First you must 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. And in Australia we are spoilt for choice.
This buying guide gives an overview of the main instrument categories.
Above all, do not buy rubbish! In recent times there has been an influx into the Australian market of inexpensive, poorly made objects that will put a child off their learning and 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 – BEWARE! Students playing these cheap, poor quality instruments can soon think they are no good at this music thing and move on to something ‘easier’. This buying guide recommends you buy in Australia whether that be in a store or online. There are many quality student instruments on the market in Australia. You may pay a little more, but you have service and warranty back up here to keep the instrument in good nick and the player will appreciate it.
New vs Secondhand
When you purchase a pre-owned musical instrument, you are probably dealing with private owners, as opposed to businesses who have reputations to protect. You are on your own selecting the specific instrument we wish to purchase.
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.