Buying Musical Instruments

SugarSpun Forumite Posts: 8,559 Forumite
What's the best way to buy them cheaply, preferably without compromising on quality?

Disclaimer: my husband wants a banjo, so my idea of quality and yours might differ drastically - or there again I don't want a banjo so maybe they won't.
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  • Nile
    Nile Forumite, Ambassador Posts: 14,930
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  • Wookey
    Wookey Forumite Posts: 812 Forumite
    Buying online is usually cheapest unless you live nearhand where one of the online stores is located, one downside to online buying is it can be a real hit or miss with regards to the quality of the instrument. In my experience 1st class music shops and knowledgeable staff are rare but if you are lucky enough to have one nearhand defo pay it a visit to checkout price/quality of various makes.
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  • WhiteHorse
    WhiteHorse Forumite Posts: 2,492 Forumite
    The cost of getting it wrong can be quite high, so it often pays to bite the bullet and make a personal visit to a really good shop.

    Call them first to discuss what you are after and what they have in stock that you can see/take away.
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  • taliesin
    taliesin Forumite Posts: 118 Forumite
    I agree. A good local music shop is by far the best place to buy an instrument. What's more, it need not be more expensive than buying online. If asked, every shop I have dealt with has been willing to match online prices, if only by throwing in a few extras (strings, gig-bag, leads, ...), and some are willing to give discounts that undercut the online prices for students, performing musicians, or even simply for being "a local". Because of the online offers, there's not a lot of profit in the instruments themselves, but they know that if you are happy you will come back to them for all sorts of higher-profit lines such as books, strings, repairs, tuition, and more instruments as you trade up or enlarge your collection.
  • borkid
    borkid Forumite Posts: 2,475
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    You may find some shops have secondhand instruments and these are much better value. Alternatively you could contact a local teacher and see if they know of anyone upgrading their instrument.
  • Jojo_the_Tightfisted
    Jojo_the_Tightfisted Forumite Posts: 27,228
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    About £120 in a proper music shop should do it. Plus a bunch of picks, a tuner, some books and lessons.

    Depends, there are so many different ones, number of strings, tunings, that kind of thing.

    But banjos do tend to be dumped once bought as the owner finds it's actually quite a bit of work to play Deliverance. So they may have some second hand ones in there, too.
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  • £$&*"($£&(
    £$&*"($£&( Posts: 4,538 Forumite
    SugarSpun wrote: »
    What's the best way to buy them cheaply, preferably without compromising on quality?

    Disclaimer: my husband wants a banjo, so my idea of quality and yours might differ drastically - or there again I don't want a banjo so maybe they won't.

    As long as you know what your looking for online is OK. You need to know whether you a four string banjo or a five string and whether you want to get an open back or one which has a closed back, which has a wooden resonator attached. Also it depends how much you want to spend. If your not sure of the advantages and disadvantages a shop which has a clue is the place to go. Better ones have two rods for adjustment. I think this is a good starter 5 string open back banjo:

    The advantage of getting one with a resonator is that you can take if off if desired. I recently bought a six string, which is a guitar neck attached to a banjo body which I tried at a shop. Good for guitarists as long as you don't play it exactly like a guitar. All I can say is, although it was cheap, and lacking some of the better features it's been great fun.
  • OurTommy
    OurTommy Forumite Posts: 15 Forumite
    Hi there,
    I can only speak as a guitar player (been a guitar tutor for a good few years now). In my experience i find it best to buy an instrument second hand from eBay if its your first. I recommend this process for all of my students and to anyone who asks me which is the best 'Starter Guitar'.
    The reasons I recommend buying second hand are as follows: (1) if your buying from eBay it will obvoiusly be cheaper than buying a brand new instrument, alternatively you could buy a better/intermediate instrument for the same price as a new beginner banjo (2) most stringed instruments benefit from being played or worn in and may only require restringing to make it really nice and playable (3) if your husband decides he doesn't fancy learning Banjo after all, you will know how much it is worth and wont suffer any depriciation. Also you should be able to sell it on fairly easily if you go for an intermediate instrument.
    hope this helps
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