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When it comes to buying musical instruments, it's more appropriate to think of them as antique or vintage rather than used musical instruments. Secondhand musical instruments are not only less expensive, they've usually been broken in as well.
Do a Bit of Research
Before browsing through the used musical instruments for sale, spend some time researching the various brands and models. Some brands of instruments have a better reputation for durability and longer life, making them a better investment even if they're being purchased secondhand. You'll want to be sure that you're getting your money's worth. Rather than buy a drum set because it's endorsed by a popular drummer in a famous band, look for one that will maintain its value. Keep in mind that you may find yourself reselling the instrument yourself at a later date.
Consult with an Expert
For new musicians who aren't familiar with buying musical instruments, checking with a more experienced musician for some purchasing advice could be a wise decision. The rules of buying used musical instruments are similar to that of buying a used car. Talking to a professional musician would be the equivalent of speaking with a mechanic. An experienced guitarist, for example, can tell you what to look for in a used guitar and how to tell if it's worth the price. If possible, take someone with you to look at the instrument. Someone who has spent years playing piano can tell you if one needs major repairs or just a bit of tuning.
Choosing the Right Instrument
A musician's relationship to their musical instrument is often important. Rather than being just a piece of equipment, a musical instrument is a means of artistic expression. Choose carefully when buying musical instruments, whether it's a clarinet for a student or an electric guitar for a professional guitarist. Knowing what you're looking for and knowing the value of the instrument before buying will help make the process easier. Whenever possible, take the opportunity to play the instrument before purchasing. Again, apply the rules of buying used cars and take the instrument on a test drive.