Deciding to learn and play an instrument can be a really exciting time. Figuring out which instrument works best for you is only the first step. Once you get that decided, then comes the fun part of deciding where to buy your instrument.
One thing about musical instruments is they are rarely cheap. Just like a car, the make, model and type of instrument is going to determine how much they are going to cost.
The biggest question is, where can you buy instruments? Of course, you can get them directly from a manufacturer, but there are also unexpected places where you can find the same instrument, usually for a fraction of the cost.
Deciding whether you want to buy new or used is an important first step when you shop for instruments. It can determine where you should look to get the best value. Below are five unexpected places you can purchase instruments.
1. Flea Markets and Garage Sales
One of the best, and most cost effective, ways to obtain an instrument is to purchase one from a flea market or garage sale. They are usually a small fraction of the price of a new instrument and may come with attachments that are upcharges when purchasing new.
The downside to buying at a flea market or garage sale is there is no guarantee of the instrument that you are looking for being there unless it was advertised. If time is on your side and you don’t need anything quick, this can certainly be a great option.
A huge benefit is that sellers in these locations are often willing to negotiate price, so you may be able to get your dream instrument at a lower cost than its even being sold for.
2. Consignment Stores
Much like flea markets and garage sales, consignment stores will also sometimes have instruments for sale. The benefit of a consignment store is that most have an online page with inventory, so you can check to see if it is available before you head there. That saves time and disappointment. Some consignment shops even let you call ahead and will hold the item for a limited amount of time, sometimes only an hour, until you get there if you know it is something you are going to purchase.
Even if they don’t have a sales page online, you can pick up and phone and call the store to inquire if they have any instruments currently on hand. This saves you time so you aren’t just driving from store to store to hopefully find the one you are looking for.
3. Big Box Stores
Depending on the type of instrument you are looking to purchase, big box stores may have what you are looking for. This is mainly true when you are searching for guitars and percussion instruments. Stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy all have limited selections of instruments that can be purchased in store or ordered online.
Along with big box stores you can physically visit, large online retailers like Amazon carry instruments as well. They typically have a bigger variety since they are made up of both corporate and private sellers. Often times, original retailers themselves will set up Amazon stores to increase purchases.
eBay is a great option for obtaining instruments. With thousands of sellers, you can be sure to find what you are looking for. Many of e-bays auctions offer a “buy it now” option to save you the headache of bidding on an item and possibly spending more than you would like. Unlike at big box stores, you can buy higher quality instruments. Even though eBay is a resale site, many people list brand new items for sale that they either never used or obtained and are now selling.
If you are looking for a harder-to-find model of a certain instrument, eBay should be your go-to stop.
5. Music Schools
Many music schools also offer instruments for sale. These are typically instruments that students have purchased and then changed their minds about playing. Especially for the students who switched instruments, these schools will help sell the instrument to other beginner students. Since they usually already have the instrument on hand, the student can start with it immediately, instead of having a shipping delay.
Larger music schools will offer these instruments online as well and may have shipping as an option for additional costs, allowing you to purchase from a music school that may not be in your area.
Instruments Are Out There
It doesn’t matter if you are looking to play the strings, woodwinds, brass, or percussion, if you are in need of an instrument, there are plenty of places selling them. If you are looking for them at a more affordable price, buying resale will certainly save you money. Regardless of where you purchase from, finding the right instrument for you is the first step in a life-long hobby.