With websites like Amazon and eBay, it is easier than ever to buy instruments online. You can find so many amazing deals, and you can have your new instrument in a matter of days.
Gone are the days of having to trek to a music festival or visit an instrument vendor or store. You can order yourself a new instrument from your own bed. How nice is that?
It’s nice…if you’re smart about it. There are some good deals out there, but there are also some not so good deals. So, I am going to give you my tips for buying instruments online. While in person is best, sometimes you have no other choice.
1. Stick with reputable brands.
There are dozens of brands of instruments on sites like Amazon, but a lot of them are of bad quality. They are cheaply made instruments, which is why those instruments are usually really cheap.
If you are searching for a flute or piccolo, stick to brands like Yamaha, Pearl, or Jupiter, among others. These instruments will cost more than the “Sky” or “Band Director Approved” instruments.
Going with a reputable brand means you will get a better quality instrument. It will last longer, and the cost will be worth it over time. Please do not buy those $100 instruments; they are not worth your time or money.
2. Read the reviews.
Read the reviews of the instrument before you purchase. If you can, contact someone you know who has played the brand and model you are considering. Or ask a private teacher for recommendations.
In many cases, the reviews can tell you a lot about the instrument. If you cannot test the instrument out before buying, you want to make sure you are getting a good value.
If you are on Amazon, you can even check out the Q&A section to see if there are any questions with helpful answers. Reviews may seem silly, and of course you should ignore the more biased ones. Some reviews can be really helpful, though.
3. Look at specialty websites.
There are so many online music stores, both general and instrument specific. Even if you plan to buy from Amazon, check with these other sites to see if the instrument you want is available.
For flutists, websites like FluteWorld and the Flute Center of New York have a ton of good brands in stock. I ended up purchasing a piccolo from Amazon, but I had seen it on flute specific websites. I also had a recommendation from a flute teacher.
These specialty sites will probably have a higher shipping fee, but a lot of them do have trial periods. If you decide you don’t like what you ordered, you can send it back. That is a great perk when you are unsure of what you want.
4. Check the shipping terms. And track your package.
What I mean by this is that you should be aware of how your instrument will be shipped. I personally would go for the fastest shipping you can. Yes, it adds to the cost. But the last thing you want is to have your instrument sitting in a warehouse without temperature controls.
You should also do your best to be home the day your instrument arrives. That might contradict my last piece of advice, but it’s almost more important. So priority goes to being home on delivery day. If you are out running errands or working all day, you won’t be able to get your instrument inside and away from crooks.
Not only do you want to get your instrument out of the elements quickly, but you don’t want to have a package sitting on your doorstep that will attract thieves.
5. Know the return policy.
This goes for anything you buy online. If you buy from somewhere that does not have a trial period, you still should know whether you can return the instrument if you are unhappy.
How long do you have to make a return? Do you have to pay for shipping? How do you ship it back? While you will hopefully find something you love, you still want to be aware of the terms in case you don’t end up liking the instrument or in case something is wrong with it.
6. Buy in person when you can.
I wrote this post for the people who can’t buy an instrument in person. If you have the option to buy an instrument that you want in person, do that.
You’ll save on shipping, and you can test the instrument out before you even purchase it.
For when you can’t buy an instrument in person, I hope these tips help for buying an instrument online. Definitely read up on everything you can regarding the instrument you want to purchase and educate yourself and the shipping and return policies.
7. Enjoy your new instrument!
Buying a new instrument is exciting! So be sure to enjoy your new purchase. While some purchase methods are easier or harder, no matter how you buy, have fun.
Have you bought an instrument online before? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe for more exclusive tips and musings sent straight to your inbox!