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‘Revolutionary’ musical vending machine launched at MD Rafferty Music School in Armagh

'Musicians from time to time get caught out. Maybe their strings are broken or they're missing a capo, all shops are closed and you can't get it online. It's a real problem because they have a gig'

Marty Rafferty, M.D Rafferty Music School

Co. Armagh musicians rejoice! A brand-new ‘revolutionary’ way to get your essentials is here – in the form of a vending machine with a twist!

The new machine is sure to be a hit with budding musicians in the Armagh area, with the masterminds behind it, M.D Rafferty Music School, hoping that it will take the hassle out of getting music supplies.

Located in the school’s premises on Lower English Street, it couldn’t be easier to use.

All you have to do is pick your item using the keypad then tap your card using the card reader. Your item will then be dispensed into the bottom drawer.

The machine has a range of products on offer including; D’addario and Martin full string packs, with a number of gauge options, all priced at £12 each.

There’s also D’addario single strings, with prices ranging from £2 to £3.50, alongside Rotosound full string packs priced at £8.50.

You can also grab other guitar accessories, such as; picks, straps, capos, tuners and leads.

Dolan Byrne, General Manager at M.D Rafferty Music School says the new vending machine is all about convenience, after they noticed a gap in the market for accessible music supplies. With the local music shop in Armagh closing down a number of years ago, musicians locally have to travel out of town or wait a few days to get supplies online.

“Musicians from time to time get caught out. Maybe their strings are broken or they’re missing a capo, all shops are closed and you can’t get it online. It’s a real problem because they have a gig.

“There’s people out there who are really stuck and there’s a real urgency some times.”

Marty Rafferty added: “Everything in that machine is good enough for anyone to use. I use all of the items in it myself for my own gigs and so do the tutors.”

It’s hoped the machine will soon be accessible at weekends and will have even more stock, with Elixir guitar strings on the agenda soon. After that, there may even be more music vending machines some day across other surrounding cities.

Marty Rafferty set up the school in 2011, after he started teaching guitar in 2009 at the behest of his mum, who asked him to teach her friend’s son how to play his favourite Oasis tracks.

“Then another mum contacted me and asked me to teach her son. And then the phone rang again…” he said.

“I employed another tutor, then another one and that’s the foundation of how the school started.”

As the lessons began to pile up, Marty decided he needed a space, moving from place to place before finally settling down in his current home on Lower English Street.

Today, the school serves around 260 pupils, ranging from five-years-old right up to retirees!

There’s a wide range of lessons available on a variety of instruments including; guitar, bass guitar, vocals, ukulele, drums, piano, banjo and the mandolin.

The school also offers a mix of one-to-one and group lessons.

Continued Marty: “We structure ourselves that it’s not just students coming in to learn to play an instrument. It’s about hooking them up with other like-minded musicians within the school and getting them playing at our events.”

The school are involved in a number of events that get the students out performing, such as; monthly live lounges, the 7 Hills Blues Fest, St Patrick’s Day in Armagh and Summer in the City in Armagh.

They also have students performing their own gigs locally and earning quite good money in the process! Marty said “The live music scene is mad. You can’t keep up with the gigs!”

On top of the vending machine, the school now sells guitars, ukuleles and also offer a full restring and repair service.

M.D Rafferty Music School is always on the look out for new potential tutors, so if you think you have what it takes, call us on 07840377344 or email us at

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