South Austin Music Celebrates 25 Years Serving Austin Musicians

An Austin Legacy Lives On, Anticipating Another Quarter Century of Serving Pickers

On October 1st, 2011 South Austin Music, a local treasure trove for musicians of all types, will celebrate its 25th year in business. In that time the locally owned store has expanded three times at its one-and-only address (1402 S. Lamar Blvd.) to happily serve tens of thousands of players from around the world.

South Austin Music’s owner, Bill Welker, has a simple philosophy: “treat people right and they’ll always come back and tell others you took good care of them.” This way of thinking has worked so well that Welker rarely advertised the store in its first couple of decades. A few years ago chain stores and the Internet changed the face of retail in Austin and elsewhere bringing about Welker’s updated philosophy: “the only way to let new Austinites know we’re here is to toot our own horn a little, but it’s still about taking care of people,” says Welker.

Welker prides himself in serving all levels of musicians, from beginners to world-class talents, giving them the best service and products available. South Austin Music consistently has a knowledgeable staff of professional musicians, so players from the Austin area can count on getting the answers, gear and service that they require to learn to play or to get on stage and offer fans their best. South Austin Music has long been a favorite stop for famous musicians when they hit town as well.

The South Lamar institution has a legendary reputation for its ever-changing collection of used and vintage equipment, including a variety of essentials for amateur and professional musicians. The store offers customers a consistently loaded array of standard and custom sets of guitar, bass and other instrument strings, outstanding amp and guitar repair service, pre-owned and new gear, including banjos, ukuleles, mandolins, amplifiers and effects pedals and accessories. And from year one, South Austin Music has offered lessons for pickers new and advanced, regularly employing several of Austin’s most talented musicians as teachers.

No South Austin institution would be complete without an artistic homage to local culture. In 2007 Welker commissioned a mural for its south-facing wall that features some of the store’s most regular customers. The portrait includes the likenesses of Joe Ely, James McMurtry, the late Stephen Bruton, Jimmy LaFave, and Charlie Sexton.

South Austin Music has been an integral part of Austin music’s heart and soul, providing both local and international musicians the resources to walk onstage with the equipment, service, and confidence that have given Austin its reputation as “the Live Music Capital of the World”. Welker invites all Austinites to visit South Austin Music this year to help celebrate and say hello; while they’re there, visitors can check out some of the coolest guitars in Austin before they wind up on stages all over the world.


Comrades 2020

Becoming Comrades

The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.


Photo by Quinsey Sablan

Full Feature
HM covers from over the years

HM Magazine Turns 35

In 1985, Doug Van Pelt photocopied a letter-sized sheets of paper, bound them together, and handed them out in person on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It's all digital now, but, along the way, Van Pelt stirred up quite a few waves, played some seriously heavy music, and made a few friends along the way. Here: A quick look back at the magazine's 35-year history with Van Pelt and new owner, David Stagg.


Full Feature
My Epic performing their last final show before COVID-19

Between the White Noise

My Epic's last full-length album came out in 2013; despite a number of EPs along the way, the band's dedication to their craft, lyrical approach, and unyielding approach to let the music come naturally has made them critical darlings. Now, they're learning to interact and feed a rabid fanbase in between albums and in a new normal.


Full Feature
All Features