This laid-back Sherman Oaks shop has become a nerve center for garage bands, jazz musicians, classical players and others who work in the music industry — or aspire to do so. Owner Ed Walker is a bass player, and every staffer is a musician. Customers are drawn to the high-quality instruments — generally used, refurbished here and then sold for far less than new — as well as a busy repair division that can fix any woodwind or brass instrument. Baxter-Northup Music Co. is one of L.A.'s oldest businesses, and sheet music is still its most enduring sales item. Plenty of bands buy the Fake Book, which Walker explains “gives just the chord changes so they can fake it — to 600 songs!” Individual song sheets are popular with classical musicians, students and others. Celebrities and directors also stop by to browse — or to enroll their kids in the store's 25-teacher music school. 14534 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 788-7510,

—Jill Stewart

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