The AACM Store was founded along with the Ali Akbar College in 1967. At the time its purpose was simply to provide instruments for the students. Over time it has expanded its scope and is now North America’s largest importer of quality instruments from India. We have on hand one of the finest collections of Indian instruments anywhere in the world. Visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area are encouraged to come visit us. All profits from the store go to the Ali Akbar College and help keep tuition costs down.
Our Store is run by musicians who have been studying, playing and teaching North Indian Classical music for as long as 35 years. We deal with instrument makers all over India, all of whom know where their instruments are going and that we won’t accept anything but their best. Since we play all these instruments, we never ship out anything that is not up to our standard. No matter how good the craftsmanship and how good the packing, it is a rare instrument that we can sell exactly as we receive it. We restring the sitars and tanpuras and check and fix the jawari if need be. We check the harmoniums for buzzes and leaks, and tune any sour notes. We pull, balance and tune the heads of the tablas and other drums.
We have no exclusive arrangement with any maker and thus no vested interest in pushing one over another. We tell you exactly what you are getting. We tell you the name of the maker and the model number if it applies. We don’t obfuscate things by calling our instruments names like “Professional Deluxe Model”. You can do your own research on these makers and their reputations apart from us.
In recent years there has been a proliferation of Internet businesses selling Indian instruments. In many ways this is a good thing. After all the more this music spreads, the better for all of us. And competition is always good for you, the consumer. Sadly, we have seen a lot of half-truths and deception. Anybody can say anything on a web page. So we ask you to do your homework before buying. Compare photos. Find out where the instrument is from. Find out what kind of preparation is being put into the instruments before they are shipped.