The “Swoppy”: Carlton’s “one-stop music shop”


Nestled on Elgin St across two stores, Music Swop Shop has been the go-to spot for music-lovers for more than four decades.

Established in 1982, the iconic store has remained a beloved fixture, attracting visitors with its diverse selection of musical treasures.

While the “Swoppy” story began before current proprietor Bryan took over 37 years ago, he has remained the sole owner of the store since taking over in what he describes as a “meant to be” moment in his life.

“I worked in the public service for many years and had always played music and been in bands, but I just happened to be taking long service leave and I saw a little ad in the newspaper that said, ‘music shop for sale’,” Bryan told Inner City News.

“I kept flicking past and coming back to it, and before I knew it, I was making an appointment – I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

Stepping inside the Swoppy, you’ll find cosy chaos; guitars hanging from the ceiling and musical paraphernalia filling every corner, with the shop’s undeniable charm and friendly atmosphere welcoming music enthusiasts from all walks of life.

Selling items on consignment, Bryan and his team value honesty above all else, with no hidden charges or time limits to put an item up for sale, as well as a three-day handover period to address any faults.



“I like the idea of consignment – it’s unpredictable, you never know what people will bring in to sell or the people you’ll meet,” Bryan said. “It’s always been a forte of the shop and why people like doing it with us, we’re kind of neutral turf. We don’t have a vested interest in particular things, and rule number one is always honesty – you can never go wrong with honesty.”

Specialising in guitars and amplifiers, Music Swop Shop is also staffed by passionate musicians eager to share their knowledge.

“All my staff are tremendous, they work above and beyond,” Bryan said.


When people come in and we say, ‘can we help you’, we mean it. We genuinely want to help people, there’s no high-pressure sales.


The business expanded three years ago, adding a second storefront across the road at 136 Elgin St.

The Swoppy’s second location stocks mainly acoustic guitars, accessories, and keyboard-related and world music items, while electric guitars, amps and pedals are available at 145-147 Elgin St.

They also offer various in-store services including instrument and amp repairs at affordable prices, as well as items available on their online store for “3am purchases after a glass of wine”.

“Every day is a different adventure. It’s not a case of, ‘I’m off to work today’, but rather ‘I’m off to the shop today’ – the staff feel the same too,” Bryan said.

“There’s been a lot of musicians that have met within the shop and bands formed over the years. I’ve developed relationships with a lot of customers too, and now the next generation and their kids are coming in. It’s a great feeling that people appreciate what we do.” •

Music Swop Shop is located at 145-147 and 136 Elgin St, and is open weekdays from 11am to 6pm, and weekends from 11am to 3pm.

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