First look: Inside the expanded MOR Music, now rocking new studios

17 Aug 2014 @ 10.49 pm
| Shopping

Fan Ruairi Lewis heads over to the expanded music store to check out what’s changed

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Everyone has had the urge to pick up the guitar at some point in their lives. Be it after hearing your new favourite song, or finding a battered acoustic in your dad’s attic.

In York, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to acquiring guitars and all related equipment, but there is no better place to go than MOR Music.

Started in Micklegate in 1985, the music shop has long been a Fossgate landmark. It has just moved into its third premises on the street, in Franklins Yard directly behind its previous shop.

Fittingly, the emphasis is on ‘more’. More rooms, more instruments, and more brands for any level of ability.

MOR Music’s customers range from “eight year olds picking their first guitar to retired men who have played for 30 years”, says one of the owners, Lynne O’Dea. For learners young and old, MOR Music provides lessons in guitar, drums, and vocals in its three new tuition rooms.

The soundproofed rehearsal studios are suitable for one-person drum practice to full band rehearsals, with access either from the shop or via Garden Place behind the telephone exchange.

A lot of effort has clearly been made in improving not just what is being sold, but the shop itself. There are now dedicated acoustic and electric guitar rooms, along with the most amount of strings you are ever likely to see on one wall.

Local suppliers

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All the shop fittings for the showrooms and studios have either been recycled or bought locally. Neighbours Fossgate Social and Spring Espresso provided hessian coffee bean sacks feature as ceiling coverings in the rustic-feel acoustic guitar showroom.

It also boasts a stage that will host York’s wealth of acoustic talent on the returning feature of Saturday morning sets.

Prints by Ami Barwell take centre stage in the electric room. They include life sized black and white prints of Johnny Marr, Lenny Kravitz and Steve Vai.

Upcoming York design company Rose Bullet Studios has produced the outdoor signs, indoor contravision and window vinyl graphics.

“We have a brilliant team which includes some great local musicians in our sales team, along with some of the best music tutors in York,” say owners Phil & Lynne O’Dea.

“We’re delighted to be fulfilling our dreams of becoming the one-stop-shop for musicians.”

A musician’s heaven

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Plenty of talent from beyond the city has also graced MOR Music. Blur’s Graham Coxon visited the shop as did Dave Allen from Slade who was, I’m pleased to report, a “really nice guy” according to MOR Music’s own Stuart Allen.

The store is home to the stuff of musicians’ dreams. Guitars more than 50 years old – like the classic Fender Stratocaster – and one of only four double necked Gretsch guitars in the world. MOR Music boasts an ever growing selection of drum and vocal equipment too.

One thing that always leaves an impression on me whenever I go into MOR Music is the top customer service.

They completely ignore my lack of ability and actually encourage me to crank up the volume on any guitar I want to try (which has probably lost them more than one passing customer).

Staff are always friendly and willing to engage in conversation, and I don’t think I’m the only one excited about the new MOR Music.

Event organisers

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The York 800 MOR Music Festival saw more than 5,000 people attend a free outdoor event in Parliament Street. Next month sees the Music On Rails Festival at the National Railway Museum.

The success of these events has led to MOR setting up a specialist events management and promotions company will also be based at the new complex.

It aims to provide a range of acts and bands for parties, weddings and corporate events. A complete festival booking service will also be available, covering all aspects of the event – bands, venue, licences, security, stage, PA, lighting and more.