Guide to Buying Quality Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments buying guide: Playing a musical instrument keeps you happy and offers several benefits; if you are the more creative type, you can even compose your own songs. However, quality music instruments can be expensive. Here’s how to save money on music equipment without compromising on quality.

While not everybody knows how to play a musical instrument, there are many who wish they could play a instrument. Despite the considerable costs (of buying an instrument and taking music lessons), most of who are eager to learn can scout for good deals without compromising quality.

Over eighteen million Indians play a musical instrument. Another report says that 54% (more than one in two households) have a member who plays a musical instrument.

And the more popular musical instruments, are: Electric guitar, Keyboard, Piano, Guitar, Drums, Violin, Saxophone, Flute, Cello, Clarinet (there are many more musical instruments out there) in addition to classical Indian instruments like table and harmonium.

Playing a musical instrument is fun and provides several benefits (if you manage to learn to play it of course). But even before you get down to taking music lessons, you need to first buy a musical instrument on which you can practice your music lessons.

If you’re an adult looking to buy a musical instrument in order to take music lessons or are parents and want to buy a musical instrument for your children, you will find the following useful; it tells you how to buy a musical instrument, or at least get access to an instrument so that you can practice.

Types of Musical Instruments

Musical instruments can be categorized depending on the way they generate sound. All musical instruments fall under one of the following – string, wind, percussion and keyboard, though there may be further divisions and sub-divisions.

Here are a few examples:

  • String instruments include guitars, violins, ukuleles and cellos.
  • Wind instruments include pipes, sax, clarinet, flute and such other types.
  • Drums, bongos, cymbals, bells and table are percussion instruments.
  • Keyboard instruments include pianos, harpsichords, organs, accordions and harmoniums.

While these are the more commonly played musical instruments, over thousand musical instruments are available across the world, including folk instruments.

General Things to Consider Before Buying a Instrument

Here are some of the things that you should take into consideration before choosing a suitable instrument:

  • The age of the student: The child needs to have developed motor skills to be able to play
  • The character/personality of the student
  • Your interests, the kind of music you want to play
  • The cost, the amount of money you’re willing to spend
  • The practicalities involved (such as size, portability, maintenance of the instrument)

Research Prices & Competing Stores

Do spend some time looking for instruments and their prices online; you can find some great deals online. Also, do check competing online stores. 

If you’re looking for an expensive instrument, do check it out at your local store as well. While you may not be able to get lower prices, you will be sure about the model that you have selected.

When buying online, see what accessories are included, and also factor in shipping costs.

Beginner Instruments for Students

The good thing about buying a new musical instrument is that you now have access to several products that are available for cheap. These are designed for beginners and offer great features, are functional, but don’t cost much.

Although a student or beginner instrument is a cheaper version of what professionals play, these ‘cheaper’ instruments are not sub-standard products.

In fact, a good student instrument comes with several features that assist students to progress faster and also to enjoy music making.

These are easier to play, offer less resistance (string instruments), is easier to blow (wind instruments), for the inexperienced player. For example, a lower action on a guitar makes playing easier for the young or inexperienced hands.

Most of these musical instruments are also available as a packages – comes bundled with useful accessories and Music books/DVDs so that you get everything to get started.

Get Creative With Home Made Musical Instruments

Musical instruments can also be made at home using items of daily use (mostly percussion); this works great for kids.

You can make almost anything, from shakers and jingle bracelets to drums and tambourines. Its easier to make percussion instruments at home.

It turns out cheaper and you won’t feel bad if the kids break the toy instrument.

Homemade musical instruments help your child to be creative and can keep them busy. Kids will also have a great time, playing in their own band at home.

Are You Already a Player?

If you are already a player then you should avoid picking up the cheapest musical instrument.

Its best to go out and play all the instruments you can, and pick the one that appeals to your ears, suits your requirements and your budget (you should be open to increasing your budget a bit, in case you get hold of some really good musical instrument).

You Don’t Have to Buy the Most Expensive Instrument

Musical instruments can be expensive, especially if you are seeking the best option available on the market. In general, these can cost anything from Rs. 5,000 to over Rs. 1 lac. For example, a good Yamaha or Roland keyboard can cost almost Rs. 1.5 lacs.

You definitely don’t have to buy the most expensive instrument out there. Choose something that fits your purpose. Feel free to consult a music teacher or a music teaching academy.

It is important that the instrument is appropriate for your child, no matter how you intend to obtain it.

Most young string players, for example, begin learning on smaller sized instruments as they feel uncomfortable playing full-sized instruments (too large for them).

For beginners it is advisable to invest in musical instruments in the lower price range. However, you also should keep in mind that learning on a sub-standard instrument can be demotivating and usually prevents progress.

Don’t Go Too Cheap

If you’re buying an instrument for a child, you can pick a cheap one but for a serious beginner you want something better. A Rs. 2,000 cheap guitar is unlikely to last long and may not sound inspiring. And if it breaks down, you will have to buy another one (basically you will end up spending more money than you would spend buying a quality, new guitar).

A quality instrument costs more but it saves money in the long run and it will make you practice more.

Final Thoughts

The tips mentioned here should not only help you buy quality musical instruments, you should also be able to save considerable amount of money on your purchase. If you’re probably an experienced musician, you can put that money (savings) aside and use it to buy some other instrument/equipment in future.

The best thing to do is to talk to as many people as possible – other musicians, music teachers and music learning classes on what brands and models to consider. These are the people who have the experience, who know about the various products, and you can trust them. The good thing for you is that there’s no shortage of great quality musical instruments and brands, so more often than not you will be spoilt for choice.

If you intend to learn on your own, start on a musical instrument you like, and then gradually master the instrument by joining music classes. If you’re not sure what instrument to start on, a keyboard can be a good choice. Electronic keyboards can produce all sorts of sounds ranging from guitar tunes to drum beats.