About Us

In 2009 Tim Adams, owner of Checkmate Pawn and Trading post was being overrun with music gear, he decided it was time to listen to a suggestion from an employee and open a music shop.  That same year Tim rented a space to Guitar Doctor David Payne for his repair shop. When the space next door became available in 2011, Tim asked David if he would be interested in building and managing a music store…Checkmate Music. We designed the store to have an “old school” Bellingham atmosphere, with exceptional customer service. Because of the relationship between the Pawn Shop and the Guitar Doctor, we specialize in a large variety of quality used gear. We also have a great selection of accessories; strings, drum sticks, cables, etc. We are adding new instruments to our great selection, as well. 

The mission of Checkmate Music is to…

  • Bring the Joy of Music to People of All Ages in Our Community
  • Provide Service that Exceeds Our Customers' Expectations
  • Provide Quality Products at Reasonable Prices
  • Be a Fun Place to Shop and Work
  • Strive for Continuous Improvement in the Value of Our Products, Our Services and Our Human Relations
  • Building Long Term Relationships with Our Customers based on Quality Advice, Knowledgeable Assistance, and just being totally awesome dudes.


David Payne – Manager of Checkmate Music, Owner of Guitar Doctor USA.

David has been directly involved with the music business as a professional musician, producer, teacher, as well as, building and repairing stringed instruments for more than 30 years. He has recorded and performed with many well known artists and worked for several musical instrument manufacturers. His career started in Santa Rosa, CA. He relocated to Bellingham, WA in 1993. David worked at Manna Music in Bellingham before it closed in 2009.

Henry Miller

Henry has been involved in the Bellingham/Seattle music scene since 1990. He is a multi-instrumentalist who has been a part of bands in one form or another for over 20 years. Henry has recorded multiple albums for local NW bands. Henry currently plays drums for long time local band Scum Eating. Henry has worked in music stores the last 6 years. Henry is married and has a beautiful daughter who loves to rock out on organ, drums and singing!