07 June 2011

Call in to McNeill's

There are at least two good reasons to stop by the familiar old-fashioned green shopfront at 140 Capel Street, Dublin, with the sign 'J. McNeill', where years ago your editor bought his first serious Mastertone-type banjo (a c.1982 Washburn B21, since you ask).

One is that though since then the music shop has come under new management and moved upstairs, it retains its character and remains a remarkable source for interesting acoustic stringed (and other) instruments and their accessories. As 'the Traditional Music Centre', McNeill's is understandably, but by no means exclusively, oriented towards Irish music: for instance, the stock today included a left-handed Gold Tone bluegrass banjo, two long-neck 5-strings, and at least two good old open-back banjos (one with inlaid 'frets', flush with the fingerboard) which would be very suitable for old-time playing.

The second good reason is that at street level J. McNeill's is a bar, where you can refresh yourself in preparation for, or celebration of, your purchases upstairs - an adjunct that more music shops should have. Visit McNeill's online, 'phone (01-8728530) or e-mail, and call in - the shop is open from 11.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday.

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