THE STORY OF CALIFORNIA KEYBOARDS
Founded in 1976 predominantly as a piano and organ store, California Keyboards has grown over the years into what is the most comprehensive music store in the San Joaquin Valley. Since its inception, California Keyboards has been Kern County’s only ‘full-service’ piano dealer. In addition to an extensive inventory of acoustic and digital pianos, California Keyboards Music Center offers guitars, percussion, band and orchestra instruments, music instruction, instrument repair and restoration, sheet music, lighting and sound equipment, and much more.
In 2000, California Keyboards was purchased by Ed Tomlinson, owner and founder of Performance Piano Company. In order to facilitate Ed’s vision for a more comprehensive music store, California Keyboards was immediately relocated from Ming Avenue and Stine Road to California Avenue and Stockdale Highway. The construction of lesson studios ushered in a new era that continues to this day in accommodating the large demand for music instruction in the community.
With a variety of music lessons being offered, the progression from piano dealer to ‘full-line’ music store was under way and product offerings were expanded to meet the demand of the new students. Tomlinson says, “We believe every child and adult should be able to enjoy music. Studies show that music makes you smarter and we know that music programs in our schools help countless numbers of kids succeed scholastically and beyond. We want to be a part of that; to be a small participant in the joy and confidence that music can bring to the lives of so many.”
2006 brought with it another move for California Keyboards to Oak Street. Necessitated by continued growth, the move brought California Keyboards to a more central and visible location and provided space the growing company required.
In 2017, the store moved to its current location at 2408 Brundage Lane in Bakersfield. The new facility boasts a dedicated repair shop and separate areas for the instrument showroom and music lessons. In addition, there is a 78-seat recital hall, something Tomlinson has always wanted in the store. It is dedicated to Ruth FitzGerald and Harry Hanson, two longstanding employees of the store.
Over the years, California Keyboards has constantly positioned itself to set new standards in the retail music products arena. By offering superior products at competitive prices and by fostering a friendly, fun atmosphere with a knowledgeable staff that is always eager to help customers pursue their musical ambitions, California Keyboards has built a business with a great reputation among professional musicians, music educators, and students of music.