The HALIFAX FOLKLORE CENTRE was started and has been under continuous ownership by Tom and Marla Dorward since 1971. We are a unique music shop in a 135 year-old Victorian home, where stringed musical instruments are bought, sold, traded, consigned, built, repaired and appraised. We have a highly knowledgeable and experienced staff. We are musicians and we care about the instruments and the people who play them.  Customer service is our cornerstone.



tom_bioTom built his first instrument, a classical guitar, when he was still in high school, and had already made three guitars when he enrolled in university. During three years of his undergraduate degree in psychology, he worked at Herb David’s Guitar Studio, alongside Dan Erlewine (now of Stewart-MacDonald Mfg. Co.), repairing and constructing musical instruments. In 1969 Tom enrolled in graduate Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and built several types of stringed instruments, including guitars, Appalachian dulcimers, and banjos.  (One wonders when he found time to study  psychology…?)

Shortly after leaving Dalhousie and a year of  teaching high school math, Tom and his wife Marla took the plunge, and opened The Halifax Folklore Centre in June l971. The original focus was to buy, sell, trade, build and repair FRETTED stringed instruments. Tom later expanded his scope to include instruments of the VIOLIN family.

In 1974 the Canadian Museum of Civilization commissioned Tom to make four instruments for their permanent collection of works by Canadian makers. The resulting two banjos and two dulcimers are now on display in the museum.

After forty plus years, and thousands of repairs and restorations, you will still find Tom at his workbench doing what he loves.

dave-guitarDavid Bradshaw has been with the Halifax Folklore Centre since 1998, serving customers and working in the shop, and generally gaining himself the nickname around town of “Folklore Guy”. David studied Jazz at St. Francis Xavier University and has played in a number of bands on the Halifax scene for many years. David’s musical focus includes bluegrass, old time, folk, jazz, blues and rock. He is an exceptional vocalist and instrumentalist who specializes in guitar, bass, fiddle, harmonica, banjo and mandolin. As a solo singer-songwriter David released his first CD “No Place” in 2008. He is also a member of the Music Nova Scotia Award-nominated trio Grassmarket, whose CD “Port City” comes out in the fall of 2009. Using his broad base of knowledge and experience about music and instruments, David is great at answering questions and helping customers find the instruments and accessories that suit them best.

noah-guitarNoah was born into a very musical family. He started in Grade one with the ukulele, which led to the fiddle in Grade four, and finally guitar by age eleven. After finding himself amongst many blues musicians in Junior High, Noah picked up the harmonica and started playing in some of his first bands. He draws his musical influences from blues, folk, country and rock and roll. Noah writes his own music with many different genres in mind. He plays his own original music around Nova Scotia, and will be releasing his debut album in the Fall of 2009. Noah started working for his first music store three years ago and gained a great interest in stringed instruments. This interest led him to the Halifax Folklore Centre where you can find him today. He takes great pride and care in matching the right instrument to each customer’s needs.