About Us

"If you've never visited the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park, correct the oversight at your earliest opportunity."
-- Bob Levey, The Washington Post

7-time winner of "Best Place To Buy Instruments" in the Washington DC City Paper's Reader Poll

Take a virtual tour here!

Unlike most music retail websites you'll visit today, House of Musical Traditions (established in 1972) is a brick and mortar store with real people and real shelves. We take great pride in the instruments and services we offer and do our best to make sure nothing hits the sales floor (or the shipping department) if we wouldn't play it ourselves.

While our focus is on acoustic, folk and traditional instruments from the US and around the world, we carry "a little bit of everything," including some electric instruments, pro audio equipment, accessories and books. We can repair almost any kind of instrument, through our wide network of local repair technicians. We also rent instruments for school band and orchestra programs, as well as many folk/acoustic instruments. We offer purchase, trade & consignment for your used instruments, as well as appraisals for insurance or other purposes. Our School of Musical Traditions offers private and group lessons on a wide range of instruments and styles, for all ages. 

Read more about ordering from our website and shipping info here. Our return policy is outlined here

    If you can't find something on our website or need additional help - always feel free to contact us : 301.270.9090 or hmtmail@hmtrad.com!

    Finding us:

    We are located at 7010 Westmoreland Ave, Takoma Park MD 20912. This is in the heart of the old-town Takoma Park area, not far from the intersection with Carroll Ave. In general, we recommend following whatever your GPS tells you to do based on current traffic conditions, but here is the route we usually recommend from the DC Beltway (495):

    • Take the exit for New Hampshire South (exit 28, MD-650).
    • Head south for approx. 1.3 miles on New Hampshire Ave; then turn right on Piney Branch Rd.
    • Make the next left on Carroll Ave.
    • Follow Carroll Ave for approximately 2 miles into old-town Takoma Park. Where it comes to a T-intersection by the TPSS Food Co-op, turn right and then stay in the left lane to continue on Carroll Ave.
    • You'll pass the Victory Tower apartment building and then a bandstand/gazebo on your left. Make the next left on Westmoreland Ave.
    • Turn right into the driveway just to the side of our shop, which take you up to the parking lot.

    Here's what we look like from Westmoreland Ave:


    There is a free parking lot behind our store (go up the steep uphill driveway). You may either park in the large area or the small area just in front of our entrance (in this case, if you've parked behind other cars, please inform the staff if you'll be staying awhile. It's usually fine though). If you can't find a parking space here (it can sometimes get full, especially on the weekends), there's information here on other parking options in the area. 

    View from the parking lot to our main entrance:


    We are a short (7-minute) walk from the Takoma Metro stop on the Red Line. There are also several Metrobus and Ride-On bus stops close by on Carroll Ave. If you are walking from Carroll Ave, go down Westmoreland and cut through the first parking area on the right (you will see Tonal Park studios) and look for the big gray house with the neon "Music" sign. You can enter through our side door and avoid the walk up our steep driveway. You can also cut through Ace Hardware on Carroll Ave if they are open - walk through the store to their back entrance, then outside through their garden center, and you'll see our main entrance on the left. 


    About Our Stained Glass Window: 

    Sometime in 1977, when the store was in Berkeley Springs WV, owner Dave Eisner attended an ethnomusicology convention in Montclair, NJ. His host happened to be renting space to a woman who restored antique stained glass pieces. Dave was impressed by her work and asked if she could design something for him. Although she had never done any original pieces, she was willing to give it a try. She used scraps from her repair work, and the result was this lovely window. Unfortunately, Dave can't remember the artist's name!

    At first the stained glass piece hung in the front window of the Berkeley Springs store. When that store closed in 1983, Dave brought the piece with him to Takoma Park, MD. Now it is set into the front door to act as a window -- it is really beautiful when the afternoon sun shines through it.

    Our window was the inspiration for our store's t-shirt design. Get a t-shirt today!

    HMT began in 1972 when David Eisner purchased the remaining inventory of Hank Levin's Musical Traditions dulcimer shop in NYC. Hank was closing the business and moving to CA. David opened a storefront in Takoma Park, MD starting with the lap dulcimers and slowly added a wide range of other instruments and accessories (plus records and CDs, which eventually got phased out). In the mid 70s, a second location opened in Berkeley Springs, WV; then the Takoma Park location closed. In 1983, David moved the store back to Takoma Park, where it was located at 7040 Carroll Ave (what is now Roscoe's Pizzeria) until 2008. In June 2008 we moved to our current location at 7010 Westmoreland Ave, just a block away. 

    David started a folk concert series inside the store in the 1980s, which eventually became the Institute of Musical Traditions, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. IMT currently offers virtual programming as well as concerts in venues around Montgomery County, MD. In 2017, the store began expanding its lessons program, which has become the School of Musical Traditions. Private and group lessons are offered at the school's main location at 7112 Willow Ave, Takoma Park, MD. SMT also offers virtual lessons.