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6 Top Tips for Buying an Instrument

6 Top Tips for Buying an Instrument

Choosing an instrument can be a different and confusing thing! There are so many different makes and models of instruments available today. Along with so much conflicting information and opinions, it can be an overwhelming process. So we've put together 6 top tips to help!

1. Get Advice 

Searching online is a great way to start researching your new instrument. There is a wealth of info available, with lots of websites and blogs giving advice on which make, model etc. is best. But beware - not everything you read is good advice or suitable for you. And some of it isn't even true!  

Try to get advice from well-known teachers or performers on your instrument. If you don't know any, instrument societies are a great way of putting you in touch and offering advice themselves.   

Speak to staff at specialist music shops. They're usually staffed by musicians who have personal experience of buying and playing instruments, as well as lots of experience helping other people buy instruments.   

2. Bargains aren't always good... 

As the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true it probably is! Sometimes it's possible to find an amazing bargain, but you really need to know what to look for and what to avoid.  

There are lots of cheap instruments about that are usually of poor quality. Some may look similar to other more expensive instruments, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are made to the same standard. Often they are more difficult to play, and need to be replaced quickly – so in the end cost more money, time and effort. 

Second-hand instruments can sometimes be a great way to get your hands on a more expensive instrument for less. Be wary of older second-hand instruments that haven't been played for years. For instruments this isn't a good thing!   

3. Choose well-known brands 

When it comes to instruments, it's always best to stick to well-known brands. Make sure the brand/make you're choosing has a good record of making your instrument. They have often developed and improved their models over years and years.  

An indicator of a good brand for your instrument is either one that has models in different price ranges or is stocked by a music shop specialisingin that instrument/music genre.  

4. Set a budget 

When deciding on an instrument, it's always good to set a reasonable budget. It will really help narrow down your search. Your budget should be reasonable in the sense that you can get what you want for that price. There's no point setting a budget of £500 for a pedal harp!  

This is where getting advice from specialist shops comes in handy. They'll be able to tell you the price ranges of instruments, and what you get for different price bands. If there is something specific you want the instrument to have, or be able to do, it may be that the starting price is higher than you thought.   

Just because something is more expensive doesn't mean that it is necessarily better. But when it comes to instruments, pricing is usually a good indicator of quality.   

5. Be open-minded! 

When you're searching for your new instrument, be open-minded. Look at more than one model or more than one brand. If you have the opportunity, try different instruments and compare them. Many shops have an approval service so take advantage!   

6. Fall in love! 

It's your instrument – you've got to choose something you'll love! At the end of the day, as long as the instrument plays well and is suitable for what you need, then anything else doesn't matter. Instruments are such personal things. An instrument you've been recommended, one that ticks all the boxes, might not be the one for you. If you don't love it, you'll end up not playing it.     

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