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About Us

Most musicians think of music123 as an Internet company. While this is true, few people realize that was the outgrowth of a 75-year-old family-run business that spanned four generations. Here's the story.

Leonard Zapf opened the Musikhaus L. Zapf in Beyreuth, Germany (200 miles north of Munich) in 1918. He was one of the area's leading instructors in zithers and fretted instruments. After World War I, widespread inflation caused him and his son Sofian to move to the United States in 1923.

Sofian had completed a three-year apprenticeship as a violin maker in Germany, which made him a perfect fit for his first job in this country, as a violin repairman for Sears. In 1928, the family dream was realized when the first Zapf's Music Store opened in Philadelphia. It was a modest facility specializing in lessons and the repair of stringed and fretted instruments. The first retail sales were of violins made by Sofian Zapf.

When cousin Leonard Zapf Jr. joined the firm in 1938, he utilized his broad knowledge of musical instruments as well as his repair skills to expand the business into woodwind and brass instruments. In the following years, the store acquired many leading brands of instruments, and the music publications department and teaching facilities were enlarged. But more than anything else, it was the Zapf's desire for quality products and service at competitive prices that encouraged customers to return time and time again. By the 1950s, it was hard to encounter a musician in the Philadelphia area that didn't have at least one story about the impact of Zapf's Music on their musical endeavors.

Sofian's son Erik joined the company in 1964 to become the third generation in Zapf's Music. As the musical climate changed, Erik was influential in expanding the product assortment to include guitars, amps, drums and other rock-and-roll gear. Erik and his wife, Susan, also turned their attention to school music programs, introducing instrumental rentals to many of the area's leading school districts.

The next decade was also marked by retail expansion. Stores were opened in Jenkintown and Norristown, Pennsylvania as well as Pennsauken, New Jersey. In addition to offering a wide assortment of products for everyone from the aspiring musician to the professional, the stores also provided lessons to over 800 students each week. In 1992, Erik and Susan's son Rich Zapf entered the business, making it a four-generation family business. His brother Steve, an Internet and Management consultant, soon followed. Together, the brothers had a vision of expanding the successful family retail business to the web. In 1999, Zapf's was launched with over 10,000 name-brand products. The ease of navigation and exciting features (including product reviews) coupled with low prices made the site an instant success.

Music123 continues to build on that success as we get deeper into the 21st century. There are now over 65,000 products available on The depth of product information is unequaled, and new products and services are featured daily. 2013 marks the 85th year of Leonard Zapf's first music store in the United States, and Music123 is proud to be a part of that legacy. Each generation included innovators who have taken the business into new channels and continuing in that spirit, we continue to enhance with features to personalize your shopping experience. The Zapf's basic formula of quality products and superior service at competitive prices remains unchanged.

Music123's 5 Point Value Proposition:

  1. Price - We offer the guaranteed lowest prices-even up to 45-days after the sale. Click here for more information about our Happy Customers Guarantee.
  2. Expert Advice - Our sales team is comprised of professional musicians available by phone and email to help you purchase what is right for you. If you want to know how the newest keyboards compare to each other or what's the hottest thing in home recording, we can tell you. Beyond sales advice, music123 also provides access to extensive product information from manufacturers, user reviews, and a community of customers just like you.
  3. Service - We pride ourselves on the unparalleled level of service we provide our customers. Customers are contacted promptly to inform them that their order has been processed, with personalized attention right through delivery.
  4. Selection - Our assortment includes over 65,000 products - and grows each day. Through a combination of our large warehouse and relationships with wholesalers and manufacturers, we are able to provide a superior selection.
  5. Convenience - Customers are able to purchase via secure Internet connections along with having the ability to order and/or contact our Customer Service department at 888-566-6123: Monday through Friday 8:00am to 9:00pm, Saturday 10:00am to 6:00pm, and Sunday 12:00 to 6:00pm EST.