Instrument Buying Guide Basics

Quality Differences

You should be aware that there are different qualities of instruments available. You can find both lower and higher quality instruments available for sale through our retail stores and online channels.

Our industry offers beginner, intermediate and professional quality instruments. The choice is large. Australia’s musical products distribution network supplies the majority of the world’s top brands and products to a large network of specialty music retailers.

An instrument is a long term investment so it pays to stretch the budget as far as you can when comparing different quality instruments – but ask an expert.

Beginner or Student instruments

It’s easy to think a student or beginner instrument is just a cheaper version of a professional instrument.  This is not the case.  While student instruments are cheaper they are specially designed to assist the learner to progress and enjoy their music making.

For example, a brass or woodwind student instrument will have less resistance, which means the student doesn’t need to make as much effort to create a sound.  Or on a guitar a lower action makes playing easier and more fluent for young or inexperienced hands.  The action is the distance between the fretboard and the strings.  A lower action requires less pressure.

Beware very cheap student instruments – they fast become unplayable! 

Buy, Rent or Rent-to-Buy? 

You may not wish to buy an instrument immediately in case it turns out not to suit you or your child.  Some music stores offer rental programs including Rent-to-Buy options.  Ask your local store about it.

There are also many unused instruments tucked away under beds or in the backs of cupboards.  If you have one of those then the best way to find out if it is suitable is to take it to your teacher (or a prospective teacher) to check and then down to the music store for a clean and service.

However you come by your instrument it does not have to be the most expensive instrument, but it must be fit for purpose and properly set up to suit you or your child.  Consulting a teacher or music shop is the only way you will know whether the instrument is right or not.

The best advice anyone can give is to encourage you to talk to other musicians, music teachers and music stores or parents of children who you know already play. They will help you narrow down the brands and models you need to consider.  These are the people with the experience to direct you to the kinds of products that they trust to do the job for them. There is no shortage of great products and brands so you will usually be spoilt for choice.