Musical Instrument Rentals in the Capital District

So, perhaps a bit more academic than pure fun, but I’ve put together a list of places that rent musical instruments in our area. It’s below, and it’s also included, now, in the Big Ol’ List of Links as well.

I’m adding the section because I ran into troubles with my own attempts at renting M’s cello. Our school handed out a paper with a list of different businesses, but they didn’t offer any editorial comments. They’re Switzerland. They’re neutral. So if, like me, you happen to be clueless about this sort of thing, they were not conveniently handing out clues. So. I made a random guess that, since the businesses were not alphabetized on the sheet, the order in which they appeared might provide secret hints about their quality. That information remains uncertain.  I tried calling Cellos 2 Go a couple of times, and no one ever got back to me.

I ended up renting from John Keal Music. Over the course of a couple of months, I found them irritating. I didn’t like that they told me that I needed to bring my daughter with me when I rented, and then when I schlepped my children there, no one looked at her or spoke with her, anyway. I didn’t like that they had unfriendly “Watch Your Children!” signs in their store. Believe me, I am in favor of adults watching their children. I just prefer it when we’re all offered the benefit of the doubt before being admonished, because a sign like that makes me super-tense about my children’s and my own behavior. It’s just unwelcoming. Once home, we found that the bridge may or may not have been put in incorrectly (this was a matter of debate: long story), and then it fell off for no apparent reason, and then one of the strings was so frayed that M’s cello teacher sent a snippy email requesting a replacement. Also, as I recounted these misadventures to People Who Knew About Cellos, they all rolled their eyes about John Keal and said that they were absolutely fine for other instruments, but not for cellos. So I gave up. In their favor, I will say that they were quite polite when we decided to cancel after the trial period, they picked up the cello at M’s school, so I didn’t have to schlep there, and any of these little issues, I was told, might potentially happen with any cello. I asked those eye-rolling People Who Knew where I should get my cello, and they suggested Francis Morris.

So, we met up with Francis Morris, who is based in Great Barrington but generally treks to his Colonie office once a week. Turns out that the rental cost was lower, and he spent quite a bit of time chatting M up, adjusting things to ensure that she could hold her cello comfortably, and praising her successful rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb after only 3 months of school lessons. We went home and ran into one little issue, which was that her end pin was so spiky that it was gouging our hardwood floor, and when I called to leave a message requesting guidance, Francis jumped on the phone to ponder with me the relative merits of a spiky end pin, a rubber stopper thingy, or a strap to hold the cello in place as if she were a concert pianist. In the end, he popped a rubber stopper in the mail to me right away: problem solved. M and her teacher both think that this cello’s working better for her than the one she had before.  Phew.

Anyway, that’s my own very limited experience in the world of Musical Instrument Rentals. If any of you have had experience with any of these places–good or bad–or if you know of other places that I should add to the list, I’d love to hear it, and I’m sure it will help anyone who’s Googled up this post.

Places in the Capital District to Rent Musical Instruments:

A Violin Shop (Schenectady: violins, violas, and cellos)
Blue Sky Recording (Delmar: strings, wind, drums, & bells)
Burnt Hills Music Store
Cellos 2 Go (Schenectady)
Drome Sound (Schenectady: sound, lighting, & DJ equipment, percussion, wind, & string instruments)
Francis Morris Violins (Colonie: violins, violas, and cellos)
Hermie’s Music Store (Schenectady: band instrument rental)
John Keal Music (Albany:  strings, wind, & drums)
Kniskern Music House (Clifton Park)
Rock Bottom Guitars (Scotia)

Don’t forget about the Trendy Tots discount this week. Scroll to the next post for more info.


  1. Thanks, Deb. I actually thought I’d listed them–I got lost among the various tabs of pages on my computer. So I’m glad that you caught that it was missing.

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