Musical Instruments for Every Budget

There is a common misconception that music is expensive. You have to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars just to get a good beginner instrument. That is simply not the case. While professional model instruments do cost more, student models can be had for less than $500 (for certain instruments).

Killer Harmony | Musical Instruments for Every Budget | You can find musical instruments at every budget and price range. It can get expensive, but there are cheaper options available if your budget is small.

If you don’t have the funds or the desire to purchase an instrument right away, you can also look into renting one through a local music store. In this post, however, I am going to talk about purchasing an instrument. Different instruments will cost different amounts, so I have broken this post based on a few price points.

You have the recorder and the voice as some of the less expensive instruments whereas lower pitched instruments tend to cost more. Let’s look at the instruments!

Under $50

Yes, there are a few instruments that you can start for this cheap. You can start singing, and since you already have a voice, this could be considered free. With the $50, though, you could spend up to an hour working with a private vocal coach to learn how to use your singing voice.

If you are not a fan of singing, give the recorder a try. Of course, you probably played it in elementary school, and you probably think it’s an instrument for little kids. It can be, but anyone can learn the recorder. There are actually a few people who play the instrument at a professional level.

Wow, right? Don’t knock it until you try it. You can find a nice plastic soprano and/or alto recorder for less than fifty bucks. If you want to get serious about it, avoid those cheap recorders that you find in a toy store. Go to Amazon or a music store and get a better model.

Under $100

If you have a bit of extra money to spend, you can buy a good quality ukulele. You could by a toy instrument for even less then $50, but $100 will get you a better ukulele as well as a beginners book or even a short lesson.

The ukulele has become more popular in recent years, and it is a great way to get into music. You can learn melodies and chords, and you can even start your own acoustic band! The ukulele is also fairly easy to learn and make a sound on. All you have to do is strum.

There are countless videos and lessons online for the ukulele, so you are sure to find something that fits your needs. If you have some money left, invest in a nice case for your new instrument, because they don’t always come with one.

Under $200

If you have an interest in learning the piano but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend, try an electronic keyboard. You can learn the basic concepts behind the piano without investing so much money.

While the best electronic keyboards cost more, you can find a beginner keyboard for this price. You can also get some basic piano books or take a few lessons to get you started. A benefit to playing a keyboard over an acoustic piano is that you can get a pair of headphones. That way, you can practice without disturbing others.

Piano is the most common instrument, and there is a lot of music that has been written for it. You can play everything from classical to pop or rock. The (musical) world is at your oyster when you play the keyboard.

Under $300

Guitar is another common choice for amateur and student musicians. There is a lot of music out there for guitar, and you can do a lot with the instrument. There is a small bit of classical repertoire, but the guitar is more common in popular music.

If you want to join a jam band, guitar is perfect. You can take it with you places, and you can play it almost anywhere. It can be both a solo and an ensemble instrument.

Another great instrument in this price range is the flute. Maybe I’m biased, but the flute is a gorgeous instrument. It is small, so it is super portable. There is hundreds of years worth of repertoire for the flute. Its repertoire is so good, other instrumentalists transcribe them.

The flute is one of the most colorful instruments. You can play eerie music from the likes of Debussy or you can even play jazz and rock tunes.

Under $500

This next group has a few more instruments included. If you want to play an orchestral string instrument, try the violin or viola. These instruments are held against the shoulder and are played with a bow. They are also common in symphony and chamber orchestras.

The violin is a great solo instrument, and the viola is a mellowed version of the violin. These instruments a good for younger students, because they come in different sizes. You can get a child size violin then upgrade later.

If you are more a concert band fan, go for a clarinet of trumpet. Both of these are fairly small, so they are easy to carry, but they are very different. The clarinet has more parts to put together, including a reed.

A trumpet has only two parts, but you need a bit more strength to keep it at a proper playing angle. Both the clarinet and trumpet are used in band and orchestra, and the trumpet is also used in most jazz bands.

Over $500

If you have an even bigger budget, you can splurge on other instruments. There are so many great ways to make music, and the more money you have, the more you can support musicians and musical instrument makers.

More expensive instruments include the cello, double bass, saxophone, oboe, bassoon, horn, low brass, and percussion.


You can find musical instruments for every budget. It may not be top of the line, but you can get the job done.

Have you wanted to try an instrument but thought it was too expensive? Will you look at instruments now that you know some aren’t as costly? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!


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