Making Music for Less

Every year, a parent of a new school band member walks into a local music store and learns just how much her child’s new musical instrument will cost. Along with the costly sum of the instrument itself, there is the added expense of extra equipment and upkeep.

The bottom line can easily set back a new instrument buyer as much as a small new car. Many parents have to resort to down payments and credit plans to afford their child’s new gear. Another household debt must be incurred.

Experienced musical instrument buyers know to approach an instrument purchase like he might a new car. He should know what the base price is for that instrument. That gives him a position of strength from which to deal. Let’s say someone in the family wants to learn to play bass. A guitar sale online can be just as costly or inexpensive as the buyer makes it.

Buying in Season 

The best deals are usually seasonal. Holidays and back-to-school specials are ideal. For instance, a major instrument retailer offered a high-end electric guitar at 70% off its usual retail price. This retail price was only a 15% mark-up from the wholesale price, so the buyers knew they were getting a great deal. This was a huge loss-leader sale that drew countless new customers. Many customers saved by seeking out a retailer coupon code too.


Many buyers assume online auctions are the best source. They can be. They can also be the best source of crappy equipment. Trust me, your kid is not going to enjoy learning guitar power chords on a crummy instrument, An even better option is to look for online companies that specialize in selling moderate price equipment directly to consumers.

The buyer should beware of a lot of scams, but a truly knowledgeable company can help connect buyers with just the right equipment. The best company won’t oversell or try to move the customer to a needlessly expensive option. Demand a company with an excellent return policy too.

Right Price, Right Condition 

Once the buyer knows the instrument he wants to buy, he should next concern himself with its condition.  If a buyer does purchase from a private or unknown professional party, he should insist upon having the new instrument inspected by a professional. This is especially important with wood-component instruments but also for every other instrument type.

Costly repairs can render a once-cheap instrument very expensive or useless. Make certain all equipment is present. This cautiousness can eliminate the need for an expensive repair or new instrument next month or next year.

It’s not always possible to see serious damage in a used musical instrument. Many times, only an instrument expert can spot a problematic factor. The customer shouldn’t take merely one opinion either. It’s always a good idea to get a second expert’s perspective.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to bargain. Whether it’s a guitar sale online or a trombone from a local shop, people who sell musical instruments for a living are in a competitive business. Naturally, they need to turn a profit, but they don’t have to make that net gain off just one customer. A good customer deserves an even better price.

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4 thoughts on “Making Music for Less

  • My children joined the drum and lyre band in school a month before the Christmas break. When they made their letters to Santa, I learned that they were asking for their own drum and lyre set. I searched eBay to get an idea how much it will cost me. Good thing it was within my budget so I did not hesitate buying the instruments for my kids.

  • I would also recommend asking at the music shop if they have or know of any used versions of the instrument for sale. My cousin plays upright bass. There was no way my aunt could have afforded a new one, but they got a very nice bass used.
    And in the end, it paid off, because my cousin then got college scholarships because of the instrument she played.

  • Both our daughters played musical instruments — and the best prices, by far, were at the local pawn shop! Don’t forget to check there, as well.

    And never never NEVER rent an instrument, unless you absolutely positively know you’ll only need it a few months.

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