Consistent and versatile, it’s no surprise Eastgate Music is one of Melbourne’s premier music retailers

Consistent and versatile, it’s no surprise Eastgate Music is one of Melbourne’s premier music retailers

Words by Tom Parker

They continue to set the benchmark.

In 2018, a study headed up by Music Victoria, titled the Melbourne Live Music Census, revealed that Melbourne is statistically the live music capital of the world. Gathering data from the year 2017, the study found that Melbourne played host to over 73,605 advertised gigs with 17.5 million punters heading along to shows throughout the year.

It’s not just thanks to musicians, venues, promoters and the like that this has been achieved. None of this would be possible without the tools in the shed and the builders to manifest it.

Since 2001, Eastgate Music has forged its reputation as one of Melbourne’s premier retailers and repairers of music instruments and equipment. Music shops of this ilk go largely unheralded for their work. Like a roadie or independent record label, the work of Eastgate is done behind closed doors but is no less important.

Speaking to industry experts and Eastgate veterans, Marcello Grassi and Peter Shillito, the beloved music store made quick headway in the beginning due to their ambitious approach and desire to redefine what a music instrument store is and should be.

“Eastgate Music started with the philosophy of servicing the music industry,” Grassi says. “Now at that stage when we opened there was not a lot of people catering for certain parts of the industry. Sure people were still selling guitars, people were selling amplification but not many people were selling a lot of valve amplification, they weren’t selling a lot of American instruments.

“For example, if you wanted the power of a pedalboard, you couldn’t buy a pedalboard and you couldn’t buy a power supply because no one was importing anything of that nature and we were getting them made up by local builders who eventually struggled to cater for the customers’ needs. So Peter and I travelled overseas and met with many of these manufacturers and we were able to come up with gear that people weren’t really able to sell. So we filled the void for a lot of the customers.”

As Eastgate began turning heads and cultivated their status, they made their next move. For Shillito, it was vital the company played the long game in developing customer trust.

“[It was important] in how we approached our customers, in that we’re not just trying to get a quick sale. We’re trying to build rapport with customers over the course of their musical lives,” Shillito says. “We have a very good servicing department for setting up, repairing and just keeping instruments in perfect condition for our customers.

“Another thing we do is we run probably Melbourne’s biggest range of accessories, parts and accessories, particularly for guitar players but also stringed instrument players like violinists, cellists. We stock a very big range of accessories, always have, and it’s a very important part of our industry.”

The versatility of Eastgate Music is proven; a company that boasts not only an expansive showroom and a full-scale service workshop but also houses soundproofed test rooms, it’s no wonder that Eastgate has earned accolades both at home and abroad.

“We’re selling many instruments to musicians overseas, someone like Pete Townshend (The Who) for example. He thanked us immensely,” Grassi continues. “People have bought instruments from us and then sold them to Joe Bonamassa. Those instruments have gone to players of that nature after being bought from us.”

From today until Saturday April 4, Eastgate Music is running their ‘Monster Mega Sale’. With $1 million of gear to clear, prices will be slashed from between 30% and 50% off on guitars and amps, spotlighting brands such as Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Epiphone, NS Design, Warwick, Yamaha, Marshall and more. Now is a great opportunity to bolster your rig.

For those not comfortable in collecting their purchases from the store at this time, the sale offers free shipping Australia wide. As we enter uncertain times surrounding the coronavirus, Eastgate has never been more pragmatic.

“Number one, we have to be enthusiastic; number two, we have to be optimistic and number three, we will adapt no matter what conditions are given to us,” Grassi concludes. “If we have to adapt and adjust to the new modern era of doing business we will. Everyone will be faced with those decisions, it just depends on if you have the resources and the monetary resources to adapt and keep going.”

Eastgate Music is located at 1131 Burke Road, Kew and is open six days a week. Their Monster Mega Sale is now live – grab a bargain in-store or via their website.