Friday 14 December 2012

CHRISTMAS opening hours - order online over the Xmas break

Our Christmas Opening Hours

  • We are open MONDAY 17th 11-5 pm
  • Tuesday 18th to Saturday 22 10 - 5.30pm
  • MONDAY 24th Dec (Christmas Eve) 10am to 3pm

Please Note: You can order from the ONLINE SHOP at any time during this period and your parcel will go out as normal. The only exceptions are Xmas Eve, Xmas Day and Stephen's Day. 
Any queries to

Virtuoso from Larsen Violin Strings - a new option for dedicated players!

A fabulous new string from LARSEN for violinists. These are really worth a try, excellent sound and tone from one of the world's famous makers.

Sets only available but the price is €69.95 making them extremely competitive compared to other comparable strings.

Available in store or ONLINE

Thursday 6 December 2012

Christmas Specials!!


Free tuner, strings & cover with all nylon stringed guitars inc Jose ferrer, Hofner, and Admira hand made Spanish guitars, all sizes


Free tuner, resin, and Spare E strong with all violin outfits/violins over €295

Free gift pack - manuscript, notebook, pencil and spare E - with beginners' violins (Bon novice, pallini and cadenza outfits)


Boston clip on tuners €11.95

Free cover & strings with any Tenor or G Banjo

(Gifts of equal value if any listed freebie is out of stock)

For great value, properly set up instruments and full after sales what Santa does and shop at Charlie Byrne's :)

Thursday 8 November 2012

Celebrate our new Online Shop - €100 voucher to be won!

To celebrate our new online store
ALL orders placed in November and December will be placed in a draw for a €100 gift voucher!
With runner up prizes of €50 & €20 vouchers.

Winners will be drawn on December 31st making someone New Year very happy :) your online Christmas shopping with Charles Byrne could net you a €100 voucher !

Saturday 27 October 2012

Ukulele Lessons in Dublin -all levels and ages!

Community Noticeboard:
Ukulele Lessons are available in Dublin - personalised for you, all levels and ages catered for. Masterclasses available as well as one to one tuition, also strumming techniques, fingerpicking and more.
Contact Nora, 086 3649691

Thursday 18 October 2012

Community Noticeboard: Crash Ensemble "Thought" Nov 2nd Project Arts Centre

Crash Ensemble brings together groundbreaking new works from some of the world's most distinctive living composers. On November 2nd "Thought" includes premieres from the New York composer and guitar legend Glenn Branca, "one of the most remarkable musical minds of our time" Kevin Volans, as well as work from Nico Muhly and a new arrangement by Crash's own Donnacha Dennehy
A must for music lovers and lovers of innovation and expression.

Friday 2nd November 2012
Project Arts Centre
39 Essex Street
Temple Bar
Dublin 2
Tickets €20/€18 (conc.) Early Booking before 24th OCT save 25%
Tel 01-8819613

Friday 5 October 2012

Secondhand Violin outfits for beginners - New V Old?

As the season gears up and parents search for affordable violin outfits it can be hard to decide whether to choose a new or second hand violin outfit. People will tell you "oh "old" is always better" or "The second hand ones are "played in"" and this can be highly misleading. First of all the Old V New debate about top master-made instruments was recently resolved in an experiment that came firmly down in favour of new! but even if the converse were true, the fact is that when you are talking about student level instruments, a few years of playing will not transform a mediocre instrument, or even particularly affect a decent one. It simply isn't the case.
Second hand outfits can be a GREAT option; but not because of the old "played in" chestnut. Essentially what happens when you choose a second-hand outfit is that you trade off having a new bow and case for a saving of at least €35 on the outfit. The standard and sound of the violin remains all but unaffected.

So what to choose? Well if you can get a second hand in good condition, it's a great buy. You need to make sure that the violin is structurally sound, the bow still works and the case is in good condition. Otherwise you will lose the advantage of saving money by having to replace one or both of the accessories at a later date. So, try to get one that is in overall good condition - this is why we insist that any of our instruments presented for trade in MUST be in good condition. Otherwise it has no value for the next purchaser.

New outfits have their own set of advantages. The model of violin may be a different model, a newer and better one. More likely it will be very similar to the last model, but the bow and case will be new and are less likely to have any problems. It is very much a toss-up though, Especially in the smaller sizes, if there's a good second hand available, go for it!

New outfits start €155 Second hand €120

Friday 31 August 2012

Geraldine O'Grady, A celebration (in aid of Our Lady's Hospice)

A Celebration of Geraldine O'Grady, her birthday and career on the international concert platform.

Guest performers include Na Casaidigh, Oonagh Keogh, Virginia Kerr, Conor Linehan, Veronica McSwiney, Margaret O'Sullivan with special guests Des Keogh and Rosaleen Linehan.

Tickets €35, (choir balcony €20)
Box Office 01 4170000 or

All proceeds to Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services 

Thursday 30 August 2012

Starting Music? A Parent's Survival Guide!

Back to school means back to music for hundreds of pupils and even more exciting, for many it's the beginning of their musical journey - their very first lesson, their very first instrument! It's a lovely time, filled with new possibilities, the pride and enjoyment of new achievements, and the cuteness of small violin outfits from 1/16 size upwards!
Unfortunately for many parents it's also filled with jargon, confusing and conflicting advice and the feeling of being all at sea with too many options and not enough information.

First off, don't despair. You're not slow, or stupid. Every single parent of a budding Nigel Kennedy, unless they themselves are musicians, has been where you are now. No one should be expected to know what a frog is, or where to find the soundpost, or indeed, what the hell you are meant to do with the resin. It's all jargon until you know what it means, and it takes a while to figure it all out. A good shop will talk you through all the aspects of the violin that you need to know - what size fits your child, what price range is appropriate for a beginner, all the parts of the violin and how to maintain the instrument. A good teacher will explain the day to day lessons that your child will be practising so you can keep abreast of what they are doing and what they need to practise.
Week by week it will become easier and easier and you will understand more.

Pick the instrument that suits you
Generally your teacher should give you a list of what you require but if lessons are being organised through the school, or you haven't had a chance to ask yet the following is what you can expect.
Firstly the instrument. For Violin you will generally be looking for an outfit - violin, bow and case - and can expect to pay €155 new/€120 secondhand. Don't be tempted by very cheap outfits, they sound bad and are a devil to tune and maintain. If anything goes wrong it's hard to get them fixed. Going for the slightly dearer, properly set up instrument saves money and time over the course of the coming year. A properly fitted instrument will be easier to tune and will sound much, much better. For Cello similarly you will look for an outfit - the cello, bow and cover - and you can expect to pay about €480 for a decent beginner.
For classical guitar, a guitar and cover will set you back roughly €70 (4/4) for a decent starter.

Get the size right
All these instruments come in different sizes; it is very important to have your child measured either by the teacher or in a shop. Using the wrong size is not only uncomfortable (causing strain to shoulders, back and hands) but it lessens the chances of the child continuing with and enjoying their new instrument. Get the size right!

Choose a price range that suits you
For a complete beginner the prices outlined above are perfectly suitable. As your child progresses they will often require more tone, more nuance, from their instrument. If you are about to trade in and move up a size, or you suspect your child will take the instrument seriously and progress well, talk to your teacher about a better grade of instrument. Your teacher will be able to advise you and you can always look at a few instruments of a higher grade when purchasing. The best way to buy is to set a maximum limit and see what is available up to and around that limit. That way you won't be tempted to go too high too soon, but you can see if the child can hear the difference, and if they like any of the options.

You have got the right size, you've chosen a price range, now what extras can you expect to be hit with?

violin - shoulder rests are almost always required. These clip on under the violin and help it sit comfortably on the player's shoulder. It is important to get the right shape for the player, so we recommend being fitted for one either in the shop or by the teacher. Using the wrong one is pretty useless - unless it fits properly it won't do its job. Prices range from €13.50 to €57.95 but the majority are around €28.95

You may also be asked for a music stand ; stands range from €11 in various bright colours to €21 for Wittner German stands or €17.95 for Black Boston stands. Large non-folding stands with solid heads are available from €34.95

Resin is the small block of resin that comes included in the outfit and can be bought separately from €2.50. The dust from the resin is what enables the bow to grip the strings. Only use a good quality resin; a poor quality one will give a bad grip, and a very harsh sound. Don't overuse the resin - you do not have to put it on every day. If the child is doing half an hour a day only use it once a week. If they practise an hour a day, use it once every 3-4 days. Ask the shop to demonstrate the correct way to apply it.

Cellists need resin and music stands, and probably some form of spike protector or stopper, to protect your carpets and wood floors from that sharp pointy spike! EG the Dycem "Black Hole" is a circular plastic stopper that gives an excellent grip on any surface (€9.95)

Guitarists need music stands and Leg Rests. (pictured) Leg rests usually cost around €9.95 and support one leg of the guitarist, slightly raised.

Bowed instruments - Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass - come with a little added jargon, simply because there are more moving parts. The following glossary, added to the explanations above, should help a little.

The Bow - the bow itself is comprised of a stick, hair, and a mechanism that allows you to tighten and loosen the hair, called the |Frog.  The Frog, at the base of the bow, contains a screw and eye system that raises and lowers the tension of the hair. The bow must be "wound up" to play and "would down" every single time after playing. Even the most expensive bow will warp and seize up if you don't do this. Ask the shop to demonstrate the correct way to wind up and down the bow, without over winding it.
As mentioned above one uses resin to coat the hair of the bow in a dust, which grips the string and produces sound. Too much is bad, too little is bad. But it's very easy to see if you have overdone the resin, ask the shop to demonstrate for you and talk you through its use.
The other end of the bow is the Tip and that is the most delicate part of the bow. Don't allow your child to hit the tip off anything, or use the bow to point at things. The most common damage we see done to bows occurs by hitting the tip against a hard surface.

Strings - If your child is just starting the outfit you chose should come complete with good strings. Ask the shop what strings they have used, so that when one breaks you know what to ask for. Strings range from thin to thick, as they move from a high to a low note. The highest, thinnest violin string is the E or First String. Violin strings go E (1) A(2) D(3) G(4) (G is the thickest string) Viola and Cello Strings range A(1) D(2) G(3) C(4)
When buying strings people are often surprised that they are all different prices. The thinnest strings are cheaper than the the heavier strings (eg and E will be much cheaper than G)
Strings fall into one of three categories - steel, synthetic or covered gut. Students will use steel or synthetic as a general rule, until they are more advanced. Traditional players mainly use steel; classical students will use synthetic once they progress past the initial grades. Your teacher is the best advisor on strings, however it can be a very confusing field with myriad options, and lots of conflicting advice. Ask the shop for help if you are in any way unsure what string you should opt for. If your child breaks a string, make sure you know WHICH string they have broken (eg E, A, D or G) before you go to replace it.
Strings can be purchased in sets (all four) or separately
Guitar strings are usually bought in sets but are considerably cheaper than violin or cello strings.

We hope you find this guide to be of some use: if you have any queries or can think of any question we hav overlooked just email us! The most important thing to remember is, learning an instrument should be fun for your child, and shouldn't be too stressful for you :)

Friday 27 July 2012

Music Tuition for Piano - Children and Adults CO Dublin

Music Tuition in Piano for adults and children:
Classical Piano, Beginner's Jazz Piano, Music Theory, Musicianship.
Contact Gordon Douglas B.A. Mod. (Music) H Dip ED, LTCL. / 0877807688

Community Noticeboard: if you would like your event/gig/tuition included on the blog, drop a flyer into the shop or email with the subject header "community noticeboard"

Folk Music Lessons, Dublin 8 area

Folk Music Lessons available in the Dublin 8 area:
5 String Banjo - Mandolin (trad, blugrass) - Guitar (trad, roots, rockabilly) - Tin Whislte (trad)
call 0862013530

Community noticeboard: if you would like your event/gig/tuition included on the blog drop a flyer into the shop or email with the subject line "community noticeboard"

Thursday 26 July 2012

Violin/Fiddle player wanted for new group

 Violin/fiddle player wanted for new group playing American folk/bluegrass. Not too serious at first but hoping to start gigging in the Autumn. Interested??? Call Carl on 0879390221

if you would like a notice included on the community noticeboard please drop into the shop or email with details of your event, gig, group etc Mark emails "community noticeboard."

Tuesday 17 July 2012

25th International Festival of Trad Music FEAKLE Fest !

The 25th International Festival of Traditional Irish Music FEAKLE FESTIVAL takes place in Co Clare from Wednesday 8th to Monday 13th August 2012
Artists include Tommy Fleming, Martin Hayes and Denis Cahill, The Ronstad Generation, Ciooras, Joanie Madden and Friends, Throllogy, 3/Triúr, the Voice Squad and Sliabh Notes
This excellent festival features workshops, performances, film and poetry, full details on Feakle Festival  or email
Festival brochures available on the shop counter, they contain information on everything from concerts to accommodation and taxi services.
An absoltuely brilliant event for August!

Friday 11 May 2012

Spirocore SILVER C and G Cello Strings - great new price

WE are delighted to announce that Spirocore Cello Silver G and C are now available at a great new price. The G silver is now €59 (was €70) and the C silver is now €78 (was €85)

Good news for cellists everywhere.
Also still available DOMINANT stark (bright) sets for cello at €120 (were €158)

Wednesday 2 May 2012

John Malkovich, Confessions of a Serial Killer, NCH May 27th

Spotted this on the way home last night and squeeled in excitement. Why, I am not sure, as with a 19 month old to cater for our chances of getting out this particular night are slim to none but being the generous soul I am I immediately facebooked it and am now giving you all a heads up here.

John Malkovich stars in An Infernal Comedy, Confessions of a Serial Killer (A piece for Baroque Orchestra, Sopranos and One Actor) in the NCH on Sunday May 27th -
"When a dead serial killer returns to the stage to present his autobiography in a public reading, a comedy is not exactly what we expect.
  • Expect the unexpected in this unique production of ‘The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer’ featuring John Malkovich as Jack Unterweger."

  • Room: Main Auditorium
  • Prices: €70, €60, €55, €45
  • Concessions: €63, €54, €49.50, €40.50
  • 20% discount for Friends of the National Concert Hall
  • 10% discount for Groups of 10 or more
  • John Malkovich is Jack Unterweger
  • Louise Fribo & Marie Arnet, sopranos
  • Orchester Wiener Akademie
  • Martin Haselböck Conductor
  • Michael Sturminger Director
  • Music by Gluck, Boccherini, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Weber
Catch it, please, if only to review it for me :)

Friday 20 April 2012

Chance to Join a new Inclusive Choir 25/26th April - all abilities welcome!

A chance to join an Inclusive Choir - Be part of One Choir, One Community, No Divides, All Abilities!
Meeting at:
                 NLBI, 20 Hill Street, Dublin 1 Wednesday 25th April 7-9 pm
                Cosy Kitchen Step Services, Sandyford, Dublin 18, Thursday April 26th 7-9 pm

For more information contact:
Grainne, / 087 980 3020/

Gráinne O' Grady of Music Matters outlines her vision for the Music Matters Inclsuive Community choir:
I have enjoyed being a member of various choirs and choral societies; this has had a big impact on all areas of my personal and professional life. I have learned many skills and I have made many friends from being in choirs.
I feel that everyone should be able to access the arts, including being able to sing in choir. At times I have been frustrated that "mainstream" arts and choirs are not always accessible for people from minority groups or those with additional needs. Many people want to sing and to be able to access choirs where they can be challenged, with opportunities to compete and perform and where the focus is primarily on the music; their individual additional needs or circumstances are secondary to this.
This is why I am passionate about establishing community choirs that are accessible for all; this is where the idea of the Music Matters Community Choir has sprung from".

This is a Community Noticeboard post: if you would like your event, gig, organisation etc included email with the subject line "community noticeboard" or drop/post your information into the shop.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Orchestra of St Cecilia Complete Hardyn Symphonies April/May 2012

Newman University Church, St Stephen's Green, Dublin - The Orchestra of St Cecilia Complete Haydn Symphonies - Supported by H.E. Walter Hagg, the Austrian Ambassador.
Second Series 2012 Sundays at 3.30pm, April 15, 22, 29 May 6, 13, 20

Ticket per concert €25 Concession €22 Season Ticket €140 Concession €125 - tickets available from Opus Two, South Great Georges Street 01-6778571, or at door, or by booking form (available in Charles Byrne Musik Ins. on promotional leaflets)

Become a fan of Haydn Symphonies 2012 - contact Lindsay Armstrong, 10 Upper Beechwood Ave, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.

This is a community noticeboard post - if you would like your event/gig/information listed please email details to with the subject header "community noticeboard" or by post to the shop.

Barbato Borza Memorial Lecture Series, Naas Library, (free) Thursdays 8pm

From Rossini to Puccino; The Golden Age of Italian Opera.
Lecturer Dr Annina Ahola (Finland)
Lectures will take place at the Naas Library, The Harbour, Naas, Co Kildare.
Thursdays at 8 pm - 26th April, 10th 17th 24th 31st May, and 7th June.
NO admission fee.

Supported by Kildare CC Library and Arts Service and Herbert Lodge Arts Centre (KISEYM) Director Berna Hayben M.Ed.

Community Noticeboard: this is a community noticeboard post, if you would like your event/gig/lecture/information included please email with the subject header Community Noticeboard or send us the information to the shop address.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Mark Henderson Photographic Exhibition @ The Bar with No Name Fade St (Charlie's Portrait)

Charlie sat for his photograph with mark Henderson as part of this great project! Pop in and spot him in the Bar with No Name, Fade Street, Dublin2


In March 2012, photographer Mark Henderson set up a temporary portrait studio in an empty old Georgian terrace house on South William Street. The local community were invited to call in and sit for a portrait.
The resulting photographs include a diverse range of individuals who live or work within the locality and features artists, designers, chefs, musicians, hairdressers and local raconteurs, creating a unique series of images that collectively provide a snapshot of life in Dublin’s Creative Quarter.
The exhibition is presented in association with the St Patricks Festival and Dublin City Bid and with thanks to The Bar With No Name.
The portraits will be shown at The Bar With No Name, Fade Street, as part of St Patricks Festival 2012 from Friday 16th March 2012.
About Mark Henderson:
Mark Henderson has worked extensively in the worlds of youth culture, music, design and travel. Much of Marks work involves subjects that are intimately connected to his life experience. The main themes often touch upon social and cultural identity, and he has previously exhibited at the Design Museum in London, Artworks Gallery in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and at MOMA in New York.
Mark is based in Dublin, and is currently working on a film and photographic documentary series focusing on Irish designer/makers.

Thursday 15 March 2012

St Agnes Violin Project - Support them in the Flora Mini Marathon!


St Agnes Violin Project Crumlin is a fabulous project bringing music tuition free to the children of St Agnes School Crumlin. Every child can learn, all tuition and instruments are provided free.
The project has had astouding success in a short period of time...

Pupils and past pupils of the school have gained places at competitive auditions in Dublin Youth Orchestras, a remarkable achievement in such a short time. DYO is opening the door to a lifetime's involvement with music these young players.
Two players recently joined Fingal County Youth Orchestra. In 2007 the school won the RTE Lyric FM Moladh an Cheoil /Music in School Award. This was followed by an TIMES Living Dublin Award in December 2007 and in February 2008 by an Irish Aviation Authority Youth Achievement Award received at the Festival of Youth Orchestras organised by the Irish Association of Orchestras. In March 2008 the Orchestra won the Miller Cup for Primary School Orchestra at the Inter-Schools Festival at Wesley College, and were runners-up in 2009.
The Orchestra takes the Royal Irish Academy of Primary School Orchestra Examination in June each year. They gained 95% in the examination of the Royal Irish Academy of Music in June 2009, and performed on Sunday 1st November in the Shelbourne Hotel at the Dublin Region permanent tsb High Achievers' Concert. In June 2010 they received 92% in the same exam. In 2010 they performed for the first time at Dublin Feis Ceoil.

Support St Agnes in the Flora Women's Mini Marathon - go to

All the ladies running would appreciate your support! This is a great cause, and one thatcan have positive benefits in the area for many years to come. Please donate!!

Thursday 1 March 2012

DIT Conservatory of Music OPEN DAY Sat 3rd march

DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama Chatham Row will be holding it's Music Open Day on Saturday March 3rd 11am - 3pm. This is a chance to meet teachers, experience and try new instruments and enjoy musical performances throughout the day.
DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama is the home of Ireland's future musicians and actors. For over 120 years it has provided musical education in Dublin and is the largest provider of music and drama education in Ireland.

Music courses in the DIT range from prejunior (3-7 years) up to Doctoral study. Individual and group lessons are available from Junior level and group lessons are provided for pre-junior children to prepare them for studying an instrument.

Applications are now open for part-time music programmes for 2012/13. Pre-junior, Junior, and Continuing Education classes run from Sept to June on weekday evenings or Saturdays.

Come to the Open Day or check out
email phone 01-4023572/3508/3467

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Wessex Violins Handmade English Instruments - Now Available!

Pictures and full description to follow but we wanted to share the excitement! Just in, chosen from a selection of their instruments, the Wessex Handmade Violin, made in England.
The first commercially made English violin since 1939, the Wessex Violin company aims to offer the University or conservatoire student, young musician or professional looking for a second instrument "the opportunity to own a handmade modern interpretation of the English School of violin making."
These violins are made to the highest standards using Balkan maple and Bavarian Spruce. The sound is resonant, balanced, and warm.
Each is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Lots more to follow - photos etc here and on Facebook!

Friday 10 February 2012

13th Annual Triennale Competition Of Cremona Violin Making - Entries Now Accepted

The 13th Annual Triennale Competition of Violin Making Antonio Stradivari takes place this year 19th September -14th October 2012; entries accepted until 30/04/2012 (in accordance with the postmark) by entry form (post only.) All full-time, Profressional Stringed Instrument maker may enter an instrument in one of the following categories: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass.
This year's competition co-incides with the opening of the Museo del Violino, an important collection of precious classical Cremonese -school instruments, tracing their history and their makers' in a sophisticated and highly technological environment. It will also highlight great contemporary makers and the winners of the Triennale will have their entries exhibited side by side with the great works of Atradivari, Amati and Guarneri.

Fondazione Antonio Stradivari Cremona - La Triennale
Palazzo Pallavicino Ariguzzi
Piazza Sant'Omobono, 3
26100 Cremona - Italy
TEL 00390372801801
Fax 00390372801888

(In june.july the offices of the Foundazione Stradivari will move to the Museo del Violino, via Bell'Aspa n.3)

Thursday 9 February 2012

Youth Orchestra Auditions to be held on March 4th (DYO)


Dublin Youth Orchestra comprising 4 orchestras with 400 musicians aged 10-25 years is holding auditions on March 4th. Strings, Brass, Wind and Percussion players are all welcome. Audition forms available by post or from Further information available from or 083 4036030

Thursday 12 January 2012

Study shows that "Old Violins are Better" to be a myth...

Something we have preached for ever -

read more

I agree with John Soloninka (one of the violinists who took part in the study)

JOhn Soloninka however speaks positively about the study:
It was fascinating. I too, expected to be able to tell the difference, but could not.
If, after this, you cling to picayune critiques and dismiss the study, then I think you are in denial. If 21 of us could not tell in controlled circumstances and 1500 people could not tell any differences in a hall, and this is consistent with past studies…then it is time to put the myths out to pasture.

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