By Melissa Wynn
For many years now Lassen and Plumas counties have been without a music store. Each time one of the many musical members of my family needed guitar strings or drum sticks it meant a long trip out of our area, oh bother!
On December 1st of 2011, local luthier and inventor of the MiniFlex Microphone, Ken Donnell and his partner Jim McBean opened Donnell’s Music Land at 207 Main St. in Greenville, finally bringing music back to the mountains. It’s a great little shop and so much more than a place to buy, sell and trade instruments and accessories.
The day of my tour, I arrived to find the storefront full of customers watching local teen Christopher Gibson practice his skills on a beautiful red drum set in the corner. A few minutes later jazz lover Andrea West came in to sell her Alto Saxophone and joined Christopher in song to play it one last time. She was very happy when Ken Donnell invited her to come back and play it again at Donnell’s Music Land’s weekly jam night. These Wednesday night get togethers welcome all musicians from 6-7:30 pm.
It’s all about the music and a walk through the back of the shop showed me the true passion of Ken and his staff . In the first workshop area we found electronics tech Micheal assembling Miniflex Microphones and tapping his foot to the beat he was hearing in his headphones. Sold on a global scale for acoustic instruments Donnell’s Music Land is the only place to purchase yours from the inventor himself.
A man of many talents, Ken also has a large work area for his luthier work. This is the room where instruments are created, including a gorgeous fiddleback guitar of stunning walnut in progress. Repairs and restorations of musical instruments as well as fine wooden antiques are also on the list of services that keep the melodies flowing through our neighborhood.
Wanna join the jam sessions but can’t play a note? No worries, Donnell’s has you covered again. Several local musicians give lessons and Music Land has the information to get you started.
Donnell’s Music Land is open Wednesday-Friday 12-6pm and Saturday 12-4pm. The man himself, Ken Donnell will also open for you by appointment, just give him a call at the store at 530-284-1689 or after hours at 530-230-7842. He’s happy to open the door and bring music back to the mountains.