Elderly Instruments opened on July 5, 1972 in East Lansing, with about 15 or 20 used instruments. We wanted a store where people could feel comfortable, be allowed to play the instruments — a rarity then and now — and find great prices and great customer service. Before we knew it, we were carrying strings, accessories and (much to our surprise) new instruments, too.
By 1975, we had a 100+ page mail order catalog and a much expanded space. We learned about instruments from experience, from talking with customers, and from the burgeoning world of vintage instruments. We learned about different kinds of acoustic and electric music from the LPs we were selling, from our customers, and from the many great musicians coming through town. We learned about running a business. As we learned, the world kept changing, and Elderly Instruments continued to grow.
By 1983, we had outgrown our original space, so we bought and renovated an old lodge hall in Lansing. In 1988 we automated our inventory. By the early 1990s, our experience in mail order paid off when we created our first website. It's interesting to reflect; when we opened the original store, we did not have a cash register — we didn't even have a calculator. As crazy as it sounds, it was many years before even a hand-held calculator felt affordable. Now you can access our store through smartphones that fit in your pocket!
Elderly Instruments has continued to grow and support the Greater Lansing. The current Elderly workforce includes Stan Werbin, original founder, Lillian Werbin, heir apparent, and just under 40 stellar employees, many of whom have been here for well over 20 years. We hope that our customers, new and established, will visit our Lansing store for many years to come.
We continue to offer great new, used, and vintage instruments, as well as accessories, instructional materials, and even a few wacky things, all at great prices. We offer free advice, or we can write an appraisal (for a small fee) that your insurance company will gladly accept.
Our repair shop is one of the best in the world, with over 150 years of combined experience. They inspect and set up nearly every instrument we sell, to ensure the best playability and sound possible.