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January 12, 2012 12:11 AM   Subscribe

Where does one purchase musical instruments in Birmingham, UK?

I find myself in Birmingham for the foreseeable future. That's all right, but I find myself here without a couple of fairly important sanity-saving items: I need a keyboard and an accordion. (Yes. I do. Do not question me.)

Back in the Old Country (I get to call the US that now), I always dealt with my keyboard-obtaining needs via hand-me-down-- I don't need anything especially fancy and would not know what to do with it if I had it, this is just for messing around. And for anything else, one could find pawn shops and junk shops with vast selections of used instruments. It's been a while since I needed to pick one up (and how the Hell do you lose an accordion anyway?), but last I knew one could find a perfectly workable used accordion pretty cheaply there. But I'm not certain the equivalent of such shops exists here, and if it does I certainly haven't found it.

I'm not broke, but I'm not wealthy, and I would really rather find something fairly inexpensive. I've discovered what looks to be a specific accordion shop (!) which has used ones, but even if that turns out to be the right solution for that part of the problem, I still need a keyboard. And I'd like to have an idea of how to go about this sort of thing more generally-- you know, when I need to pick up an old autoharp or a set of guitar strings or heaven knows what all. So, in a world without Guitar Center and vast pawn shops full of shiny cast-offs, what on earth do I do?

Forgive typos, as I'm doing this on my phone for lack of an Internet connection. Forgive logical errors, as I am probably still jet-lagged. And than you in advance for any answers you can give me!
posted by Because to Shopping (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Hobgoblin in Digbeth will have accordians. And there are a few shops that will sell keyboards on the street between New St station and the Radisson hotel.

For second hand keyboards, you might want to try pawn shops outside the city centre. I expect Northfield, Kings Heath, Handsworth and Erdington would have them, amongst other places. You would probably be lucky to find an accordian in one though.
posted by plonkee at 12:49 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you are okay with browsing classifieds rather than going to a shop, keep an eye out on A quick search of Birmingham right now shows several keyboards but no accordions.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 2:51 AM on January 12, 2012

Best answer: I live(d) in Birmingham and probably moving back. There are vast pawn shops in Brum and all around it. Check out Cash Converters.
posted by parmanparman at 2:56 AM on January 12, 2012

Best answer: e-bay? no seriously, e-bay abounds with used/barely-used 2nd hand accordions. My boyfriend bought a couple off e-bay and had them posted to him both times by the sellers without a problem. Both were in great condition and both were a good price. We are in Coventry, btw, which is only a half-hour drive east of Birmingham.

Actually, are you looking for a full-size? My boyfriend is looking to sell one of the two he bought of e-bay. It's a Weltmeister, if that means anything to you. Memail me if you'd like to know more.
posted by I_read_somewhere_that_. . . at 3:06 AM on January 12, 2012

Best answer: Seconding Hobgoblins in Digbeth (near Custard Factory). Not too difficult to get to and is a nice place inside.

As an aside (and not related to your question), memail me if you want some more info about living in Birmingham (although I'm not sure if you've already been here for a while?). I'm in Brum as well and this is the first time I've seen any MeFites from here!
posted by Scottie_Bob at 3:19 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Scottie_Bob, we did a meetup last year. Another one is in order, I think!
posted by parmanparman at 3:26 AM on January 12, 2012

Yes, that would be awesome! Never been to a MeFite meet-up before. So long as it's before September when I head off to Pittsburgh :)
posted by Scottie_Bob at 3:33 AM on January 12, 2012

Response by poster: Ah, Metafilter, I knew I could count on you.

Plonkee-- King's Heath is actually one of the two places I've yet been in this town, and I didn't see anything there. I will try the others, however!

Anyone have any opinions on a place google turns up which calls itself Accordion Centre, and says it's located in the Old Italian Quarter?

Thank you all so much! Further answers welcome.
posted by Because at 4:00 AM on January 12, 2012

This place? It looks a bit out of the city centre, near where Birmingham City football club play. Not massively difficult to get to, but still a bit of a slog I'd imagine.

I don't know that part of town, but it certainly looks like your best shot at getting an accordion.
posted by Scottie_Bob at 4:24 AM on January 12, 2012

And apparently they're open 10pm to 5am, so if you're an accordion-buying nightowl, that's obviously the place to go! ;)

NB. I'm sure it's a typo. I've just phoned to see if they're still open and trading and it looks like they are :)
posted by Scottie_Bob at 4:35 AM on January 12, 2012

I can't recommend any particular place in Birmingham, but do check out pawn shops. The ones I've seen in various cities here in the UK always seem to have musical instruments in their windows. I know someone who has bought several cheap-but-decent guitars from pawn shops. I'm not sure how it would compare to what you're used to in the US, but it is definitely worth a shot.
posted by maybeandroid at 4:48 AM on January 12, 2012

Welcome! And yes, please, a mefi-meetup in Birmingham would be excellent - I'm here too!

We have quite a few pawn shops in Kings Heath - Cash Convertors on York Road is the biggest and has a) a fast turnover and b) a lot of instruments. Another option to try on the off-chance is the wonder that is International Stock Warehouse (Kings Heath and I think there's still one in town) or Latif's in Digbeth - both take fire damaged etc. stock and you can get all sorts of random things (we've had a painting, various computer bits, card making stuff etc. from there and I've seen horse stuff, all sorts ... ).

Can someone memail me about how to find out when a meetup is organised, please? And welcome to our lovely city!
posted by LyzzyBee at 6:22 AM on January 12, 2012

I think it's under the IRL link at the top right of the page. I've never been to a meet up before, never mind organise one! Perhaps someone who was at the last one in Brum can take lead? :)
posted by Scottie_Bob at 7:27 AM on January 12, 2012

speaking of meet-ups, count me in (although it is debatable whether Walsall is Birmingham proper...)
posted by coffee_monster at 8:14 AM on January 12, 2012

In case anyone's missed this, here's the IRL link. Sorry if this is hijacking your question, OP!
posted by lapsangsouchong at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2012

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