1970 Lake Blvd Ste 1 , Davis, CA 95616
Mon-Fri 10:00AM-7:00PM
Sat 10:00AM-6:00PM
Sun Noon-5:00PM
(530) 758-4010
Payment Methods
Cash, Credit, Davis Dollars

Watermelon Music is a store for buying (new or used) or renting electric pianos, drums, didjeridoos, guitars, violins, violas, and cellos. They also have a variety of other instruments. They also do musical instrument repair and have practice rooms for lessons.

They have a pretty good selection of sheet music in the back along with various learning tools. The salespeople are always really friendly and knowledgeable and they do let you try out most of the instruments.

Music lessons are also offered through the store. The Davis Music Teachers Association maintains a directory here as well.

Formerly, Watermelon Music was called 2nd Street Music, and was located next to the Avid Reader. When management decided to move to the larger E street location, naturally the business name needed to be changed, and a contest was held to select the new name.

They offer a deal whereby guitar strings (not including Elixir brand strings) can be purchased at 2 for 1 prices if you pay using an old $2 bill. $2 bills, although relatively rare, are a current denomination with over $1.5 billion in active circulation. They can be found at banks, although like other less common denominations like 50 cent and dollar coins, they are seldom routinely stocked. This special is related to the old store name, Second Street Music.

This business also accepts Davis Dollars community currency.


Read a story about Watermelon Music in Davis Life Magazine.


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  • There's no "sometimes" or "purchase" about it - $2 bills are in active circulation and used (often given out in toll booths as change on turnpikes on the East coast, for instance). As an active (although rare) currency, you can walk into any bank and ask for a stack of $2 bills, just like you can ask for a stack of $1 or $5 bills or a roll of quarters. They make great bills for tips. The most recent printing was in 2003, and more info can be found in the Wikipedia entry.jw
  • The $2 deal is certainly still in effect, as we couldn't think of any good deals involving watermelons. It's only void if you want to purchase Elixir coated strings, as they cost more and are already offered for 50% off. — Anonymous Employee

Make sure you don't touch things with warning signs on them. It's not that they will ask you to stop, but they will make a big scene and basically make you look like a moron. Asking someone to please not play the instruments is fine, but asking whether they have a problem reading and whether they have some sort of mental problem isn't really good business. They did this to my friend, which made me think twice of making the purchase I was intending to make. Even if customers aren't as courteous as they should be, it's still their job to politely ask them to act in accordance with policies.

  • I think I might go in now and just start playing Stairway to Heaven.
    • DO IT!
      • I've actually heard someone do that at Watermelon... and he really sucked at playing "Stairway." Oddly enough, no one told him to stop. Speaking of which, I have to tell about my bad experiences at Watermelon. My friend and I decided to try out the drums since he was interested in buying a drum set. We try out a lot of them (including the electronic one) and the old bearded dude got annoyed with us, and told us to stop. We understand that drums do get annoying, but it's not cool to tell us to shut up when there are people who suck at guitar playing really loud, or the store staff catering to an uptight woman with a cello playing as loud as she wants. All in all, I would not recommend buying any sort of instrument there due to the attitude of the staff and their outrageous prices. I've been to better and nicer stores. — StephenHo
        • I've generally perceived the staff as courteous on the frequent occasions I've been in. I've never had any bad experiences, and I'd go so far as to wager that most of the time other customers are treated well. I'd figure a few bad (isolated?) experiences would manage to show up on this page much faster than would a hundred good experiences. And the prices are often much less than what you find as the listed retail prices on many webpages. Plus, if you bring in an advertisement from another store (including online stores), they'll match or beat the price if they're not doing so already. Pretty cool... Anyhow, just sticking up for my favorite music store around.
          • I happen to think we are very helpful and the prices just as good as anywhere else one could shop. As far as the "DO NOT TOUCH" sign's are concerned - Ya once in a while we get pretty uppity about them being ignored. The volume of which the signs are ignored tend to wear as the day goes on and on seeing someone fail to simply ask to play something signed gets a little ridiculous -Who was being insulting I do not know and appologize for their outburst but wouldn't you get that way if you worked retail - I do, and its beyond annoying. As far as Stairway it's more like Blink182, and usually little kids just learning to play I think that's why we tolerate it. -Dude who works there.
          • Um, we didn't play them without permission (and we sure as hell didn't ignore the signs). We actually asked. We (politely) asked if we could play one of the drums, and if we could use a pair of drumsticks. It doesn't make sense for the workers to tell people to shut up when they let them test it out in the first place. As for prices, I've been to plenty of music stores around the country, and I've seen lower (such as Drum City/Guitarland in Colorado, and pretty much any store on Manhattan's West 48th Street). — StephenHo
  • As long as we're bitching about it, I have had some issues with the store. I use gut stings on one of my instruments and so I inquired as to the price, at which time I was informed that they did not carry said strings. Strange, I thought to myself, since my friend told me they ASKED him when he was in there if he wanted gut. I asked and was sent packing. So for the record employee: do you carry any gut stings?
    • Gut strings for what? — Other person who works here.
    • There might have been some confusion about what "gut" strings actually are. Some people call all classical guitar strings gut when in fact, for the last forty years or so, they're usually made of nylon and nylon wrapped in copper wire. Actual gut strings made from sheep intestines are still available, but must be ordered. They're expensive, go out of tune, and don't last nearly as long as nylon, but they have a sound all their own. (I use Aquila brand on one very old, fretless banjo and I love them.) Watermelon certainly carries a good stock of classical nylon guitar strings, but I doubt if they, or any other non-specialty music store, carries actual "gut" guitar strings. I'm guessing they do have actual gut strings for violin family instruments. More than anyone needed to know about gut, I'm sure. (KeithCary)

2006-02-03 08:18:10   I really like this store. The staff has always been helpful when I've been there. Prices are about equal to what you see on the web. —PaulThober

2006-02-03 09:15:31   My son, Evan Daly, now works at this store. He spent his childhood playing on the instruments in the store. I was surprised and impressed that they tolerated literally years of tortured music as he learned to play the guitar. As for the drums, its my understanding that when you buy a drum set, you want one that is new and not beat on by numerous people. I'm guessing that they limit the drum use because of that, not the because of the noise. —SharlaDaly

2006-03-01 18:32:23   It seems that every time I go to Watermelon I get treated poorly. The Staff is usually ok but not overly helpful or courteous. The owner, however, is what really gets me. I've seen him humiliate both customers and Staff almost everytime I go in. He is condescending and rude. I highly disagree that the prices are anything worth going in for. I only go there for music emergencies, and even then I still consider Guitar Center in Sacramento. I often daydream of the day that I can open a rival music store in Davis. —ChrisSaito

2006-03-17 16:04:22   Hello! I work there at Watermelon, and I must say - if my boss treated me like you claim he does, I'd not have worked here for so long. So here's what I say: you like us, you don't, we do the best we can. —TanyaAcojedo

2006-03-17 16:06:07   I like shopping here for guitar stuff. The people who work here seem nice and they don't bother me when I'm shopping. —EyadDarras

2006-04-05 18:38:38   Though all music stores can be annoying to some degree, compared to guitar center this place is literally heaven. Besides, Ron, the repairman, is THE man. I just got my Taylor back today and it rocks so hard. I love the service here. —JoeyBennett

2006-04-05 20:59:27   They are Pros! —DanielReid

2006-04-13 15:43:46   Man I'm pissed off at Watermelon, for one thing their smack dab in the middle of our town! Second I went in there everyday for a month and after a few weeks they stopped asking if I needed help. Third I'm not old enough to drive to Sac Town to buy my pics. Forth I go in there at 7:02 just after they closed and were turning off the lights and they had the nerve to ask me if I needed anything and when I said I'm just looking they said to come in the morning when they reopen. Man! I hate Convenient Friendly Sensible people like that. I'm gona wast 3 Bucks in Gas and fight Arden mid day traffic for some stinking Gut Strings for my home made ukelale/7string/bass drum thing that I got Online but it came broken and Ron at Watermelon Fixed.....is the sarcasm getting through? I love this store I've been in a hand full of Great music stores across this country. Watermelon Music is one of the Greats. —JoshMacLenon

2006-10-06 16:37:35   Doesn't accept American Express...what kind of shit is that? —IsaacDivide

2006-10-26 14:05:15   I just had a really bad experience with their band instrument repair. I dropped off my clarinet on a Thursday (he only comes to Davis on Mon & Thurs to pick up/ drop off instruments) a week before Homecoming so that I could be sure to have it back in time. The repair guy called me that night when he picked it up and left a message to call him back. The number he left did not work. He had my instrument w/my cell # on the repair tag and did not attempt to call me back until Monday, when he came back to Davis. He gave me my estimate (a lot higher than expected as I had pads to be replaced that I was unaware of) and said it would be back on Thursday. Great, just in time for Homecoming and I can borrow one for practice until then. I don't get a call on Thurs, so I call Watermelon on Friday. Its not back, so they have the guy call me. He says he "didn't get to it". He had had mine the longest, unless he had done no work all week, I don't see how he couldn't get around to it. It will be done on Monday OR Tuesday. Too late for Homecoming and Pajamarino. Fine. I never hear from them again. I happened to be downtown today (thurs, 2 weeks after dropping it off) and ask if they have it. They don't know why I never got a call. They also can't read his handwriting on the repair tag to tell me why it cost $70. They said something about caulking a joint, which I didn't even know what that was and neither did they, but he didn't charge me for it anyway? They could not tell me what he did that it cost so much, and being pissed I just said "Whatever" paid and left, since there's nothing anyone at the store could have done anyway. If someone could tell me where in the world it costs $70 to replace 4 pads and cork, please tell me. Also, there is still glue all over the joint that was corked; it doesn't even look good. Next time I'll definitely go somewhere else. —AllisonEriksen

2007-04-02 19:15:18   I just went in here to buy a music book. I went to the front counter and said "Hi"...the guy there didn't say anything at all, just "24.95." I hand him the card, sign the receipt and start to walk out. I say "Thank you"...and he just stands there, still nothing out of this guy's mouth. This is my only experience with the store but I absolutely hate it when someone doesn't show appreciation for your patronage. I could have gotten this book much cheaper online and the computer would say the exact same thing to me. Thanks Watermelon. —IanBenton

  • I sincerely apologize for your experience at watermelon, and personally for me, there's nothing is more important than making sure that customers are satisfied. Having said that, all who work will have their bad days, like everyone else does from time to time. You might have been unlucky and encountered a slightly irritated employee, perhaps due to a previous customer that wasn't as sincere as you were. Same goes with the employee - he/she might have just dealt with a rampage of rather rude customers when he/she was trying to be nice, right before you came in. Who knows. I give each customer 1 "freebie" every day, meaning if that person's rude to me once, I never take it personally. Maybe he or she's just having a bad day, I can accept that. When it's the second or third time, then it's different. It's not necessarily us not showing appreciation toward you, but rather we're all human and, from time to time, will all have our moments. —[another dude who works there]—

2007-04-06 15:50:52   There is a really cute girl that works here. —MisterCandid

2007-04-21 19:50:52   They did a good job fixing my sax. but prices are high and the store seems to tend to yuppies, not college students... —JesseUnger

  • What makes you say that?

2007-04-24 21:37:09   The strings guy whatever his name is, is very unhelpful.. everyone else is great —yeastinfection

2007-07-21 23:54:46   uhh... i don't understand the massive negativity about this place. i go in there often to look at stuff because i play the bass guitar. they always ask me if i need stuff, and one guy saved me about $50. I was gonna buy a new bass amp, but then he showed me a great quality used one that sounds superb. and in my opinion, if you're gonna go into Watermelon, at least have some research under your belt about what you're looking for. —ketan

2007-08-10 11:54:46   Most of the staff is friendly, but there are a few that need to take lessons on human communication...On to my next point. I went to get a bridge shave for my guitar and was told to choose a set of strings for the restringing. I thought getting a restring was part of the bridge shave service and overall charge, so I gladly chose the expensive elixirs. When I got the bill, the bridge shave and string/restringing was charged separately. Apparently, I could have saved 15 bucks by just getting the bridge shaved and restringing my guitar myself with one of the extra sets of strings I have lying at home. Nonetheless, I'm happy with the results and I'd come here again if I need my other guitars to be serviced. Ron is a good guy and fixes the guitars in a timely fashion. —BenLee

  • If you buy your strings at Watermelon, they will restring your guitar for free. I think you were charged for the bridge shave,

which is a repair and thus not free. I agree though that they may not have been clear on explaining that.

2007-09-05 15:01:17   My electric guitar instructor rocks! If you're looking for great electric guitar lessons see Mike Clements. —Miley

2007-09-30 21:54:43   everytime ive been in there i've had great experiences. got a great deal on a fender 212r amp and found that a chunk of their guitar stuff is quite a bit cheaper than guitar center. definitely worth a look —RossTownsend

2007-10-29 19:35:54   I used to think this store was mainly for guitarists, drummers, and keyboardists (nothing against those who play or sell these instruments!), but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have a competent woodwind person as well. James is very knowledgeable and was very helpful when I went in to shop for saxophone accessories. —Brad

2008-01-27 10:11:02   I've watched and observed the Davis Wiki pages for a while now, and am not really sure exactly how many people check these things, but feel compelled to comment at this point. I'm one of the two owners of Watermelon Music, and would like to let people know how we perceive our own store and our place within the community here.

I have tried to personally email and contact some of the individuals who have posted here about bad experiences at our store, and to rectify their situations. I realize that we can't please everyone, but am interested in hearing about your issues and doing what I can to make things right. One of the best reasons to shop local is that the people with the ability to change policies and listen to complaints are actually involved in the everyday running of the business. If an employee here does something that you don't like, I'm here to discuss it with you. We are not owned by some faraway corporation that screens calls and puts you through phone menus to discourage hearing from you.

We try hard to keep prices as low as big boxes and e-commerce sites. If the price of something in our store is discouraging you from shopping here, please let us know. If we can do better, we will. If we don't have what you're looking for, let us know and we'll try to get it for you. Sometimes people seem to forget that when they buy from local, independent merchants, their money stays in town. It pays for city services, for schools, for downtown events and programs and helps to keep Davis a unique and desireable place to live.

We have tried to make our store as "hands-on" as possible, but have ongoing issues with expensive instruments getting damaged, scratched, chipped, etc., often by individuals with no real interest in purchasing the instrument. Our "Please ask for assistance" signs are (regrettably) put on instruments like this, and we would only ask that people interested in playing or purchasing one of these let us help get them down and set up for you. If WE ding it, it's our problem. We also donated about $10,000.00 worth of very nice equipment (Tama Drumset, Zildjian Cymbals, Ibanez and Fender electric guitars and bass, and Kustom, SWR and Fender amplifiers) to the 3rd and B Teen Center, with the understanding that they will make them available for free to local teens, so that they have a real place to hang out and jam, without anyone having to tell them to turn down or unplug.

We try to stay involved with the local music scene (most of the employees here still perform), and to help (with both time and money) local organizations, schools and charities. We hire locally and pay and treat our employees as best we can. None of us here are getting rich from this business, but we all enjoy music and the opportunity to interact with the local community. We are in the process of planning a 2008 calendar full of free or nearly free in-store concerts, clinics, masterclasses and more, hoping to get people as excited about music as we are.

Please, shop local whenever you can, and try to contact the owners or managers of a business before you slam them online. Most local businesses will appreciate your honest feedback, and do what they can to keep you as a customer. —JeffSimons

2008-02-03 10:06:39   The guys at Watermelon are great. One of the owners gave me a good deal on a guitar repair, knocking off ten bucks from the estimate when it took longer than expected. Plus he glued back a crack I had in the headstock for free. They care about the instruments they work on and do quality work. I recommend Watermelon. —jefftolentino

2008-02-04 18:37:44   I am a firm believer in supporting smaller business over the "big guys", however , I am at odds with this topic when it comes to smaller music stores. I'm a touring musician. I play 50-100 shows a year. I've stopped into music shops around the country, including Germany, England, Scottland, & Ireland. Ideally, I expect a big store to carry gear I need, and a little store to offer unique finds and great customer service. Well, after 15 visits to Watermelon's establishment, I can safely say that it isn't the store for me. Two of my bandmates have came to the same conclusion. In general, we just felt that 90% of their staff seemed to size us up in a negative way, before opening our mouths. Mind you, we're not dressed to insult, we come off like responsible 25-30 year olds who let their hair shag out a little. In my opinion, an employee in a music store should try their best to appeal to customers creative side. Inspire them to believe that with a couple pieces of gear, their potential is limitless. Instead, Watermelon Music employees have done nothing other than make me feel akward.

Here are some examples:

1) A younger asian girl working there almost refused to sell me a violin bow to use on my guitar. I told her in a nice manner that I was well aware that this is not the intended use of a bow, and tried to convey that I was purchasing this for "the performance" rather than for "practicality". She scowled and belittled me for my concept.

2) Amp repair - I've had to have many of my tube amps repaired through Watermelon, because I like the guy who comes in and does the repair. Well, one of my amps has had to come back a couple of times, and each time I bring it in, I left feeling like the employees took me for a crook. I have been totally turned off to discuss things with them, because of their remarks, and lack of understanding of what it is to take gear on the road. Tube amps break down all the time, I'm ok with that, but I doubt that anybody working there has ever stepped on a stage and performed outside of a church. The younger asian girl told me in a rude voice, "maybe you should get a new amp". The bald young guy working their called the amp repairman, because he didn't believe me that I spoke with the amp repairman earlier in the day. He wanted to charge me another $50 deposit, despite the fact that the amp has broken down 3 times in one week with less than 10 minutes of play time on it. I was quite bummed out, because there is no where else to go in Davis when it comes to music. I hate to say it, but people who work at Guitar Center are usually pretty cool. They treat you like you are the next Jack White, and are happy to have your business.

I do like the owner of Watermelon, he and 2 other people there seem genuine enough. However, even they are behind the times, which is unacceptable considering the state of the music industry. The remaining 90% of their staff makes me want to buy stock in Guitar Center. Overall, my impression is that Watermelon Music caters to parents renting violins for their kids. If you don't resemble a parent, skip it. Do it for the sake of your potential songwriting. —bryangarza

2008-02-11 21:47:08   I don't think Watermelon conceptualizes the value of customer service. i have personally spent over 3K in that store. Then I purchased a child's violin for my daughter. We brought it home and literally within 90 seconds a string broke from barely touching it. i brought it back with the receipt and they wanted to (and did) charge me to repair it. Basically the same day I bought it! That is where my Davis small business loyalty ends. There isn't much at Watermelon you can't buy more cheaply in Sacramento or on the internet but since I live in Davis I thought my money should go into the local economy. Well, I don't need to pay people to treat me like crap. They also have a skinny, long, curly haired teen kid who is always working there. This guy makes me NOT want to buy things. He really shouldn't be allowed to interact with customers at all. I went into Watermelon to buy a G&L USA chambered ASAT for about 1500 dollars. Money is in my pocket to buy that. i want to play it and this kid gives me a bunch of attitude about taking it down and playing it. I am not some kid who just fools around with the instruments with no intentions of buying. Our interaction was so negative, I left the store with my money and bought the guitar on line. At Skip's and the Guitar Center in Sacramento I get VIP service because of all the money I spent there. They appreciate my business. At Watermelon, it is obvious that they could not care less about repeat business. —gearhoar

  • So you went into the store, played around with a $1500 guitar and, when you were happy with your choice, you then left and bought it online. Don't you wonder how many people do exactly what you did? - SharlaDaly
  • Somebody else lower down compared strings to tires on a car. I'd compare them to a tank of gas. The first thing I do when I buy a stringed instrument (like a guitar, violin or mountain dulcimer) is restring it. Honestly, breaking strings is a constant of playing, and if you have thirty guitars, you're already going through hundreds of dollars worth of strings a year just keeping them playable despite passive environmental damage. Violins aren't any different, and a student violin (aka children's violin) tends to have cheap strings on them to begin with. On violins, the bridge tends to break fairly often, which is why you can buy them for a few bucks or in three packs. If the repair was to fix a snapped violin bridge, you should know that that is basic violin care, and is a pretty common event... just like breaking strings on guitars. —Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards

2008-02-12 01:18:58   I went in during the last Superbowl (great time to go shopping) to buy an ukulele. I have never purchased an instrument, but have always played ones belonging to family or friends, so I was a little intimidated...but it was fine, everyone there was helpful and friendly. One guy got the uke and another (the "curly haired teen kid" in another comment) unboxed it for me to try. "It still takes me awhile to tune it," I said, "but I'm sure it's fine, I'll just buy it." Without hesitating, he tuned it, played it a bit for me, let me strum a few chords, then asked if I liked it. I did, so I bought it. I only spent $50 that day, but that didn't seem to affect the service. I'd shop there again. —DukeMcAdow

2008-02-19 23:20:03   Dear Sharla Daly- you misunderstood my previous post. I went to Watermelon to BUY the $1500 guitar, not to try it out so I could order it online. I generally would rather pay the tax then wait for the guitar. Plus, at most places, when you buy the guitar there the store is better about tweaking it for you... it is a relationship between a good customer and a good business owner. I WANTED to buy the guitar that day and it was less convenient to buy it online. I bought it online solely because of the POOR customer service. It is as if they dared me to walk out of the store with my cash. I bought a car in Davis to support Davis business, I bought furniture in Davis to support there business, I buy running shoes in downtown davis to support their business. I would rather buy $1500 guitars in Davis than in Sac or online but if you treat me like crap I don't want to buy it from you. Do I need a 17 year old to be condescending to me in a guitar store? No. Do I need to be thanked for thousands of dollars worth of business by having to pay to replace violin string that breaks the day I purchase it? No. Is word of mouth important in customer service and quality in a small town? I guess not. —gearhoar

call it morbid curiosity, did you make it clear you wanted to buy the guit, or did you act like some random dude off the street who wanted to play stairway... If it's not apparent that you can handle a guitar thats over a thousand dollars without breaking it I don't blame an employee for trying to protect merchandise. oh, and did you ask before you took it down to play it? —StevenDaubert

  • "gearhoar," I've been searching through our records to try to determine when the violin sale took place but am unable to find it. (I've looked through all of 2007 and this year). I'd be interested in knowing the details of both the guitar and violin incidents. If you want to tell me about them, please contact me at the store in person, by phone or by email. JeffSimons

2008-02-25 15:47:04   Hmmmm... I didn't beg and plead and say I'm a really serious customer. I am however, a reasonably well-dressed 40 yr old man who doesn't look like I am looking to kill an hour shredding in watermelon and putting belt buckle rash on guitars. This would be how I might envision the conversation. Salesperson- "seems like you are interested in that guitars?" GH- yes, may I take it down and play it? Salesperson- "Sure, I do have to ask you to be very careful with it, scratching it can diminish it's value and ability to sell it. Are you shopping for a primary guitar?" GH-. I will be very careful. No. I collect guitars and have almost 30 of them. I have been targeting this G&L and wanted to see if it feels and sounds as good as it looks".

Very easy. I am not a good salesman but I am a good customer. I really don't know what else to say. I shouldn't have to beg sales staff to be courteous to me, to look at the instruments, and to buy the products. Like I said, I am on a first name basis with several sales persons at skip's and the sacramento guitar center and it is so easy to buy from them. It shouldn't be a struggle like collecting a debt.

Violin receipt. Pretty sure I have that too. —gearhoar

2008-03-01 13:53:34   I had always heard horrible things about this store, but desperation to fix my guitar led me in and it was probably the best decision I ever made in my life. The dude who works there went COMPLETELY out of his way, not only to get rid of the rattling on my guitar, but he also showed me how to restring it myself FOR NO CHARGE except for the price of the strings. Needless to say, I ran home, took out my pleasant-sounding guitar and actually learned a song.

I'll definitely be going back. Thanks dude! —MattKemmerle

2008-03-02 17:54:32   hello all. i realize we'll probably all have different experiences at watermelon music (much like we'll all have different opinions about food service in different establishments)...so no matter what you read here, first hand experience is always the best way to go. I visit the store for many reasons...1) i'm a guitar player and *LOVE* to window shop...2) my children are grade school (so we do the violin/trumpet rental thingy)... 3) they often have people/performers come in and give presentations (For free).... my experience has always been very positive. i've actually discussed with them on many occasions the fact that the guitar i have in my hands at their store is priced differently at another store (guitar center)...they worked with me on a price that i was happy for. (i've never really done that, and was quite nervous...but they were extremely helpful). at the presentation thingys...they sometimes have drawings for instruments...at one hamer show..a guy one a brand new guitar.....one thing to keep in mind is they have a *BIG* sale in april and october every year (I think...do they still do that?)...they also have drawings at this time too...in fact..one year i actually put my name, my kids name, my ex-wifes name..LOL in the drawing..they called one day to announce that i had won the ovation acoustic/electric guitar!!!.......their employees seem to come from varied backgrounds to suit many different customers...you got a few rockers, some orchestra looking types, an old classic rocker guy (no offense hehe)...anyway....i guess my point is..they're a local business just like everyone else and i know from experience that they want to help davis musicians...they even sometimes do that "bring a can of food down and we'll string your guitar" tyhingy...i think they still do that?...anyway...just like any other locally owned business in town, they're going to try their hardest to retain customers.....sure, you could possibly get a better price at guitar center or something, but anytime i've needed help with my instruments, they've always been really glad to help.....another thing is...the owner actually calls me by my first name when i go in there...it always amazes me!! —michaelG

2008-03-03 15:12:29   They are always helpful ordering sheet music that they don't have in stock, and sometimes they've found music for me on their shelves that I was looking in the wrong section for, like under the correct instrument, but the wrong filing subject area. My main gripe is that though I've been playing three instruments twice as long as most of the employees have been alive, they tend to treat older people as terminally unhip, and aren't particularly pleasant, even if they're being helpful. I do try to support the store, since it's local. We do buy our more expensive instruments elsewhere, though, as they don't carry high-end acoustic guitars (like Gryphon does in Palo Alto) or woodwinds - a town this size could not really support that kind of inventory, I guess. —AngelBug

2008-03-10 18:26:07   I'm looking for a place to get Dominant violin strings locally. Is this a good place to get them? —IDoNotExist

2008-05-15 00:53:40   I don't know his name, but the older man is VERY VERY rude and inconsiderate! Every time I go in there and ask a question (lord forbid that) he humiliates me and talks back to me like I am stupid. EVERY TIME i have gone there. I also went with friends several times and he did the same thing. i will not be going back. He needs to learn how to be polite and actually make it a nice environment comfortable for customers, not make it so people are afriad of being belittled and humiliated. (you're pretty old...I would think you would have figured that out by now...) —Kry

2008-05-21 13:18:31   I've had many problems with their customer service. Last time I went in to buy a capo, and when I was checking out the guy asked me "are you going to play some Jewel?" with a clearly mocking tone. Apparently Jewel songs are the only ones a blonde female would play on her guitar? Or maybe Jewel is one of the foremost capo-using artists and he was complementing me on my choice. But I'm pretty sure he was just being an asshat. Anyway, that's the last time I buy anything from this shop. — jir

2008-05-31 22:07:51   Yeah they have Dominant strings. They also carry Vision strings now. —BuyLocal

2008-06-02 00:46:28   A lot of people order orchestra accessories online, but I prefer buying from Watermelon. They're very helpful. And I support local business. In terms of instruments, they actually have a pretty good selection of violins and bows. —BuyLocal

2008-06-25 15:02:26   I'm reading a lot of different opinions of this store. Here is mine. As far as local music retail stores go this one is special. It has real name brands at the same or better pricing then you see advertised from G.C. or (on-line) stores. Many of the employee's have worked at this store for years. That means you can build a relationship with your salesperson. In M.I that usually leads to better than sticker prices. Many of the sales staff have worked professionally in the music industry in other capacities. Recording artists, touring musicians, local scene, or instruction are on most all of their resumes.

When I read someone complain about a string breaking and the store charging for a fresh string, that sounds right to me. Purchase a car and take it off the lot and run over a nail and pop your tire. The dealership is under no obligation to replace or fix your tire for free. They may discount a tire because they feel bad for your miss fortune and that is generous. Same with strings. Now if your guitar or bass or violin bent in half when you got it home that would be the dealers fault for not having sound products (no pun intended). Believe me no one got rich off the exchange.

A lot of the complaints here sound like miss placed aggression. I say try the place for yourself. If someone rubs you the wrong way don't leave without speaking to one of the store owners. They are two young guys late 30's usually putting out fires but they will stop to find out how to make you happy. I seen it happen in person while browsing.

Anyway I was saying miss placed aggression and a sometimes lack of understanding. Watermelon Music is not a mega store with hundreds of anonymous employees this is a home grown Davis business, providing jobs for Davis citizens, serving Davis musicians and then some. All while trying to prove to you, the shopper who would go online or to G.C. that they have the same choices and expertise and prices.

Let me end with a reality check for everyone. If you damage a stores stock and it is purely accidental in most cases the store will not press charges or demand payment. THEY LOSE MONEY to appear forgiving, but the shrink of stock in that capacity is no different from theft.

So if a store says "Please ask for assistance" they are really thinking "Oh God for heavens sake please keep this in pristine condition. We paid so much for it we can't afford it to get damaged" I know I always pass up the dented apple at the grocery store. Maybe it will be cheaper but as George Carlin might have put it "That ain't my f-in dent!" Lastly we are talking about MUSIC people! I'm getting offline to play some guitar. —JCBriggs

2008-06-26 00:51:49   i just realized i've never actually bought a set of violin strings here; i've only come here for emergency fixes. they do sell violin string sets, but i never bothered to check the prices. i have always bought online where string shipping is free, but if watermelon can match prices without the hassle of bringing an ad, i'll gladly come here for all my string needs.

also, their sheet music selection is VERY complete. —wesleywang

2008-07-19 20:31:41   I'm new to the Davis area and went in to get some information on electronic drum kits today. I read this Wiki beforehand and went prepared for the worst - I've dealt with a lot of snooty music stores, nationwide and in Europe as well, so the drill is familiar. As for my experience...

Within 5 seconds of walking in I was asked if I needed help with anything. The manager (I am assuming) talked to me for a good 10 minutes, asked my name, shook my hand and answered all of my questions regarding the kits. When my questions went beyond his expertise, he led me to another employee who was also polite and informative. It was busy in the store, but they took their time to help me out. As a total rookie to the subject matter and as a person dressed a bit shabbily (and not likely to purchase anything), this was impressive. All in all, great customer service.

I can see why people could be turned off initially, as there was just a shade of "gruffness" to the dealings that most stores (of any kind) do not possess. It really did remind of me of how business is done in some of the overseas stores I have been in. But overall, they were honest, informative and helpful. I'll be back. —sjoe

2008-08-17 14:46:23   Hello, I am new to this Davis wiki thing, even though I've lived in Davis for most of my life. And I just so happened to come across this little story about Watermelon, and I'm a loyal customer of theirs. I haven't ever any problem there, and I've bought at least 2,000 dollars worth of equipment including 3 acoustic guitars, 2 electric basses, a bass amp and a uke. And they've always helped me to make sure I was getting the most bang for my buck. Those guys are super chill about the whole taking instruments to play as long as you just ask them to use instruments that they Specifically ask you to ask first because of their value. It's understandable. Would you at least want someone to ask first if you had a 1500 dollar guitar hanging on your wall and they wanted to play it? But anyways, that is all I have to say. —AidanGilGage

2008-08-23 14:59:26   I've been a customer at Watermelon since 2005, and each time that I've shopped here, the store has gone out of its way and beyond my expectations to make sure I leave satisfied. As a customer, each and every employee has consistently treated me with the utmost respect and politeness. Nowhere else am I find a more helpful, knowledgeable, and courteous music staff in town than the ones at Watermelon. When I buy sheet music here, the employees are helpful at locating what I need quickly. When that particular sheet music isn't available, a special order is made at no extra charge to me, and when it arrives in a week they call my cell to let me know that it's available for pick-up. What truly sets this store apart from many of the other ones I've been at in NorCal is that many of their employees are excellent professional musicians themselves. What's more, their honest and genuine support of music in the Davis community (from Elementary to University levels) alone is already enough to keep me coming back for all my music needs. Lastly, to those who claim that Watermelon only caters to "parents renting violins for their kids" or otherwise to people that dress well, in their 30's-40's, and have $1.5 grand in their pocket, last I checked I'm a dirt-poor college student in my 20's, dress like I'm fresh off the boat, and pays for most of my expenses with loose change. —AnthonyLam

2008-09-07 18:46:39   the drum guy is a DICK! —ftbsitttd

2008-09-18 14:57:46   ftbsitttd, the drum guy is a dick only when you are being rude. —BuyLocal

2008-10-20 23:24:00   I've lived in Davis since 1998 (when I came to do my undergrad) and have patronized Watermelon Music ever since I discovered it. In the past ten years, I've rented and purchased two violins (thank you, Tanya), invested in two beginning-level classical guitars (thank you, Jeff & Ron), became the proud owner of a new Casio Celviano full-sized electric upright piano (thanks again for delivering and helping me set up, Ron!), and have easily bought at least $800.00+ worth of piano, guitar, violin, organ and orchestral sheet music (thank you, Leo, for researching my purchases through the extensive Hal Leonard catalogs).

In my experience, the staff have proved both capable and enthusiastic about their work and their music. They have gone out of their way to help me understand my purchases and answered my often-times silly questions about unfamiliar technology or equipment, even when I had made it clear that I had no intent to purchase anything at the time. I've never felt pushed or rushed into a purchase; in fact the opposite — both Jeff and Ron were very patient with me and my friend about when we were considering our classical guitar purchases, and recommended that we take some time to think about it before we made a commitment.

Because I neither own a car nor have ready access to one, I appreciate it very much that Watermelon Music has a wide selection of sheet music, instruments of fine quality and knowledgeable staff.

I definitely will continue to rely on this local Davis shop as a resource for my continuing studies in music. —T.Zukumori

2008-11-01 14:17:35   Sure, you may be able to find Dominant strings here, and they carry Thomastik's Vision line, along with my favs, Infeld Reds (<3 Infeld Reds)...for $10-20 more than they can be had online. I'd love to "buy local", but that kind of markup isn't one I can really afford. That said, they seem to have a decent sheet music collection and friendly staff (I got asked if I needed help with anything twice while browsing), but I can't really imagine myself purchasing anything here except on spontaneous sheet music cravings. —MiranPark

  • Are you sure its a mark up by Watermelon and not a discount by the business online? People confuse the two all the time (and no, they are not the same thing), so I can see how someone might find distaste in spending more for something they can get elsewhere for cheaper. Personally, working at an independent downtown store, I occasionally get someone come in disgusted that we are charging retail for a specific item that they could easily get online (and they usually tell me this). Of course, that's also when I tell them they should do whatever is best for them. —SunjeetBaadkar

2008-11-07 10:48:18   MiranPark, if they really marked the Dominant and Visions $10-20 more than usual, I wouldn't have shopped there so many times. You think people are crazy? Who would want to sell a pack of Dominant for only $20 or $30, with free shipping? If you don't want to buy from them, that's fine. But don't lie. Plus, the strings do have a shell life. The only reason you would get those cheap deals from eBay or Shars is because they are expired stuff. You put them on and they wear out after a few days. So study it before you buy. —BuyLocal

  • although i can totally see what sunjeet is saying above and am now more enlightened and understand that, i really don't understand why are you being so hostile, buylocal. i'd like to point you to say, southwest strings online, where you can get a set of dominants for about $40. i remember the price at watermelon being significantly more, though again, feel free to correct me if i am totally wrong on this, as i only glanced over their selection and i also tend to buy other items along with my strings (rosin, mutes, sheet music, polish, whatever) so maybe i don't notice how much shipping adds to my costs of buying online. i'd also like to point out that i, nor any other stringed instrument player i know of has heard of strings "expiring", and i have played for nearly a decade, have met many, many stringed instrument players, and chatted with professional musicians about the strings they use. maybe you are thinking of gut core strings (which are much less common) which due to their organic nature can "expire" as you say (many modern strings, such as dominants, have a synthetic or steel core). you'd think that if strings were to expire or significantly change in quality over time that the thousands of musicians who use and have used these strings for decades would demand that companies put an expiration or at least a manufacture date on their string packages, but i know of no one that does this (not thomastik, not pirastro, not larsen...). not only that, if strings were to "expire" , could you please tell me exactly how rapid the turnover is and what source watermelon music gets their strings from such that you know with 100% certainty that watermelon's strings are not also "expired" as you say? i really think it's unfair and rude to accuse me of lying when it might just be that i'm ignorant to the situation.

    the only (having tried so many different types of strings over the years) strings that i know of that have worn out after a few days (and wearing out is agreeably an audible difference) are vision strings, which is i don't like them (i tried them when they first came out and they may have reformulated since then, but i remember them having a loud, powerful, soloistic sound which lost its bite after about a week of hard practicing). i'd say in general that my personal turnover time was formerly about 2 months for any strings that i used no matter their source (whether bought from a brick + mortar music store, mail order, online, etc.), at least for my beloved infeld reds, after which the sound quality is noticeably degraded and the feel gritty and uncomfortable. —MiranPark

2008-11-30 13:24:46   MiranPark, I went to Watermelon today and checked the price of Dominant: $44.50. Go ahead and check it out yourself if you don't believe what I saw. And also, how am I supposed to know their "exact" turnover??? I only know that every time I get a pack of strings from Watermelon, they always sound great. I've also bought strings online before, they just didn't look fresh and sound fresh. Talk to more professional players, strings do expire. —BuyLocal

  • well thanks for informing me, perhaps my sticker shock was only for infelds/infeld reds which are the strings i use, maybe i'm just remembering a time and day when strings were cheaper, it's been awhile. i only commented on their turnover because with the point you're trying to make, buying "expired strings" could happen anywhere: whether at watermelon music or online. again, my personal experience and the experience of my music friends is that buying strings online or through catalogs or in brick-and-mortar stores have always been the same quality, and i also still haven't heard of strings "expiring" unless stored really, REALLY improperly. *shrugs* to each their own.—MiranPark

2009-01-08 13:28:27   I picked up a new-to-me guitar off of Freecycle this week and took it into Watermelon to get new strings. I was very clear about being a total beginner looking for the least expensive strings possible. Not only was the salesperson friendly, he happily spent 15 minutes restringing it for me. I didn't even spend $8 on the set of strings! Then when I asked about picks he suggested that I not buy or use them since the guitar has nylon strings.

I've done sales and customer service in the past; offering excellent service for small purchases and advising someone not to buy something that they don't need impresses me big time. I will be using Watermelon for all of my future music needs. —LisaBriggs

2009-02-03 16:12:49   I went here to repair my guitar nut. The people helping me seemed friendly...but the guy who repairs the guitar is another story. I told them i was new to guitar and had my dad's old guitar which is quite solid sounding, but needed a nut replacement. The guy at the counter said it would cost 25$, 1 week later i get a call and it's the guitar repair guy, he tells me all this bull about how i should get this and that replaced, he clearly knew that i was a starting player. However, i am not naive, He said i should replace the strings and that he said he could do it himself at little cost, his estimate was a little high considering the fact that the strings don't cost nearly that much, and the fact that replacing strings doesn't take a genius to figure out. He also tried to sell me a bridge replacement but i knew that my bridge was working fine, he claimed that he was not trying to get money out of me but that is exactly what i was doing. He kept saying something like, "oh i can replace the bridge for (lets just say 15$)...and when i calculated out the total it was completely wrong and the price had gone up..... does this guy know basic addition or not?

in the end the price of my repair was double of what the guy at watermelon estimated, not to mention it took more than 2 weeks. Don't get your guitar repaired....they tell you a lower price so that you will let them take your guitar, and then when they are in the process of taking apart the guitar it's already too late and the cost is doubled. Will not come here again. —magicrice

  • While I can't speak to your specific situation, I will say that what is oftentimes good stewardship is confused for salesmanship. The guys at Watermelon are not just there to sell product. They want your music to sound the best that it could. If you go and replace your nut, but the strings are wasted, your guitar playing may sound like crap. Then you might tell your friends after they listen to your lousy music, "Dude, I got the nut replaced on this guitar but it sucks. Those guys at Watermelon blow!," when actually it's because there's something else on the guitar that needs fixin' and you were too stubborn to listen. Of course, the strings and installing them cost more, but your music also sounds better and that's what they want. Are they a business? Do they want to make a buck? Sure, but ask yourself why those guys care so much about all these customers who come in. They're musicians themselves, some of them damn good ones playing guitar when your dad was deciding whether he should trust that jimmiehat he's had in his wallet since he took Suzy Whatsername to see Saturday Night Fever. So you might want to cut some slack to the people looking out for you. —condemned2bfree

2009-02-09 17:05:01   All of this community forum-ing is nice, but what it all boils down to is very simple:

Watermelon... -Their repair service is decent, but its really a choice between them and nothing. They have no reason to improve, w/o competition, and so they won't.

-If you think their prices are good, you haven't been online recently. Craigslist, eBay or Guitar Center beat the hell out of them any day of the week. The only reason people tolerate paying $30 for a capo is they don't feel like driving out to Sacto.

-Their selection is adequate, honestly all you could expect from a local, small store, but it tends to fall on the more expensive end of the range. I don't really understand why you would buy an electric guitar there, unless you would like to pay a $100 markup for a very common guitar.

-Their staff are a mixed bag. One day you'll get the fellow who happily repairs your broken guitar for cheap, the next you'll get the bitter stockgirl who, as you thumb through their sheet music, whispers that their selection is shitty.

-Renting anything besides a violin is a poor choice. They'll give you a beat-up or lower-end rental, treat you like a baby who only knows how to destroy precious things, and charge you twice the cost of anything you break.

All in all, its a pretty dissapointing package, but Davis moms won't know the difference, and the residents in our "8.9 square miles surrounded by reality" will have to deal with this place until someone opens something better. I hope they do, and soon, because it will take that much to get these Watermelon people to come down from their cloud. —TimeToGetAway

2009-02-10 13:40:19   Honestly people. Is it really necessary for a clerk to kiss your bum every time you spend a precious, almighty dollar in their store? Do you really want to look in the mirror and see that imperious, over-sensitive and self-important CONSUMERsaurus Rex staring back at you? Don't be that guy, or girl. You are only contributing to the end of civilization. The staff at Watermelon are fine. Their prices are shockingly resonable if not downright low, considering that we live in the age of Musician's Friend and Guitar Center and tons of mass-produced cheap Chinese plastic crappy musical equipment flooding the market. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly enough for me, and I've patronized and pestered many a music store in my many days. But I have simple needs. Maybe I'm not a super-cool world-class touring musician (ahem) like "bryangarza", or a medieval/renaissance minstrel like the gut strings guy. Maybe I'm too easy to please. When I bought a $200 Jagmaster guitar from Watermelon, Ron fiddled with the bridge and pickups, stabilized the tremolo and got the action just right and basically treated me like a rock star and my cheap guitar like a museum piece....for free! So suck it, you complaining banshees. You aren't welcome everywhere you go just because you go there. You aren't entitled to a full-service ass-kissing just because you might spend some money, maybe. And, by the way, I don't know when the world changed and how I missed it, but some clerks in some shops actually aren't supposed to be ingratiating boot lickers. Record stores, comic book stores, cafes and music stores are examples that spring immediately to mind; places where it may actually be refreshing to be treated like a normal person and not Louis XIV. Where did this crazy idea of customer service as ego-manicure come from? Call it gruffness, brusqueness or just plain rudeness if you will, but I don't see it that way. I think that most of you are being too sensitive. I think that most of you aren't cool enough to dig it. You deserve Guitar Center. You need a robotized switchboard and an internet shopping cart. You should have your baroque recorder smashed to bits by UPS on it's way to your house from a warehouse in New Jersey. Oh, and bryangarza- Why is it so important to tell us that the clerk is an "Asian girl"? And why don't you know that playing a guitar with a violin bow is for wankers? Ugh. Anyway... —K.C.STAUBACH

2009-02-24 19:29:39   TimeToGetAway: I'm not sure what your experiences have been in our store, but something is obviously bothering you. As co-owner of the store I'd be happy to discuss your negative impressions in person if you would like. As for the information you have posted:

-Their repair service is decent, but its really a choice between them and nothing. They have no reason to improve, w/o competition, and so they won't.

We have people bring in instruments from Sacramento, Vacaville, Fairfield, Grass Valley and elsewhere because they like our repair program. We are one of the only warranty service stations in Northern California for Fender, Guild, SWR, Gretsch, etc. Many other stores in the area will ONLY provide warranty service if the instrument was purchased from them originally. We have opted not to do that. Our in-house repairperson (Ron, referred to in posts above) is top notch and people generally bring their instruments to him again and again. We use a local violin builder (Devin Hough) to do our orchestra instrument repairs, a Sacramento technician (Brett Brinkley) to do our brass and woodwind repairs, a couple of Winters-based guitar builders to do fretted instrument repairs (Keith Cary and Al Calderone), and Dr. Rock does our amp and electronic repairs. Prices should be in-line with or better than any place in Sacramento and turn-around time will generally be significantly faster.

-If you think their prices are good, you haven't been online recently. Craigslist, eBay or Guitar Center beat the hell out of them any day of the week. The only reason people tolerate paying $30 for a capo is they don't feel like driving out to Sacto.

We sell primarily new merchandise. As Craigslist and eBay sell primarily used or "blow out" merchandise, I don't think it's fair to compare the two. As for Guitar Center...we match or beat their prices on instruments and electronics on a daily basis. If you prefer the experience of shopping at a cookie cutter "big box" to our store, I can understand, but your decision shouldn't be based upon price.

-Their selection is adequate, honestly all you could expect from a local, small store, but it tends to fall on the more expensive end of the range. I don't really understand why you would buy an electric guitar there, unless you would like to pay a $100 markup for a very common guitar.

We offer a Lowest Price Guarantee on all of our instruments and electronics. While we certainly have to sell things for more than we pay for them (it's called RETAIL), I will maintain that our selection is more diverse and "independent" than any other store in this area. We have tried from our first day to make a store that is uniquely "Davis," and believe that we have (for the most part) succeeded. Most of the posts above bear witness to that. We carry a mix from "entry-level" to "professional" in most product categories. If we're missing the boat on something that people want, please let us know.

-Their staff are a mixed bag. One day you'll get the fellow who happily repairs your broken guitar for cheap, the next you'll get the bitter stockgirl who, as you thumb through their sheet music, whispers that their selection is shitty.

I have a great deal of respect for and confidence in my staff. I'll have to respectfully suggest that you're exaggerating here. Perhaps the bitter stockgirl was visiting our store on her lunch break from some other store...?

-Renting anything besides a violin is a poor choice. They'll give you a beat-up or lower-end rental, treat you like a baby who only knows how to destroy precious things, and charge you twice the cost of anything you break.

Years ago, we made the decision to buy high-quality rental instruments from reputable manufacturers rather than cheap no-name instruments with a limited lifespan. Our rental violins are built and set up to our specifications, and our saxophone, flute, clarinet, trumpet and trombone rental fleet consists mainly of "step up" instruments, rather than the cheaper "base models" available from the manufacturers. These are designed to be more durable, more playable, and have a longer useable life than typical entry level instruments. We rely on advice from private and school instructors, repair technicians and our staff when deciding which instruments to buy as rentals. With our maintenance plan, most repairs to the instrument will cost you $5.00, maxing out at 10% of the value of the instrument if total replacement is necessary, so I have no idea what you're talking about here.


2009-03-20 17:33:13   So I (a total guitar noob) went in to Watermelon this afternoon looking for a new acoustic guitar. A very friendly and knowledgeable person asked me all the right questions since I had no clue what I was looking for except that I had a budget. She showed me several different guitars and played a bit on each so I could hear the difference in sound. I ended up buying a guitar and they ended up with a loyal customer. As a local business owner, I can say that with the service I received today, I'd hire that staff member in an instant. —JayAziz

2009-03-21 22:07:24   I don't have a wealth of experience with Watermelon Music, but I did feel like I was lied to by one of their employees once. Freshman year, I had lost my slide, so went to Watermelon in search of a new one. I was figuring I'd spend about 10 bucks on the cheapest glass one they had there, but one of the salespersons suggested that I get a different one they had for the same price, that was handmade by a local craftsmen. Beautiful slide, but definitely not "the same price," as the other one. The one I was looking at was somewhere between 10 and 15 dollars (can't recall the exact price). The one that he said cost "about the same" was closer to 30. I'm not unhappy with the purchase, its a great slide...just think that if you're going to sell it, don't exaggerate how cheap it is. —sososharp

[response] At Watermelon Music, mass-produced glass slides run $5.91 on the low end, to $15.95 on the high end. We have "hand-cut from recycled wine-bottle" slides for $10.00-$15.00, and hand-made blown-glass artisan slides for $20.00. I don't know how long ago your purchase took place, but prices haven't changed much over the last couple of years. I'm glad you're happy with your slide. —Jeff Simons

2009-07-06 19:22:06   Today my wife bought what she thought was a chin rest for my daughter's violin, and then she rushed over to my daughter's lesson only to find that she had bought a shoulder rest, instead. Even though the lesson was in far north Davis (by the pond), when the young employee (name unknown, but he was an Asian guy) heard about the mistake, he jumped on his bike and biked the correct chin rest out to the site of the lesson within ten minutes of my wife calling the store. That's the sort of service that one could never expect from some megastore in a Sacramento suburb. Great job, Watermelon Music! We will keep shopping with you. —DrandyJones

2009-07-18 12:54:28   Watermelon Music is AMAZING. I went to buy an acoustic guitar and not only were the prices heavenly, but the service was incredible. Everyone there is smiley and friendly, and willing to bust their butt to get you what you need. They always say hello, how are you, they remember who you are, and they always want to help. The people giving lessons upstairs are patient, wickedly talented, and always encouraging you to do your best and pursue your dreams in music. I love this store and always will. Peace, guys! :] —CosmoAlana

2009-08-15 23:13:34   I've only had good experiences here. I lent my friend my drum set and she was picking it up from my dorm (I don't actually know how to play it). I went with her since she wanted help with setting it up at her house. We decided to stop by Watermelon to look for new cymbals because the ones that came with the kit were terrible. Actually, the whole set was pretty cheap sounding. The drum guy asked if we needed help, and we explained our situation. He showed us some cymbal sets, but we figured that was too big of an investment for someone who wasn't completely sure if it's something she'd want to stick with. He offered to check out the drum set, which was in our car. We actually brought it in, and he tuned them all for us! I've always hated how my snare sounds.... kinda plasticky sounding... and he showed us some snares that were within our price range. In the end, we left with a pretty good snare for about 100 bucks and everything all tuned up. Yay! —JenniferGiang

2009-09-25 14:06:28   My son just started playing violin, and some folks from Watermelon came to his school and set up a table in back for parents at the first string instrument meeting. You could rent instruments and also purchase all the other goodies you needed. I bought a few things, but the next day I noticed that over $200 had been erroneously charged to my Visa, in addition to my $39 purchase. I panicked! I called Watermelon and within minutes, one of the store owners was on the phone with me. He apologized and said that the charges had been entered earlier in the day by the other owner, and he'd speak to him and take care of it right away. He took my phone number, and sure enough, the next business day I received a phone call confirming that the charges had been voided (turns out they'd never gone through, as the owner had realized his error and voided them immediately), and all was well. I really appreciated their thoughtful, courteous and prompt assistance. This was one of those situations where bad customer service could have alienated a customer, but these guys were nothing but professional and kind—I'm definitely going to continue shopping at Watermelon. —amay

2010-02-24 11:57:11   So, Yesterday (2/23/10) I went to Watermelon Music for my first time. I made the HORRIBLE mistake of reading about them on Davis Wiki. I was expecting the worst, however, still wanted to check them out as an alternative to driving to GC in Sac. So, I went inside expecting a tiny percussion section, with limited options. I also, thanks to the wonderfull posts on here, expected to be yelled at as soon as I entered (ok, small exaggeration). So, in I went, ready for the worst..and as usual, the people that slammed them on here were WRONG. For a "local" music store, they had an impressive selection of QUALITY items. My goal was to price cymbals, and the selection was great. They had Zildjian, Sabian and Meinl. A good variety of individual cymbals, and packs. I have recently re-entered the world of percussion, and on a limited budget. I browsed and tried out a few. Then it happened, that evil man everyone speaks about in the drum section came over. Here I was in my early 30's waiting to be yelled at. He walked right over and said "good afternoon, can I help you with anything". THE NERVE! Ok, I am joking. I didnt get his name, but he was obviously in charge of percussion. He was VERY pleasant to me and the other two younger guys that were also checking cymbals. He encouraged me to try any out with a stick (like your supposed to)and play it loud to check the sound. He politely excused himself for a moment and came back again (it was busy and there were many customers) to see if I needed anything. He, the other two guys and I took a few moments to have an intelligent conversation about the different sounds of cymbals. He then informed us of a sale, and explained exactley which cymbals were going to be on sale. I came out with a nice 16 inch Zildjian A fast crash that sounds very nice on my kit. I also noticed that this guy was very intelligent and very helpful. I am assuming that the negative statements in here are from those folks that walk in and just bang on everything until they annoy and disrupt business. Now, there was not a GC portion of choices, but they equipment they had stocked were quality. I can say the original (not the sale price) was about 10% more than at GC. However, GC often buys bulk to get those prices and have 15 of the same thing. So if they do not have what you need, then you are SOL. Watermelon had various types of everything, and the price difference equals the gas and time of driving into sac for GC. I am on a tight budget, and I did not at all flinch on the prices. Overall, I would say if your a percussionist, support local and by Watermelon. Even if you are new, they seemed very educated and I am sure if walked in and told them what you were looking for, they would be more than helpful. They also deal in highend and clean used equipment. I am guessing they can order special items as well if they aren't in stock, but that isn't confirmed. I didn't spend much time in the other areas of the store, however, there were a decent amount of customers, and they were all being treated very well. Here is the thing, as with every non chain music store...or ANY STORe for that matter...if you walk in and start hacking on their equipement, they are going to ask you to stop (which is a normal reaction). If you walk in, talk to them and tell them what you are interested in, I am sure they will let you sample the equipment. Thanks Watermelon, I was impressed (P.S., I hardley ever post on here, I felt compelled to after my visit in the store. THANK YOU! - splewis1977! —splewis1977

  • I'm not sure where you got the idea that they were lousy... reading through the reviews, the majority are not only positive, they use phrases like "thoughtful, courteous and prompt", "I've only had good experiences here", "Watermelon Music is AMAZING", and "Great job, Watermelon Music!". And that's just the last four reviews that I can easily copy and paste. There are many many other reviews here that laud various aspects and talk about how wonderful they are. I'm not sure where you got the idea that you should (in your words), "[expect] the worst"? —Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards
    • That is why I posted how I did, for some reason reading on here and a few people It talked to gave me a erroneous impression. I am glad I was wrong, and felt that they minimal negative posts needed to be addressed. I admitted I was wrong from the beginning. I seriously felt compelled to add my comment and say I WAS WRONG, and I am glad I was :) - splewis1977
      • Heh. I've noticed that some of the negative comments are from people with pretty odd views or are absolute beginners when it comes to understanding musical instruments. Some of the negative reviews come from not understanding things like the fact that strings need to be replaced, or that wooden violin bridges are expected to periodically break (unlike, say, guitar bridges), or understanding the subtle (and often confusing) difference between real gut and nylon "gut" strings. Of course, I don't think there is any place of business (or any individual, for that matter!) that doesn't occasionally leave a bad impression on somebody, no matter how good they are or how much they honestly try to please people. -jw

2010-04-29 13:39:43   Watermelon is a great store, and Andy (their violin guru and a composer and violinist himself) is a rare find in a shop of any size. He won't surprise you at the door and give you a sales pitch. Instead, he speaks quietly from experience, can demonstrate the instruments skillfully, and is a perfect example of the added value that you get in a local store. For those who comment about the prices, most have bought little more than small accessories and probably prefer the impersonal internet buying or box store approach. If you take the time to talk with the staff at Watermelon, especially about instrument purchases, they are knowledgeable, helpful, and you'll get a very fair price. As others have said, if you find a better price elsewhere within 30 days, they'll refund the difference. —UCDPhD

2010-05-28 13:04:32   Cool little store. They've got some good stuff and some mediocre stuff but they have enough to meet the needs of most instrument players. For the most part their staff is really cool.

Unfortunately, I don't remember any names, but a fellow with the beard/goatee has always been very helpful and a delight to ask questions to. However, they have one employee with long hair, usually works the accessories (Guitar picks/strings, basically by the registers) who hasn't EVER been pleasant to deal with in MY EXPERIENCE. He always gave off a vibe that I was wasting his time and genuinely seemed uninterested and flat out annoyed when I've asked him if they had any guitar string specials. I was so P.O'd by his service one day, I almost blurted out something along the lines of, 'Can someone else help me? This guy is being a real a**hole' but figured it wouldn't help the situation and would prevent me from getting decent service.

He's just one employee (whom I have never registered a formal complaint about) out of the many others who have been very helpful.

With that said, I do not shop at Watermelon Music very often because of my experiences, however, I've heard many positive comments about Watermelon and their staff. Despite my experience and what I have said, it's still a good thing to support your local music shops!

Peace. —joneric

2010-06-26 14:24:06   I've had a mixed experience at watermelon. Most of the staff is very helpful, and helps me find what I'm looking for. (I had good experiences such as a hassle free return of a special order bridge cover that didn't fit my strat, and great advice of the differences between solid body and hollow body electrics, differences in tone, etc.) A few times, however, I've had less than admirable responses from the staff. The worst experience I've had there was with an inquiry about strings to protect and keep my dad's old martin 000 (that he passed on to me), the employee helping me suggested a pair of nice steel strings. He then told me to never convert it into an acoustic electric. When I mentioned that it had already gone through the process of being converted there and back again long before my dad got his hands on it, the employee gave me a look of disgust, told me that it was already ruined and I could put any old strings on it, because it didn't matter. I bought the strings he first suggested in the end, but experiences like this that suggest old family heirlooms are pieces of junk does not generally sit well with customers. —JeffyW

2010-09-13 18:19:19   I have been to this store numerous times in order to first buy a cello (after my dog broke my old one), then later to have the sound post fixed after it came loose moving, peg rosin, strings, mute, rosin, music, etc. Each time the staff here has been very courteous, and even more knowledgeable on either the cello or where I could find what I was looking for. Selection for items varies, so you can go cheap or expensive depending on your preferences or quality your looking for. Others might have had bad experiences, either for real or in their head out of some feeling of "me against the world", but there's a reason I come here repeatedly. And I've been playing for almost 20 years. —patrick82

2011-01-21 16:28:53   Watermelon Music IS my favorite music store. For a mid-sized, privately owned store, I think they have a great selection of products coupled with great service and good prices. I’ve found their staff to be very helpful and knowledgeable. Their pricing is competitive with anything you’ll find anywhere else, including online. I’ve been there enough times over the past few months that they now greet me when I come in the door. I just wish that I didn’t have to drive 75 miles, (each way), to get there!!

Recently I spent several hours in a few different music stores, (between San Jose and Davis), trying different guitar and amplifier combinations before making a final decision on a new acoustic amp. They were very helpful in explaining the features of each of the amps…even helping with adjusting the settings, (while I played), to get the sound I was looking for. In the end they no longer carried the amp I wanted, but they were able to get me one quickly for a great price.

Since then I’ve bought two more amps, one guitar, a bunch of music books and several accessories from them. I continue to come back because of the great service, selection and prices. And…if they don’t have what you want, just ask. They can probably get it for you pretty quickly and for a good price.

I recently brought in an acoustic guitar that I was pretty sure was beyond repair. The bridge had begun to separate from the top of the guitar, pulling some of the wood from the top of the guitar with it. They not only did a great job fixing it for a very reasonable price, but when I got it back, it played better than it did when it was new! I plan on bringing some of my other guitars to them for a little "work". —RaulPerez

2011-02-15 20:14:07   I frequently come here for little odds and ends I might need for my guitar - strings, picks, etc. The staff are all very nice, and were very influential in helping me pick out my first amp for my venture into electric playing. They also have a wide variety of other instruments - I mean, where I'm from you would be hard pressed to find any mandolins in a local shop, let alone a wide selection of them. Would definitely recommend for any music enthusiast! —AdamAleksinski

2011-08-10 18:20:25   I recently picked up a concertina at the thrift store a few doors down. The buttons were all wonky on it, and many of them were stuck inside the casing. Other than that, it worked just fine. The notes all sounded clear (though a few of them were always playing, what with the buttons being pushed inside). Knowing nothing about concertinas, I dropped by Watermelon, where they said they could have their fella repair if for $35. Paid it and went on my way.

This was a mistake.

I picked up my instrument a few days later, and it all looked fine. It was not long, however, before the buttons began to again get stuck in the casing. Nervously I decided to open the casing myself, only to discover that I had nothing to fear. Each button simply sits on the lever arm, on top of a little rubber sleeve to help keep the button firm. In this case, those little rubber sleeves, were old and corroded, so the buttons would flop around. The person who "repaired" the concertina made no effort to replace these little sleeves. All he did was pop off the casing, line the buttons back up, and put the casing back on. This is a five-minute job, extremely easy, requiring no knowledge whatsoever. And I was charged $35 dollars for it. It took me a while to realize the extent of Jack-Squat the repairman did, but with each new realization, I've become more and more irritated. —ConorO'Neill

Jack-Squat here, I did the repair on the above mentioned squeeze box. I am sorry you are having problems with it. All you need to do is bring it back and I will be glad to take care of it at no additional charge since your repair, like all repairs I do, are guaranteed. If you prefer, I will refund your money. You were not present during the repair and could therefore not have any idea how long it took. I remember the instrument, its design is such that the alignment of the buttons is not secure, I spent over an hour taking it apart and getting it to work properly, it was working fine when it left. By the way, I am an independent contractor and not a Watermelon employee. I was professionally trained by a master luthier and a trained repair person and have been doing this since 1975. This is the first complaint I have had.

2011-08-10 19:54:19   Went in yesterday afternoon, trying to find new outlets I once loved to relax by. Began to look at the guitars and decided to buy one but, not knowing much about the different models spoke to Jeff about some of the options.

Jeff was friendly, though he was quite obviously busy doing other things which I had inadvertently interrupted, he took the time to talk for a few minutes about several of the pieces. He seems quite knowledgeable and helped me to decide on a guitar to purchase knowing I would not even be in for nearly a month to pick up the guitar I decided on.

Very helpful. Very friendly. Very understanding.

Will definitely be returning. Thanks Jeff. —Wes-P

2011-11-17 15:50:30   I went into Watermelon Music about one week ago looking for a guitar box to send my son's guitar to him at college. The woman at the desk went into the back and looked, came out and said there were no usable boxes. I asked if they could take my name and contact me when they got a box and at that moment another employee got interested and asked if he could help. He then went into the back room and got me a box. He also told me how to take the tension off the strings and how to pack it up. I took it all over to PDQ and the owner packed it up and I sent it off the same day. So thank you Watermelon for the box and thank you PDQ for packing and sending it off. —michellecameron

2012-11-26 20:11:06   Needed a repair service on my Ovation Celebrity guitar. I snapped the nut and was expecting a big ($100+) repair cost. Dropped my guitar off and staff was really nice. Repair guy drops by on Wed. to pick up instruments to fix. Repair guy contacted me and informed it would be a cheap fix (<$25) which I was very happy about. Got guitar back today and was very happy about my service. I will be supporting Watermelon Music, my local music store for all my needs. Unfortunately I don't think they sell Ovation guitars new. —shraken

2013-01-07 13:37:25   Watermelon Music is one very big reason why Davis has a vibrant and active music life, serving musicians of all ages and abilities. They have very helpful and knowledgeable staff. —HiramJackson