozy shop Mountain Music on the west side of town. “Many of them are infamous. . .to a point,” jokes Larry Rulmyr, store owner and bass guitarist.
To say this place has a true music store vibe would be an understatement. Guitars, violins, ukuleles, amps, drums, PA systems, strings, and more line the walls awaiting their next note. They specialize in new and used musical instruments, as well as trade-ins on store-owned items, and consignments.
“Trade in the gear you are no longer using towards the purchase of store-owned gear. Bring in what you’ve got,” Larry says. “I just read an article about a ‘new’ phenomenon where used music stores are opening up in places like Nashville and New York. I had to laugh because I’ve been doing that for almost four decades. I’d like people to think of us as their neighborhood music store. I’ve sold instruments to their grandparents, their parents, and now hopefully to them.”
Larry points out that despite all the modern means of shopping, just a photo online or in a trade publication won’t allow you to properly evaluate look, feel, sound, or price for that matter. “It used to be people would come in and hold an instrument, play a few chords, pick up another, try it out in order to find the perfect fit,” he remembers. “Nowadays people buy one online or in a catalog without ever even trying it. Then many times they just end up sending it back. One has to experience an instrument first hand to know if it’s ‘the one.’ My mantra: shop local!”
Deep Roots Downtown
White’s Music Box in Downtown Las Cruces opened their doors in 1948 and since that time they’ve seen a lot of talented students come through their doors. “We have a new crop of students every year. We cater to schools and music program students so each school year brings in a new set of students looking for an instrument,” shared Don Entsminger, manager of this well-loved store.
What’s unique about White’s is that they offer a student rental program for children throughout much of Southern New Mexico as well as El Paso, Texas where they have two more store locations. “They can rent for one year and after that year, then can either select to apply that rental money towards the purchase of a new student-line instrument or return the rental to us, no worries.” When asked about how hooked one gets after that year with an instrument, Don notes, “A large percentage end up sticking with it and play throughout their school years.”
Behind a wall of guitars, drums, and horns, an impressive piano-lined room beckons customers young and old. Twice a week it is base for a local homeschool group where they gather, learn, and play. While most of the pianos are for purchase, they do have an electric piano that can be rented for only $39.95 a month, with a three-month minimum, which is a very affordable way to enjoy or learn before making a purchase.
“As for lessons, we do have some that are taught here on various instruments as well as a list of teachers in the area that we recommend. They too have their referrals so finding lessons shouldn’t be a challenge,” says Don.
Rows of sheet music and accessories are available for a wide-range of instruments. Need a repair? They can help with that too.