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How to Buy a Musical instrument

By (view all posts by Yasarh)
at 11:56AM Thursday November 11, 2010
under Shop Smarter

With Guy partying it up in Las Vegas this week, I've decided to go rogue.  This week's Yasar and Guy show is all Yasar and no Guy.  Instead of writing about electronics, I'm going to take a week off and writing about something different: musical instruments.

About now, many of you are probably thinking I've lost it.  What could I possibly know about musical instruments?  Truth be told, not much on how to play.  I've taken guitar and keyboard lessons for about a year each in my entire life.  However, I do know a thing or two about buying instruments.  That's because I'm pretty good at buying them.  Not so much for playing them.  Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of musical investment.
If you're a beginner and have no idea how to play an instrument, chances are you also have no idea how to buy one.  The first thing you should do is take a few lessons.  This will help you get a feel for whether or not you want to play the instrument.  It'll also let you get a feel for how the instrument is supposed to feel.  The longer you put off the purchase, the better decision you can make.

If you want to buy something used, check Craiglist and any online music shops.  One thing you'll definitely want to keep in mind is that you're going to be improving rather rapidly.  It doesn't make sense to buy a $1,000 guitar when you're barely learning chords, but you also don't want something that you'll "outgrow" within a year of so.  If you decide to go to either extreme, I'd recommend going with the cheap one.  That way if you do upgrade to better guitar soon, you can at least have a practice guitar, too.  Be wary of buying something used online.  If you don't get a chance to play around with it, you could end up getting something that you end up hating and won't be able to return it.

Another important thing is to not worry about the brand you buy.  For example, Fender is one of the biggest names in the guitar world.  They have different ranges for the same guitars.  If you want a Stratocaster, they've got several different versions.  I was able to buy one for about $300 which played better then my friend's $750 version.  The only difference between the two is that mine was made in Mexico and his was made in the United States.  Both guitars are made the same way, but the quality of Mexican ones aren't as consistent, so they sell them for less than half the price.  Ask around and see if you can find any other things like this to help you with your purchase.

That's about all of the advice that I have for this week.  Guy and I will be back next week with more tech blogs if he doesn't blow a fuse at my going rogue.  Put $100 on black for me, Guy.  If you want to know how Guy reacts to my choice in writing about music, follow us on Twitter @YasarSavings and @SavingsGCapes.