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Find an Instrument

Below are a few guidelines to help you make an informed choice and find the right instrument for you or your child so you can get the most out of playing music. These are followed by the database for you to search.

Although price is a major factor for some purchasers, there are many things to consider before making a decision:

Consult an unbiased source – Talk to your music teacher, or band/orchestra instructor, other families who have purchased an instrument and/or your local Music Service. It is important to seek guidance from someone who understands your (or your child’s) musical development.

When comparing prices make sure you understand what is available for what price and remember that unless you feel, see and hear the instrument in person you will not be making a fair comparison.

What do you expect of the instrument? The quality (and playability) of instruments can vary dramatically and a basic starter instrument may only serve its purpose for 1-2 years whilst a more expensive product may have a much longer useful life.

Are you concerned about resale value? Recognised brands are easier to sell and hold their value better. Often extra money paid at the time of purchase is recovered during the resale process. If you purchase mail order or via the internet, make sure you understand your consumer rights and any warranties available, as these can differ when purchasing in this way.

Ask questions, no matter who you buy from.

  • What technical support do you offer?
  • Can the shop help me maintain my instrument and replace worn out parts?
  • What accessories does your shop stock? Guitars needs strings and violins need bows and maybe you want extra items like music books, educational cds or a case for travelling with your instrument.
  • Do you offer any kind of warranty?
  • Does the manufacturer offer a warranty (over and above the store)?
  • What after-sales service do you offer? Your instrument may need attention after a period of time and some stores will offer a free check to help keep your instrument in peak condition.
  • Does your shop offer any insurance schemes or any security devices? You may want to get the maximum protection for your instrument in every circumstance.
  • What trade-in opportunities does your shop offer? As your (or your child’s) musical ability develops you may want to progress on to a more sophisticated or larger instrument.
  • Do you offer a rental scheme or have a buy-back policy should the instrument not prove suitable?
  • (If you are purchasing a child’s school instrument) Is the Assisted Purchase Scheme (a VAT free scheme for musical instruments) available in this area?

Your store may also be able to advise you on finding a teacher or may offer a teaching facility as part of their services.

Make sure the salesperson asks you the right questions. A knowledgeable and efficient salesperson will want to know how you (or your child) are going to be using the instrument. Will you be playing in a group or solo? How long have you been playing? Will you be travelling with the instrument? You will also want the salesperson to show you how to maintain clean and protect your instrument and to give you advice about what accessories you will need to get the most out of your instrument.

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