Untitled Document
SHAR 50th Anniversary

It all started with strings . . .

While a student at the Curtis Institute 50 years ago, I began selling strings at deep discounts to the Philadelphia Orchestra.  Over the years, this then unheard of discount practice expanded to bringing the most complete selection of stringed instruments and accessories to the national market. 

Over the years SHAR has also continued to lead the way in providing quality, service and value to our customers. Whether it was the first four-color catalog, the first web site, free shipping on strings and later free shipping on almost anything, or the introduction of breakthrough products such as Presto carbon fiber bows or the John Cheng line of fine instruments, you can count on SHAR to be “Breaking the Rules. Saving You Money. Again."

space Charles Avsharian
Charles Avsharian

Charles, Michael Jr., & Michael Sr. Avsharian
Charles, Michael Jr. & Michael Sr.


We have never lost sight of the fact that our success is due entirely to the trust you place in us, and we strive to give back to the community in many ways. We are the only Platinum level sponsor of both the American String Teachers Association and the Suzuki Association of the Americas. We support many programs nationally and internationally and we are very proud to offer the unique SHAR apprentice program, which offers positions to graduates so they can help serve SHAR customers.

I have had the privilege to travel around the world, both teaching players and consulting with workshops and manufacturers to develop the best instruments and accessories available.This, the year of our 50th anniversary, will bring products and offers that bring the celebration to each of our customers.

As we look forward to the next 50 years, the Avsharian family and all SHAR employees pledge to pursue excellence in service, product innovations and quality. Our customers represent our greatest asset, and we will never forget that.

- Charles Avsharian, SHAR CEO

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Haig, Michael Jr. & Charles Avsharian
Haig, Michael Jr. & Charles


SHAR and the

I often wish that I could have known my grandfather as an adult. Michael Avsharian, Sr. founded SHAR in 1962 and passed away at the age of 82 when I was about 15.
In the year 1962:

There was no mail order firm for string players. There was no discounting of strings. Access to a variety of strings was poor outside of large music centers such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

While teaching at the University of Oklahoma I learned from a student that strings could be ordered from a music store in Vienna at half of the U.S. prices. I ordered for myself and friends.

My brother Charles went a step further and initiated weekly sales to Philadelphia Orchestra members during rehearsal breaks.

Our father, an experienced small businessman, upon observing Charles’ selling practices, conceived the idea of a national mail order discount service for string players. Working out of his home, Michael, Sr. sent a mimeographed discount price sheet of strings to an address list of orchestral string players. This unorthodox offer was taken by a trusting Phoenix Orchestra member, and his colleagues soon followed. Word spread of the low prices and quick service, and SHAR was on its way.

There were obstacles along the way set by interests seeking to kill SHAR in its infancy and preserve the old style of business. But Michael Sr.’s determination and resourcefulness won out, and there was no turning back. A new business model was established, to the benefit of string players.

- Michael Avsharian Jr., SHAR Executive Vice President

A first-generation immigrant from Armenia in 1913, he was by all accounts a very friendly man with great integrity who loved people and was a true entrepreneur, having started several businesses. “Ship customer orders out right away” and “Pay your vendors on time” were a few of his sayings. My father and uncle have told me how gratifying it was to their father to see his sons run SHAR and to see the company grow over the years.

I feel very fortunate to be part of SHAR, and, as president, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to continually improve SHAR’s service to, and support of, the string community. I’d like to think that if my grandfather was alive today he would smile and feel good that even though SHAR has grown over the years it has retained the values of a small family business that treats customers, vendors and employees with respect and dignity.

-  Haig Avsharian, SHAR President
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SHAR 50th Anniversary Video Series  

SHAR 50th Anniversary Video Series

Company History Looking Forward Stringed Instruments and Supplies Ivan Galamian Strings Across the World Ashot Vartanyan Classical & Beyond Ready for a New Instrument Week 9: Apprentices