JinLing Lu: Shanghai's One-Stop Music Shop

JinLing Lu: Shanghai's One-Stop Music Shop

By Dennis Ming Nichols

JinLing Lu. Music street. This is the street where you go if you want to buy musical instruments or music-related gear. Being that I am an extremely-amateur musician, this is one of the first places in Shanghai that made me feel at home. My first visit there lit up my face and emptied my wallet. I went back recently to recount that first bank-account draining day and also to pick up some other supplies.

On the list was a microphone stand, guitar picks, a pop screen, acoustic guitar strings, soft cymbal mallets, and an instrument cable. Here's how it went down.

I start at the corner of JinLing and Xizang (Tibet) road and start walking east. Right now, the music shops are few, but they get more concentrated the closer you walk to the Bund. My first stop is this little shop that sells pianos, percussion and wind instruments where I find some soft mallets for 120RMB. Normally, I'd shop around a bit more before spending that much, but these were pretty high quality and I had too much to do that day. I talk them down to 100RMB and I'm out the door. soft cymbal mallets

I wander into a random guitar shop just for fun. It smells new and I never got the name of the place. I test out this popular ZOOM bass multi-effects pedal for about 10 minutes. I'd love to buy it, but ShanghaiExpat only pays me in vouchers to Bricco Pizza, so I reluctantly put it away. Microphone stands were a bit expensive there, but I did find some decent cables for 20RMB each. I lose these all the time, so price tops quality. instrument cable

Next stop is my favorite store, The Guitar and Bass Pro Shop. Two years ago I bought my used ARIA bass there for 2500RMB. Just for giggles I bang on the Djembes (gotta get me one of those!) and strum an acoustic guitar for a while. To my embarrassment, I was interrupting a guitar lesson between one of the shopkeeps and a kid. My bad! I stroll over to the strings counter and get some decent strings for 40RMB. The store owner throws in some pics for free! acoustic guitar strings, guitar picks

Next place is Blue Hand, a more corporate-looking store with lots of keyboards, electronic drums and recording equipment. I still need to pick up a mic stand and a pop screen, but the cheapest ones I can find are 100RMB and 200RMB respectively. After haggling with the price for a few minutes, I decided it's best to get these items on TaoBao (and I did for 60RMB and 99RMB, respectively).

Before I leave JinLing, I have to stop at a few shops that sell traditional Chinese instruments. One shop in particular had some beautiful Erhus with python-skin bodies from 350RMB and up. Unfortunately, I have no judge of quality and I produced a few sickening faces while proving I had no idea to play it. As always, I messed around with a guzheng and various percussion instruments. I actually might come back to get some Chinese-opera drums if they ever decide to accept vouchers from Bricco Pizza!