- What do you need?
First, consider what the instrument is being purchased for. Before you think about brand names or body styles, consider what you are going to use the instrument for, and how much money you have to spend on one.
If you are a new player who is looking for an instrument to learn on, you may not want to spend too much on a high-end one just yet. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques, there is a wide selection of good, low- to mid-range instruments to choose from.
If you are already play then the best advice anyone can give you is to go out and play all the instruments you can until you find the one that suits you and your budget best. There is simply no substitute for trying and selecting the instrument you will make your own.
- Don’t buy rubbish
You will find in the Australian market some inexpensive, poorly made objects that would put anyone off playing. Substandard manufacture causes tuning issues, playability issues, soft metals can bend, rusting can occur, wood can bend and warp, moving parts should be precision built. Worst of all, a poor quality instrument can discourage a student.
- New vs Secondhand
When you purchase a pre-owned musical instrument, you are likely dealing with private owners rather than businesses who have reputations to protect. You are on your own selecting the specific instrument we wish to purchase.
|Music store: new
|Music store: second hand
|Private seller: second hand
According to the ACCC:
Most consumer guarantees don’t apply to one-off sales between 2 people, where the seller isn’t running a business. Examples include sales at a garage sale or fete, or individuals selling through online marketplaces like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace.
However, the following consumer guarantees do apply to these private sales:
- title to the product
- undisturbed possession
- no hidden debts or charges.
Where the consumer law applies (ie. to retail stores), it covers second-hand as well as new products. Depending on factors like price and age, it may not be reasonable to expect a second-hand product to last as long or perform to the same standard as a new one.
A private individual wants to get rid of the instrument and may not be totally upfront, particularly if they sense you don’t know a lot. It definitely pays to be cautious.
In addition, when buying from an individual, you are investing in an item which will not usually come with any guarantee or warranty, or product support, so what you end up buying is what you get.