The Story of Folkway

Established in 1999, Folkway Music was founded as a guitar-building and repair shop by Mark Stutman.  Soon after opening, Mark became an authorized repairperson for C.F. Martin & Co., and it wasn’t very long before the demand for his brand of customer-service focused high-quality guitar repair was greater than he could handle on his own. By 2001 Folkway Music had a staff of three repairpeople and was already deep into the world of vintage instrument sales.

Early on, instrument sales became a much larger focus of the store. Searching out the best vintage guitars, mastering the art of guitar photography, and accurately describing tone in words became Mark Stutman’s second, third, and fourth jobs at Folkway, along with his continued focus on vintage instrument restoration, and more staff were soon required.  Vintage instruments have been the store’s focus since the very beginning, and new instruments were added fairly soon thereafter.  Today Folkway Music is an authorized dealer for C.F. Martin Guitars, Collings Guitars, Taylor Guitars, National Resophonic Guitars, Art and Lutherie Guitars, Simon and Patrick Guitars, Asturias Guitars, Deering and Ome Banjos, Pono and Fluke ukuleles, and represents numerous luthiers and accessory manufacturers.    

Within 5 years of opening, Folkway Music had grown too large for its 1000 square foot home, and embarked on a renovation that would ultimately triple the size of the store. Then, in 2012 Folkway Music opened its Waterloo, Ontario location – a half hour’s drive west of the original store. Built in 1906, the building at 22 Dupont St. East was once the home of Charles Frederick Thiele, a legendary Canadian band leader and composer. It was in this building in the early 1920s that Thiele founded Waterloo Music, one of Canada’s first music stores, and went on to build the nation’s largest music publishing house.  

The outside of Folkway's store building - a big old house

Today, our repair department continues to be the foundation of Folkway Music, and every instrument we offer for sale spends time on one of our repair benches before being made available for sale.  New instruments are carefully set-up, while used and vintage instruments are meticulously repaired or restored as required with great regard to historical accuracy and high-level craftsmanship. Our repair department is world renowned for the high quality of our restoration work to vintage instruments, and our store owner and head repairperson, Mark Stutman, is constantly in high demand to consult on all things vintage acoustic guitars.  He has presented at two Fretboard Summits, and has had articles published in The Fretboard Journal and Acoustic Guitar Magazine.   Many customers ship their instruments to Folkway Music from all over North America and Europe, thanks to our expertise and vintage sensitive approach to repairs and restoration.

Folkway Music is a different kind of guitar store, owing largely to the fact that its owner, Mark Stutman, has a relentless obsession for quality in every aspect of the store – from the repairs that are completed, to the service our customers receive.  Folkway Music is wholeheartedly committed to offering our clients the absolute best in instrument quality and a genuine care for our customer’s experience.  Have a look at our client testimonials, they say it better than we can!