Meet the Folks
Fun Stuff We Do
Visiting the Shop
About Our Shop
Mill River Music and Guitars is a creative, collaborative Mom-and-Pop operation, bringing together the talents of husband and wife team Jon and Nina Aronstein. Completing our Fantastic Four are super guitar aficionados Gage Lyons and Jeffrey Gilmartin. We love all instruments: new, used, and vintage, but are especially fond of those previously loved and are ready to rock again. We don’t just sell, we also take trades, consignments, and buy from our local community. We also have a wide variety of accessories that is continuing to grow daily! If you don’t see something you want, let us know and we’d love to bring it to the shop in the future.
Here at Mill River Music we’re looking to grow along with community around us–we live here and want to keep making our town and valley the wonderful place it is. As part of this, we’ll be doing individual and group music lessons of all kinds, workshops, and fun events. We have a great team of music teachers, women and men, that are happy to help you bring your music to a whole new level. Supporting our young musicians, with a focus on empowering people of all genders in music and the arts, is another big part of our mission. This is also a growing endeavor, so please keep checking back in for more community opportunities!
Along with our team (below!), you might sometimes see our “cheering section” in the house: Jon and Nina’s three kids, Noah, Lily, and Kody. Even though we’ve all been in music for years, we’re starting afresh together, so come check us out and watch grow over the years!
Meet the folks
You probably already know Jon, the Renaissance Man–he’s repaired your guitar, taught tennis to your kids, or coached them in soccer. He’s a genuine Good Guy. Originally from Long Island, Jon has been living in the valley since 1995. Originally trained at Leeds Guitar Maker School (with teachers Brad Nickerson, Bill Cumpiano, and Ivan Schmukler), he spent a number of years building guitars. After an interlude into fine cabinetry and woodworking and as a professional tennis instructor, Jon returned to luthiery and worked at Birdhouse Music for six years. Needing to steer his own ship, Jon is bringing his wide array of skills to bear here as the head luthier, manager, and owner of Mill River Music.
Owner, design, rock star
A born and bred Hilltown girl, Nina is returning to music after a 15-year hiatus in the fitness industry and academia. A musician since the age of 4, she is a classically trained coloratura soprano whose real love is classic rock. Nina holds a BMus in vocal performance as well as her Masters and PhD in Kinesiology. Alongside working in the shop, she teaches in movement science at Westfield State University and online in public health at George Washington University. Nina is our visual artist and designer, and manages our lessons, groups, and workshops. You’ve probably seen her riding her bike around town or running like the terminator. In her spare time, you might find Nina herding the “little guys” around town or running any trail she can find.
Gage hatched in a straw house in a field. A lifetime New Englander and utter gear nerd, he’s a guitarist/vocalist and plays in local rock bands Carinae and Bucket. He started flipping through instrument catalogues at the age of 10 and has never looked back. Fifteen years and nine bands later, his obsession with music and its effect on people grows every day. Gage joins us after two years at Birdhouse music. An excellent musician with skills and knowledge belying his young years, Gage is also an exceptional person, with integrity and humility of the highest order. He’s supportive of and encouraging to everyone, and just a super great guy.
Jeff may be the most qualified man to work a music store that we have ever met. Patient with a chisel, knowledgable about an accordion, able to handle a screaming mob without a drop of sweat, and possibly the most eloquent shipper of finicky music gear this side of the Mississippi, Jeff is a true wealth of knowledge and a great source of oddly-stated life wisdom. His old-school patience and care are a dying breed. With a past that involves stints at Daddy’s Junky Music, Lasalle Music, Birdhouse Music, and Viva Tubes, Jeff has a wide variety of skills to help our customers find the right instrument or get one set up. He is also a classically and otherwise trained guitar player who currently plays in Northampton based band Hot Dirt. If you are really nice, he may whittle you a chopstick from Lignum Vitae. He’s probably also played that weird freaky pedal that you have been looking for. Jeff is a great guitar and instrument tech who you’d be lucky to have soldering your pots or lubing your valves.
Who we are: a Northampton Mom-and-Pop with a passion for guitars, music, and a love of our communityWhat we do: we buy, sell, trade, consign, service, and repair guitars, basses, and other musical instruments. We deal in new, used, and vintage instruments. We provide lesson space and connections with great local teachers, as well as groups and workshopsYou’re our community, we’ll see you at the farmer’s market, on the soccer field, or just around town. We’re not only locally owned and operate, we’re literally your neighbors, and we want to build relationships that will last for years, for you to trust us and come back again and again. At the heart of our shop is our commitment to building our local community and treating our customers and neighbors fairly and with respect no matter who they are or where they’re from. We strive to give you the best possible service and to always work transparently and with care. By running our store both locally and on the web, we bring money into the local economy while providing beautiful instruments a second (or third, or fourth, or…) home here or in a whole new part of the world. We help you get more for instruments you’re ready to part with by giving you fair compensation or trade and by consigning. We want to build and support our community by providing connections through groups and events, as well as education through lessons, groups, and workshops to a wide variety of groups and interests. We have women on staff and as teachers, and in addition to other groups, we will offer groups and classes specifically geared toward up-and-coming girls and young women artists. Here at Mill River Music, we want everyone to feel welcome, supported, and empowered through music.
Stuff We Have and Do
Fun Stuff at the Shop
Come enjoy the ball chair, with it’s bass-enhancing magic. Or maybe enjoy a game of chess with a friend. And if your friend isn’t super keen on instruments like you, they can hang on our cushy couch while you browse.
Private and group lessons are happening! Call or email us to get matched up with a teacher that will help you reach your musical goals. Want to just try it out and see if you really like playing before you commit to buying an instrument? That’s ok, we’ll lend you one for your lesson. Want to sign up for regular sessions? We can do that, too.
A quick bite of what we sell…
Find out more in our online shop!
Most products in our in-person shop are also posted here. If you’re local and you’re wondering if we have something not shown here, send us a message or give us a call–either we’ve got it already, or we can make it happen for you in the future.
We sell new and used electric and acoustic guitars, basses, ukuleles, mandolins, banjos, harmonicas, and a mixture of other instruments ranging from keyboards to accordions.
Along with all the great used amps we have, we also are dealers for Quilter Amps. These solid states are taking the guitar world by storm, come and try one out!
So many cases… hard, soft, gigging, classical, electric, more. That up there is just a tiny sampling of what we’ve got in stock.
We have so many fun accessories! Above is just some of what we have. And not just the typical shop stuff: we have pots, nuts, and more for your building project, stands of all varieties, and for the gigging musician, things you maybe left behind at your last stop or at home (sorry, no toothbrushes!).
Pedals… yes, we have plenty of those. They’re waiting to go home with you.
We offer a variety of workshops, including finger-style blues, slide guitar, composition, guitar set-ups and basic maintenance, and more! We’re also building our events, and will in future have other fun things including intimate performances and music movie screenings. Check out our events for upcoming workshops, and if you want to see something in the future, send us a message.
Visiting the Shop
← Our shop entrance
Northampton is funWe even have arainbow crosswalk →
We’re located at the back of 16 Armory street, across the parking lot from the parking garage. Coming down Armory, take a left and you’ll see us on the left. Look for our big green sign and enter through the shared entrance with Brits R US (look for the Irish flag and Union Jack). And visit Brits R US while you’re here!
Parking is easy as pie. If you need to load heavy stuff, we have a spot in front just for you! Otherwise, across from our entrance is a parking lot with pay kiosks, and across the lot is the parking garage. There’s also metered and pay kiosk parking all over town. Just make sure you pay your meters, Parking Enforcement means business in this town! You can read more about parking in town here: http://www.northamptonma.gov/259/Parking-Lots-Passes