Instrument quality

Many beginners succumb to the temptation of buying the cheapest instrument available to them, whether it is from a car boot sale or from the virtual car boot sale that is eBay. After all, why not: all trumpets/flutes/whatever are more or less the same, right?

This is absolutely not the case. Whilst the difference between a £500 instrument and an identical-looking one costing £5000 may be negligible to all but the most experienced musicians, the difference between a well-made beginner or intermediate instrument and a mass-produced model bought off eBay is very significant.

Musical instruments are highly sensitive and delicate pieces of equipment, and their sound is not the only manifestation of the difference in quality. The cheap mass-produced instruments that have flooded the market over the past few years largely come from factories in Asia where the cheapest materials and production methods ensure a low price and an even lower quality.

It can be very frustrating for a beginner coming to grips with the basics to struggle with an inferior-quality instrument. This is undoubtedly one of the major causes of many students giving up their instrument, since poor mechanisms and poor sound quality add to the already considerable effort needed to learn to play. Moreover, it is not possible to get replacement parts for many very cheap instruments and some repairers refuse to work on them; in any case, a repair or service bill could come to the same amount as the instrument itself!

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