How to buy musical instruments: a blog series

It’s been a couple weeks (sorry) since I’ve been able to blog – but while I was away I was approached for advice by several people looking to buy a new instrument, whether for themselves or someone they cared about. It’s something I’m asked a lot about, and feel comfortable helping people with. It does get a little overwhelming at times, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a guide that I could refer people to in the future – and in the meantime, maybe it can be helpful to you.

The first thing I would like to address is the myth that you should buy something of low quality in case you (or your kid) lose interest. This is bad on multiple levels!

First of all, if you think something is crappy, you will treat it as such. Who wants to spend lots of hours with crap? Really? This sets you up not to respect the instrument, or the purchase (which says what about you?).

Typically, a shabby instrument (whether a guitar, drum set, bass,or keyboard) will give you more problems and play poorly, which in turn creates a negative user experience. For example, if:

  • you can’t keep your guitar in tune,
  • the hardware is always breaking on the drumset (and just when you were getting into it),
  • the action is a mile high on the bass,
  • your amp buzzes like crazy,
  • or the keyboard sounds like you stole if from the guy who played on “Jump”,

then you aren’t going to want to play it… which leads to my next point:

If said musical instrument does not have the gravitational pull to create ongoing interest – it may very well end up in the back of a closet for eight years. If it was a piece of crap in the first place, who is going to want to spend money on it when you try to sell it? Buying better equipment now means you are more likely to get your money back when ready to sell, whether because of low use or to upgrade to an even better piece of equipment.

These points are just the beginning but worth highlighting as they are counter intuitive to what we often hear as the default approach.  Next up – bargain hunting, how to identify a quality instrument, and diving into specific instruments, amps, and some recommended buys… Thanks for listening! -Nate

Posted in Gear, thoughts about music
3 comments on “How to buy musical instruments: a blog series
  1. Mark says:

    I must agree with. Do not buy a piece of crap for someone to start their journey…If you buy something at least middle of the line you have a better chance of resell if it doesn’t work out…and the person gets to learn on something reasonable.

  2. Roldan says:

    Yes, that’s right. If you buy crap it goes to crap. You cannot used or re-sale it..

  3. Angie says:

    I agree, if you get an instrument that’s cheap, not setup well and hard to play the chances are you won’t stick with it. It best to get the best you can within your budget of course.

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