Buying a musical instrument for the first time can be a daunting experience. If you are a complete beginner it's difficult to know what to look out for, and what questions you should be asking music stores to find the right instrument for you.
To help you on your way, we've teamed up with the Music Industries Association, the trade body for the musical instrument industry, to give you a quick introduction on buying a quality instrument.
The Music Industries Association has produced a really useful booklet which has a wealth of hints and tips about buying a whole range of instruments. A Guide to Buying Quality Instruments advises you on what to look for and what questions to ask, whether you're off to buy a guitar, drum kit, violin or one of many other instruments.
You can download the full guide or read on for a summary of the key things to think about when choosing your new instrument.
Student or beginner instruments
On the surface it is easy to think that a student or beginner instrument is just a cheaper versions of what the professionals play. While student instruments tend to be less expensive, this should not be confused with being 'cheaper' in the sense of less well designed or manufactured. In fact, a good student instrument offers special attribute that assist the learner to progress and enjoy their music making.
This includes things like less resistance ('resistance' refers to how much pressure or effort is required to make the sound) being built into a student woodwind or brass instrument, making the instrument easier to blow for the inexperienced player through the careful design of mouthpieces and bodies. A lower action on a guitar ('action' refers to the distance between the fret board and the strings) makes playing easier and more fluent for inexperienced hands.
Already a player?
If you are already a player and want to upgrade or replace an existing instrument, then we recommend you take time to visit a number of stores in order to get a feel for the many different brands and styles of instrument out there, until you find the one that best suits you and your budget. There is simply no substitute for trying and selecting the instrument you will make your own.
The best advice is to talk to other musicians, music teachers and music stores to advice on the brands and models to look out for. These are the people with the experience to direct you to the kinds of products and brands so you will usually be spoilt for choice.
Thanks to the Music Industries Association for some great tips!