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Buying a New Musical Instrument

How to Shop for a New Instrument

Why Buy New?
Buying a new instrument can be a daunting task. With so many choices, how do you know which one is best? When you purchase a new musical instrument, you get piece of mind. It will be flawless, having come right out of the factory. There is no need to worry about torn or moldy pads on a flute, clarinet, or sax, leaky keys or valves, a bent key, missing or damaged cork, dents and dings in trumpets and trombones that could disrupt air flow, scratches in the finish, and a grave number of other problems that you might encounter when buying used.
New instruments are free blowing since there is no dirt or other elements like calcium buildup that would slow down air flow. These instruments produce a clear sound that projects well in big halls and blends perfectly with others in the band.
The Rising (or Falling) Cost of Instruments:

The cost of musical instruments now a days can range form just a couple hundred dollars to thousands. Why do some instruments seem so expensive and others so very cheap? There are several reasons for this, but the two main reasons for the price gap is how it is manufactured, and what it's worth to the consumer. Musical instruments bodies are made from different resources including plastic, brass, nickel, silver, wood, and gold. The pads are made from leather, treated leather, or a synthetic material. The cork comes in different grades as well.

How to Know the Difference

Student vs. professional
Around fourty+ years ago, there was a significant difference between professional and student instruments. Some of these difference still remain. For instance, professional horns have added features like a trombone with an F attachment, a wooden bodied clarinet, and open holes on a flute. Many professional instruments are made of semi-precious metals like silver flutes and trumpets. However, some features that use to only be available on a professional horns are now being manufactured on instruments marketed as "student".
Times have changed

Detailed engravings on the bell of the saxophone use to be very popular on high quality instruments, but the technology that makes these engravings is more widely available. The high F# key on the sax also use to be a feature found only on professional models but is now seen on most student saxophones. It is also common for student flutes to be silver plated. These, and other features come standard because it is easier to manufacture these parts, and the rise in music education allows for these manufactures to produce massive quantities of student level instruments.

The Cost of Band Instruments

What are they really worth?
There is an age old saying that goes something like this: "It's only worth as much as someone will pay for it." This is unfortunately one of the driving factors when it comes to pricing musical instruments. Its no surprise when a school offers a band and orchestra program. In fact, most parents are thrilled when their child decides to play an instrument. It isn't until they realize they need to purchase an instrument for their child and they start shopping around that they discover how high musical instruments are priced.

How Brass Instruments Are Made

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