Nobody wants to waste money on a guitar or saxophone if two weeks later it’s going to get shoved away in the loft (particularly relevant for parents looking to buy an instrument for sons or daughters). So, here is some practical advice which, if you follow, should see you make an informed decision about how much to spend, and a few helpful tips on where might be the best places to search.
- You don’t have to go crazy and re-mortgage the house, however, buying from a cheaper-end but still reputable brand can save you having to go out and buy another instrument a few months later when you find the first purchase just doesn’t perform to your satisfaction. If you are buying for a young musician, and they get in to the swing of practice, spending a little more may save another trip to the shop when they really take to their chosen instrument.
- Try and stay clear of buying musical instruments from pawn brokers or from the listings at the back of newspapers. Compare the price with a comparable instrument in a musical instrument shop and in many cases you could buy a brand new instrument cheaper. It is not the first time a client has come to Morningside Music School with a £150 second hand instrument bought from a well know, modern-day, High Street pawnbroker. They could have shopped online or taken advice at a local music shop and picked a superior instrument for under £100.
- Occasionally and especially near Christmas, supermarkets sell musical instruments. They are cheap, look great and most people think they would make great presents for a loved one starting up in music. More often than not, a quick check of the ‘feel’ and ‘quality’ will remind you of cheap toys. Here at Morningside School of Music, we haven’t seen a playable instrument from a supermarket yet.
- Don’t buy the first thing you come across, shop around, a better deal is never far away. Different retailers have different deals with the manufacturer or the distributor, so just because they are cheap with lots of items, doesn’t mean you won’t find cheaper elsewhere on the item you want. However, the old adage that states ‘You get what you pay for’ is often true with instruments: if you see one for sale that seems overly cheap, there is probably a reason why.
- It’s a fact! Online prices are cheaper than shop prices. Online warehouses don’t have the same overheads that the shops do, but beware, can you take it back if something goes wrong? We usually recommend you buy from a trusted source. Contact us to hear about the tried and tested (and now very trusted) stores we buy from. They won’t let you down on price or service.
- Just because someone you know says that an instrument is good, doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for you. This can be particularly relevant for guitars, it can much depend on the size of the guitar, the width of the neck, even the space between strings and the fretboard (known as the ‘action’) can feel better for one person than another. It’s your instrument and you’ll be playing with it for a long time (hopefully) so choose one you feel most comfortable with.
- If you’re buying for someone as a present, especially with guitars, it might be worth taking them with you to try out a few first – yes it might spoil the surprise, but unless you already know exactly what they want, it will save some nasty disappointments later on!
We are always happy to advise our customers on the best places to buy the right instrument for you, feel free to call us at Morningside School of Music on (0131) 447 1117.
If you are looking for an instrument or some equipment, why not speak to us first? We might be able to save you a lot of money and get you the instrument that is right for you.