10 things you need to know before you buy a musical instrument

22 May 2019, 10:30

Learning a musical instrument

By Daniel Ross

To celebrate National Buy a Musical Instrument Day, we've compiled a failsafe guide to making sure you get the right instrument.

1. Make sure it's the right instrument for you

Play to your strengths. If your arms are short, don't play the trombone. If your back is a worry, don't play the Sousaphone. If your ears are functioning correctly, don't play the recorder (couldn't resist). 

2. Is it the right size?

There's nothing sadder than a violin that's too big. Right, kid?

Boy with Violin crying 

3. Can you afford it?

This gold-plated piano belonged to Elvis Presley. You cannot afford it.

4. Have you considered the noise implications?

Learning an instrument can be a noisy affair. Consider investing in a mute, a muffler, or a soundproofed bunker in a remote woodland. 

5. Make sure it's a good-quality instrument with no structural weaknesses

That ought to do it.

Violin smash on Make A Gif

6. Do you have room for it?

This is a video of an Octobass. It is massive. Could you find room for it in your house? Could you really?


7. Unable to buy outright? Try renting

Just be aware that given the current market trends, renting is dead money. Getting your foot on the ladder is much more important. Think of resale, think of adding value: consider an extension or some major structural work to improve layout.

Rental agreement

(via caroslines)

8. Don't force yourself to love an instrument just because it makes you look cool

We can't all be as cutting-edge as this guy.

clarinet mullet kid

(via Awkward Family Photos) 

9. Does it make you sound good?

If your new instrument doesn't immediately make you sound and feel like a complete professional, something is wrong. Tell the staff in the music shop that you're not leaving until they bring you an instrument that achieves this goal. 

10. Buying second-hand? Make sure it's clean

If you're cutting financial corners (and who can blame you), then maybe take some antibacterial hand wash along with you when you try it out.

borrowed clarinet

(via nikodemus_karlsson)