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Fiddlers now have one-stop shopping

POULSBO — Despite spending the first few days of the year dealing with the clutter and chaos of changing locations, Peninsula Violin Co. owner Steve Mueller said he’s still as crystal clear on the reasons for starting the shop as he was a year and a half ago when it first opened its doors on Jensen Way. Providing instruments, training, music and general support to teachers and musicians has always been his goal.

Now, Mueller said his music shop at its new location on Front Street above Dancing Paint is thriving, partially because of the public and private teachers in the area sending students in need of instruments his way, and many musicians don’t want to travel all the way to Seattle for maintenance and support.

“I live in Chimacum and worked in just about every violin shop in the community,” he said. “Just like everything, we don’t want to go to the other side for everything we need. I was a bus rider and commuter, and kept looking up Poulsbo. It’s really growing.”

With the expansion, Mueller hopes to accommodate an increased clientele of musicians from orchestras, youth symphonies and basement bands. The players can now drop by Mueller’s shop for repairs, instruments and other supplies. He’s branched out his business to meet the needs of all stringed instruments, from cellos to violins, fiddles to banjos, guitars and even a few wash-bucket basses. He also has room for music teachers to give lessons, and holds old-time music workshops and jam sessions every month.

“I now have three teachers giving lessons here. It’s really nice to have local teachers for private and special lessons. I have a back entrance for them now, too, in this new space, so they can come and go separately from the store,” Mueller said. “The main goal is to build community with what I’m doing. It’s the right thing to do as far as I’m concerned.”

He said he plays old-time music, which predates bluegrass and is a style still very much alive in the fiddling community. The monthly workshops and jam sessions he holds are to keep it going, and a fair few of the well-known musicians playing old-time have stopped by to teach up-and-coming fiddlers.

The next workshop and session will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 12, and Mueller said residents are invited to stop by, listen and discover more about the music genre.

“Actually, my biggest goal is that the community keep growing around me,” he said. “I just hope to be a little old guy here, just to be old and play good music.”

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