TOMs Music Store
TOMs, which stands for The Only Music Shop, is a brilliant play on the humility found inside the store. In my personal experience as a bass player, I've found that clerks at music stores are in the same league as most tattoo artists: pompous bastards who always know better than the customer or client... but this store is different - there's no pretentiousness as the employees greet you like a long lost friend and answer questions without pushing their own agenda.
For the past three decades, TOMs music store in Johannesburghas been amplifying the Gauteng music scene. From its early beginnings in Bree Street, its relocation to the corner of Melle and Juta Streets in Braamfontein and to the opening of three other branches (Rivonia, Durban and Bloemfontein), this retailer has been the lifeblood of many a musician. There's a certain aura you feel when stepping inside the Braamfontein branch; it is as if the brass instruments showcased behind plates of glass have all been kissed by jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie himself and still echo the sounds of bebop played in smoky night clubs back in the day.
Grand pianos and keyboards decorate the showroom floor as Four Play's live show in Germany plays over a big screen TV above the checkout counter. TOMs director, Abe Seema, has been with the store since its Bree Street days and is extremely passionate about music. He sits in front of a black piano and smiles, "Have you seen the studio downstairs?"
Below is the drum room - an entire basement dedicated to percussion and cymbal-driven instruments. Racks upon racks of hi-hats, splashes, kickdrums, cow bells and rototoms occupy this space... And I am pretty convinced that I saw the ghost of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham hit a gong in the corner the room. This section is run by Stefan Lawrence, who has been with TOMs for the past four years. Stefan is the go-to guy when it comes to drum skins, the replacement of snares and a good twenty minute chat about Buddy Rich or Carter Beauford.
All in all, TOMs Braamfontein boasts an array of musical instruments at competitive prices. No matter which side of town you live in, do yourself a favour and make that trip to this store - you won't regret it.
Where? 11 Melle Street (Corner Juta Street), Braamfontein, Johannesbur
When? Mondays to Fridays: 09:00 - 17:00, Saturdays: 09:00 - 13:00, public holidays: 09:00 - 13:00. Sundays: Closed.
Tel: 011 403 4105by Shawn Greyling