Picking a New Instrument - 5 Tips for Finding The Right Fit
So you’re ready to go looking for a new instrument. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your old one, or maybe you’re searching for a backup instrument, or perhaps you’re simply looking for something different. Whatever the reason, we understand that the process of choosing an instrument can sometimes be difficult and stressful. That’s why we’ve put together these 5 tips that will hopefully make the process a little easier for you.
1. Tip One: Pick a Price Range and Stick To It
One of the most overwhelming aspects of finding a new instrument can be the sheer number of options available to you. Walk in either of our shops and you will see that we have hundreds of instruments. While options are great, you need to limit your search in order to make a decision. We recommend picking a price range and sticking to it. Generally, we break our instruments into these price ranges:
· Under $1,000
· $1,000 to $2,000
· $2,000 - $5,000
· $5,000 - $10,000
· $10,000 - $20,000
· So and so forth
As you can see, the price ranges widen as they go higher. The reasons for this have to do with the way instruments are priced. That’s a whole other topic for a whole other blog post…
Once you have picked a price range, be open minded to everything in that range. Price differences of $500 or even $1,000 aren’t always meaningful. This becomes truer the higher in price you go. An excellent way to keep these price differences from influencing your opinions of the instruments you are trying is to cover their prices. Our sales associates are happy to cover the price tags with tape so that you can make your decision solely on the sound and playing experience of the instruments.
Resist the temptation to gradually bump up your price range unless you’re truly willing to spend more. We often encounter customers who tell us they can spend NO MORE than $5,000. However, their curiosity gets the best of them and they ask to play an instrument that’s $6,000. Then $7,000. Then $8,000. Just to see what the difference is. Don’t do this to yourself! You risk playing an instrument that you love but cannot afford and making your actual options pale in comparison even though they are excellent! So before you begin looking, really ask yourself, what is the absolute most you are willing to spend. Limiting your options will spare you a lot of time and stress.
Keep in mind that we have dozens of excellent options in every price range. Additionally, we offer 100% trade-in on all our instruments. Find an instrument you love in your price range and trade up later when it makes sense financially to do so. You are never stuck with the instrument you choose.
2. Tip Two: Don’t Think of Yourself as Harry Potter in the Wand Shop
I love Harry Potter. So many memorable events from those books remain fondly in my memory. Perhaps one of my absolute favorites scenes is the one in which Harry visits the wand shop to pick his first wand. Anyone who’s ever read those books has fantasized about visiting the wand shop to pick their very own wand.
Violin shops feel very much like the wand shop in Harry Potter. But picking an instrument is not like picking a wand. While the wand chooses the wizard or witch, the instrument does NOT choose the player. That is because instruments are not magical. The magic is all within YOU, the musician! You must find the instrument or bow that allows you to express yourself and your voice. If you tell yourself the instrument will pick you, you may be disappointed when you one doesn’t.
3. Tip Three: Be Open Minded and Play
This is somewhat of a continuation of the last point. We often find that customers have certain qualities they are looking for or avoiding in an instrument. Perhaps they want it to be old, or be new, or be French, or be NOT Chinese, or (insert quality). But we encourage people to be open minded when trying instruments and look past these qualities. A lot of value has been erroneously placed on age and place of origin of instruments. Remember, a bad instrument made in 1750 is still a bad instrument in 2019. Time cannot make up for poor craftsmanship. Focus on sound and performance and keep in mind that you are buying a tool to play music with and not a wall decoration.
Speaking of Chinese instruments…
There is still, to this day, quite a bit of hesitance among customers to buy Chinese instruments because they fear the quality will not be there. We want to take this opportunity to dispel the myth that Chinese instruments can’t be good! They can! Terra Nova Violins owner, Abbas Selgi, travels to China two to three times per year to select the fine Chinese instruments that we sell. The makers and workshop luthiers of these instruments are highly skilled craftsmen and craftswomen just like you would find anywhere else in the world. They take great pride in the quality of their work.
Today, Chinese instruments offer consumers a great value. For under $5,000 you can purchase professional level Chinese instruments that deliver incredible sound and stand the test of time.
4. Tip Four: Don’t Go Looking for Your Old Instrument
Buying a new instrument can be a lot like dating new people after a long-term relationship. You know you need something new, but you yearn for the familiarity of the old. Many great instruments have been passed up because they didn’t sound or feel like the player’s old instrument. Avoid this pitfall!
Remember, the reason you are looking for a new instrument in the first place is because your old one has reached its limits. It’s holding you back. It’s totally natural to feel uncomfortable on a new instrument with a different feel and a different sound. Give it time! You must learn to play a new instrument before it feels like it’s really yours. Once you have done that, you unlock your new instrument’s true potential.
5. Tip Five: Have Fun!
This is one is easy! Enjoy the search! Looking for a new instrument is an opportunity to play, to refine your ear, and to learn. Our knowledgeable sales staff is ready to answer all of your questions and guide you through the process of picking a new instrument.
Stay tuned for a follow up post on how to try instruments efficiently and effectively so you can make the best decision.
Thanks for reading and happy shopping!