Quick Trip To West LA Music

By Phil Hood Published August 1, 2009

On July 30 I had the chance to revisit West LA Music one of Los Angeles' legendary music shops and certainly one of the largest independent shops in the world. For more than 30 years they've been selling guitars, drums, keyboards, recording gear, software, and more to Hollywood pros, studios and ordinary students and gigging musicians. Not to mention callers from around the country who know the stores' reputation for selection and product insights.

I hadn't been to the shop in more than a decade and it was looking good. Fred Eck lords over the drum shop with a humble attitude and a deep knowledge of gear that reflects his experience in the business. This is a store that has 50-100 drum sets in stock and more than 60 snare drums on an average day. As for cymbals, they keep a full complement of the "Big Three (Zildjian, Sabian, and Paiste,) plus Dream and Bosphorus," according to Eck. "We are the biggest independent Sabian dealer in the world," he adds.

Here's a few nuggets from my visit.


Drum savant Fred Eck and marketing director Christina Ruffalo, deep in the drum room.


Four stories of goodness.


They stock high-end snares from all of the major makers, and those boutique builders who demonstrate resale value.


West LA's cymbal vault is a real vault—the building formerly housed a bank. It's a perfect listening environment for part of their bronze collection.