There are so many options available to us as consumers nowadays that it can feel a little overwhelming when considering the best place to shop a product. This holds true for many parents looking for an instrument for their son/daughter as well as the hobbyist that’s just signed up for his first lesson and is in need of a guitar to play.
“Do I need to purchase my instrument brand new?”
Not at all. The second hand market offers some great deals on quality instruments that you can pick up for a fraction of the retail price.
Musical instruments are very simple purchases to make compared to a vehicle, a house or even computer hardware - not much can go wrong and if it does it’s of little consequence, so don’t be anxious about shopping the second hand market if you’re searching for a beginner level instrument.
A seller may even bundle the item with accessories and extras that would be difficult to sell without the main item, so you'll get even more value for your money. If the accessories aren’t listed, ask if they’d consider to include a stand, a set of strings or a case with it.
Decide on a few brands/models of the instrument you'd consider - this will narrow down your search and give you an idea of what you’re actually looking for. Check out our other videos and articles about beginner/entry level instruments, browse a few online music stores for information or ask your tutor for advice.
Next, check out these 5 places that you are guaranteed to find a good deal on a quality second hand instrument.
1) Ebay - www.ebay.co.uk
This is obvious and is the go-to place for many people when it comes to purchasing equipment. Just make sure you read the description of the item carefully and ask the seller for any information they may have missed. Viewing the item on collection can be worthwhile however not always feasible when the seller is on the opposite side of the country.
2) Gumtree - www.gumtree.co.uk
Type in your post code and search your local area for the item you’re looking for. If you can’t find the right deal for you, just extend the search distance to see what else is out there. Ensure that you have the information you need on the item and don’t hesitate to ask the seller for more info.
3) Freecycle - www.freecycle.org
This is a community based website where people offer to give their things away for free. Sign up and register in your local area to view and search for items being given away. You can also post to request the items that you’re looking for in your local community.
4) Your local music store
Check out the B stock and second hand items in your local music store. Bear in mind that it’s rarely going to be cheaper than going to the seller directly as the store will take a cut from the sale, but if you’re after something specific then it may be a good option for you. The store will inspect the item first and restore it to a presentable condition if needed before reselling it, as well as adding a guarantee to take the risk from your purchase.
5) Facebook Marketplace
This is a great place to search and purchase second hand instruments and all other items in general. Just log in, click the market place icon and type in what you’re searching for to browse the items for sale in your local area. You can adjust the search radius and go further out of the area if needed.
You can message the seller directly via Facebook messenger and arrange a collection. The messenger feature adds speed to the correspondence between buyer and seller, making the whole process super easy and quick.
Arrange to pay on collection and if you can, test the item is working before you buy. Usually sellers are more than happy to demonstrate that the item is working and even allow you come in and test it yourself.
Just remember to be safe, meet in a public place and never pay before seeing the item first.
Another awesome way you can use Facebook is by joining your local community group for your area. Leave a post asking if anyone in the area is selling the item you’re looking for and chances are that someone will either be selling it, or know someone who is.
A couple more suggestions.....
Car boot sale
If you frequently visit your local Sunday car boot sale then you may come across a good deal, however bear in mind that you’re not guaranteed to come across a stall selling an instrument. This is purely a luck-of-the-draw find, so don’t depend on it. If you happen to be visiting anyway, keep your eyes open as you might just find something
If you have a local charity shop you pass by on a daily basis, keep an eye out for any instruments on sale. You may be lucky and find something similar to what you’re looking for, but don’t count on it. It’s much more efficient and less time consuming to search an item for sale in your local area via Facebook than to visit all the charity shops in the 20 mile radius. Simply keep it in mind as an additional option in your search for the right deal for you.
Take a good look at these suggestions and you’re sure to find the right instrument, at the right price for you.