Primary Blog/Buying Guides/How to Buy an Instrument

Friday, March 08, 2024

How to Buy an Instrument

How To Chose Your Instrument:

What Kind Of Music Do You Like?

An easy place to start is to ask yourself, “What type of music do I like?” or “What type of music do I want to play?”

The lists on this page and the next are general guidelines.

Any instrument can be used in any genre.


  • ​Acoustic guitar
  • Drums
  • Electric guitar
  • Electric bass
  • Piano/Keyboard
  • ​Voice (singing)


  • ​Acoustic guitar
  • Clarinet
  • Drums
  • Electric guitar
  • Marimba
  • Piano/Keyboard
  • Saxophone
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Upright bass
  • Voice


  • Bassoon
  • Cello
  • Clarinet
  • Contrabassoon (or Double bassoon)
  • Double bass
  • Flute
  • French horn
  • Harp
  • Oboe
  • Percussion​ (this can include Timpani, Bass drum,​ Snare drum, Cymbals, Triangle, Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Tambourine, Marimba, Vibraphone, and others)
  • Piccolo
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Viola
  • Violin



Think about space if you want to play a larger instrument like an upright bass, piano or harp. Do you have somewhere to keep your instrument that is relatively safe? You need a space where the instrument can “live” where it is not going to get bumped or knocked over.

If you don’t have room…how creative can you be to make it work? Google “how to fit (instrument you want to play) in a small (apartment/house/room).”

Even if you do have space, use a tape measure to find a place in your home where the instrument can fit. Double-check the dimensions of your instrument before making a purchase.


​Some instruments are easy to travel with and others are a hassle. If you like to travel a lot and want to bring your instrument with you, search Google for “travel (instrument you want to play).” This will bring up many options for you to consider.

Test Drive

Go to a music store and try out your preferred instrument and a few others you are interested in. You may find that one or more instruments “feel” good to hold and make sound with.

Follow Your Gut

Trust your intuition. If there’s an instrument you feel drawn to, go for it! Passion and interest are the most important factors in maintaining motivation as you learn. The instrument you pick does not have to be a lifelong commitment. You can learn other instruments later on.

How To Buy Your Instrument:

Set Your Budget

Before you start shopping, determine how much you’re willing and able to spend. You can get a solid starter version of most instruments for $100-500. If you are really enjoying the instrument after a few months, upgrade to an $800-$2,000 instrument.

​The cost of instruments can range depending on the brand, quality, and whether it’s new or used. You will also need to consider the cost of any necessary accessories like cases, stands, strings, bows, picks, or reeds.

Consider Renting

You can rent an instrument to try it out for a few weeks or months. At a certain point, the amount of money it costs to rent the instrument will add up to the amount it would cost to buy it in the first place. Do a little math and make a decision you are comfortable with.

​Cost to buy instrument new: $400

Cost to rent instrument monthly: $80

Cost to buy divided by monthly rent cost: $400 / $80 = 5

​Rent time: 5 months

Conclusion 1: ​If you want to try the instrument 
for 6 months, it is more cost-effective to buy.

Conclusion 2: If you want to try the instrument for
2 months, it may be more cost-effective in the long run
to rent to see if you like the instrument or not.

Gather Information

Once you know which instrument you want to buy, take the time to look over buying guides.

Find a list of buying guides ​for various instruments at

Try Before You Buy

If possible, visit a music store and try out the instruments within your budget. Pay attention to how the instrument feels and sounds. If possible, bring a more experienced friend, musician, or music teacher to help you assess the instrument’s quality and playability.

Online Retailers

There are many reliable online retailers for musical instruments. These platforms often offer more variety and better prices than physical stores. Make sure you’re buying from a trusted website with a good return policy.

Set Up

Many instruments become easier to play after a professional has “set up” the instrument. Many physical and online retailers can get your instrument set up and ready to play. You can ask for the set up to be included in the purchase price of the instrument.


Many instruments require specific accessories to play and maintain them, like cases, cleaning kits, music stands, or additional gear.

Warranty and Return Policy

Before finalizing your purchase, understand the warranty and return policy. If the instrument is defective or you find it unsuitable after a few days of practice, a good return policy or warranty can be beneficial.​

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